Alternate Nostril Breathing (Anuloma Viloma):
It is recommended to begin Pranayama practice with “alternate nostril breathing” and basic “breath awareness.”
This pranayama practice is about breathing through alternate nostrils of the nose. Another name of this is Nadi Shodhona Pranayama, or Purification of the Nervous System and is calming and purifying.
To begin, sit comfortably in a chair with your feet on the floor, or sit cross legged on the floor. You will begin 10 rounds with breathing through the left nostril and 10 rounds breathing with the right.
Steps by Step Guide for practicing Anuloma Viloma
Alternate nostril is closed by using the right hand’s thumb, ring and little finger. The thumb is used for closing the right nostril and the ring and little fingers are used to close the left nostril. The mouth is closed at all times and is not used for breathing.
- Focus your attention on your breathing for a minute and simply observe the natural flow of breath in both nostrils.
- Prepare your right hand with the Pranayama Mudra.
- Close the right nostril with the right hand thumb and inhale deeply through the left nostril.
- After inhaling, close the left nostril with the ring and pinky finger and exhale through the right nostril.
- After exhaling through the right nostril, inhale through that very same nostril.
- Close the right nostril with the thumb after inhaling and exhale through the left.
So in this round you: inhale left, exhale right. Inhale right, exhale left. After 10 rounds return your hand to your knee and form a “gyan mudra” and concentrate on your normal breathing for about one minute.
- Position the left hand in Pranayama Mudra.
- Repeat the process above, beginning with the right nostril inhalation.
- Inhale right, exhale left. Inhale left, exhale right.
After completing the 10 rounds, return your hand to your knee and concentrate on your normal breathing and the rhythm of your heartbeat for about one minute.