Not one but most people suffer from some or the other kind of respiratory problems or allergies due to a poor lifestyle and pollution. And just when modern techniques fail, ancient yoga techniques like Anulom Vilom come to the rescue. The main purpose of anulom vilom pranayam is to open all the choked energy channels of the body – also known as Nadis – so that they can all be purified. In fact, anulom vilom yoga offers many other tremendous health benefits too. If it piques your interest, run through our guide on How To Do Anulom Vilom Yoga And What Are The Health Benefits and see all your questions about this ancient breathing technique put to rest.
What Is Anulom Vilom And What Exactly Does It Do To Open Blocked Nadis?
Anulom is a term that signifies inhalation and vilom, on the contrary, means exhalation. Thus, anulom vilom is a yogic term coined to signify alternate breathing through nostrils. Also, it’s quite frequent that yogis consider anulom vilom yoga an ancient art for Nadi purification. Nadis are the energy channels in the body, that when blocked, lead to respiratory troubles. And anulom vilom yoga that is one of the many yoga forms of Hatha Yoga Pradipika helps in unblocking the choked nadis. It provokes the life energy (known as prana) oust into the Sushma (energy flow channel of the spine) in a controlled manner (also known as Yama). And this is where pranayama draws its name from.
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How To Do Anulom Vilom?
Do not be taken aback by how complicated the name anulom vilom is. Because the art of doing anulom vilom pranayam is actually very simple.
So, if you’re keen to experience the effects of anulom vilom benefits, then you must also know the correct steps on how to do anulom vilom. And the guide given below is a step by step tutorial that’ll help you to execute anulom as well as vilom to perfection.
- Sit in an upright position with legs crossed and relax your body
- Start drawing a few deep breaths to stabilize your mind
- Continue drawing deep breaths for 3-5 minutes until breathing becomes effortless
- Now place a finger on your right nostril while still exhaling the air out from your left nostril in a controlled manner
- Once the lungs oust all the air out, start drawing air from the left nostril itself and fill the lungs to their maximum capacity and hold
- After a comfortable pause, switch the finger to hold the left nostril now and exhale through the right nostril until the lungs are emptied again
- Now inhale from the right nostril, hold for a moment, switch the finger to hold the right nostril and exhale from the left nostril
- Continue this alternate inhalation and exhalation process for at least 10 reps in the beginning
These are the basic anulom vilom steps; however, anulom vilom duration depends upon whether you’re a beginner or someone in the advanced stages.
The ideal anulom vilom duration for beginners should be around 10-15 minutes that should cover about 10-15 reps. And once you progress, the anulom vilom duration can last for 1 entire hour. Though, be very careful that the progression from initial to the advanced stage is very smooth.
Things To Keep In Mind Before You Begin Anulom Vilom Steps
Undoubtedly, anulom vilom is a fairly simple yet a very effective breathing exercise, but, it comes with its own sets of precautions that all beginners should keep in mind before going ahead with anulom vilom steps. The most important of those considerations are given below.
- Whether you sit on a chair or on the ground to do anulom vilom, ensure that the position is comfortable. Practice moving your body from side to side and tilt your neck to ensure that your body is in the most comfortable position
- Loosen your muscles with yoga poses like Surya Namaskar. It will help in easing stiff muscles that’ll help you to sit upright for as long as it is required, depending upon how much experience you have in performing anulom vilom pranayam
- If you find it hard to keep your spine upright towards the beginning, start anulom vilom yoga by taking the support of a wall until your body starts becoming stronger so that you no longer need support
- Enchant mind-calming mantras while doing anulom vilom steps especially if you’re a beginner. It will help you to concentrate better in order to stabilize the breathing pattern
- Learn to take a pause after every 5 reps to stabilize breathing. Drag long calming breaths and start all over again. This is, in fact, the best way of a smooth transition from beginning stages of anulom vilom to the more advanced versions
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8 Best Anulom Vilom Benefits For Health And Skin
By now it’s clear that anulom vilom is a form of an alternate breathing exercise that helps to cure a lot of respiratory problems. But do you really know how badly can Nadi blockage actually affect the body and mind? Well, the effects are larger than you think and so are the benefits of anulom vilom. Hence is the requirement of an informative guide on what are the best health and beauty benefits of anulom vilom yoga that one should be aware of. We have made an effort to compile some of the best benefits of anulom vilom in the guide below.
1. Anulom Vilom For Weight Loss And Weight Management
Anulom vilom has a major impact on the body’s metabolism. Whilst anulom fills the lungs with air, vilom, on the other hand, requires strength to exhale that air in a controlled manner that shouldn’t actually be a reflex. And this controlled execution requires a great amount of strength and energy. As a result, the body starts burning fat to fulfill the energy requirement. It helps in weight management that is quite beneficial for people suffering from obesity due to binge eating and/or hormonal distress.
2. Anulom Vilom Yoga For Digestive Disorders
The 3 doshas in the human body are Kapha, Vata, and Pitta. Out of these 3, it is the pitta dosha that is responsible for digestive health. Any imbalance in pitta may cause indigestion, constipation, and gas. And since anulom vilom can restore the proper balance of all the 3 doshas, it is very beneficial for people suffering from constipation, stomach ache, acidity, bloating, and heartburn.
3. Anulom Vilom Benefits For Arthritis
Inflammation in the chest, lungs, ligaments, connective tissues, head, and throat are all a result of Kapha imbalance. Since anulom vilom pranayam can treat Kapha dosha, it is very useful to reduce joint information caused by arthritis. Also, this is the reason that anulom vilom pranayam is capable of curing congestion due to phlegm accumulation during cold and flu.
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4. Benefits Of Anulom Vilom For Asthma
Asthma and bronchitis are the 2 major respiratory disorders that can be easily controlled and cured if you constantly practice anulom vilom yoga. Since anulom vilom cleans the nadis and reduce the level of Kapha if it increases, it reduces the susceptibility of an asthmatic attack despite a weather change. Also, regular practice of anulom vilom yoga and kapalbhati (another yogic breathing exercise) can help to cure snoring.
5. Anulom Vilom For Heart Disorders
Heart disorders like a heart attack or coronary problems are a result of high cholesterol. Also, cholesterol accumulation leads to high blood pressure and weight gain. All in all, it is the major reason that leads to cardiovascular disease. Therefore, since anulom vilom yoga controls the breathing pattern and melts LDL (deposited cholesterol), it reduces the load on the heart to pump sufficient blood since it unblocks all the choked arteries. As a result, problems like high blood pressure and high cholesterol are cured. In return, it keeps the heart healthy.
Caution: Do not start anulom vilom yoga without the doctor’s approval if you have undergone any surgery. It is only upon the evaluation and clearance by a doctor that anulom vilom should be started.
Also read, 15 Home Remedies To Reduce Cholesterol
6. Anulom Vilom For Diabetic Patients
It is a no wonder situation that proper practice of anulom vilom can help in the process of diabetes management because this breathing exercise promotes metabolism. When the metabolic rate of the body increases, it starts burning stored blood sugar too that directly helps in controlling diabetes.
7. Anulom Vilom Benefit For The Brain
Anulom vilom benefits brain by reducing stress and anxiety and easing the mind by getting rid of all the negative energy. It does so by promoting the flow of positive energy in the body that triggers the promotion of relaxing and calming hormones. Moreover, anulom vilom benefits brain by treating sleeping disorders like insomnia and parasomnia.
8. Benefits Of Anulom Vilom For Skin
Anulom vilom not just improves blood circulation, it also helps in detoxification and blood purification by removing carbon dioxide and promoting the flow of life-giving oxygen. As a result, anulom vilom yoga can treat the following skin disorders.
- Anulom vilom reduces pigmentation
- Anulom vilom treats acne breakout
- Anulom vilom pranayam can remove black spots because it helps in producing plump and flawless new skin cells that replace the scarred old ones
- Anulom vilom can make the skin look younger since the new cells that are produced due to better oxygen supply are firm and tight. It reduces the appearance of brown age spots, wrinkles, scars, and fine lines
Unusual Side-Effects Of Anulom Vilom
As surprising and shocking as it might be, anulom vilom pranayam does have some effects. We have mentioned the ones to watch out for and also the ways in which you can minimize such rare occurrences.
- Anulom vilom can lead to backache if the posture is incorrect since it might cause unnecessary strain in the spine
- Anulom vilom is most likely to cause leg cramping when not done in the correct manner. This is yet another postural side-effect of anulom vilom pranayam due to an incorrect sitting position
- When overdone, anulom vilom yoga may cause headache, dizziness, restlessness, heavy perspiration, increased pulse rate, and anxiety. Which is why people with heart problems are advised caution to not do anulom vilom as long as the doctor approves of it
- One of the rarest yet existing side-effects of anulom vilom is a blurry vision. It happens when the mind is not calm. Such a state forces you to shut your eyes tight in order to focus and concentrate. As a result, upon completion, the vision blurs and you might get nauseous and feel light headed
How To Reverse The Side-Effects Of Anulom Vilom?
Something as precious as anulom vilom shouldn’t be quit due to the rare side-effects that happen because you might be doing the exercise all wrong. So, instead of not doing anulom vilom at all, follow the points given below so that the side-effects can be eliminated.
- Do not sit in the yogic position without giving your spine the support of a wall during the initial stages
- Since anulom vilom yoga requires you to cross legs, you must consider going on short walks to keep the muscle moving so that they do not become stiff while sitting
- Skip anulom vilom for a day if you’re undergoing heavy mental stress or feeling too anxious. This is suggested because it’s too tough to concentrate on such days. Thus, it is a wise habit to not strain the muscles and nerves of your eyes and brain. Besides, skipping anulom vilom when anxious can spare you from the unwanted feeling of headache and sweating too
- Do not push yourself to do more until your body allows so. It is a misconception that anulom vilom does that feed on the body’s energy. In fact, the opposite is true – anulom vilom consumes a lot of energy that can leave your body strained and drained. So, progress slowly while allowing your body optimum time to adapt
- All breathing exercises including anulom vilom should be done in a well-ventilated surrounding. The entire concept of anulom vilom is to increase the oxygen flow to unblock the choked Nadis. Thus, if done in a closed room, you fill your body with carbon dioxide instead of pure oxygen that actually may worsen depression and disrupt the sleeping pattern. Therefore, better that you do anulom vilom out in the open where there is enough oxygen and sunlight
- Never perform anulom vilom or any other breathing exercise with a full stomach. Always keep a gap of 2-3 hours between eating and anulom vilom
Frequently Asked Questions
We have given you almost everything required of you to perform anulom vilom safely. Yet, there are a few unanswered questions that might be of further help. Have a look and decode the answers you’ve been longing for.
Question 1 – Is it safe to do anulom vilom at home without guidance?
Answer 1 – For beginners, No. As tempting as it seems that you can get all the instructions to do anulom vilom correctly at home on youtube or TV, it is still better that you begin doing anulom vilom yoga under the vigil eyes of a qualified yoga instructor if you are a complete beginner. Also, physical instructions are invaluable when you’re suffering from breathing disorders.
However, if you’re a healthy individual with enough experience in cardio exercises, it is safe to do anulom vilom by yourself at home.
So, as long as you know how to control breathing, anulom vilom is unlikely to cause any side-effect at all.
Question 2 – How many times to do anulom vilom pranayam a day?
Answer 2 – The safe duration and frequency of anulom vilom depend upon experience.
- As a beginner, limit anulom vilom to 10 minutes and do not perform it more than twice a day
- As you start to advance in anulom vilom pranayam, you can increase the duration to 20 minutes with around 40 reps twice a day
- Whilst the above duration is sufficient for most people, the ones who are perfectly healthy and profound in other yogic breathing exercises, the duration and frequency of anulom vilom can be increased to 30 minutes 3 times in a day
- It is only for professional yogics that anulom vilom should be practiced 4 times a day for 1 hour
Question 3 – Are there any diet restrictions while doing anulom vilom?
Answer 3 – Whilst it is always a good habit to eat clean, it becomes more important to follow a strict diet when doing anulom vilom for weight loss. Stay away from carbonated beverages, fried foods, and unhealthy carbs. Instead, eat fresh fruits, green vegetables, and protein-rich foods like eggs, salmon, and soya.
Question 4 – Should anulom vilom be done empty stomach?
Answer 4 – Against the myths that anulom vilom is best when done empty stomach, the answer is no. Yogic gurus and instructors emphasize on the importance of feeling energetic before doing any pranayam. Thus, do not do anulom vilom empty stomach. By that we mean, do it after you eat, but not immediately after you eat. Like mentioned above, best when done in a gap of 2 hours after a healthy meal.
Question 5 – Is it ok to yawn between anulom vilom?
Answer 5 – No! Anything that breaks the rhythm or has the requirement to exhale sharply, without control, shouldn’t be done while doing anulom vilom or any other breathing exercise. So, ensure you’re fully rested and alert while doing anulom vilom. Besides, this is also 1 way to avoid side-effects of anulom vilom.
This is all we have for you in today’s health guide about, How To Do Anulom Vilom Yoga And What Are The Health Benefits. Feel free to drop any question that you might still be having in the comment section. We will reply and until then, happy living till we meet you next with another resourceful guide on healthy living.