Swami Kuvalyanand mentioned that “Yoga is for the human body, mind and spirit.” This is a saying that a healthy body is the main requirement for a happy and successful life. More people now believe that not only does yoga cause good health, but it is one of the reasons for a happy and stress free life. It is not just an exercise routine.
We will talk about Anuloma-Viloma (alternate breathing) pranayama. Pranayama means the management of the vital force-prana. The principle remains the same, but however different types of pranayama have been created, with each having its own technique. Anuloma-Viloma or nadi shuddhi pranayama (nerve purifying pranayama) is one type and is considered one of the basic types.
Practicing Anuloma Viloma is just like the crew that regulates traffic on roads, looks after their cleanliness, and keeps traffic moving efficiently. The method consists of breathing in through one nostril and vice versa. This pranayama has the name anuloma viloma (alternate breathing). To perform this, you have to sit in a yogic sitting posture; to start, breathe normally while applying comfortable anal contraction. Breathe in and breathe out completely. Make sure the anal contraction is not loosened during the process. Pause for a moment between inhaling and exhaling. Inhale deeply through the left nostril and exhale through the right one; then breathe in through the right one and out through the left. Keep breathing this way for one to three minutes.
After reaching a comfort level, you can move on to the next stage. Put the right thumb over the right nostril to close it, while keeping the other four fingers away. Slowly inhale through the left nostril at an even speed. Repeat with other nostril. While inhaling lift the shoulders and expand the chest pushing the ribs up. The lower stomach area must be held in.
Benefits: a cleaned respiratory passage, which prepares you for other pranayamas. Breathing becomes more controlled and easy. The heartbeat is more rhythmic. It helps in enhancing memory, concentration, and other mental capabilities.
Contraindications: enlargement of liver, severe stomach pain, appendicitis, gentle intestines, lung disorders, growth in the nose, blockage of nasal passage due to cold, and severe throat infection, etc.
Caution: If you are reading this article follow all precautions before performing any of the asanas from this article. To avoid complications while performing the asanas, it is highly recommended that you consult with a yoga instructor and doctor. Responsibility lies only on the reader and not with the article, writer or this website.
Top photo credit: Moments of calm and inner peace by Bindaas Madhavi