Anulom Vilom – Major Part of Yoga
Yoga is a blend of physical and breathing exercises. It is an ancient form of exercise that aims towards increasing flexibility, focus, and physical and mental wellbeing.
It is a big misconception that yoga is a form of exercise that is about maintaining uncomfortable positions to lose weight and look fit. However, this is a myth that needs to be busted. Yoga is an amalgamation of physical postures and breathing techniques that helps the body recover and heal from within.
Yoga postures and asanas came into existence 1000 years ago. All these postures and asanas help enhance vital energy.
Ancient asanas could be deemed as mudras which were about sealing and directing the energy within the body. However, postures that we see today were developed over the past 50 years. The breathing techniques of yoga can be traced to the 1st Century in the Hindu texts. One such widely spread and popularised breathing technique is Anulom Vilom!
What is Anulom Vilom Breathing
Anulom is a Sanskrit word that translates to ‘in the natural order’ whereas Vilom means oppositely. Alternative breathing when performed regularly helps to balance the dosha within the body.
Dosha is a peculiar combination of mental, emotional, and physical attributes. They are the energies that are found throughout the body including the mind and are one of the primary reasons for the functioning of our physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
There are three doshas in the body, namely Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. All these three doshas have a different significance which helps maintain the overall health of our body.
Imbalance in any of these doshas leads to health issues, and Anulom Vilom is one of the simplest and the easiest methods to balance these doshas.
Are you a Vatta, Kapha, or Pitta Body type. Know more about all these 3 body types
Health Benefits Of Anulom Vilom
Anulom Vilom- a basic breathing technique is also called as an alternate breathing technique.
It is one of the simplest and the best breathing techniques which works wonders for the better functioning of lungs, respiratory problems, improves moods, reduces stress, normalizes hormones.
Below are few more benefits of Anulom Vilom
- Practicing this breathing technique early in the morning gives an excellent and positive start to your day.
- Practicing the technique, before sleeping reduces stress, relaxes your mind, and promotes better quality sleep.
- Anulom Vilom helps in relaxing, calming, and balancing the nervous system.
- For those days when your headache just does not go away, try to do Anulom Vilom instead of popping tablets as it helps in relieving headaches.
- Alternate nostril breathing helps to remove toxins from the body
- Along with relaxing the nervous system it also helps calm the mind and reduces anxiety and uneasiness.
- Anulom Vilom benefits respiratory, cardiovascular, and brain systems.
- Alternate nostril breathing helps to heal and balance the chakras in your body.
- It also helps to remove the blockage in the heart, or arteries. A regular inhalation helps the blood circulation and induces better heart pumping in the body.
- Eyesight health depends upon the supply of oxygen which is intake enormously during anulom vilom breathing improving eyesight.
- Also, as the breathing technique benefits the respiratory health, eventually can benefit your eyes.
Anulom Vilom Method/ Procedure
Anulom Vilom can be done by people of any age group as it is both safe and convenient as well. Below is the right process to do Anulom. One thing to make sure while practicing Anulom Vilom is to ensure a gap of 4-5 hours posts your meals.
Postures to maintain before you start alternative breathing is Sukhasana or Padmasana.
Keep your back straight and shoulders relaxed.
Only the right hand will be used for the entire breathing process, and your left hand should be kept in Vayu Mudra.
Start from your left nostril always, and maintain a smile on your face.
Close your right nostril with the thumb of your right hand and fill your lungs by inhaling slowly.
Exhale from your right nostril slowly.
Repeat the process for as long as you are comfortable. It can move up to 5 mins as well.
You can do it 60 times throughout the day.
Anulom Vilom Asana
During alternative breathing, prana is mixed in all three nerves. The three nadis are Ida Nadi which is the left nose, Sushumna Nadi which is the middle portion of the nose, and Pingala Nadi which is the right nose.
The other names for left and right noses are Chandra Nadi and Surya Nadi which means Moon and Sun respectively.
The power of the Moon and Sun is one of the strongest powers and energies in the world. These energies can be balanced within our body with the help of Anulom and Vilom.
Along with these energies, anabolism and catabolism are also maintained which positively affects the metabolism of the body.
Ida Nadi, Sushumna Nadi, and Pingala Nadi meet at Agya chakra starting from Muladhara chakra. All three nadis are purified with the help of Anuloma Viloma Pranayama.
Anulom Vilom Exercise, Time and Frequency
This Pranayama can be done up to 5 to 10 mins. However, as a beginner try to start with 1-2 mins.
Make sure you focus on the breath rather than the number. Breathing should be slow and impactful. Under no circumstances should it be forced and fast.
Also, another important aspect that needs to be kept in mind while doing Anulom and Vilom is that exhalation should be more than the inhalation time.
Anulom Vilom For Weight Loss
Some may find it baffling to know that weight loss could happen even by breathing techniques. As the picture portrayed for weight loss to us is swimming in a sweat puddle. However, along with cardio, you could also lose weight with a calm and clear mind and in an easier way.
Improves metabolism: Better metabolism is directly associated with weight loss. Doing alternative breathing for 15-20 mins in a day improves the metabolism and sets the mood of the day right to avoid mindless eating.
This asana is easy as compared to power yoga or going to the gym. Hence, is beneficial for beginners as it is easy and can be done by all. Inturn does not let your morale down.
We live where PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) or PCOD (Polycystic Ovarian Disease) is a rising concern and is found in every one out of 10 individuals. One of the symptoms of PCOS is weight gain. Women suffering from PCOD often gain weight because of hormonal imbalance. Alternative breathing helps balance the hormones in turn also aiding to weight loss when supported with cleaning and healthy eating habits.
Advantages of Anulom Vilom
Anulom Vilom along with health benefits has other added advantages for the overall well being.
Exposure to the sun, pollution, and chemicals makes our skin dull and lifeless. Breathing exercise gets oxygen flowing in your body giving you the mindful glow along with tightening the skin and making it look a lot younger.
A healthy gut and clear digestion are very much needed for weight loss, good skin, and good moods. Yoga helps with getting the digestive system on track, regulating the gut and the health to feel beautiful inside-outside.
Breathing exercises have been widely popularised because of their benefits on mental health. It helps rule out symptoms of anxiety and depression. It reduces stress, improves sleeping patterns, and relaxes your mind, making you feel refreshed and relaxed.
Precautions During Anulom Vilom Breathing
To get 100% benefitted by doing the Yoga exercise, it is important to make sure you are doing the asanas properly. Below are few precautions to follow
Start slowly and steadily, work your way up when it comes to duration. If you feel any kind of discomfort, reduce the breathing duration.
High BP and Asthma patients should avoid this breathing technique.
Exhalation should be longer than Inhalation
Keep a gap of 2-3 hours between your meals and your breathing exercise.
Always use your right hand and never your left hand. Your left hand should be in mudra position. This needs to be followed because the right hand and nostril represent fire and sun respectively. Whereas the right middle finger and ring finger represents the elements such as space and earth. The left nostril represents the Sun. Contact with the sun and fire is good. Likewise, the interaction of earth, space, and moon is good.
Practicing Anulom Vilom Pranayama with the left hand disables the energy as fire and moon do not make for a powerful team of energy, Hence, the right hand should be used during the asana.
Keep the posture right, keep your chest open and shoulder down. Try not to slouch, sit straight and erect.
Anulom Vilom and Nadi Shuddhi Pranayama
Anulom Vilom and Nadi Shuddi are often interchanged. They both are the same to an extent, as Anulom Vilom inhalation is through with alternate nostrils, whereas Nadi Shuddhi pranayama is cleansing the Nadi. However, Nadi shuddhi is a Pranayama, whereas Anulom Vilom is a breathing exercise.
To practice Nadi Shuddi, you first need to practice Anulom Vilom for over 5 mins. As Nadi Shuddhi includes holding the breath after exhalation. It revolves around the flow of energy.
Difference between Anulom Vilom and Pranayama
Anulom Vilom is a breathing exercise and not a ‘Pranayama’. As Pranayama means expansion of Prana which means life force. It helps in increasing the body’s capacity to retain the life force and purify the energy channels. Practicing pranayama regularly improves spiritual development, and enhances the entire well-being.
If you are in a place where you feel trapped, or do not feel in control and would like to have control over mind and body, then Alunom Vilom can be your best bet.
Breathing exercises help you get to control your emotions and also helps deal with anxiety. All you need is to take 15-20 mins for yourself and spend that time to overcome all that uneasiness.
Alternate nostril breathing increases patience, focus and reduces stress and anxiety. It enhances the overall well-being both physical and mental.