Anulom Vilom Pranayama: The Prana Of Every Life

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By Rishikul Yogshala

July 15, 2024

Finding Calmness In The Breath

If there is a way we can create a serene environment, it is through practicing meditation. While Yoga asanas provide a relaxing experience with the cultivation of strength and flexibility, one can only find a sense of immense peace and calmness by being still, not just with the body but also with the mind. 

Yoga encompasses extensive breathing techniques that can help us dive into this tranquil world. And one of the most well-known among them is Anulom Vilom Pranayama. 

What is Anulom Vilom Pranayama

Pranayama is a union of two Sanskrit words: ‘Prana,’ symbolizing life energy, and ‘Yama,’ denoting control. It represents the essential idea of harmonizing and balancing the life force for upliftment.

Anulom Vilom, also known as alternate nostril breathing, is a pranayama technique of controlled breathing, which involves keeping one of the nostrils closed during inhalation and the other closed during exhalation. The procedure is then carried out again backward.

How To Do Anulom Vilom Pranayama

Here are some comprehensive steps that will guide you on how to do Anulom Vilom Pranayama with ease.

  1. Get situated in the Sukhasana or Padmasana position with your back straight.
  2.  Close your eyes and relax your body completely.
  3.  Connect with your breath by inhaling and exhaling deeply to awaken the energetic body. 
  4.  Fold your right hand’s middle and index fingers toward your palm.
  5.  Use your thumb to close your right nostril and inhale deeply with your left nostril.
  6.  As your lungs fill with air, switch by closing your left nostril with your index finger and releasing your right thumb to exhale.
  7.  Repeat the process in inverse, inhaling from the right and exhaling from the left.
  8.  Start doing alternative patterns to oxygenate both sides of your brain.
  9.   Maintain this pattern of rhythmic controlled breathing for 1 to 2 minutes initially and gradually increase the duration as you progress with your practice.

Benefits Of Anulom Vilom Pranayama

Improves the Respiratory system

Breathing in a systematic rhythmic pattern infuses the body with oxygen and releases harmful toxins from the body with each exhale. This enhances the function of our respiratory system and keeps our lungs healthy and away from infections. 

Enhanced Cognitive Functioning

Engaging in controlled and systematic breathwork as you focus on breathing with alternative nostrils trains the brain to perform complex actions, sharpening cognitive functioning, enhancing motor memory retention, and fostering mental clarity and alertness.

A healthy digestive system

This intensive breathing exercise helps keep stomach infections, constipation issues, illnesses, and other health problems at bay, keeping our digestive system healthy and effective.

Soothes and rejuvenates the nervous system

As you are involved in rhythmic deep inhalations and exhalations, blood circulation in the brain is enhanced. The nervous system gets relaxed, and you feel a calming sensation throughout the body, which promotes better mental health and relieves anxiety and stress.

Detox and deep cleanse

Anulom Vilom is similar to the Nadi Shodhan pranayama technique that aims at purifying the channels within the body. Practicing Anulom Vilom Pranayama ensures a steady passage of Prana (life force) throughout the body by aiding in cleansing and balancing the nadis, the subtle energy pathways.

How Anulom Vilom And Nadi Shodhan Pranayama Are Different?

Anulom Vilom and Nadi Shodhan are pranayama techniques. Both of them are alternate nostril breathing practices. The main difference between them is that Nadi Shodhan pranayama involves controlled breathing, where the duration of the inhalations and exhalations is fixed, and the flow is separated by holding the breath for a specified time.

Anulom Vilom Pranayama, however, doesn’t have any fixed duration of breathing and holding of breath. It is more of a free-flow style of breathing with alternate nostrils.


“When the Breath wanders, the mind is unsteady, but when the Breath is still, so is the mind still.”

 – Hatha Yoga Pradipika

Although it is normal for one nostril to be dominant for a while and allow the air to move more easily than the other one, the limited air passage is a detectable indicator of an imbalanced energy in the body. Relatively, when the airflow is smooth through both nostrils, it generates a quiet, calm, and balanced mind.

Nadi Shodhana is a pranayama technique in which the breath is deliberately controlled to improve the air passage via the nostrils to balance the energy of the body and the mind. It helps the mind and body get centered and the nervous system balanced.

According to the fundamentals of Hatha Yoga, it is an imbalance between the Ida and Pingala that causes health issues. Anulom Vilom Pranayama, the alternate nostril breathing practice, aims to balance these two forces, retaining the equilibrium of the physical and spiritual body.

Embracing this practice in your life will imbue positivity within you as you breathe in and release negativity with each exhale. Lose yourself in a sense of serenity through our Yoga Teacher Training In Kerala and become the master of your breath, infiltrating Prana within you.

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