How to do Anulom Vilom Pranayama or Alternate Nostril Breathing

How to do Anulom Vilom Pranayama or Alternate Nostril Breathing

What Is Anulom Vilom Pranayama

Anulom Vilom Pranayam is one of the most important breathing exercise taken from Hatha yoga Pradeepika .Meaning of anulom vilom can be given as ANU-WITH and LOMA -HAIR IMPLING or ”WITH THE GRAIN” or ”NATURAL”.This pranayam involves inhalation (puraka), retention(kubhaka) ,and exhalation(rechaka).Anuloma is opposite of viloma .

This is best breathing exercises for complete purification of body and mind. It completely cures most of the internal body diseases without any medicine. Anulom Vilom pranayama can be performed by people of all ages. The anulom-vilom practitioner experiences his life happy and full of optimism. This is also known as Nadi Shuddhi or Nadi Shodhana Pranayama (nadi meaning “channel” and shodhana meaning “to purify”) since this is the pranayama for purifying the nadis.

How to do Anulom Vilom Pranayam

1. Close your eyes and sit relax for a couple of minutes till you settle down.

2. Close your right nostril with your right thumb.

3. Breath in from your left nostril and hold the breath for a couple of seconds.

4. Close left nostril with middle and ring finger and open right nostril.

5. Breath out from right nostril.

6. Now breathe in from right nostril and then close the right nostril.

7. Open left nostril and breathe out.

8. Repeat these steps again and again.

You can practice this pranayama for about 15-30 minutes per day.

Ratio of Inhalation, Retention and Exhalation

Pranayama practitioners start with the ratio of 1:1 for inhalation and exhalation. For example if you inhale for 4 seconds through one nostril, then the exhalation from the other nostril is also 4 seconds. As you progress, the ratio can be changed to 1:2, which means if inhalation is 4 seconds, then exhalation is 8 seconds.

Once you add Kumbhaka (retention of breath), the ratio can start with 1:1:1. For example, 4 seconds of inhalation, 4 seconds of retention and 4 seconds of exhalation. With further progress, the ratio can be increased to 1:1:2, 1:2:2, 1:4:2, etc. The ratio of 1:4:2 is mentioned in most classic yoga texts. Those who practice advanced ratios of this pranayama, should eat only Satvic food (pure, nourishing and light).

Benefits of Anulom Vilom Pranayama

1. It cures the three doshas of Vata, Kapha and Pitta with regular practice.

2. It purify the blood and improves blood circulation. Blood pressure and diabetes can be cured completely with the regular and dedicated practice of this pranayam.

3. Cures diseases of the muscular system and is beneficial in arthritis, flatulence and varicose veins, acidity and sinusitis.

4. Thinking becomes positive and you learn to overcome tension, anger, worry, forgetfulness, anxiety, uneasiness, high blood pressure, migraine and lack of sleep.

5. It also increases concentration, patience, resoluteness, decision-making ability and creativity.

6. Increases oxygen supply throughout the body, making one feel calm and peaceful. Relieve stress, fever and eye problems. Increase of oxygen in body cures sinus, respiratory problems and asthma.

7. Cures migraine, blockages in the arteries of the heart and chronic sinus problems. Removes toxins from the body and purify the nervous system. Also reduces the carbon dioxide and makes body healthy.

8. Treats conditions of constipation, gastric, acidity, allergic problems, asthma, diabetes , gastric problems and snoring. Streamlines metabolism and Controls obesity.

9. Balances the hormones and cures the hormones related problems in the body.


1. People who have undergone abdominal surgeries, heart surgeries, brain surgeries should consult the medical expert or consultant.

2. If you feel little bit of discomfort then you can reduce the ratio of breathing. The proportion of the breathing should not be forced.

3. You should practice it in anyone of comfortable poses of yogasana like Padmasana, Siddhasana, Vajrasan or Sukhasana.

4. Make sure your head, neck and chest are in a straight line and keep your spine erect. Spinal cord must be straight.

5. If you are unable to sit on the floor due to some problem then you can sit on the chair with straight spinal cord.

6. You should not do pranayama within an hour of eating, bathing or sexual activity.

7. Breathing sound should not be audible while doing this exercise.

8. The speed of inhalation and exhalation should be so slow that even a small wad of cotton placed near the nostrils would not move.

9. Make sure that the time taken during exhalation is double the time taken during inhalation.

10. Cloths should be loose and comfortable with the body and you should close your eyes during pranayama.

11. Early morning is the best time to practice anulom vilom pranayam. Also you should practice it outside home in a open area like garden or park with greenery, where atmosphere is full of natural oxygen and you can get fresh air. If you lives in a village you should go to fields and do this pranayam there.

12. If a natural place is not available then you should do it in peaceful, neat, clean rooms with the arrangements of fresh and healthy oxygen.

13. It is recommended to do breathing exercises on an empty stomach.

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