Anuloma viloma pranayama

When I first started attending yoga classes when I was younger, my teacher would often start with breathing exercises before we began the postures. Me and the rest of my classmates would follow our teacher’s instructions and breathe as she describes and counts. At that point of time, I did it because it was a part of the class but I did not understand the purpose and benefits of these breathing exercises. I was just “monkey see monkey do”.

Now I have learnt that one of the breathing exercises or pranayama that we used to do most often in class is called anuloma viloma. I enjoy this pranayama very much because when I i practised it, it often left me with a sense of peace and calm after.

To put it simply, this pranayama anuloma viloma is also called alternate nostril breathing as we more commonly know it. This type of pranayama can and should be practised daily. A short description of how to practise this is :

  1. Sit comfortably on the mat preferably with legs crossed.
  2. With the right hand, bring the thumb, little and ring finger together at the tip. Fold the middle and the index finger towards the palm. Place the thumb at the soft part of the right nostril and the ring and little finger at the soft part of the left nostril without closing the passage at the nostrils.
  3. Now exhale completely with both the nostril and soon after the exhalation, close the right nostril by putting pressure blocking the passage of air.
  4. Inhale slowly and deeply through the left nostril making sure the right is still blocked and watch the breath. 
  5. Once the inhalation is done, close the left nostril and hold your breath and prepare to exhale completely with the right nostril. Slowly opening the right nostril, control the breath and exhale it out through the right nostril, keeping the left closed with the thumb.
  6. After full exhalation through the right nostril, blocking the left nostril, begin the deep inhalation with the right nostril filing the lungs to the maximum.
  7. After full inhalation through the right, block the nostril,hold your breath and slowly opening the left nostril control the breath and slowly exhale conpletely through the left nostril.
  8. This constitutes as one cycle. Multiple times of the cycle can be repeated.                                 
  9. The benefits of this pranayama if practised consistently are many. For example, it helps to reduce anxiety and stress, helps improve headaches, remove toxins from the body, Good for respiratory issues and numerous more. And because there are no special tools or props needed, it can be easily practised anywhere, even at work, making it convenient for us to do even in our hectic daily lives.

I hope to share my understanding about this pranayama so that more people can practise this and feel the positive effects it can bring. I also intend to Incorporate this pranayama into my day to day routine as it is one of the pranayamas that I like very much. Hopefully when practised consistently, I will reap the full benefits this pranayama can offer.