3. Alternate Nostril Breathing
Anuloma Viloma means Alternate Nostril Breathing. It is the main pranayama practice and comes from the science of Hatha Yoga. Anuloma Viloma facilitates the absorption of prāṇa into the body’s subtle energy channels (nāḍīs).
You can practice by bringing your right hand into vishnu mudra, turning in the index and middle fingers. The thumb will be used to close the right nostril and the ring and little fingers close the left nostril. You start by inhaling left to a count of 4, retaining for 16 and exhale right for 8. After that you inhale right for 4, hold for 16 and exhale left for 8.
The reason for doing alternate nostril breathing is because the breath is unsteady and is always more dominant in one nostril or the other. For example, when the right nostril is more open, the left brain hemisphere is more active, and vice versa. This practice balances the functioning of the two sides of the brain: the logical left brain and the more creative right brain.
This conscious and rhythmical manipulation of the flow of breath through the nostrils balances the 2 sides of our brain and also our personality. It leads to mental and emotional health and growth. In fact, this practice is known as the science of Hatha Yoga, the union of hot (Ha) and cold (Tha) subtle energies. The focus is to balance the 2 airflow in our nostrils which in turn balances our mind and emotions.
This increased energy enhances our overall vitality and well-being and connects us to our spirit and consciousness. Furthermore, the subtle energy flow, once balanced and the nadis once purified, facilitate the awakening of spiritual energy. The result is we will positively transform our outlook on life and on ourselves.