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July 22, 2022

What is Anulom Vilom Pranayama

In today’s fast-paced world, one of the major casualties of humans is their health. Work pressure, irregular eating habits, unhealthy diet, insufficient sleep – the causes are multiple. So, it is of major importance to maintain some healthy habits to keep ourselves on our feet. And what better way to do so than traditional Indian yoga? One such highly effective measure is the Anulom Vilom Pranayama.

What is the Anulom Vilom Pranayama?

It is a method of pranayama where you practice controlled breathing. You close one nostril and inhale. When you exhale, you close the other nostril. Then you reverse and repeat the activity. So basically, it’s yoga where you practice breathing through alternate nostrils.

The Anulom Vilom Pranayama brings a host of benefits, both physical & psychological. These benefits include better breathing, better cardiovascular function, and a reduction in stress. And these have been proven scientifically. But before we discuss more on these, let’s first look at how to do this pranayama.

How to do the Anulom Vilom Pranayama?

You should be doing this pranayama on an empty or semi-filled stomach. Ideally, there should be a gap of at least 4 hours between the time when you have last eaten and the time when you would do this pranayama. Ensure that you are in a comfortable and pleasing environment.

  • Maintain a sitting posture like in meditation. Your spine should be straight. Your eyes need to be closed.
  • Empty your mind of all thoughts, as much as possible.
  • Rest your wrists on your knees.
  • Your middle and index fingers should be folded towards your palm. Use your right hand to do this.
  • Your thumb should be placed on your right nostril. On your left nostril, place your ring finger.
  • Use your thumb to close your left nostril. Now, inhale through your left nostril. It should be done in a slow and deep manner. Let your lungs be full of air. Don’t focus on anything else apart from your breathing.
  • Now, release your thumb. Use your ring finger to keep your left nostril closed.
  • Now, release your breath through your right nostril, again slowly.
  • Now, reverse the process. Inhale through your right nostril & exhale through your left.

Throughout this entire activity, focus deeply on the breathing activity. It’s not just physical exercise. Your mind also needs to be involved in this, 100%. Initially, the duration might be low. Slowly increase the duration as you start feeling more & more comfortable with the activity.

Do remember – it’s of utmost importance to feel comfortable & relaxed during this pranayama. So, don’t stretch your comfort zone. You are not doing this to fulfill a target or meet a deadline! Take the help of a professional yoga teacher if that makes you comfortable.

What are the benefits of Anulom Vilom Pranayama?

Doing this pranayama regularly would help you gain more control over your breathing activity. It would also have a calming & soothing impact on your mind.

The best time to do Anulom Vilom is at the start of the day. This is the time when your mind is at peace and your body is also fresh after the night-long rest. The pranayama would start the day on a perfect note for you. Of course, you can do it in the evening as well to feel refreshed & recharged after the day’s hassles.

Benefits for the respiratory system

Lung functioning & the body’s endurance capacities both increase after the Anulom Vilom Pranayama. Studies conducted have shown that athletes and swimmers who did this activity for half an hour per day, 20 days a month, reported significant improvements in their endurance levels. Anulom Vilom also aids in reducing the impact of sinus inflammation, or rhinosinusitis.

Benefits for the brain

A few years back, there was an activity to study the impact of Anulom Vilom on the brain. About 100 medical students were involved in this activity. They were divided into 2 groups. One group did the Anulom Vilom while the other group did the Surya Namaskar.

There was a positive impact on the general health of the students in both groups. However, only the first group displayed a noticeable positive change in their cognitive skills. There was also a reduction in their anxiety levels. Subsequent studies have also shown that Anulom Vilom can bring positive impacts on various functions like metabolic, biochemical, neurocognitive, and physiological of people.

Benefits for the cardiovascular system

High blood pressure and fluctuating heart rate – both potentially fatal conditions – can be controlled to a large extent by Anulom Vilom.

Benefits for the skin and eyes

High-stress levels also impact the skin, along with our cardiovascular systems. Breathing exercises like Anulom Vilom also help the skin to reap rewards. This form of breathing helps your respiratory system. And for good eyesight, a good supply of oxygen to them is needed. An improved respiratory system can ensure that as well.

Are there any risk factors in Anulom Vilom?

There are no reported risk factors for this pranayama. However, if you are not confident to do this on your own, take the help of a trained instructor. Also, don’t overdo it right at the start. Keep it limited to a couple of minutes, to start with. Increase the duration gradually as your body and mind get accustomed to this new activity.

Anulom Vilom Pranayama doesn’t only improve your physical health. It also helps you to increase your focus, patience levels, and overall control over your mind. It works wonderfully well as a stress-buster. It ushers in an overall sense of inner peace & well-being. And well know how necessary all this is in today’s high-stress lives that we lead. So, go for it with all sincerity. The benefits won’t take time to come to you.