Anuloma Viloma Pranayama

Definition - What does Anuloma Viloma Pranayama mean?

Anuloma viloma pranayama is a yogic breathing exercise that is a form of alternate nostril breathing designed to calm the body and mind. The term is sometimes used as a synonym for nadi shodhana, but the latter encompasses several different types of alternate breathing exercises. Anuloma viloma pranayama is also known as nadi shodhana level 3.

The name comes from the Sanskrit, anu, meaning “with”; vi, meaning “against” or “contrary to”; and loma, meaning “hair.” Anuloma, therefore, means “with the hair” or “with the grain,” and viloma means “against the natural course.” Pranayama comes from two Sanskrit words: prana, meaning "life force energy," and yama, meaning "control" – and refers to breath-control exercises.

Yogapedia explains Anuloma Viloma Pranayama

In anuloma viloma pranayama, the forefinger and middle finger of the right hand rest between the eyebrows while the thumb closes the right nostril. The inhalation is through the open left nostril. Then the thumb is released and the ring and little fingers close off the left nostril, allowing the exhalation of the right nostril. The cycle finishes with an inhalation through the right nostril and an exhalation through the left.

A typical practice of anuloma viloma pranayama continues for 10 cycles of this pattern, followed by two to three minutes of normal breathing. The yogi then reverses the pattern, beginning with an inhalation through the right nostril, exhalation through the left, followed by an inhalation through the left and an exhalation through the right nostril.

This pranayama is designed to create emotional and spiritual balance. It also has these benefits:

  • Oxygenates the blood
  • Strengthens the respiratory system
  • Calms the nervous system
  • Relieves headaches
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