The Most Important Yoga Posture is Breathwork
I still remember the very first yoga session I had. At the end of a slightly exhausting, but relaxing, session, my teacher asked me to do the breathwork, Anulom-Vilom.
“This is the most important posture,” she said, “my own teacher taught me that; and it feels like if I don’t practice breathwork at the end of a session, the entire session did no benefit.
“It’s like a form of meditation,” she continued, “Your attention is the most important part. Do this every day.”
Prana means breath, or life-force, and yama means control. Breathwork, or breathcontrol, is the art of navigating the life force, which flows through your entire body, consciously.
Blockages of prana in your nadis, or chakras, is the root cause of all dis-ease in eastern medicine. Pranayama can help in clearing these blockages and restoring life, giving you:
- More energy in day-to-day life
- The ability to handle stress more effectively
- Higher resistance to diseases, according to eastern medical beliefs
Translating as Alternate Nostril Breathing Exercise, Anulom-Vilom helps in strengthening the mind and in complete relaxation.
Ensure that you practice Anulom-Vilom 4-5 hours after having food. Cardiac or blood pressure patients and pregnant women should not hold their breath while doing pranayama, but just keep inhaling and exhaling.
- Sit comfortably with a straight spine.
- Using your right thumb, block the right nostril. Inhale through the left one for 2 seconds, and then hold the breath for 4 seconds (Cardiac and blood pressure patients and pregnant women should not hold their breath).
- Keep the left nostril blocked and release through the right for 2 seconds. Now inhale through the right nostril for 2 seconds and then hold the breath for 4. Keep the right nostril blocked and release through the left for 2 seconds. Block both nostrils and hold the breath for 2 seconds. This cycle completes one round.
- Start the cycle again, this time starting with the right nostril.
- Repeat for a maximum of 10 rounds.
There are several different types of pranayama, and Anulom-Vilom is just one of them. I encourage you to try them all and be consistent in your practice of pranayama.
“Breathing is simple, gracious, soothing and always there for you.” ― Karenina Ana Murillo
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information.
- The Yoga Institute, ‘The Yoga Institute’, official website (accessed on 12th June, 2020)
- The Art of Living, ‘4 Powerful Breathing Exercises – Pranayama For Beginners’, official website (accessed on 12th June, 2020)