One of the very few reasons I had any respect for my mother... was because she would reach into the sink with her bare hands - bare hands - and pick up that lethal gunk and drop it into the garbage... a kind of mad courage.
~Robert Fulghum
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Anuloma Viloma
(Alternate Nostril Breathing)

Anuloma Viloma, also known as the Alternate Nostril Breathing Technique, is performed by inhaling through one nostril, retaining the breath (pregnant women should not hold their breath for any length of time) and then exhaling through the other nostril at a ratio of 2:8:4.

The left nostril is known as the path of the Ida Nadi (nadi is the channel through which Prana flows), while the right nostril is the path of the Pingala Nadi. A very healthy person breathes mostly through their Ida nostril for about one hour and 50 minutes and then begins breathing through their Pingala nostril. However, most people are not this healthy and the rhythm is disrupted. Regular practice of Anuloma Viloma balances and restores the flow of Prana through the body.

Perform three repetitions and slowly work up to twenty, lengthening the counts within each step.

  1. Breathe in through your left nostril while closing the right with your thumb and count to four.
  2. (Skip this step if you are pregnant) Close both nostrils and hold your breath to the count of 16.
  3. Breathe out through your right nostril while using your ring and pinky finger to close the left and count to eight.
  4. Breathe in through your right nostril while closing the left with your ring and pinky fingers and count to four.
  5. (Skip this step if pregnant) Close both nostrils and hold your breath for the count of 16.
  6. Breathe out through your left nostril while closing the right with your thumb for the count of eight.

Anuloma Viloma creates a balance of energy in the brain and promotes optimal brain function, helping you achieve the highest potential of creative and logical verbal processes. The left side of your brain is where logical thinking occurs, and the right side is responsible for creative thinking. During Anuloma Viloma, the two sides receive the oxygen they need to perform with the same vigor, creating a balanced, more aware state of mind.

The Yogis believe this exercise was the best way to calm the mind and nervous system. Research has found that the electrical activity in the brain of a person with one congested nostril is heightened on the congested side. When the left nostril is unobstructed, the right side of the brain is predominant, and vice versa. In certain systems of yoga (particularly Kundalini), the goal is to be able to breath through both nostrils simultaneously, stimulating a more powerful life force.

Vishnu Mudra

Use the Vishnu Mudra with your right hand to close your nostrils. Extend your thumb, ring finger, and little finger of your right hand and fold down your other two fingers into your palm. Place your thumb on the side of your right nostril and your ring and little fingers to the side of your left.


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