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12 Health Benefits of Anulom Vilom Pranayam and How to do it?

Anulom Vilom (अनुलोम –विलोम) is a pranayam technique, also known as ‘Alternate Nostril Breathing‘, and ‘Channel Cleansing Technique’.

Alternate-Nostril-Breathing, Anulom-vilom, Anulom-vilom-benefits, Nadi-shodhana-pranayam

Table of Contents

  1. Meaning
  2. Nasagra Mudra (Nosetip Position)
  3. How to do Anulom-Vilom Pranayam?
  4. Practical demonstration through a video.
  5. Beginner’s tips
  6. Duration
  7. Consciousness
  8. Benefits of Anulom-Vilom Pranayam
  9. Precautions and Contra-indications
  10. Preparatory poses
  11. Follow-up Poses

Meaning

Anulom-Vilom (अनुलोम –विलोम) is a pranayam technique, also known as ‘Alternate Nostril Breathing‘, and ‘Channel Cleansing Technique’.

It is a practise to purify the Nadis or Energy Channels. This helps in purification of blood, removing toxins, and is recommended for those who are engaged in mental work.

It clears pranic blockages and balances ida (Moon) and pingala (sun) nadis, causing sushumna nadi to flow. It leads to a deep state of meditation and spiritual awakening.

There are 72000 Nadis (Energy Channels) in our body, out of which three are very important i.e. Ida, Pingala, and Sushumna Nadi.

Note: Best time to practise this pranayam is around sunrise.

Nasagra Mudra (Nosetip Position)

Place index and middle fingers of your right hand on eyebrow centre, thumb is for closing the right nostril, and ring & little finger used for closing the left nostril. We use this Mudra for alternate nostril breathing (Anulom Vilom Pranayam) and for Nadi Shodhan Pranayam.

Note: You may also simply fold the middle and index finger instead of placing it on third eye or eyebrow centre.

How to do Anulom-Vilom Pranayam?

Step#1 Sit in Padmasana or in any comfortable meditative posture, keeping your spine and head upright .

Step#2 Relax the complete body and close your eyes.

Step#3 Do some yogic breathing for sometime.

Step#4 Now, make Nasagra Mudra (Nosetip Position) with your right hand and place your left hand on the knee, making chin or jnana mudra.

Step#5 Close the right nostril with thumb and inhale through left nostril, then close your left nostril and exhale through right nostril. Now, inhale from right (keeping left closed) and exhale through left nostril. This completes one round.

Step#6 Do this technique at least for 10 minutes.

Practical Demonstration

See the below video for getting the practical demonstration.

Beginner’s Tips

  • Keep your body still while inhaling and exhaling.
  • There shouldn’t be any sound while inhalation and exhalation.
  • Initially, there should be equal inhalation and exhalation.
  • Beginners should be familiar with abdominal breathing.
  • It is not necessary to put your middle and index finger on the third eye, you may simply fold them like it is shown in the above video.

Duration

Do this technique for 10 rounds or for 10-15 minutes. After practicing it for 1:1 ratio, one may jump to 1:2 ratio (which means if you’re inhaling for 10 counts then there should be exhalation for 20 counts).

Consciousness

You must focus on your inhalation and exhalation, while practicing this technique. This will improve your concentration and will help you in meditation as well.

Besides, focus on your counting.

Benefits of Anulom-Vilom Pranayam

1. Increases Awareness

This is one of the best technique to make you aware of your surroundings. It is very much necessary to work with awareness in day-to-day life. This Pranayam technique helps in that.

2. Right and Left Brain

We know that the left brain is used for logical thinking whereas the right brain is used for creative thinking. Anulom Vilom activates both your left and right brain. This would be possible only if both of your nostrils are active. It means the amount of air coming in and out equally from both the nostrils.

Breathing through right nostril activates the left hemisphere and breathing through left nostril activates the right hemisphere.

3. Calms and Balances the Energies

This breathing technique helps to calm the mind and balances the energies by slowing down the breathing rate. Slower the rate of breathing, lesser will be a distraction to the mind. Hence, helps the mind to become calm, peaceful, and steady.

4. Increases the duration of life.

As per yogis, we’re given a certain number of breaths from our birth to death. The faster you breathe, the lesser will be the duration of your life and vice versa.

For e.g. the dog’s breathing is very fast as compared to a Tortoise. Hence, the life of a tortoise is around 200-300 years whereas the duration of a dog’s life is around 12 years.

So this anulom vilom pranayam helps to slow down the rate of breathing.

5. Improves Concentration

Concentration is what needed to do any kind of work. This Anulom Vilom Pranayam helps to increase your concentration by practise focussing your mind on breathing.

6. Stress, anxiety and depression.

According to some report, 83 percent of U.S. workers are suffering from stress, which leads to deteriorating physical health. To curb that, one should regularly practise anulom vilom pranayam.

7. Regulates three doshas

Ayurveda says that the imbalance of the three doshas i.e. Vata, Pitta, and Kapha leads to diseases in the body. This Anulom Vilom Pranayam helps in controlling those three doshas and makes your body disease-free.

8. Respiratory Problems

This Anulom Vilom Pranayam helps in respiratory problems like asthma, emphysema, bronchitis, etc.

9. Purifies the Nadis (Blood Vessels)

In Gheranda Samhita, it is mentioned that this alternate nostril breathing will purify all the nadis (Energy Channels) within three months provided it is practised regularly.

10. Improves digestion

Anulom Vilom helps in improving your digestion by making ida nadi functioning properly.

11. Removes toxins

There are lots of toxins formation within the body and this must be removed time to time to make your body function properly. So, this pranayam helps in removing the toxins from the body.

12. Increases memory

This Anulom Vilom pranayam helps in increasing your memory by practising it with retention of breath under an expert yoga instructor.

Precautions and Contra-indications

1. When practising this pranayam, stomach must be completely empty.

2. Food should be taken at least after half an hour of this practice.

3. This practise should be done with great care under an expert yoga instructor. Otherwise, you may develop many kinds of diseases instead of curing that.

4. Problems like migraine, headache, indigestion, hyperacidity, hiccups, coughs, headache, etc. may arise if it is done incorrectly and unsystematically.

5. It is highly recommended not to produce any sound while inhalation and exhalation.

6. Do not practise this pranayam if you’re suffering from cold, flu or fever.

7. In case of a heart problem, do not practise it with longer counts.

8. There should be any tendency to speed up the count during exhalation due to shortness of breath.

9. If you’re a beginner then do not practise it with retention of breath.

10. Breathing shouldn’t be forced or restricted.

Preparatory Poses

  1. If there is an excess of mucus, then the shatkarma i.e. six cleansing technique should be performed before practicing anulom vilom pranayam.
  2. One may do kapalbhati before practising this pranayam.

Follow-up Poses

1. In case of summer, one may do Sheetali Pranayam (Cooling Breath) after this technique.

2. Bhramari Pranayam (Humming Bee Breath)

3. Ujjayi Pranayam (the psychic breath)

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