Last Updated: October 2, 2017

Definition - What does Loma mean?

Loma is a Sanskrit word that means “hair.” In the context of yoga, the word is combined with prefixes used to describe pranayama breathing techniques: anuloma, viloma and pratiloma.

Anuloma literally means “with the hair” or “with the grain” and is typically translated as “in a natural order.” Its opposite is pratiloma, meaning “against the natural order” or “inverted.” Similarly, viloma means “contrary to the natural course.” The definitions of viloma and pratiloma are sometimes reversed or the terms are used as synonyms, although there are subtle differences.

Yogapedia explains Loma

Viloma pranayama is the simplest of the three breathing techniques. Both anuloma and pratiloma utilize the thumb of the right hand to close off one nostril and the ring and little fingers to close off the other nostril.

  • Viloma – The yogi pauses several times during each inhalation until the lungs are full, then exhales without interruption. Viloma can also be practiced with an uninterrupted inhalation followed by several short interrupted exhalations.
  • Anuloma – The yogi inhales through both nostrils, then closes off one nostril on the exhalation, inhales through both nostrils and closes off the other nostril on the exhalation.
  • Pratiloma – The yogi closes off one nostril and inhales through the other nostril, followed by an exhalation through both nostrils. He/she then closes off the other nostril for the next inhalation and follows with an exhalation through both nostrils.

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