In all probability, even if you do not practise yoga, you must have heard of or seen people doing Anulom Vilom. It is one of the most popular and most practised forms of pranayama or controlling the breath through exercise.
It is also known as alternate nostril pranayama and Nadi Shodhan pranayama. It is called Alternate nostril breathing since it is a simple technique that involves breathing in through one nostril, holding the breath for duration and subsequently breathing out through the other nostril. Also, it helps clear out all the blocked energy channels in the body giving it the name of Nadi Shodhan.
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How to do Anulom Vilom pranayama
Find a quiet spot where there is a lot of fresh air coming in.
Sit on the floor in a comfortable pose – padmasana, ardha padmasana or vajrasana. Keep your spine erect and focus on your breath.
Your left hand rests on the left knee. The palm is kept open, facing upwards.
The thumb of the right hand is placed on the right nostril, the middle and ring finger tips between the eyebrows, and the ring and little finger tips on the left nostril.
Now keep the right nostril closed. Slowly breathe in from the left nostril. Once you have completed inhalation, close the left nostril. Hold your breath for a few seconds. Open the right nostril and exhale through it, keeping the left nostril closed.
Now inhale through the right nostril, keeping the left one closed. Close the right nostril after completing inhalation. Hold your breath and then open the left nostril and breathe out through it.
Repeat this process at least ten times.
Breathe in through one nostril, breathe out through another. For the next round, inhale through the same nostril that you exhaled from in the previous round.
The time taken for exhalation should be double the time taken for inhalation.
The breathing should be as slow as possible. Make sure it is not strained or laboured. Also, ensure that breathing should not make any audible sound in this pranayama.
Benefits of Anulom Vilom Pranayama
This pranayama helps in the expulsion of toxins from the body.
It enhances the inner strength by clearing the blocked energy channels in the body.
It helps relieve many circulatory disorders since it maximises the amount of oxygen entering the body, helps you hold that oxygen in the body for a longer duration and also expels air with equal force.
It cures many respiratory disorders like asthma.
It is helpful in relieving the body of any flatulence.
It promotes positive thinking and helps you use your brain to the full potential.
It reduces anxiety and high blood pressure.
It ensures that both hemispheres of our brain receive optimum amount of oxygen- one side which controls passion, love and creativity and the other side that controls logic and reasoning.
It helps you get rid of headaches and migraine.
By regularly practising Anulom Vilom pranayama, you can tune your brain to be more active and improve your concentration.
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