Introduction

Anuloma अनुलोम natural, regular, enjoyable | conforming (is said of a wedding where the woman is of lower or equal status than that of the man). Viloma विलोम : going against, in the reverse order.

Anuloma-viloma pranayama [Steps Breathing is also celled Nadishodhaka pranayama. Nadi means a channel. Shodhaka means that which purifies. This variety is called the purifier of the nadis.

Classical Anuloma Viloma

In this alternate nostril breathing exercise, you inhale through one nostril, retain the breath, then exhale through the other nostril in a ratio of 2:8:4. The left nostril (candra) is the path of the nadi called Ida, the right nostril (surya) that of Pingala. If you are really healthy, you will breathe predominantly through the Ida nostril about one hour and fifty minutes, then through the Pingala nostril. One round of Anuloma Viloma is made up of six steps, as shown below. Start by practicing three rounds and build up slowly to twenty rounds, extending the court within the given ratio.

Vishnu Mudra: In Anuloma Viloma, you adopt the Vishnu Mudra is adopted. The index and middle fingers of the right hand are tucked in to the nose. The thumb is placed by the right nostril and the ring and little fingers by the left.

Mudra of Vishnu

Advanced Anuloma Viloma I

This breathing technique consists in breaking down inhalation and exhalation in several sequences of breathing. Each one goes from chakra to chakra as levels upon which one focuses according to the following method:

Take a comfortable sitting position, close the eyes in maddya drishti and place the tongue in khechari mudra. The spine must be straight and mula bandha is active throughout the practice. While breathing quietly, the practitioner starts by visualizing the six main energy centers generated by the chakras, or:

  • Root
  • Pubis
  • Abdomen
  • Heart
  • Throat
  • Forehead

To facilitate the visualization, divide the six chakras into two groups: three lower ones and three upper ones separated by the diaphragm. This visualization is purely mental. The eyes must not follow the concentration on the different chakra but remain fixed on the glabella.

Finally, an alternate opening and closing of the nostrils is established according to the following:

As in nadi shodana breathing, (1) the second and third fingers are extended and (10 the thumb is opposed to the fourth and fifth fingers. The second and third fingers touch the forehead while the other fingers allow the alternate opening and closing of the nostrils. The fingers do not loose contact with the nostrils.

Finally, exhale deeply and observe the breathing going to the root:

  1. Inhale. Visualize the breathing pathway going from the root to the pubis. Pause and close the nostrils. Stimulate the pubic center by practicing ashvini mudra while enunciating the bija OM during each contraction.
  2. Inhale. Visualize the breathing pathway going from the pubis to the stomach. Pause and close the nostrils. Stimulate the stomach center by practicing three ashvini mudras while enunciating the bija OM during each contraction.
  3. Inhale. Visualize the breathing pathway going from the stomach to the heart. Pause and close the nostrils. Stimulate the heart center by practicing three ashvini mudras while enunciating the bija OM during each contraction.
  4. Inhale. Visualize the breathing pathway going from the heart to the throat. Pause and close the nostrils. Stimulate the throat center by practicing three ashvini mudras while enunciating the bija OM during each contraction.
  5. Inhale. Visualize the breathing pathway going from the throat to the forehead. Pause and close the nostrils. Stimulate the forehead center by practicing three ashvini mudras while enunciating the bija OM during each contraction.

At this level, the inhalation must be maximal. The next series consists in the descent in reverse order, with the same gestures and using the exhalation.

  1. Exhale. Visualize the breathing pathway going from the forehead to the throat. Pause and close the nostrils. Stimulate the throat center by practicing three ashvini mudras while enunciating the bija OM during each contraction.
  2. Exhale. Visualize the breathing pathway going from the throat to the heart. Pause and close the nostrils. Stimulate the heart center by practicing three ashvini mudras while enunciating the bija OM during each contraction.
  3. Exhale. Visualize the breathing pathway going from the heart to the stomach. Pause and close the nostrils. Stimulate the stomach center by practicing three ashvini mudras while enunciating the bija OM during each contraction.
  4. Exhale. Visualize the breathing pathway going from the stomach to the pubis. Pause and close the nostrils. Stimulate the pubis center by practicing three ashvini mudras while enunciating the bija OM during each contraction.
  5. Exhale. Visualize the breathing pathway going from the pubis to the root. Pause and close the nostrils. Stimulate the root center by practicing three ashvini mudras while enunciating the bija OM during each contraction.

 

The difficulty is to equalize each breathing sequence during both in and out phases. These two phases must be equal. In the beginning, each breathing sequence could equal 2 seconds. At the level of each chakra, one must focus on the gestures so that they remain clear. There should be a tactile perception of each center involved. In addition, the specific quality of the energy in each center should generate a taste.

In the beginning of this practice, in case of breathing difficulties (either at the end of the exhalation or inhalation), it is advisable to go out of the exercise, rest and start over from the beginning.

When comfortable with this exercise, the time of each sequence should be extended by increasing the breathing as well as the number of contractions at each level.

Several tongue gestures can be tested (i.e., khechari mudra, kaki mudra or jiva bandha) to see which one is more comfortable. Finally, the practice always ends at the forehead followed by going out of the exercise while relaxing the breathing during the next exhalation.

Observe the effects in the integration posture.

 

Alternate Version

This version is much more powerful because it seeks the center while avoiding it and by attempting to go alternatively from left to right. Finally, when the center manifests itself, it is often without trying to find it, but by its own. It is about one of the most beautiful yoga breathing, as well as one of the most efficient to channel the energy in the spine.

 

The animated picture gives a rough representation of this variant. In reality, the starting position and the finger position are as mentioned above.

The eyes are closed and the gaze directed slightly above the horizontal line as if attracted by the contact of the fingers on the forehead. The eyes do not move during the internal visualization.

The basic technique is as follows:

  1. Complete exhalation through open nostrils. Visualize the energy/breathing at the root.
  2. Close the right nostril. Inhale through the left nostril from the root to the pubis. Visualize the prana ascending in a half circle on the left.
    Close both nostrils. Visualize the center involved. Establish three ashvini mudras with three OM bijas. Stimulate the pubic center.
  3. Close the left nostril. Inhale through the right nostril from the pubis to the stomach. Visualize the prana ascending in a half circle on the right.
    Close both nostrils. Visualize the center involved. Establish three ashvini mudras with three OM bijas. Stimulate the stomach center.
  4. Close the right nostril. Inhale through the left nostril from the stomach to the heart. Visualize the prana ascending in a half circle on the left.
    Close both nostrils. Visualize the center involved. Establish three ashvini mudras with three OM bijas. Stimulate the heart center.
  5. Close the left nostril. Inhale through the right nostril from the heart to the throat. Visualize the prana ascending in a half circle on the right.
    Close both nostrils. Visualize the center involved. Establish three ashvini mudras with three OM bijas. Stimulate the throat center.
  6. Close the right nostril. Inhale through the left nostril from the throat to the forehead. Visualize the prana ascending in a half circle on the left.
    Close both nostrils. Visualize the center involved. Establish three ashvini mudras with three OM bijas. Stimulate the forehead center.

At this level, the inhalation is complete. The expiration cycle starts in descent, following a same length.

  1. Close the left nostril. Exhale through the right nostril from the forehead to the throat. Visualize the prana descending in a half circle on the right.
    Close both nostrils. Visualize the center involved. Establish three ashvini mudras with three OM bijas. Stimulate the throat center.
  2. Close the right nostril. Exhale through the left nostril from the throat to the heart. Visualize the prana descending in a half circle on the left.
    Close both nostrils. Visualize the center involved. Establish three ashvini mudras with three OM bijas. Stimulate the heart center.
  3. Close the left nostril. Exhale through the right nostril from the heart to the stomach. Visualize the prana descending in a half circle on the right.
    Close both nostrils. Visualize the center involved. Establish three ashvini mudras with three OM bijas. Stimulate the stomach center.
  4. Close the right nostril. Exhale through the left nostril from the stomach to the pubis. Visualize the prana descending in a half circle on the left.
    Close both nostrils. Visualize the center involved. Establish three ashvini mudras with three OM bijas. Stimulate the pubis center.
  5. Close the left nostril. Exhale through the right nostril from the pubis to the root. Visualize the prana descending in a half circle on the right.
    Close both nostrils. Visualize the center involved. Establish three ashvini mudras with three OM bijas. Stimulate the root center.

Try to regulate the breathing in order to equalize the sequences both at the level of inhalation and exhalation, as well as ascending and descending times. If comfortable, increase the stimulation periods to 3, 4, 5 or more. Insure that the number of contractions is equal in all centers and occurs without precipitation. Each step and each gesture must be upheld in the consciousness.

Finally, finish at the end of a cycle, at the root, upon inhalation with open nostrils. put the hands on the knees and let the breathing go free.

Observe the movements in the integration posture.