Anuloma pranayama is breathing through alternate nostrils of the nose. It is otherwise known as Nadi Shuddhi Pranayama or Nadi Shodhona Pranayama. It is practiced by sitting in any asana, such as sukhasana, vajrasana or padmasana. Alternate nostrils are closed, generally by using the right hand's thumb, ring finger, and little finger. The thumb is used for closing the right nostril and the ring and little fingers are used to close the left nostril. The mouth is closed, and is not used for breathing. No sound should be produced while inhaling or exhaling.
The cycle of practice is:
- The right nostril is closed with the thumb. Air is exhaled through the left nostril, and inhaled back through the same nostril.
- The left nostril is closed with the ring finger. Air is exhaled through the right nostril, and inhaled back through the same nostril.
This is repeated at a normal breathing rate. It is advisable to have an inhale : exhale ratio of 1 : 2. Changing nostril after exhaling is considered wrong. Many health benefits are claimed for this pranayama. It is advisable to practise Single Nostril Breathing before doing this pranayama. This pranayama can also be practiced with breath retention (Kumbhaka), after a long practice of the ordinary one. The inhale : retention : exhale ratio must be 1:4:2.
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