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Swami Kuvalyanand once said:
“Yoga has a message for the human body, for the human mind and the human spirit.”
This is a truism as a healthy body is the prime requisite
for progress and happiness in life.
People are progressively being convinced that
yoga makes for good health,
satisfaction and happiness in present day irritating life
and is not just an exercise procedure.
In this article we will debate Anuloma-Viloma (alternate breathing) pranayama.
Pranayama honestly means appropriate “management” of the vital force
– prana. Although the basic principle remains the same,
many different types of pranayama have been devised,
each with its own unique technique.
Anuloma-Viloma or nadi shuddhi pranayama (nerve purifying pranayama)
is one such kind and is considered one of the essential forms.
The practice of Anuloma Viloma is somewhat like the squad
that regulates traffic on roads, looks after their freshness, beautification, etc
and keeps the traffic moving smoothly and efficiently.
The method involves breathing in (pooraka) through one nostril and vice versa.
Accordingly this pranayama has the name anuloma viloma, i.e. alternate breathing.
To practice this, you have to sit in any of the yogic sitting postures.
To begin with, carry on normal breathing applying moola bandha (i.e. comfortable anal contraction).
Keeping a stable moola bandha,
inhale in and exhale completely.
Make sure that the moola bandha is not loosened during the process.
Pause for a while between inhale and exhale.
Breathe in deeply through the left nostril
and breathe out through the right;
then breathe in through the right and out through the left.
Keep up with breathing this way,
i.e. alternately from left and right nostrils, for one to three minutes.
After reaching a comfort level in this way,
you may move to the next stage.
Shut the right nostril with the right thumb keeping the other four fingers together.
Now, little by little breathe in through the left nostril at a uniform speed.
Repeat with the other nostril.
While breathing in, raise the shoulders
and expand the chest taking the ribs up.
The lower abdominal region, however, must be held in.
Benefits: The respiratory passage is cleaned
and this prepares one well for the practice of other pranayamas.
Breathing becomes easy and regulated.
The mind becomes and heartbeat rhythmic.
Besides aids in enhancing concentration,
memory and other mental faculties.
Contraindications: Severe pain in abdomen, swelling on account of appendicitis,
enlargement of liver, very delicate bowels or intestines,
disorders of the lungs, severe throat infections,
growth in the nose (polypus) or blockage of the nasal passage due to cold, etc.
The reader of this article should exercise all precautions
before following any of the asanas from this article and the site.
To avoid any problems while doing the asanas,
it is highly advised that you consult a doctor and a yoga instructor.
The responsibility lies solely with the reader
and not with the site or the writer.