Anu – along with
Loma – hair (implies natural order, with the grain)
Vi – against
Loma – hair (implying natural order, against the grain)
Also known as Nadi Shodana (purifier of the nadis or energy channels)
Do not hold your breath if you suffer from high/low blood pressure or if the temperature is warm – retention of breath is heat-inducing. Do not overdo this exercise and perform it with awareness and control. People who have undergone abdominal surgeries, heart surgeries, brain surgeries should consult the medical expert or consultant.
How to Perform Anulom-Vilom Pranayama
- Sit upright in a steady posture.
- Close the right nostril with your thumb and draw in air from the left nostril.
- Do this as slowly as you can, until your lungs are full.
- Now release the thumb and close the left nostril with your ring and pinky fingers.
- Breathe out slowly through the right nostril.
- Next take the air in from the right nostril and then release it through the left nostril (after closing the right nostril with the thumb).
- This is one round of Anulom Vilom Pranayama.
- Start with 5 rounds, increasing to 20.
- Once you are proficient in the exercise, you can retain the breath (practice kumbhaka) on both the inhalation and exhalation.
- the ratio of this exercise can start with 1:1:1 (e.g. 4 sec inhalation, 4 sec hold, 4 sec exhalation) and you can progress to 1:1:2, 1:2:2, 1:4:2 (this is the most advanced).
- Cleans and purifies pranic energy channels
- Balances the 2 main energy channels – Ida (left nostril, moon principle, mind) and Pingala (right nostril, sun principle, body) – and awakens the third and central channel – Sushumna Nadi
- Hatha yoga states that health conditions are as a result of imbalance between these nadis, therefore this pranayama restores this balance and health.
- Balances both hemispheres of the brain
- Ensures proper supply of pranic energy to all the organs
- Removes toxins
- Purifies blood
- Great for stress relief
- A stepping stone to the next stage of yoga – the withdrawal of senses
- It can reduce weight in some practitioners depending on their body constitution and is a good practice for obesity.