Anuloma Viloma Pranayama: Steps and Benefits

Dr. Vibha Choudhary

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Vibha Choudhary


8 min read


Anuloma Viloma is a cleansing breathing exercise before any main pranayama practice. Anulom Vilom Pranayam benefits us and clears all the channels or Nadis to allow for the free and easy flow of pranic energy. This flow brings the Ida and Pingala Nadis into balance, which is why it is also known as a cleansing technique.

Key Takeaways

  • Anuloma Viloma improves our stamina
  • It relaxes our nervous system
  • It helps increase our concentration power

What connects the mind and the spirit? Breath. The term pranayama is derived from two Sanskrit words 'Prana' means 'life force' , and 'Ayama,' which means to restrain or draw out. Pranayama roughly translates as breath control. It is essential to practice yogic breathing to deepen and lengthen our breath because we are mainly accustomed to fast and shallow chest breathing. During shallow breathing, the sympathetic nervous system is activated. It sends a warning signal to the brain that we are in danger. Anuloma Viloma Pranayama is one of several Pranayama yoga for lungs or breathing exercises used in Hatha yoga practice. 

Cortisol, the stress hormone, is then released by the brain, triggering the flight or fight response. It is fantastic if we are in severe trouble and require a burst of energy. If we are not, we may experience increased heart rate, anxiety, stress, and digestive issues. 

In contrast, we activate the parasympathetic nervous system by controlling our breath through deep breathing. It tells the brain that we are fine and safe. It causes the body to relax and calm down. 

anuloma viloma pranayama

Anuloma Viloma Meaning:

Anu roughly translates as "with," and Loma means hair, implying "natural" or "with the grain." Viloma translates as "against the grain."[1] Viloma's polar opposite is Anuloma. It is incredibly beneficial in respiratory diseases such as asthma. 

Anuloma Viloma's next level is Nadi Shodhana. We inhale and exhale in Anuloma Viloma Pranayama, but in Nadi Shodhana Pranayama, we hold (kumbhaka or retention) our breath for a second or minute before exhaling. 

In Sanskrit, a Nadi is a channel that allows Prana's vital energy to pass through. Inhaling through the right nostril produces heat in the body, while inhaling through the left produces cold, creating a balance of hot and cold inside us. 

As a result, the Yogis refer to the right nostril as the "Surya Nadi," or sun nostril, and the left as the "Chandra Nadi," or moon nostril. Anulom Viloma Pranayam is widely regarded as the most simple and effective pranayama. Everyone can benefit from this repair. It treats minor to significant illnesses ranging from cough to cancer

Benefits of Anuloma Viloma:

Auloma Viloma Pranayama has several health benefits. Some of Anulom Vilom benefits are listed below: 

  1. It cleanses and strengthens the lungs and respiratory system as a whole. Those who practice this asana with deep lung breathing never get asthma, obesity, tuberculosis, bronchitis, and other diseases. 
  2. It strengthens your cardiovascular system and protects against heart-related disorders. In addition, it increases oxygen-rich blood circulation throughout the body, nourishing the brain and nervous system, energizing the spine, and toning up all internal organs and tissues. 
  3. It re-energizes the body and awakens tissues, giving it a burst of freshness, removing dullness, and making you look and feel younger. 
  4. Anuloma Viloma Pranayama improves blood and oxygen flow throughout the body. It promotes healthy organ function and provides nutrients to the skin.  
  5. It also encourages you to remain cheerful, resulting in a healthy glow on your face. 
  6. It ignites a lamp of confidence and self-awareness in your mind and body, causing you to be active and happy. 
  7. It also increases our alertness and reduces mental stress and tension by calming the cortex or thinking part of the brain. 
  8. Regular practice also helps with migraines and depression. 
  9. It is also beneficial in the treatment of liver diseases
  10. It promotes glowing skin and improves blood circulation. 
  11. It aids in the prevention of diabetes and the regulation of blood sugar levels. 
  12. Anulom Viloma Pranayama is best suited to cure and prevent all diseases. 
Additional read: Top Asanas of Yoga for Lungs

Anuloma Viloma Pranayama Steps:

Incorporate Anulom Viloma in your morning yoga exercise with the following technique: 

Step 1 

Sit in a comfortable meditative posture. You can, for example, sit on the floor or in a chair with your head, neck, and spine in a straight line. 

Step 2 

Spread your fingers wide apart and place your palms on your knees. Close your eyes and relax your entire body. 

Step 3 

Inhale slowly through the left nostril while mentally chanting Saa, Taa, Naa, Maa, Paat, or something similar. You can use these mantras, but for practice, one should stick to a single mantra. The thumb represents the left nostril, while the fourth finger represents the right nostril. If you're counting with your index finger, curve it so that the tip of the index finger touches the thumbnail while you're counting. There will be no mistaking right and left fingers/nostrils. Assume you're saying 'Saa' with your index finger on your thumbnail. 

Step 4 

Before inhaling, do some preparatory breathing through both nostrils, then close your right nostril with your ring or little finger to keep the breath inside. For this purpose, Nadi Shodhana will be helpful. Maintain your attention on the sound of inhalation, 'Saa.' A single round of Anuloma Viloma takes 1 second per cycle. Assume you're taking too long to inhale your breath. In that case, you are also retaining it for an extended period, which is not recommended because it negatively impacts our nervous system. If you're having trouble with left nostril inhalation (Saa), try Nadi Shodana Pranayama for a few days first. 

Later, you can try Anuloma Viloma for a few minutes with both nostrils open to get a feel for it. 

Benefits of anuloma viloma pranayama infographics

Step 5 

Let go of your right index/thumb and close the left nostril with your ring or little finger. It will restrict your breathing to the right nostril only. Throughout this step, we keep our breath inside by closing our left nostrils with our ring or little finger. Then, mentally repeat 'Taa' while concentrating on the tip of your nose (nasikaggya). A single round of Anuloma Viloma takes 1 second per cycle. Remember that there will be no inhalation in this step; instead, there will be a complete stop of breath through both nostrils. 

It may be difficult to stop the breath abruptly, so you may need to gradually reduce the exhalation speed until you can completely stop it. The interruption of inhalation prolongs this Pranayama; therefore, it is critical not to skip this step. 

Step 6 

After 1 second of normal exhalation through both nostrils, close the right nostril with your ring or little finger. Then, mentally chant 'Maa' while concentrating on the tip of your nose (nasikaggya). One round of Anuloma Viloma -Step 6 takes one second per cycle. This step will be the same as explained in Step 5 of Nadi Shodhana Pranayama. 

Step 7 

After 1 second of normal exhalation through both nostrils, close your left nostril with your ring or little finger. Then, mentally chant 'Paat' while concentrating on the tip of your nose (nasikaggya). One round of Anuloma Viloma- Step 7 takes one second per cycle. 

Step 8 

After 1 second of normal exhalation through both nostrils, close the right nostril with your ring or little finger. While focusing on the tip of the nose, mentally chant 'So on..' (nasikaggya). The 1-second cycle is the time it takes to complete one round of Anuloma Viloma -Step 8. 

Step 9 

Perform 6 to 8 Anulom Vilom in a single round. Six to eight rounds take 6 to 8 seconds per cycle. 

Step 10 

Perform 2 to 3 rounds of Ujjayi Pranayama regularly (with a closed mouth). Before moving on to the next round, exhale entirely through both nostrils. Each round of this Pranayama should last 1 or 2 minutes. As a result, the total time for the entire session is 20-30 minutes. It may not be easy at first, but once you gain confidence, you can complete it in 5-6 minutes by practicing twice daily, in the morning and evening. If you're not comfortable with Nadi Shodana, try Anuloma Viloma for a few weeks instead. 

Additional read: Morning Yoga Exercise

What Exactly Is Anuloma Viloma Pranayama? 

Anuloma Viloma is a breathing exercise that works subtly to detoxify the Nadis or network of energy channels. When our Nadis are clear, we feel lighter in the body and mind, our doshas are balanced, and our entire bodily function works properly. 

Anuloma Viloma is a unique yogic technique that involves the control of our body's subtle 'Pranic energies' (or vital force or bio-energies) flowing through specific channels. In our body, there are three significant Nadis: Ida, Pingala, and Sushumna, which are directly connected to the left and right hemispheres of the brain. 

The Nadis or channels 'Ida' and 'Pingala' (Nadis or channels cannot be anatomically indicated.) Regular practice of Anuloma Viloma pranayama helps to balance the energies flowing through the Ida and Pingala Nadis by controlling the Prana. It, in turn, stimulates the Sushumna Nadi, the central channel. This aids in eliminating free radicals and toxins from the Ida and Pingala Nadi and aids in the restoration of brain balance between the two hemispheres. This aids in the purification of the entire nervous system. It is healing and restoring mental calm, peace, and tranquillity. 

This ancient practice of Anulom Viloma benefits mental strength and complete relaxation. In addition, it is beneficial in preparing the entire body for meditation. 

Get an online appointment with a general physician from Bajaj Finserv Health to learn more about the benefits and precautions regarding Yoga for heart

Yoga is regarded as both science and a method that allows man to live a harmonious life while promoting spiritual progress through mind-body control. Pranayama not only helps one achieve perfect health, stay young, and live longer, but it is also intended to develop the inner force that allows us to overcome our flaws and face stressful situations calmly. 

Because Anuloma Viloma is generally safe and simple to perform, an increasing number of people are choosing it. You can do it at any time and from any location, including the comfort of your own home or office chair. You can also either learn and practice it on your own or first learn from a qualified yoga teacher. 

Published on 30 Aug 2022Last updated on 13 Apr 2023

Please note that this article is solely meant for informational purposes and Bajaj Finserv Health Limited (“BFHL”) does not shoulder any responsibility of the views/advice/information expressed/given by the writer/reviewer/originator. This article should not be considered as a substitute for any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with your trusted physician/qualified healthcare professional to evaluate your medical condition. The above article has been reviewed by a qualified doctor and BFHL is not responsible for any damages for any information or services provided by any third party.

Dr. Vibha Choudhary

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Vibha Choudhary

, Bachelor in Physiotherapy (BPT)


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