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Anulom Vilom Pranayama

Anulom Vilom Pranayama is a powerful breathing technique that can offer numerous positive benefits for the body, mind and spirit. It is also ideal for men and women looking to enhance their spiritual powers. Read on to find out more about Anulom Vilom Pranayama.

Anulom Vilom Pranayama Anulom Vilom Pranayama

What is Anulom Vilom Pranayama?

Anulom Vilom Pranayama is one of the numerous breathing techniques that are mentioned in the Hatha Yoga literature. It is also referred to as alternate nostril breathing method. It works as a powerful energizer and can help in getting rid of stress and anxiety from the body and mind. Regular practitioners can achieve other positive benefits such as healing of serious health conditions like heart problems, high blood pressure, arthritis, deterioration of cartilage, asthma and depression. In some cases, practitioners of Anulom Vilom Pranayama have also been able to achieve healing of neural issues, bent ligaments, sinus and migraine pains.

Steps of Anulom Vilom Pranayama

These are the main steps of Anulom Vilom Pranayama.

  • Sit straight while performing this asana in padmasana. You may also opt for Vajrasana or Siddhasana.
  • Use your thumb to block the right nostril and take in air from left nostril. Make sure that you breathe in slowly as long as your lungs filled with air.
  • Next, release your thumb and use the ring finger to close your left nostril. Slowly breathe out through your right nostril.
  • Take in the air from your right nostril to release it via the left nostril. Do close your right nostril you’re your thumb prior to exhaling. This completes a single round of the Anulom Vilom Pranayama.
  • Repeat this for 5 times in the beginning and then increase it to 20 rounds as your progress.
  • You may also enhance the duration of the inhalation process from 2 seconds to around 20 seconds or more.
  • You may repeat the process two to four times throughout the day.
  • Once you have perfected this basic skill, you can start to retain your breath for better results.

Tips for performing Anulom Vilom Pranayama

Anulom Vilom Pranayama should be practiced during the early morning hours in an empty stomach. In case you are not able to do so, you can do so in the evening. However, a gap of several hours should be maintained between the meals and performing the Anulom Vilom Pranayama.

While doing the Anulom Vilom Pranayama, you must imagine that all the impurities within your body are coming out through exhaling. You will feel that your body and mind is getting filled up with positive energy.

At the initial stages, you should maintain equal duration while performing the inhaling, retaining and exhaling phases. Once you master the technique, you can perform the pranayama phases in 1:4:2 ratio.

While performing Anulom Vilom Pranayama, you must sit on the ground or a yoga mat while facing north or east. Make sure that your chest, neck and head are in perfect straight line. Keep your spinal cord stretched during the pranayama. Do not perform Anulom Vilom Pranayama within an hour of taking a bath or any kind of sexual activity.

The science behind Anulom Vilom Pranayama

When practiced on a regular basis, Anulom Vilom Pranayama can purify the nadis or the energetic channels within the body. This can help the life force or Prana flow smoothly into the sushumna or the central energy system of the spine. In the text Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Anulom Vilom Pranayama is described as Nadi Shodhana. It is also referred to as Sahita Kumbhaka, or interrupted/broken breath retention technique. In this method, the practitioner inhales the air and then holds it, then breaks the hold for exhaling and inhales once again to repeat the same process.

Anulom Vilom is thus a type of breathing where the air is taken in through alternate nostrils, i.e. inhaling via the left nostril to hold it in and then exhaling via the right nostril. Then this sequence is reversed to complete one full cycle of breathing. Swami Kripalu opined that learning Anulom Vilom Pranayama fosters numerous benefits for the yoga practitioner. When practiced correctly, Anulom Vilom Pranayama can introduce practitioners to learn about the various processes associated with pranayama. The breathing technique and its breath retention can activate the heightened sun energy inside the body. It also creates a positive sensation in the body through the slow release of the breath. When the oscillation between heightened intensity caused by the breath retention and relaxed sensation of exhaling is practiced regularly, it helps to minimize the reactions to both. This allows the practitioner eventually to achieve enhanced strong sensation within the body.

Through the effective practice of Anulom Vilom, the practitioner learns to observe inner experience in a steady manner without reacting to any changes and alterations. By learning to be a witness to such intense inner energy and passions, the practitioner can enhance mental strength in a major way. It allows the person to be fully open to such intense feelings and be vulnerable to them without reacting in any way. It also steels the resolve of the practitioner so that he or she does not get judgmental, restless or turn attention outwards.

Therefore it can be said that through nadi purification, the practitioner’s prana becomes intense and enables him/her to focus attention inward. Likewise, the apana becomes weak and it minimizes the attention flowing outward. When we have our attention flowing outward, it leads to increased identification with the outer world. On the other hand, when our attention is turned inward, it enables us to have the unique experience of merging with something that is beyond our personal ego mind or ego consciousness.

Practicing Anulom Vilom Pranayama on a prolonged basis can lead to a withdrawal of senses or Pratyahara. This makes it possible for the practitioner to then progress towards the higher practices and methods of meditation, namely Dharana and Dhyana and Samadhi.

Benefits of Anulom Vilom Pranayama

These are the main benefits of Anulom Vilom Pranayama.

  • Anulom Vilom Pranayama can cure all types of diseases that develop due to problems of ‘Vata Dosha’, such as cold, gout, rheumatism and diseases associated with reproductive organs.
  • Practicing Anulom Vilom Pranayama on a regular basis can help in improving brain activity.
  • This Pranayama can also purify the various nadis or channels inside the body, thus making a person strong, active, healthy and lustrous.
  • Conditions like diabetes and blood pressure can be completely healed when Anulom Vilom Pranayama is practiced regularly in a dedicated manner.
  • The three doshas, namely, Vata, Pitta and Kapha are regulated effectively by practicing Anulom Vilom Pranayama.
  • This pranayama can help in curing fever, arthritis, sinusitis, flatulence, acidity and varicose veins.
  • Anulom Vilom Pranayama can cure diseases and problems of the muscular system.
  • It can bring positive changes in the thinking patterns and help in getting rid of anger, depression, tension, forgetfulness, worry, uneasiness, anxiety, migraine, stress, sleep deprivation and high blood pressure. This pranayama can transform negative feelings and thoughts into positive.
  • By enhancing the supply of oxygen throughout the body, Anulom Vilom Pranayama can help a person in feeling peaceful and calm.
  • Anulom Vilom Pranayama helps in boosting concentration, resoluteness, patience, creativity and decision-making abilities in the practitioner
  • It can help in improving blood circulation in a major way.
  • It can resolve eye issues and ear problems.
  • It can treat various conditions like gastric issues, constipation, asthma, allergic problems, snoring and gastric problems.
  • It can balance, relax and energize the nervous system.
  • Anulom Vilom Pranayama can help to clear the blockages in arteries and resolve chronic sinus.
  • Anulom Vilom Pranayama can help to get rid of headaches.
  • It can help in resolving obesity and managing metabolism.
  • It can enhance the stamina and strength of the lungs.
  • The breathing exercise can remove harmful toxins from the practitioner’s body.

Precautions associated with Anulom Vilom Pranayama

If you are suffering from any kind of heart ailment, you should refrain from attempting retention of breath. The same applies if you are having high blood pressure.

So now that you have learned everything about Anulom Vilom Pranayama, start practicing it daily for optimum health benefits.



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