Post By:Vishwanath IyerPublished on: December 27, 2016Reading time: 6 minutes
School of Yoga explains nāḍī-śuddhi-prāṇāyāma or anulom-vilom
Nāḍī-śuddhi is a basic and most widely used form of prāṇāyāma and means nāḍī = energy channel + śuddhi = cleanser. Often, this technique is referred to as anulom-vilom which means inhalation-exhalation.
Next, place thumb over right nostril and ring-finger + little finger over left nostril. Then, turn the other 2 fingers turned into the palm.
Lastly, close right nostril with thumb and inhale through left nostril for 4 counts.
Thereafter, close both nostrils and hold your breath for 6 counts .
Now, release the ring finger from over left nostril & exhale through the left nostril for 6 counts, increasing to 8 counts as your capability increases.
Again, close both nostrils & hold breath for 6 counts.
After this, repeat using the reverse method.
Breathe-in through the right nostril for 4 counts, close both nostrils for 6 counts, open the the left nostril and breathe-out for 6 counts.
This is a round of nāḍī-śuddhi.
Importantly, repeat the cycle 5 times. Rest between cycles if required.
Additionally, try to slowly increase to 20 rounds.
Lastly, slowly try increasing duration of inhalation (puraka), holding (kumbaka) and exhalation (rechaka) as you gain confidence.
Over time, you could also increase the ratio of inhalation, holding and exhalation to your comfort. Only, ensure that exhalation is close to twice of inhalation so that lung volumetric efficiency is increased. Also, ensure that the breathing is calm and steady, not erratic and agitated or jerky.
What are the benefits of nāḍī-śuddhiprāṇāyāma?
Since the breathing process is measured and steady, forced volume capacity of the lung increases over time and with practice.
Consequently, evacuation of waste gases (CO2 and water vapour) is increased.
As a result, the transfer capacity of the lungs gets improved. Importantly, transfer capacity is the amount of oxygen that enters the body and amount of CO2 + water vapour that gets removed from the body.
Furthermore, the above practice increases oxygen content in the blood stream while removing toxins. As a result, health and immunity are improved.
Also, left/ right brain activity equalisation is improved by this prāṇāyāma.
Lastly, the practice of steady breathing reduces stress and purges excess adrenalin and related toxins from the system.
What is surya-bheda (splitting the sun) prāṇāyāma?
This is a variation of nāḍī-śuddhi-prāṇāyāma. In nāḍī-śuddhi, the inhalation and exhalation is alternated between left and right nostrils. However, in surya-bheda-prāṇāyāma, all inhalation is only performed using the right nostril while the exhalation is performed using the left nostril.
Next, close left nostril with thumb and inhale through right nostril for 4 counts.
After this, close both nostril and hold your breath for 6 counts.
Release ring finger from over left nostril & exhale to 6 counts, increasing to 8 counts as you become confident.
Finally, close both nostrils & hold breath for 4 counts.
Lastly, breathe normally, relax.
This is a round of sūrya-bheda-prāṇāyāma which activates piṅgalā-nāḍī.
Repeat by starting again with inhalation through the right nostril, hold, exhalation through the left nostril, hold.
Additionaly, practice 5 rounds.
Lastly, rest in between if required.
What is chandra-bheda (splitting the moon) prāṇāyāma
This is a variation of nāḍī-śuddhi-prāṇāyāma. In nāḍī-śuddhi, the inhalation and exhalation is alternated between left and right nostrils. However, in chandra-bheda-prāṇāyāma, all inhalation is only performed using the left nostril while the exhalation is performed using the right nostril. This process is the opposite of sūrya-bheda-prāṇāyāma.
Chandra-bhedaprāṇāyāma technique explained in easy steps.