How to Practice Anulom Vilom Breathing

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In today’s fast-paced world, stress and anxiety have become all too common.

Fortunately, ancient practices like yoga offer effective techniques for managing stress and promoting overall well-being.

Anulom Vilom, also known as alternate nostril breathing, is one such practice that has been used for centuries to calm the mind, balance the nervous system, and enhance respiratory health.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the intricacies of Anulom Vilom breathing, its benefits, and how to practice it effectively.

Understanding Anulom Vilom Breathing:

Anulom Vilom is a yogic breathing technique that involves alternating between the nostrils while inhaling and exhaling.

The term “Anulom” means “with the grain” or “natural,” while “Vilom” means “against the grain” or “opposite.”

This practice aims to balance the flow of prana, or life force energy, through the body’s energy channels, known as nadis.

The primary nadis involved in Anulom Vilom breathing are the Ida and Pingala nadis, which correspond to the left and right nostrils, respectively.

According to yogic philosophy, these nadis represent the feminine and masculine aspects of our being, and balancing their energies promotes harmony and equilibrium within the body and mind.

Benefits of Anulom Vilom Breathing:

Stress Reduction:

Anulom Vilom breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the body’s relaxation response.

By slowing down the breath and promoting deep relaxation, this practice helps reduce stress levels and induces a sense of calmness and tranquility.

Improved Respiratory Function:

Anulom Vilom breathing involves conscious control of the breath, which helps strengthen the respiratory muscles and increase lung capacity.

Regular practice can enhance oxygenation of the blood and improve overall respiratory function.

Enhanced Mental Clarity:

The rhythmic pattern of alternate nostril breathing synchronizes the left and right hemispheres of the brain, promoting mental clarity and focus.

This can help sharpen concentration, enhance cognitive function, and reduce mental fatigue.

Balanced Energy Flow:

By alternating between the left and right nostrils, Anulom Vilom helps balance the flow of prana throughout the body.

This harmonizes the subtle energy channels and promotes overall well-being on physical, mental, and emotional levels.

Strengthened Nervous System:

Anulom Vilom breathing massages the nerve endings in the nasal passages and stimulates the autonomic nervous system.

This helps regulate heart rate, blood pressure, and other vital functions, leading to a strengthened nervous system and improved resilience to stress.


Deep breathing techniques like Anulom Vilom facilitate the removal of toxins and impurities from the body.

The increased oxygenation and circulation promote detoxification at the cellular level, supporting overall health and vitality.

Emotional Balance:

Anulom Vilom breathing promotes emotional balance by calming the mind and reducing negative thought patterns.

It helps release tension and pent-up emotions, allowing for greater emotional clarity and stability.

How to Practice Anulom Vilom Breathing:

Now that we’ve explored the benefits of Anulom Vilom breathing, let’s delve into how to practice this ancient technique effectively:

Find a Comfortable Seated Position:

Sit in a comfortable cross-legged position or on a chair with your spine erect and shoulders relaxed.

Place your hands on your knees or in a mudra of your choice, such as Gyan Mudra (index finger and thumb touching).

Close the Right Nostril:

Use your right thumb to gently close your right nostril, allowing your left nostril to remain open.

Inhale Through the Left Nostril:

Slowly inhale through your left nostril, counting to four as you breathe in.

Focus on filling your lungs completely with air and expanding your abdomen.

Close Both Nostrils:

At the top of your inhalation, use your right ring finger to gently close your left nostril, holding both nostrils closed for a brief moment.

Exhale Through the Right Nostril:

Release your right nostril and exhale slowly and steadily through it, counting to four as you breathe out.

Empty your lungs completely and contract your abdomen gently.

Inhale Through the Right Nostril:

Keeping your left nostril closed, inhale slowly and deeply through your right nostril, counting to four as you breathe in.

Expand your lungs fully and feel the breath energizing your body.

Close Both Nostrils:

At the top of your inhalation, use your right thumb to gently close your right nostril, holding both nostrils closed briefly.

Exhale Through the Left Nostril:

Release your left nostril and exhale slowly and steadily through it, counting to four as you breathe out.

Empty your lungs completely and engage your abdominal muscles gently.

Repeat the Cycle:

Continue this alternate nostril breathing pattern, inhaling through one nostril, holding briefly, exhaling through the other nostril, and then switching sides.

Aim for a smooth, rhythmic flow of breath, keeping your movements gentle and controlled.

Practice Regularly:

Start with 5-10 minutes of Anulom Vilom breathing and gradually increase the duration as you become more comfortable with the technique.

Aim to practice daily for optimal benefits, either as a standalone practice or as part of your yoga or meditation routine.

Tips for Effective Practice:

Focus on the Breath:

Keep your attention focused on the sensation of the breath as it moves in and out of your nostrils.

Notice the subtle changes in temperature, texture, and rhythm with each inhalation and exhalation.

Stay Relaxed:

Maintain a relaxed and gentle approach to the practice, avoiding any strain or tension in the body or mind.

Allow the breath to flow naturally and effortlessly, without forcing or controlling it.

Find Your Rhythm:

Experiment with the pace and duration of your inhalations and exhalations to find a rhythm that feels comfortable and sustainable for you.

You may gradually increase the length of your breaths as you become more proficient in the practice.

Practice Mindfulness:

Use Anulom Vilom breathing as an opportunity to cultivate mindfulness and present-moment awareness.

Notice any thoughts, sensations, or emotions that arise during the practice, and simply observe them without judgment or attachment.

Be Patient:

Like any skill, mastering Anulom Vilom breathing takes time and patience.

Be gentle with yourself and allow yourself to progress at your own pace.

Trust in the process and embrace the journey of self-discovery and self-improvement.

Incorporating Anulom Vilom Breathing into Your Daily Routine:

Anulom Vilom breathing can be practiced at any time of day, but many people find it particularly beneficial as part of a morning routine to start the day with a sense of calm and clarity.

You can also practice Anulom Vilom during times of stress or agitation to help center yourself and regain composure.

Additionally, incorporating this breathing technique into your yoga or meditation practice can enhance the overall benefits and deepen your experience of relaxation and inner peace.


Anulom Vilom breathing is a powerful tool for promoting

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