Anulom Vilom is my favorite breathing technique because the effects are remarkably positive and immediate. When I practiced it, I could see that by the 5th round (around 3 minutes in), my body and mind gave in to relaxation mode. How amazing is this?! No chemicals, drugs, or external stimulus, just my breathing!
Do you want to learn more about it? Great! Just keep reading!
When the breath wanders, your mind is also unsteady.Hatha Yoga Pradipika.
Yogis say developing and maintaining a calm state within you is always possible. Can you believe in reaching a state of calm permanently?. WOW! It must be fantastic, ha?.
Yoga teachings point out that humans, as holistic beings, must consider self-care in different areas that integrate the training of the body, the mind, and the spirit. And one of the best and most old approaches for balancing those three is through the breath.
Pranayama is the formal practice of controlling our breathing, the source of our prana, referred to as the vital life force. Therefore, Pranayama breathing techniques bring immense benefits to health, mainly regulating and balancing the male and female energy that runs through our bodies.
For what is worth, the male energy is known as power and creation, and the female is calming and nourishing. All humans have both forces, and balancing them would bring you stability in body and mind.
There are many forms of Pranayama. In this article, I will discuss Anulom Vilom Pranayama, also called Nadi Shodana.
Anulom vilom is a specific type of controlled breathing in Yoga, meaning alternate nostril breathing. It involves holding one nostril closed while inhaling and then closing the other while exhaling. The process is then reversed and repeated. I will explain it better very soon.
Benefits of Anulom Vilom
1. Balance your mind
It all starts with the breath. It opens and balances your energy channels where female and male energy travels (Ida for the left nostril and Pingala for the right). This helps to balance both energies and purify the entire nervous system bringing mental calm, peace, balance, tranquility, and an overall sense of well-being and connection with yourself.
2. Curb stress, anxiety, and depression
Helpful in overcoming negative thoughts. Helping soothe your nervous system will allow you to become more positive by not engaging with emotions such as anger and frustration.
3. Open blockages
It oxygenates and balances different systems: the brain, cardiovascular system, blood circulation, digestive system, and respiratory system, opening blockages that might be there and promoting soothing and energy flow.
4. Regulates the three Ayurvedic doshas
According to Ayurveda Medicine, these are the biological energies of the body and mind. Anulom Vilom helps you regulate and balance all three doshas: vata, pitta, and kapha.
When to use it?
Honesty? At any time! You can do it daily and even more than once a day. But mostly, do it when you need to cool yourself down, for example, if you are feeling too much stress in the body, too much energy (overthinking, insomnia, anxiety), or too much anger or frustration. I love using this technique at night to prepare my body for sleep or before starting my meditation practice (so I can cool my fuzzy body and mind before practice).
Steps for Anulom Vilom
WARNING!! I know it seems weird reading the steps, but I promise that it is simpler than it looks. That’s why I made a video explaining it very well, plus a PDF guide that you can download and have available to use when you are about to practice it. Find them both at the end of this reading.
Saying that, let me give the 14 steps:
- Sit comfortably in a cross-legged position, kneeling, or on a chair.
- Close your eyes; focus on your breathing and look within.
- With the left hand, do Gian Mudra, and with you, right hand, do Pranayama mudra (look at the pictures below).
- Keep your left hand resting in your lap in Gian Mudra, and keep your right hand close to your nose to do all the alternate nostril breathing with it.
- With your thumb, close your right nostril and inhale through your left nostril.
- Hold your breath, and close the left nostril with your ring finger.
- Exhale through the right nostril.
- Inhale through the right nostril.
- Hold your breath, and place close right nostril with your thumb.
- Exhale through the left nostril
- That’s the complete round
- Start making alternative patterns to oxygenate both sides of your brain.
- Continue doing it 10-20 rounds or around 10 minutes.
- Try to keep slow, steady breathing, with the same inhale and exhale ratio.
Get your Anulom Vilom PDF Guide
Watch Anulom Vilom Video
I learned this technique when I study meditation in India in the year 2018, and since then it is my secret weapon against anxiety!
I really hope it works for you too,
Wanna go deeper?
Find here a really cool article for people who wants to take the Anulom Vilom practice, even deeper or more advance