April 24, 2024
Food & Spices

How to Practice Anulom Vilom Breathing

Introduction:

Alternate Nostril Breathing, or Anulom Vilom, is a potent yoga breathing technique that has been used for centuries to support mental, emotional, and physical well-being. This easy-to-do breathing technique eases tension, clears the mind, and balances the body’s energy channels. This post will go over how to practice Anulom Vilom breathing step-by-step, as well as all the advantages it has to offer and how to work it into your daily schedule.

1. Find a Comfortable Seated Position

Finding a comfortable seated position is essential for promoting relaxation, maintaining good posture, and supporting overall physical and mental well-being. Whether sitting at a desk, dining table, or on the floor, several key considerations can help optimize comfort and reduce the risk of discomfort or pain.
First and foremost, it’s important to select a chair or seating surface that provides adequate support for the back and buttocks. The chair should have a firm seat cushion that evenly distributes weight and promotes proper alignment of the spine. Ideally, the chair should have a backrest that supports the natural curvature of the spine, providing lumbar support to prevent slouching and minimize strain on the lower back muscles.
Once seated, ensure that your feet are firmly planted on the floor or a footrest, with knees bent at a comfortable angle and hips slightly higher than the knees. This position helps maintain stability and reduces pressure on the lower back and thighs. If sitting for extended periods, consider taking regular breaks to stand up, stretch, and move around to prevent stiffness and improve circulation.
Additionally, pay attention to the position of your arms and wrists. Keep elbows close to the body and forearms parallel to the ground, with wrists in a neutral position to minimize strain on the wrists and shoulders. Avoid hunching forward or leaning too far back, as this can lead to muscle tension and discomfort in the neck, shoulders, and upper back.
Finally, practice mindful breathing and relaxation techniques to further enhance comfort and promote relaxation while seated. Take slow, deep breaths, focusing on expanding the belly with each inhale and releasing tension with each exhale. Engage in gentle stretches or body scans to identify areas of tension and release stress accumulated throughout the day.

2. Close Your Eyes and Relax

Close your eyes gently and take a few deep breaths, allowing your body and mind to sink into a state of relaxation. With each inhale, fill your lungs deeply, expanding your belly, and with each exhale, release any tension or stress you may be holding onto. Feel the weight of your body sinking into the surface beneath you as you surrender to a sense of calm and tranquility.
As you continue to breathe deeply and rhythmically, allow your awareness to drift inward, focusing on the sensations within your body. Notice any areas of tension or discomfort and gently invite them to soften and release with each exhale. With each breath, feel a sense of lightness and ease spreading throughout your body, washing away any residual tension or stress.
Let go of any thoughts or worries that may be occupying your mind, allowing them to dissolve like clouds drifting across the sky. Instead, bring your attention to the present moment, fully embracing the stillness and serenity that surrounds you. Feel the gentle rhythm of your breath as it flows in and out, anchoring you to the present moment and guiding you into a deeper state of relaxation.
As you continue to breathe deeply and relax, allow yourself to fully surrender to the experience, letting go of any need to control or resist. Trust in the natural wisdom of your body and mind to guide you towards a state of inner peace and tranquility. Allow yourself to be fully present in this moment, embracing the profound sense of calm and contentment that arises from within.
With each breath, feel a sense of renewal and rejuvenation washing over you, replenishing your body and mind with positive energy and vitality. As you gently open your eyes, carry this feeling of relaxation and inner peace with you, knowing that you can return to this place of tranquility whenever you need to recharge and unwind.

3.Prepare for Alternate Nostril Breathing

Prepare for alternate nostril breathing by assuming a comfortable seated position with your spine straight and shoulders relaxed. Rest your left hand on your left knee, palm facing upward, in a gesture of openness and receptivity.
With your right hand, assume Vishnu Mudra by folding your index and middle fingers toward your palm. Your thumb will be used to close your right nostril, and your ring finger will be used to close your left nostril.
Gently bring your right hand to your face, positioning your thumb and ring finger near your nostrils. Close your eyes softly, allowing your gaze to turn inward as you prepare for the practice of alternate nostril breathing.
Take a moment to notice your breath without trying to change it, simply observing the natural rhythm and flow. Allow your breath to become steady and even, grounding you in the present moment and preparing you for the practice ahead.
When you feel ready, use your thumb to gently close your right nostril, blocking the flow of air. Inhale deeply through your left nostril, filling your lungs with air and expanding your belly. Once you have fully inhaled, release your thumb and use your ring finger to close your left nostril, exhaling slowly and completely through your right nostril.
Continue this pattern, inhaling through your left nostril, then exhaling through your right nostril, maintaining a smooth and steady breath cycle. With each inhalation, envision drawing in peace, clarity, and vitality, and with each exhalation, release any tension, stress, or negativity.
Alternate nostril breathing is a powerful pranayama technique that helps balance the flow of energy in the body, quiet the mind, and promote a sense of inner harmony and well-being. As you engage in this practice, allow yourself to fully surrender to the rhythm of your breath, trusting in its ability to guide you into a state of deep relaxation and inner peace.

4. Begin with Exhalation

Before beginning any breathing exercise, it’s essential to prepare the body and mind by emptying the lungs of stale air through a complete exhalation. This initial exhalation sets the stage for the incoming breath, allowing for a deeper and more effective breathing experience.
To initiate the practice, find a comfortable seated position with your spine straight and shoulders relaxed. Close your eyes gently and take a moment to connect with your breath, observing its natural rhythm and flow without trying to change it.
As you exhale, focus on releasing all the air from your lungs, allowing your abdomen to gently contract and your chest to relax. Empty your lungs completely, drawing out every last bit of air until you reach a state of emptiness and stillness.
As you exhale fully through both nostrils, notice the sensation of release and relaxation that accompanies each breath out. Let go of any tension or stress you may be holding onto, allowing it to dissolve and melt away with each exhalation.
With each breath out, create space within yourself for the incoming breath, preparing your body and mind to receive fresh oxygen and vital energy. Cultivate a sense of openness and receptivity as you release the old and make room for the new.
By starting with a conscious and deliberate exhalation, you clear the way for a more mindful and focused inhalation, allowing you to fully engage with the present moment and the breath’s natural rhythm. This mindful approach to breathing sets a foundation for deeper relaxation, enhanced concentration, and a greater sense of inner calm and balance.
As you continue with your practice, remember to honor the rhythm of your breath and listen to the wisdom of your body. With each breath cycle, allow yourself to surrender more fully to the present moment, embracing the peace and stillness that arise from within.

5. Inhale Through the Left Nostril

To initiate the practice of alternate nostril breathing, begin by assuming a comfortable seated position with your spine straight and shoulders relaxed. Close your eyes gently and bring your right hand into Vishnu Mudra by folding your index and middle fingers toward your palm, leaving your thumb, ring finger, and pinky finger extended.
With your thumb, gently close your right nostril, blocking the flow of air. Take a moment to connect with your breath, allowing your awareness to settle into the present moment.
As you exhale completely through your left nostril, release any tension or stress you may be holding onto, allowing yourself to surrender fully to the breath and the practice ahead.
With your right nostril closed, begin to inhale slowly and deeply through your left nostril, drawing the breath in through the pathway of the left nostril. As you inhale, count silently to four, filling your lungs with fresh air and expanding your belly with each breath in.
As you inhale through your left nostril, envision drawing in peace, clarity, and vitality, allowing the breath to nourish and energize your entire being.
With each inhalation, cultivate a sense of openness and receptivity, welcoming the flow of life-giving breath into your body and mind.
As you reach the count of four, pause for a moment at the top of your inhalation, allowing yourself to fully receive the breath and bask in its nourishing effects.
Once you have completed the inhalation, release your thumb from your right nostril and exhale slowly and steadily through your right nostril, allowing the breath to flow out effortlessly. Allow your exhalation to be as long and complete as your inhalation, maintaining a smooth and steady breath cycle.
As you exhale through your right nostril, release any tension or resistance, allowing yourself to surrender more fully to the present moment.
Continue this pattern, inhaling through your left nostril and exhaling through your right nostril, for several breath cycles, maintaining a steady and rhythmic breath pattern throughout.
Alternate nostril breathing is a powerful pranayama technique that helps balance the flow of energy in the body, quiet the mind, and promote a sense of inner harmony and well-being. As you engage in this practice, allow yourself to fully surrender to the rhythm of your breath, trusting in its ability to guide you into a state of deep relaxation and inner peace.

6. Pause and Retain the Breath

Following the inhalation through the left nostril in alternate nostril breathing, it’s time to incorporate a pause and retention of the breath, known as Kumbhaka. This pause allows for the assimilation of oxygen into the bloodstream and provides a moment of stillness and introspection.
Once you’ve completed the inhalation through your left nostril, gently close both nostrils with your thumb and ring finger, ensuring a gentle yet secure seal. Take a moment to settle into this pause, maintaining a sense of ease and comfort without straining or forcing the breath retention.
As you hold the breath, bring your awareness to the space between inhalation and exhalation, allowing yourself to fully experience the stillness and silence within. Notice the subtle sensations that arise within your body and mind during this moment of suspended breath, embracing the tranquility and peace that accompany the pause.
Be mindful not to hold the breath for longer than feels comfortable or natural for you. Listen to your body’s cues and release the breath when you feel the urge to exhale or when it becomes challenging to maintain the retention comfortably.
During this brief pause, you may choose to cultivate a sense of gratitude or intention, setting the tone for the rest of your practice. Alternatively, you can simply allow yourself to be fully present with the breath, savoring the quietude and spaciousness within.
As you hold the breath, maintain a sense of relaxation and openness, allowing the energy of the breath to flow freely throughout your body and mind. Avoid tensing the muscles or holding onto tension, instead surrendering to the natural rhythm of the breath and the present moment.
After a comfortable duration, release your thumb and ring finger from your nostrils and exhale slowly and steadily through your right nostril, allowing the breath to flow out effortlessly. Continue with your alternate nostril breathing practice, alternating between inhalations and exhalations through each nostril while incorporating pauses and retentions as desired.
By incorporating pauses and retentions into your alternate nostril breathing practice, you can deepen your connection to the breath, cultivate mindfulness, and experience a greater sense of inner calm and balance. Allow yourself to explore and embrace this transformative practice, trusting in its ability to nourish your body, mind, and spirit.

7. Pause and Retain the Breath

In the practice of alternate nostril breathing, incorporating a pause and retention of the breath after inhalation offers an opportunity to deepen awareness, enhance focus, and promote relaxation. This brief moment of suspension allows for the assimilation of oxygen into the bloodstream, supporting overall oxygenation and vitality.
After completing the inhalation through the left nostril, gently close both nostrils using your thumb and ring finger. Take a moment to settle into this pause, allowing yourself to fully experience the stillness and serenity that accompany the suspended breath.
As you hold the breath, bring your attention inward, tuning into the subtle sensations within your body and mind. Notice the gentle rise and fall of your chest, the rhythmic pulsations of your heartbeat, and the sensation of the breath circulating throughout your being.
Allow yourself to fully embrace the present moment, surrendering to the spaciousness and tranquility within. Release any tension or resistance, allowing yourself to relax deeply into the pause.
Be mindful not to hold the breath for longer than feels comfortable or natural for you. Listen to your body’s cues and release the breath when you feel the urge to exhale or when it becomes challenging to maintain the retention comfortably.
During this brief pause, you may choose to cultivate a sense of gratitude, intention, or inner peace. Alternatively, you can simply allow yourself to be fully present with the breath, savoring the quietude and stillness within.
As you hold the breath, maintain a sense of relaxation and openness, allowing the energy of the breath to flow freely throughout your body and mind. Avoid tensing the muscles or holding onto tension, instead surrendering to the natural rhythm of the breath and the present moment.
After a moment of retention, release your thumb and ring finger from your nostrils and exhale slowly and steadily through your right nostril, allowing the breath to flow out effortlessly. Continue with your alternate nostril breathing practice, alternating between inhalations and exhalations through each nostril while incorporating pauses and retentions as desired.

8. Repeat the Cycle

As you continue with your practice of alternate nostril breathing, it’s essential to maintain a smooth and steady rhythm, allowing the breath to guide you into a state of deep relaxation and inner balance. With each cycle of inhalation and exhalation through the nostrils, focus on cultivating a sense of mindfulness and presence, anchoring yourself in the present moment.
After completing the exhalation through your right nostril, transition seamlessly into the next phase of the practice by inhaling through the same nostril. Take a slow, deep breath, drawing the air in through your right nostril and filling your lungs completely. As you inhale, envision drawing in positive energy, clarity, and vitality, allowing the breath to nourish and rejuvenate your entire being.
Once you have completed the inhalation through your right nostril, release any tension or resistance and prepare to exhale through your left nostril. Gently close your right nostril with your thumb and exhale slowly and steadily through your left nostril, allowing the breath to flow out effortlessly. With each exhalation, release any lingering stress or tension, allowing yourself to surrender more fully to the present moment.
As you continue to alternate between inhalations and exhalations through each nostril, maintain a sense of ease and relaxation in your body and mind. Focus on the smooth and steady flow of the breath, allowing it to guide you into a state of deep calm and inner peace.
Throughout the practice, be gentle and compassionate with yourself, allowing for any fluctuations or variations in the breath. If your mind wanders or becomes distracted, gently bring your attention back to the sensation of the breath flowing in and out of your nostrils, anchoring yourself in the present moment.
Continue this alternating pattern of inhaling and exhaling through each nostril for several rounds, allowing the breath to soothe and nourish your body, mind, and spirit. With each breath cycle, feel a sense of renewal and rejuvenation washing over you, replenishing your energy and vitality from within.

Conclusion:

Anulom Vilom breathing is a simple yet potent technique for promoting relaxation, reducing stress, and balancing the body’s energy channels. By incorporating this ancient yogic practice into your daily routine, you can cultivate a sense of calm, clarity, and inner peace. Whether practiced as a standalone exercise or as part of a broader yoga or meditation practice, Anulom Vilom breathing offers a valuable tool for enhancing overall well-being and connecting with your inner self. Begin with just a few minutes each day and gradually increase the duration as you become more comfortable with the practice. Allow yourself to fully experience the benefits of this time-honored breathing technique and embrace the transformative power of the breath.