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Anulom Vilom Pranayam - Health Benefits, Steps & Side Effects

What is Anulom Vilom Pranayama?

Anulom Vilom Pranayama is a controlled breathing practice of yoga. The process of Anulom Vilom involves holding a nostril closed with a thumb and inhaling with the other, then holding the other nostril closed with your middle and ring finger and repeating the process.  

It is one of the easiest controlled breathing practice of yoga which is also called ‘Yoga For Everyone’.

It has so many physical and psychological benefits. Some practitioners say it increases their blood flow and circulation while some say it makes them stress-free. 

In this article we will aim to understand the benefits and side effects of practising the Anulom Vilom Pranayama.

The Benefits of Practising the Anulom Vilom Pranayama:

  • Kickstart your day with zero stress

Experts believe that if we start our day with Anulom Vilom pranayama, it may have an immediate calming effect on us.

Your day starts with great health and positivity. Controlling breathing may result in a feeling that you have control over your health, emotions and life.

It is one of the most satisfying breathing exercises practised by lots of people in the morning.

  • Cleanses your Respiratory System

Controlled Breathing with episodes of strong inhalation and exhalation can have a positive effect on your lungs, nasal pipe, oeasophagus, and the trachea.

Uninostril and alternate nostril breathing has been of special significance in Yoga, since the nostrils are said to represent the subtle energy channels known as Nadis.

Right nostril corresponds to Pingala Nadi, and the left to Ida, respectively.” When we refresh our Nadis, our respiratory system works very well.

  • Improves Brain Functions

NCBI conducted a study on a group that performed Anulom Vilom Pranayama daily. As a result, they found that “There was also highly significant improvement of cognition, general well being and anxiety.”

It improves your concentration and ability to focus. Studies explain how this yoga should be practised by children to help them become calm and focused.

  • Improves Cardiovascular Functions

According to a Research Paper, the people who performed this breathing yoga every morning experienced, “A significant decline in basal heart rate (P<0.01) and systolic blood pressure (P<0.05) was observed.”

Breathing deeply with more awareness can release the tension surrounding your heart muscles and tissues.

This allows your blood pressure levels to normalise. The people who have arrhyhemia can also perform this breathing activity daily to improve their heart beat rate per minute.

  • Enhances Your Overall Beauty

You know how stress can make your face pop pimples and acne. Many people experience tremendous stress when they wake up every morning by just looking at work emails and messages.

This makes you look old and dull. Practicing Anulom Vilom Pranayama daily can reduce this stress and help blood circulate everywhere so your skin can shine and radiate youthful brightness.

To practice more breathing exercises, you should definitely checkout Baba Ramdev’s videos on the internet. He is said to be the master of Pranayama and other Yoga exercises.

  • Improves Vision & Eyesight

Did you know that your eyes need pure oxygenated blood every day to see clearly?

If our eyes do not get pure and oxygenated blood, we may fail to have a good vision when we’re in our 50s or 70s.

Our retina and optical nerves need a lot of nutrients from blood which we may not get very well if there is no controlled breathing practised. 

The Side Effects of Practising Anulom Vilom Pranayama:

Normally, there are no side effects of practising Anulom Vilom or any types of Pranayama as everyone knows the basic breathing strategies.

However, you should not exceed one or two minutes when starting the practice.

  • Dizziness

If you do too much of Anulom Vilom Pranayama without an instructor’s observation and guidance, you may start feeling dizzy after a minute or two.

This is because most people won’t know how to do it at the first go and may end up exhaling more quickly and inhale less oxygen.

This causes a deprivation in oxygenated blood in your brain making you very dizzy. It is okay if you feel dizzy for a day but don’t repeat the same errors again or it may cause severe consequences.

  • Nausea

Because people practice Anulom Vilom exercises typically in the morning before breakfast, there’s a high chance that you’ll feel nauseous in the first few attempts.

When you inhale a lot of air, the toxins may aggravate the stomach acid, causing you to have nausea or vomitting.

Be very careful when you perform yoga on an empty stomach. Remember, always have a glass of warm water when you wake up to cleanse your bowels and then practice some breathing exercises.

  • Breathing Confusions

Our body has a set method of breathing already. We only inhale and exhale in repeated order.

However, if we force our body to reverse the process continuously for a period, it may confuse our respiratory tract and cause breathing problems.

Children should be very carefully taught the theory of controlled breathing before they perform Anulom Vilom regularly.

  • Pitta

In Ayurveda, Pitta refers to an imbalance in stomach’s acid levels that may give you sour burps or hiccups.

This makes one feel very uneasy at times. Pitta can also lead to IBS, constipation, diarrhoea or other digestive disorders.

The Steps to Perform Anulom Vilom Pranayama:

Here’s a step-by-step explanation of how you should perform Anulom Vilom Pranayama:

  1. Sit straight and hold a meditation position.

  2. Observe your breathing for a few days in this position. You should do this for 3 minutes.

  3. Now place your hands on your knees with a meditative mudra by touching the thumb to the index finger and keeping the three fingers open.

  4. Hold your right nostril closed with your right hand’s thumb and breathe in with your left nostril.

  5. Focus on your breathing when you take in a deep breath from the left nostril, let your lungs feel full, go very slow.

  6. Now, using your ring finger and middle finger, close your left nostril very slowly and try exhaling very slowly from your night nostril which is now open. 

  7. You should take it very slowly.

  8. Do not rush at all.

  9. Now, repeat it again in reverse. Start with the left nostril this time. 


The entire idea of performing Anulom Vilom and other Pranayama is to focus on controlled breathing so you know how to control stress and anxiety.

In our busy lives, we definitely need Anulom Vilom to overcome our anxieties. Once you become an expert, you can even repeat the exercise twice or thrice a day. 

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