Viloma Pranayama

Definition - What does Viloma Pranayama mean?

Viloma pranayama is a yoga breathing exercise that involves a series of interrupted inhalations with pauses followed by a series of interrupted exhalations with pauses.

The name comes from the Sanskrit, vi, which mean “against” or “contrary to”; and loma, which means “hair.” Viloma, therefore, translates as “against the grain” or “against the natural course.” Pranayama is the practice of breath control that is believed to regulate energy throughout the body. It comes from the Sanskrit, prana, or life force energy, and yama, which means "restraint" or “control.”

Yogapedia explains Viloma Pranayama

Viloma pranayama is thought to:

  • Calm the body and mind
  • Reduce anxiety and tension
  • Relax the nervous system
  • Boost lung capacity
  • Energize and cool the body

Viloma pranayama is typically practiced from a reclined position facing skyward. Begin by inhaling a third of the lungs' capacity, then pause for two to three seconds. Inhale another third, pause again, and inhale until the lungs are filled. Pause before repeating the pattern on the exhale.

The number of pauses may be increased depending on the yogi's lung capacity. Viloma pranayama may also be practiced with the pauses only on the exhalation or only on the inhalation.

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