Anulom Vilom Pranayama, Alternate Nostril Breathing Details

Author: Randeep Singh / go to all Techniques of Yoga articles

Anulom Vilom Pranayama is also

known as Suryabhedana Pranayama,

or Alternate breathing technique.

The breathing pattern here alternates

,between the Pingala Nadi

 ( beginning at the right nostril) and,

Ida Nadi ( beginning at the left Nostril),

both being oppositely charged in terms of energy (Prana) ions.

Inhalation and exhalation are altered between these two energy channels which direct the resultant harmonized energy through the vertically held spinal cord ( Sushumna Nadi) producing the calming effect on the Mind. One must diligently follow the general rules of doing pranayama in the correct way in order to benefit the maximum from the same. 


Sit in any meditative posture of your choice. Open your right palm, keeping the thumb and the middle finger straight, fold the remaining three fingers towards the center of the palm. Use the thumb for blocking the right nostril and the little finger for blocking the left nostril as per the procedure described below.

Position the hand mudra as explained above in front of your nose, close the left nostril with the little finger and breathe in from the right nostril for two seconds ( Counts as per the time measure concept in pranayama). Now retain the breath for four seconds by closing both the nostrils with the little finger and the thumb together. Exhale through the left nostril by removing the little finger for two seconds( counts). 

Now inhale back through the left nostril, retain and exhale through the right nostril using the same count pattern as earlier. At the end of this exhalation close both the nostrils and suspend for four seconds ( counts). The first half of one complete round ends here. Now inhale from the left nostril and likewise complete the 2nd half of the cycle as depicted in the diagram.

Anulom Vilom

Contraindications – Anulom Vilom

Persons with severe Cardiac problems, Pregnant women, Abdominal pain, Infected appendicitis, liver enlargement, severe throat infection, lung disorders, abnormal nasal growth or blockage due to cold, and children under the age of 12 years must avoid doing anuloma viloma Pranayama.

Benefits – Anulom Vilom

Anuloma Viloma Pranayama produces a sedative effect on the tone and rhythm of the brain as well as the heart. Any blockages in the arteries of the heart gets declogged making the flow of blood through them smoother. Anulom Viloma is always recommended for cardiac issue patients as a part of the yoga for a healthy heart.  It helps improve memory, general mental functions, and concentration.  it is an essential technique in the course for yoga for improved concentration. As both the nostrils are being engaged in each breath, the amount of oxygen received per breath is increased, re-energizing the entire body along with increasing the overall lung capacity. 

Regular practice of Anuloma Viloma balances the heat and cold elements or the opposing forces of the body. Both the hemispheres of the brain, left and right, gets activated, and the Mind gets less reactive and less aggressive in the long run. 

The anuloma viloma pranayama relieves any kind of physical pain as it calms down the pain center of the brain.