How To Do Anuloma Viloma Or Alternate Nostril Breathing

Anuloma Viloma or Alternate Nostril Breathing (ANV) is considered one of the oldest Yoga practices and is widely used in the Indian system of Yoga. ANV is also known as Supratika or Vyakhya and is a way to achieve deep relaxation by controlling your breath.

Next time you find yourself in a rush or in a stressful situation, you can use alternate nostril breathing to help you relax and rejuvenate. This practice is easy and will help calm your muscles, so that you can be more comfortable with what is happening around you.

According to Swami Sivananda, there are five basic principles for the correct practice of yoga. These are 1) proper breathing, 2) proper exercise, 3) proper nutrition, 4) proper relaxation, and 5) self-examination or learning.

Be careful. You have to breathe first. In every yoga class for beginners, you will learn yogic breathing. To do this, fill your lungs from bottom to top, breathing in and out deeply through your nose. The focus should be on the breath, moving to the center of the heart if you are more emotionally inclined, or to the third eye if you are more intellectually inclined. The eyes are gently closed and breathing is regular and complete.

An introduction to Anuloma Viloma

As yoga practice progresses, more advanced breathing exercises can be learned. The purpose of breathing exercises is to control breathing. This is called Pranayama and simply means the management of Prana (energy) through the management of the breath. Anuloma Viloma is one of the breathing exercises that can be practiced every day.

Anuloma Viloma, alternate breathing, is best practiced before sitting meditation or asana practice. Its purpose is to stimulate the nadis, or energy channels that run through the body like electrical wires. The right side of the brain controls the left side of the body and vice versa.

By nature, we tend to be dominated by one side or the other; right brain (creative, artistic) or left brain (intellectual, mathematical). Anuloma Viloma seeks to clear the mind and stimulate the right and left nadis, bringing them into balance. It is performed with a breathing order of 1:4:2.

How to start practising

If you are breathing on 4 counts, inhale for 4 counts, then hold the breath for 16 counts, then exhale for 8 counts. To practice for beginners, we start with multiplying by 4 counts. This exercise starts and ends on the left side.

  1. Wait for it: Assume the Sukhasana pose or another comfortable sitting position, preferably with the legs crossed at the ankles. You can sit on a meditation cushion or pillow. With the spine straight and the shoulders relaxed, begin yoga breathing by taking deep, full breaths in and out through the nose. Close your eyes.
  2. Start with the left side: Raise the right hand in Vishnu mudra; curl the ring finger and little finger into a palm, leaving the thumb, index finger and middle finger free. To prepare, take 3 deep breaths in and out. On the third exhale, bring your hand to your face, close your right nostril with your thumb, and inhale only through your left nostril until you reach 4.
  3. Hold your breath: Close both nostrils with the thumb of the right hand and the index and middle finger of the left hand. Keep constant and regular pressure on the nostrils. The shoulders should be relaxed. Hold your breath for 16 counts.
  4. Exhale to the right: Release a thumb, exhale slowly and manage to empty the lungs completely after 8 counts.
  5. Breathe in from the right side: Keeping the same hand position, lightly press the left nostril with the index and middle fingers, inhale on the right (same side) on the count of 4 and fill the lungs.
  6. Hold your breath, repeat on the right side: Repeat the process, alternating left and right inhales, making it smooth and effortless. Increase the number over a number of days from 4 to 5 and 5 to 6, take your time.

Anuloma Vilom’s circle is executed after passing on the left side (exit). Try to make 8 circles by counting with the mala beads in your left hand or by using the finger system of your left hand. I like to turn this exercise into a meditation by saying Om in my head on each beat, so Om one, Om two, Om three, etc.

This pranayama practice should be practiced daily, preferably in the morning before sunrise. It should be done before meditation or yoga asana practice. In this hectic world, it can easily be practiced while sitting at your desk, traveling or any other time you need to find your balance.

To Shanti.

Photo credits: AlchemYoga{“@context”:””,”@type”:”FAQPage”,”mainEntity”:[{“@type”:”Question”,”name”:”How do you do an alternate nostril breathing?”,”acceptedAnswer”:{“@type”:”Answer”,”text”:” To do an alternate nostril breathing, you inhale through one nostril and exhale through the other.”}},{“@type”:”Question”,”name”:”How do you breathe in Anulom Vilom?”,”acceptedAnswer”:{“@type”:”Answer”,”text”:” Anulom Vilom is a breathwork technique that involves breathing in and out of the nostrils.”}},{“@type”:”Question”,”name”:”How many times Anulom Vilom should be done?”,”acceptedAnswer”:{“@type”:”Answer”,”text”:” Anulom Vilom should be done three times a day.”}}]}

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you do an alternate nostril breathing?

To do an alternate nostril breathing, you inhale through one nostril and exhale through the other.

How do you breathe in Anulom Vilom?

Anulom Vilom is a breathwork technique that involves breathing in and out of the nostrils.

How many times Anulom Vilom should be done?

Anulom Vilom should be done three times a day.

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