Anuloma Pranayama: a Powerful Breathing Exercise

Anuloma Pranayama

Anuloma Pranayama, also called Nadi Shuddhi Pranayama, or Alternate Breathing, is a powerful breathing technique with numerous benefits. Nadi refers to a channel through which flows the life force or energy within a body. Anu means ‘along with’ and and loma means ‘in natural order’.

This is an alternate breathing exercise where the fingers control the nostrils in order to regulate smoothly the flow of breath.

You will quickly feel its impact on your concentration, breath and mind power. It is worth giving it a try!

The Benefits

This Pranayama cleanses the nasal passages.

It is particularly known for sometimes triggering emotions, so don’t be surprised if the practice of this posture makes you feel emotional. This is also why this pose is good for staying mentally healthy, clearing the mind and your thoughts.
If you are suffering from mental and/or physical stress, anxiety or insomnia, this exercise is very beneficial for you:

  • it is a very relaxing and centering breathing technique.
  • It helps with concentrating and focusing, and boosts your memory power.
  • Additionally, it helps you to control your temper and prevent outbursts of anger.
  • It prepares your mind for mediation so it is perfect to give it a few minutes before meditation. It clears the weakness of our mind and provides strength.
  • It calms you down
  • It clears your mind.
  • With its general calming effect, it also calms down your heartbeat which is why it is also helpful if you have high blood pressure. Anuloma provides more oxygen to the brain through this increased blood flow.
  • As it increases the blood flow in the head, Anuloma is good for eyes, ears and nose.
  • This posture is even said to be beneficial against early greying hair.  If you are suffering from shakiness or Parkinsons, this might be the right posture to get some relief.

Even your respiratory system, heart, and lungs profit from this exercise as you deepen your breath and bring out the toxins from your body.

 

The Technique

Sit in a comfortable position and close your eyes, in order to bring your focus within.

Take a few deep breaths through both nostrils. The mouth is closed, and is not used for breathing. No sound should be produced while inhaling or exhaling.

Then, begin the process of digitally controlling your breathing.

With your right thumb, block your right nostril. Inhale through the left nostril, and count to 4. Hold your breath on the count of 4. Holding your breath is called kumbhaka. With your right ring finger, block the left nostril and exhale through the right nostril. Some people like curling the index and middle finder towards the metacarpal bone of the thumb (on the  thenar part of the palm).

With more practice, you can perform kumbhaka on the count of 4.

Maintain this position and inhale through the right nostril. Your ring finger is still blocking the left nostril. Hold your breath on the count of 4. Place your thumb on your right nostril and exhale gently on the count of 4 through the left nostril. Perform kumbhaka on the count of 4.

Continue this technique of alternate breathing about 10 times.

With practice, you can increase the counts up to 5, 6, 7, 8 etc.

After completing the rounds, remain still and return to normal breath. Observe how you feel for a few minutes and start enjoying the benefits.

 

Happy breathing!

 

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