Pranayama: Anulom vilom

Recently, I have found interest in how yoga and pranayama can be used as a tool to cope with our constantly running mind and accompanying jitters. Having little experience with pranayama until I entered this course, I decided to investigate about how pranayama can specially help to ease stress.

For starters, examples of pranayamas include kapalbhati, nadiahusddhi, agnisara, and anulom vilom. I have found an inclination to anulom vilom in my practice. This pranayama translated from Sanskrit as “back and forth” or “alternate nostrils” is considered to provide harmony and power. While it is easy to skip pranayama in our practice (be it lack of time/ habit), I do believe this breathwork is simple for many to try!

How can anulom vilom specifically help in our daily lives?

Improves sleep
When we sleep better, we wake up refreshed, which helps us to perform our daily tasks in a more efficient manner. With regular practice of anulom vilom, you may begin to notice a significant change and improvement in your sleeping pattern. In layman terms, when deep breathe for purposeful focus on your breath, more oxygen is pumped into your body and calms the nerves. The increase in supply of oxygen activates the parasympathetic nervous system and relaxes your body. This in turn promotes a peace of mind.

Strengthens our lungs

This pranayama is said to better the stamina of lungs. In fact, it helps to treat respiratory issues such as asthma and other allergies. It combats infections which may pose problems like bronchitis or chest infection. Hence, with greater improvement in our breathing pattern, especially anulom vilom, one may focus on breathing in positive energy and releasing negativity.

Detoxifying the body & improving skin condition

This pranayama, like many others, helps to detoxify nadis (energy channels in our bodies). Blood circulation is imperative for maintaining our body and mind. With proper and intentional breathwork, our blood pressure is maintained, and the veins and nerves are purified. Since the skin is the largest organ of our human bodies, it can be highly sensitive by external stresses. Yet with a good supply of oxygen, we can detox our respiratory and cardiovascular system. Thus, improving our skin condition which is often a reflection of our lifestyle.