Anulom Vilom pranayama ( Alternate Nostril Breathing) is one of the main pranayama or breathing exercises practice in Hatha Yoga. Anulom Vilom pranayama is practiced in the beginning, then other pranayamas are practiced respectively. Deep Breathing, Kapalbhati, Bhastrika, etc. Pranayama is done only after doing the Anulom Vilom well. It is also known as Nadi Shodhana Pranayama.
“Anulom” means – upright, and “Vilom” means – upside down. Here upright means nasal or right pore of the nose and upside-down means left pore of the nose. That is, in the Anulom Vilom Pranayama, inhale from the right nostril, then exhale through the left nostril. Similarly, if you inhale from the left nostril, then exhale through the right nostril. (study)
It is very effective in purifying the mind and body. The regular practice offers energy to the body, releases stress, anxiety and also treats serious health conditions, which include heart problems, cartilage, depression, asthma, high blood pressure, and arthritis. Some of the practitioners also recommend AnulomVilom Pranayam for the treatment of bent ligaments, neural issues, migraine pain, and sinus.
It can also reduce weight depending on the body’s constitution. Pranayama ensures a proper supply of energy to all the body organs enhancing the overall health of the body.
Why this Called Nadi Shodhana Pranayama?
In Sanskrit, Anulom Vilom pranayam known as Nadi Shodhana Pranayam.
Nadi Shodhan Pranayama is made up of three words – “Nadi” means Energy Channels of the body and ‘Shodhan” means Purification, and Pranayam means Breathing. Practicing Nadi Shodhan Pranayama helps in purifying the Nadis (pulse) and it also helps in increasing the level of oxygen in the body.
Nadi Shodhan Pranayama is a yogic breathing exercise or technique that involves controlling the subtle ‘pranic energy’ (or vital power or bio-energy) of our body flowing through specific channels. Eda, Pingala, and Sushumna These three Nadis are the most important Nadis of the human body.
The left nostril is Ida (moon principle or mind), Right nostril represents Pingala Nadi (Sun principle or body).
In alternate nostril breathing, once inhale through Left and exhale through Right then inhale through Right and exhale through Left Nostril. This purifies the Ida and Pingala Nadis. In this way, this process is known as Nadi Shodhan Pranayama.
Nadi Shodhan pranayama is an order of improvement in breathing techniques that help to cleanse and operate these blocked energy channels and thus calm the mind. Which gives physical, mental, and spiritual peace. This process is also known as Anulom Vilom Breathing.
The purpose of Nadi Shodhan Pranayama is to balance physical and mental energy. It is recommended for all types of problems. As Hatha Yoga principle says that the health conditions are due to an imbalance between these Ida and Pingala Nadis, alternate nostril breathing balances these two forces.
Concepts of Anulom-Vilom Pranayama as per Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra
While doing the Anulom-Vilom Pranayama, perform three actions- This is called the Hathayogi practice, the Abhyantara Vritti, Stambha Vritti, Bahya Vritti.
- Puraka (Abhyantara Vritti): – That is, the action of inhaling at a controlled speed is called Puraka.
- Kumbhaka (Stambha Vritti): – The process of retaining the inside breath according to the quantity is called Kumbhaka.
- Rechaka (Bahya Vritti): – The action of exhaling the inhaled breath is called Rechaka.
The process of this Puraka (inhaling), Rechaka (exhaling), and Kumbhaka (retaining) are called Anulom-Vilom. Yoga principles have different opinions about it. It is done in the correct process i.e. according to Patanjali in the ratio of 1: 4: 2.
Anulom Viloma pranayama can be performed without holding of breath. It is advisable, Practice the Anulom Viloma Pranayama for beginners without holding of breath.
There are many reasons to do Nadishodana Anuloma Viloma pranayama. By practicing a few rounds of Nadishodhana Anulom Vilom pranayama each day for few minutes can help us control our consciousness to some extent.
Let’s see how to do Nadi Shodana Pranayama (Anulom Vilom) and What are the benefits of Nadi Shodana Pranayama.
How to do Anulom Vilom Pranayama (Alternate Nostril Breathing)?
The practice of Anulom Vilom Pranayama is very easy and simple. You can practice this pranayama by choosing a certain time of day.
For the safe and accurate practice of Anulom Vilom Pranayama download 7pranayama.
Morning is considered an ideal time to practice Pranayama. Anulom-Vilom will work to keep you healthy in a more effective way amidst the fresh air of the morning. If you wish, you can practice even in the evening. Now know below the steps for Anulom Vilom Pranayama :
First of all, sit on the ground in a comfortable posture. Padmasana is best for this. But if you have any problem, you can practice sitting in a chair.
- Keep the body relaxed and keep breathing deeply. keep the spine straight, close the eyes, and shoulders relax and sit comfortably. Put your hands on your knees.
- Keep your left hand on the left knee, keep the palm towards the sky in the Gyan Mudra. After this, place the thumb of the right hand on the right nostril. And take a deep breath in slowly from the left nostril.
- Now press the left nostril gently with the ring finger.
- Open the right nostril and exhale through the right nostril.
- Keeping the left nostril closed, inhale deeply through your right nostril. Seal the right nostril again with your thumb, then release the left nostril.
- Exhale out of the left nostril. You should now be in the original position, with the thumb sealing the right nostril.
- Finally repeat the process ten times, gradually increasing the number of repetitions.
- Once you gain full breath control during Nadi Shodhana, begin to hold your breath for a moment at the top and bottom of each inhale/exhale cycle. Never strain; let this next stage develop gradually.
The Ratio of Puraka (Inhale), Kumbhaka (Hold), and Rechaka (Exhale) in Anulom Vilom
Practitioners of Nadi Shodhana pranayama add Kumbhak (stop or hold breathing), but keep in mind that at the beginning, maintain the breathing ratio of 1:2:2.
Steps For Nadi Shodhana Pranayama:
- First of all, sit in the posture of Padmasana on the ground. Place the right foot claw on the left leg thigh and the left foot paw on the right leg thigh and close the eyes.
- Now, with your hands make the knowledge posture, keep both of them on your knees and keep your back and neck in a straight line.
- Now close the right nostrils with the thumb of your right hand and take a deep breath slowly for 1 second from the left nostril. (1 second for the beginners, As you proceed, the ratio can be changed.)
- After this close your left nostril with the ring finger, while keeping the right nostril. And hold your breath for 2 seconds. (2 seconds for the beginners, As you proceed, the ratio can be changed.)
- Now, keeping the left nostril close, breath out or exhale from the right nostril for 2 seconds. (2 seconds for the beginners, As you proceed, the ratio can be changed.)
- After exhale 2 seconds from the right nostril, again inhale for 1 second from the right nostril, again close both nostrils for 2 seconds, and again exhale from the left for 2 seconds.
As you proceed, the ratio can be changed to 1: 4: 2, which means that if Puraka (Inhale) is 1 second, then Kumbhaka (Hold) for 4 seconds, and Rechaka (Exhale) for 2 seconds. In classic yoga texts, this ratio is perfect.
Once you achieve complete breathing control during Nadi Shodhana, increase the ratio at least. Never stress; Let this next stage develop slowly. With practice, you can increase to 2: 8: 4.
Importance of Kumbhaka (Stambha Vritti) in Nadi Shodhana Pranayama
As we read above “kumbhaka is the “retention or holding the breath”
Kumbhak, a part of Pranayam, in which the air is inhaled and holds it inside the body. Special- This action is done after supplementation and in this, by closing the mouth, the nostrils are closed by pressing the thumb from one side and the middle and ring finger from the other side, so that air cannot come in it. It is also called Kumbh.
The action of stopping the internal breathing inside the body is called “Antara Kumbhaka” and stopping the breathing outside the body is called “Bahya Kumbhaka“.
As we know breathing is an important and necessary part of our life. This process goes on continuously without stopping from birth to the end. We do pranayama to keep this respiratory system healthy and smooth.
Similarly, there are about 72,000 micro-channels (Nadis) in the body. These Nadis originate from the brain or spinal cord and spread to the entire body like electrical cables. The life of the body communicates with these Nadis. Kumbhaka is needed for the purification of these Nadis. Many times there is an obstruction in these Nadis. When we use Kumbhak in Pranayama, then these barriers get removed.
With all these, awakening comes in the consciousness, memories are safe. With the practice of Kumbhak, the mind continues to operate and the body is protected and eroded. Age increases. Willpower and self-development develop. The body becomes radiant.
Pranayama is an important practice of yoga. The real benefit of pranayama lies in Kumbhak itself. The practitioner of Pranayama should do Pranayama with Kumbhaka.
Benefits of Anulom Vilom Pranayama (Nadi Shodhana Pranayama)
The benefits of doing Anulom Vilom Pranayam are not one but many. With this pranayama, purification of the breath leads to purification of the entire vascular system. According to yoga texts, by doing Anulom Vilom Pranayama, almost every kind of disease can be get rid of.
There are many reviews of science-based Anulom Vilom benefits let us look –
- A study on 6-week Nadi Shodhana pranayama: This type of Pranayama practice improves health status, reduces stress and anxiety as well as promotes overall well-being.
- The slow breathing technique or yogic breathing, such as Anulom Vilom significant improvements in components of health fitness (i.e., cardiorespiratory endurance, flexibility, and percentage of body fat). (Study)
- The present study was carried out that Nadi Shodhana & Anulom Vilom is very beneficial for the students for concentration increases manifold.
- This is a type of breathing technique in yoga that keeps your mind calm. According to the scientific study, the person doing the Anulom vilom keeps away from anxiety, stress, and depression, etc.
- By practicing Anulom Vilom daily, physical defects like Vata, Pitta, and Kapha will cure. Since it is pranayama associated with respiration, it has an important role in removing these doshas.
- A study suggests 20 minutes of practice of anulom vilom pranayama increased GSR, which denotes parasympathetic activity.
- Other research suggests that breathing for 30 minutes a day with the method of anulom vilom pranayama can improve sinus inflammation (rhinosinusitis). This condition interferes with your ability to remove mucus from your nose and sinuses.
- Nadi Shodhana Pranayama has a complete effect on our nervous system and brain. Our consciousness and intelligence begin to develop, the admissibility of the intellect increases.
- Its regular practice balances the two main energy channels – Ida and Pingala.
- Practicing Nadi Shodhana pranayama helps in purifying the pulse and it also helps in increasing the level of oxygen in the body.
- It is a tendency of our mind to regret the past and to worry about the future. Nadi Shodhana pranayama helps to bring the mind back to the present moment.
- With regular practice of this pranayama, we can increase our memory and positive thinking.
- Nadi Shodhana Pranayama cleanses the nerves of the human body and provides strength to them. With the strengthening of the pulse, anxiety, and depression will eliminate.
- All 72000 Nadis of the human body are purified by the daily practice of Nadi Shodhana Pranayama.
- Helps to relax by effectively removing the tension accumulated in the mind and body.
- Purifies the nerves and stabilizes them, allowing the flow of vital energy in our body.
- Anulom vilom yoga is a Nadi Shodhana activity that works to detox the body completely, which can also benefit the skin.
- Maintains body temperature.
What is the difference between Anulom Vilom Pranayama and Nadi Shodhana Pranayama?
There is only a difference between the name of Anulom Vilom and Nadi Shodhana Pranayama. The name Anulom Vilom is because the breath is taken in the opposite order from the nasal cavity, and leaves again.
The name Nadi Shodhana pranayama is because, it involves the process of Kumbhaka, which purifies all the nerves (Nadis) of the body. With Nadi Shodhana, the three Nadis of the body, Ida, Pingala, and Sushumna work in exactly the right way. And get relief from Vata, Pitta, and Kapha diseases.
Precaution for Anuloma Viloma Pranayama
According to the Yoga Sutra, Anulom Vilom Pranayam is safe for most healthy people. Even the damage is not more. A 2019 review found that this breathing technique is safe when instructed by a trained teacher.
- Always do this pranayama empty stomach.
- Never do this pranayama immediately after having a meal, but stop the interval of 4-5 hours. You can do this pranayama on an empty stomach in the morning.
- While breathing, one should keep reciting the OM in the mind. Because this pronunciation has a positive impact on our minds.
- Start with a minute or two and as your confidence increases, it is a good idea to grow slowly.
- Sugar, blood pressure, and pregnant women should not hold their breath for long while doing this pranayama.
- Do not insist on breath and keep the pace of breath simple and comfortable.
- Do not breathe through the mouth or make any sound while breathing.
- Place the fingers very lightly on the nostril. There is no need to apply any pressure.
- Forcibly holding (Kumbhak) the breath for too long is harmful to people with asthma and heart disease.
Anulom Vilom is a type of breathing exercise that changes the movement of breath from the nostril (Alternate Nostril Breathing). Always practice this after the end of yoga asana. It is prefome for promoting physical and mental health benefits.
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