The ancient science of yoga has emphasized largely on the benefits of deep breathing and has always anchored deep breathing exercises, which are necessary to create a balance between the body and mind. This paved the way for a special form of yoga exercises called Pranayama. It is derived from the Sanskrit words “prana,” meaning “breath” and “ayama” meaning ” extension or regulation, “which ultimately conveys the meaning as the ‘regulation of breath’. Pranayama is a lot more than mere inhalation and exhalation of air from nostrils. It is a maneuver of channelizing the various sources of “prana” of the body or the vital life force. Anulom Vilom proves to be an indispensable exercise in the series of Pranayama.
Anulom Vilom is a yogic breathing exercise that is a form of alternate nostril breathing designed to calm the body and mind. It does not restrict itself to only one type of exercise. Anulom Vilom is also known as nadi shodhana level 3. The name has been derived from Sanskrit; “anu” meaning “with,” “vi,” meaning “against” or “contrary” and “lom” meaning “hair.” Hence, Anulom means “with the hair” or “ with the grain and Vilom means against the natural course. This simple exercise, when performed regularly, is known to balance the Tridoshas (three doshas) in the body, namely Vatta, Pitta, and Kapha. Most ailments are a result of imbalances in these doshas in the body. In Anulom Vilom pranayama, the forefinger and middle finger of the right hand rest between the eyebrows while the thumb closes the right nostril. The inhalation is through the open left nostril. Then the thumb released, and the ring and little fingers close the left nostril, allowing the exhalation of the right nostril. The cycle finishes with an inhalation through the right nostril and exhalation of the left nostril. A typical cycle of anulom vilom pranayama continues for ten cycles of this pattern, followed by two to three minutes of normal breathing. The yogi then reverses the pattern, beginning with an inhalation through the right nostril, exhalation through the left, followed by inhalation through the left and exhalation through the right nostril.
Benefits of Anulom Vilom
Practicing Anulom Vilom breathing first thing in the morning helps you to prepare for the day. It is a relaxation method in the evening to promote better sleep. Research has backed claims that the practice of Anulom Vilom helps to deal with various breathing issues such as asthma and also cardiovascular systems. It also is known to reduce stress. Given below is a comprehensive account of the benefits of Anulom Vilom :
Improves Respiratory System
Anulom Vilom practices are known to improve lung function and endurance of pain. It is an amazing breathing exercise that opens the clogged pores and helps to rejuvenate the brain. Studies have shown that performing Anulom Vilom breathing for 30 minutes a day can improve sinus inflammation (rhinosinusitis). This condition interferes with your ability to drain mucus from the nose and sinuses.
Clears the clogged arteries
Anulom Vilom puts pressure on the breathing process, which helps to improve the intake of oxygenated air. It is also helpful for the health of the heart and keeps coronary issues at bay. Studies show that practicing the asana for 120 days helps with removing 30-40% of blockage from the arteries, enhances blood flow, and prevents diseases like angina, LDL Pathogenic Cholesterol, HDL, and Triglycerides.
Improves Mental Health.
Pranayama, in general, has staggering health mental benefits as the exercises of this regime advocate to calm the mind and augment a feeling of inexplicable serenity, which strings a balance between the body and mind. Anulom Vilom improves the oxygen flow in the body, which helps in the regeneration of the cells of the brains. This, in turn, enhances memory, concentration, and attention span of the brain and improves the mood as well. Practising Anulom Vilom also helps in improving mental health and cures problems like depression, anxiety, tension, and reduces stress.
Cleanses energy channels
Anulom Vilom cleanses the panic channels of our body and enhances the prana flow. The practice ensures the pranic energy supply to the entire body and helps in maintaining overall health. The breathing technique works towards balancing the two main energy channels- Ida and Pingala and makes the brain peaceful. IT also helps to align the chakras of the spine, which in turn, channelizes the flow of energy into the right places, paving the way for better overall health.
Improves Blood circulation
Practising Anulom Vilom also improves the blood circulation in the body. As you breathe out deeply in full force, the lungs get filled up with oxygenated air, which in turn goes to the heart and brain. Under such circumstances, the heart tends to pump more oxygenated blood, which is then carried through the arteries to the brain. Hence this exercise promotes higher levels of oxygen in the body, which helps in better blood circulation and thereby maintaining blood pressure.
Remember the coveted infallible skin of models in various magazines. It seems like their skin emits light and glows like the sun. Such glow can easily be achieved by practising several Pranayama exercises, including Anulom Vilom. With regular practice of the same, one can avail of the beauty benefits of the exercise and get rid of various skin problems like pimples, dullness, pigmentation, etc. As mentioned earlier, Anulom Vilom improves the flow of oxygenated blood into the body. It purifies the blood, clears the skin, and makes it brighter and healthier.
It is sometimes impossible to sleep next to someone who is snoring. Unfortunately, if it’s you who is guilty of the same, a sense of embarrassment and shame set in. Studies have shown that habitual snorers are at greater risk of serious diseases like obstructive sleep, especially where a person stops breathing for a few seconds while sleeping. There can be a myriad of reasons for snoring. Anulum Vilom cleanses the nasal passage, which facilitates breathing and helps in reducing snoring to a considerable extent.
Treats arthritis problems
Anulum Vilom practice is the most trusted source of pranayama to open the blockages and clogged arteries of the body. It is believed that the pain occurs in those clotted parts of the body, which needs proper attention to release the imbalances from the body. The daily practice of this can help treat the problem of arthritis.
Curbs mental health issues
The breathing exercise of Anulom Vilom helps to channelize the energies within the body and helps to create a powerful energy to combat various mental health issues. It helps to establish a balance between body and mind and thereby maintain the equilibrium of life. It is said that the persistent practice of yoga evades all the doubts and worldly tensions, leading to a calmer, healthier mind. It nourishes the mind with positive thoughts and helps in gaining a better perspective on life. It is also known to boost confidence and increase the cognitive ability of the brain, which in turn increases productivity and performance. This also helps in keeping toxic thoughts and symptoms of depression at bay and thereby providing a neutral mindset, which can imbibe various worldly thought, devoid of any preconceived judgments.
See Also: Yogic Breathing: Types and Benefits