Pranayama: Anulom Vilom

Anulom Vilom is also known as alternate nostril breathing. It involves conscious inhalation through one nostril and exhalation through the other. Ratio of inhalation to exhalation is 1:2. Hence, one is to inhale for 3 counts and exhale for 6. 


This breathing technique helps you relax and calm your mind.

Depending on which nostril you start inhaling from, this practice can either increase energy to kickstart your day or promotes relaxation and helps you to sleep at night. Starting and ending at the right nostril stimulates serotonin production and increases your energy. Melatonin is secreted when one starts and ends the breathing exercise on the left nostril. 

How to do it

  1. Sit in a comfortable position with legs crossed.
  2. Place left hand on left knee.
  3. Lift right hand up toward nose.
  4. Exhale completely and then use right ring finger to close left nostril.
  5. Inhale through right nostril and then close right nostril with your right thumb.
  6. Open left nostril and exhale through this side.
  7. Inhale through left nostril and then close this nostril.
  8. Open right nostril and exhale through right side.
  9. This is one cycle. 
  10. Continue for 7 cycles.

Is it safe?

Yes! Practicing Anulom Vilom is safe for most people. Consult your doctor before starting the practice if you have medical conditions such as asthma, COPD, or any other lung or heart issues. 

If you feel adverse effects such as shortness of breath, while doing the breathing technique, you should stop the practice immediately. Other adverse effects include feeling lightheaded, dizzy, or nauseous.