Anuloma Viloma: The Ancient Sanskrit Practice for a Balanced Mind

Jan 12, 2024

The Language of the Text "Anuloma Viloma" is Sanskrit

Anuloma Viloma, known as "alternate nostril breathing" in English, is a profound yogic breathing technique deeply rooted in the ancient language of Sanskrit. Derived from the terms "Anuloma" (meaning "with the grain" or "natural order") and "Viloma" (meaning "against the grain" or "going against the natural order"), this practice aims at bringing harmony to our body, mind, and spirit.

The Art of Anuloma Viloma

As you explore the benefits of Anuloma Viloma, you'll be amazed by its simplicity and its ability to promote equilibrium within your being. Through the intentional regulation of breath, this technique allows you to cultivate a deep sense of tranquility and a balanced state of mind.

The Origins of Anuloma Viloma

Anuloma Viloma has roots in ancient yogic practices and the holistic healing system of Ayurveda. The practice is often attributed to the sage Patanjali, who is considered one of the founding fathers of classical yoga. Patanjali's Yoga Sutras emphasize the importance of control over the breath, which forms an integral part of Anuloma Viloma.

The Practice of Anuloma Viloma

To begin your Anuloma Viloma practice:

  1. Find a comfortable seated position, either on a cushion or a yoga mat, ensuring your spine is straight and relaxed.
  2. Close your eyes and take a few deep, cleansing breaths, allowing any tension in your body to melt away.
  3. Place your right thumb gently on your right nostril, closing it off.
  4. Inhale deeply through your left nostril, counting to four as you fill your lungs with fresh air.
  5. At the top of your inhalation, close your left nostril with your right ring finger, momentarily holding your breath.
  6. Release your right thumb and exhale slowly through your right nostril, counting to eight as you empty your lungs completely.
  7. Keeping your left nostril closed, inhale through your right nostril for a count of four.
  8. Hold your breath momentarily while closing off your right nostril.
  9. Open your left nostril and exhale fully, counting to eight as you release all the stale air from your lungs.
  10. This completes one round of Anuloma Viloma.
  11. Continue this cycle for a minimum of five to ten rounds, gradually increasing the duration as you become more comfortable with the practice.

The Benefits of Anuloma Viloma

Anuloma Viloma offers a wide range of benefits that extend beyond the boundaries of physical well-being. Here are just a few:

1. Balances the Nervous System

The deliberate and focused breathing in Anuloma Viloma helps to harmonize the functioning of the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems. This balance promotes relaxation, reduces stress levels, and enhances overall mental and emotional well-being.

2. Improves Lung Function

Regular practice of Anuloma Viloma encourages deep breathing, which strengthens the lungs and improves their capacity. This can have a positive impact on respiratory health, increasing oxygen intake, and helping to purify the bloodstream.

3. Enhances Mental Clarity and Focus

The rhythmic, controlled breath in Anuloma Viloma calms the mind, improves concentration, and enhances mental clarity. It can be particularly beneficial for individuals experiencing anxiety, racing thoughts, or difficulty in maintaining focus.

4. Cleanses and Energizes the Nadis

In yogic philosophy, the nadis are energy channels throughout the body. Anuloma Viloma purifies and revitalizes these energy pathways, promoting the smooth flow of prana (life force energy) and supporting overall vitality.

5. Promotes Emotional Balance

Through its impact on the nervous system, Anuloma Viloma helps to regulate emotions and cultivate a balanced emotional state. It can foster a sense of inner peace, emotional stability, and resilience in the face of life's challenges.

Incorporating Anuloma Viloma into Daily Life

For maximum benefits, it is recommended to practice Anuloma Viloma daily, ideally in a quiet and peaceful environment. The morning hours are often considered highly conducive to a focused practice.

As you progress in your Anuloma Viloma journey, you may consider integrating this technique into your existing meditation or yoga routine. It can serve as a powerful tool to deepen your connection with yourself and heighten your overall sense of well-being.


Anuloma Viloma is a revered Sanskrit practice that offers a multitude of benefits for both the body and mind. By incorporating this ancient breathing technique into your daily routine, you can experience the transformative power of balanced breathing firsthand. So take a moment, find your comfortable seat, and embark on the journey of Anuloma Viloma to discover a calmer mind, a healthier body, and a more harmonious existence.