Anulom Vilom –Alternate Nostril Breathing
Is a simple and most recommended Pranayama. Breathing retention is another type of pranayama that helps strengthen lung capacity. Inhale a deep breath and hold for as long as you can, this ensures greater oxygen supply and absorption.
Here you breathe in through one nostril, hold your breath, and breathe out through the other nostril in the ratio of 2:8:4. This breathing technique is done by breathing in through one nostril and releasing the breath through the other. You are required to breathe deeply and consciously.
*Sit in Sukhasana/Padmasana or even Vajrasana with your hands resting sideways on the knees.
*If you begin from the left then close the right nostril with your right thumb and inhale slowly to fill up your lungs.
*Now, exhale slowly from the right nostril.
It is essential to focus on your breath and practice the technique slowly.
You can increase the rounds can do this anytime of the day
Anulom translates to ‘with the grain’ while Vilom stands for ‘against the grain’. This simple breathing exercise – when performed regularly – is known to balance the Tridoshas (three doshas) in the body namely Vata, Pitta and Kapha.
To break it down, ‘Kapalbhati’ comes from the word ‘Kapal’ (forehead) and ‘Bhati’ which means ‘to shine’. It is believed that the regular practice of the exercise brings a natural glow on the face
Kapalbhati is not really a Pranayama but it is a Kriya. The breathing technique involves “active exhalation and passive inhalation”. During inhalation, the stomach sinks in and vice-versa during exhaling. This stomach movement is therefore beneficial for the muscles around it, including that of the liver and pancreas. The blood flow to these areas also increases.
It is process limited to Pooraka (Inhalation) and Rechaka (Exhalation) performed in a typical manner. Kumbhaka (Holding) is not included here. More importance is given to the Rechaka than Pooraka.
In fact, Rechaka performed in a particular manner is the main process of Kapalbhati. Pooraka is just for the namesake. It is to be performed by way of effecting a push with the help of stomach muscles.
The diaphragm and the muscles of the abdomen are to be moved violently and the air should be exhaled with the help of that movement.
Kapalbhati aids digestion helps in belly fat loss. The technique involves forceful breathing which strengthens lungs and increases its capacity.. It also increases blood supply to various parts of the body. It activates the body and removes lethargy. Facial radiance is a natural benefit as the name suggests.
Do not attempt Kapalbhati without learning how it is done. First get a health check-up done to ensure that you are fit enough to practice Kapalbhati. After you get the go-ahead from your doctor, learn the technique from a certified yoga expert and practitioner.
- Avoid doing Kapalbhati if you have your menstrual period. Pregnant women should also avoid doing Kapalbhati as forcefully contracting the abdominal muscles can harm the unborn baby.
- If you suffer from heart diseases, exhale really slow.
- People who have high blood pressure should not increase their rate of Kapalbhati. Stick with a lower rate, like one stroke per second.
- Kapalbhati may aggravate ulcers. So if you have ulcers, be careful while practicing the technique and check with your doctor as well as your yoga teacher whether it is safe for you.