Alternate Nostril Breathing - Anuloma Viloma by Sue Fuller

Alternate Nostril Breathing - Anuloma VilomaAnuloma Viloma is also known as Nadi Shodhana. This technique is perfect for clearing the mind and balancing right and left sides of the body. 

Anuloma Viloma (Alternate Nostril Breathing) can help to relieve headaches, it is deeply rejuvenating and perfect any time of the day.  It will also help to clear the pranic channels increasing prana within the body and clearing the pathways required for the prana to flow freely around the body.

Sit in a comfortable position ensuring that the spine remains straight.  Using the right hand place your thumb beside your right nostril, then place your index finger and middle finger to your forehead and your ring finger beside your left nostril.

Block your right nostril with your thumb and inhale fully through the left nostril, then remove your thumb from your right nostril and block the left nostril with your ring finger. Exhale fully and then inhale fully through the right nostril. Now remove your ring finger from your left nostril and block your right nostril with your thumb again. Exhale fully then inhale fully through the left nostril. Remove your thumb from your right nostril and block the left nostril with your ring finger.  Exhale fully and then inhale fully through the right nostril. Continue the exercise five minutes finishing with an exhalation through the left nostril. 

Try to regulate the flow of your breath, so that it is a steady flow when beginning aim for 4 seconds inhalation and 4 seconds exhalation.  Over time this can be lengthened.

When you are comfortable with this technique you can perform Anuloma Viloma to the following ratios: - 1:1 for both inhalation and exhalation. For example if you inhale for 4 seconds through one nostril, then the exhalation from the other nostril is also 4 seconds.  When you feel ready to progress, the ratio can be changed to 1:2, which means if inhalation is 4 seconds then exhalation is 8 seconds.

To move on further it is possible to include a breath retention and practice the following ratios:-  1:1:1 which equals  4 seconds of inhalation, 4 seconds of retention and 4 seconds of exhalation. Then to progress further the ratios can be increased to 1:1:2, 1:2:2 and 1:4:2.

Alternate Nostril Breathing (Anuloma Viloma)Take your time there is no need to rush the practice of pranayama, make sure that you are comfortable at all times.

Do not retain the breath during pregnancy or if you suffer from high or low blood pressure.  Never force the practice, the breath should feel comfortable at all times.  If the practice feels uncomfortable stop immediately, yoga practices should enhance your wellbeing.  Not all practices will be suitable for everyone.

Sue Fuller is a leading yoga teacher, writer and the creator of the Yoga 2 Hear range of audio yoga classes.  The Alternate Breathing technique can be found in Pranayamas and Mudras Vol 2.