The Yoga Tutor

Loma Viloma Pranayama

[ Excerpt from The Science of Yoga, page 434 ]

Alternate Nostril Breathing

There are specific pranayama practices which function to balance and harmonize the currents of energy flowing along the principle ida and pingala nadis located on either side of the spine.

Loma-viloma pranayama is 'alternate nostril breathing'. It is often wrongly referred to by many today as nadi shoddhana (or nadi shuddhi). Although those pranayama techniques use the loma-viloma breathing structure as well, their proper practice differs from this simple alternate nostril breathing.

Technique

  • Sit in vajra asana.
  • Exhale all of the air from the lungs.
  • Employing the vishnu mudra, begin by closing the left nostril and inhale fully through the right nostril.
  • Close both nostrils and hold the breath briefly in kumbhaka.
  • Open the left and exhale fully through the left side.
  • Close both again and briefly hold the lungs empty (shunyaka)
  • Open the right nostril again and repeat 6 to 9 rounds of this full sequence.
Note: The breathing cycle is performed in the 2:1 savitri rhythm. Begin with the 4-count (8:4:8:4) and experiment with longer counts as you further your practice (10:5:10:5), (12:6:12:6), etc.

Aloma-Viloma Pranayama

Aloma-viloma pranayama adds the reverse breath to the loma-viloma pranayama practice learned in the previous lesson -- breathing in through the left as well as the right, in alternating fashion.

Technique

  • Begin by performing a full round of the loma-viloma pranayama as follows:
  • Exhale all of the air from the lungs.
  • Employing the vishnu mudra, begin by closing the left nostril and inhale fully through the right nostril.
  • Close both nostrils and hold the breath briefly in kumbhaka.
  • Open the left and exhale fully through the left side.
  • Close both again and briefly hold the lungs empty (shunyaka)
Next,
  • Re-open the left nostril and inhale fully.
  • Close both nostrils and hold the breath in.
  • Open the right nostril and exhale fully.
  • Close both nostrils and hold.
  • Repeat 6 to 9 rounds of this entire sequence.
Note: The same 2:1 savitri rhythm is employed as in the loma-viloma pranayama.

[Continued...]


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NOTE: This yoga article is an excerpt from The Science of Yoga, an online yoga training program with streaming yoga videos and 600 pages of step-by-step yoga instruction.


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