Viloma Pranayama

Inhale Focus

Viloma means against the natural order of things. In Viloma Pranayama, the process of inhale and exhale is not continuous but instead is interrupted by a series of pauses (3-5), like walking up or down a set of stairs with a pause at each step. This pranayama gently introduces the concept of expanding the breath and lung capacity through controlling your breath. This practice can be done seated or lying down.

There are three variations of this pranayama:

  1. Interrupted inhale
  2. Interrupted exhale
  3. Interrupted inhale and exhale

Viloma I (with 3 pauses):

  1. Find a seated position with the spine tall and begin by deepening the breath
  2. Visualize filling the lungs from the bottom up
  3. Inhale ⅓ and pause
  4. Inhale another ⅓ and pause
  5. Inhale the final ⅓ and pause
  6. Exhale smoothly and fully
  7. Begin the next round

Viloma II is the same process but pausing the exhales and taking a smooth inhale.

Advancing the Practice
Viloma III has the pauses on both inhale and exhale. You can also increase the amount of pauses in the breath.

Effects:

  • Improves control of your breath and movement of air within the body
  • Opens the chest, ribs and lungs
  • Improves mind/body awareness
  • Helps to cool down the body after an active yoga class
  • Relieves anxiety
  • Helps to relieve tension from PMS

Notes:

  • When practicing, try to be fully aware of the movement of breath in the body.
  • It can be nice to target a different ‘area’ of the lungs after each pause or interruption to really try to control the movement of air in the body.
  • Keep the breath relaxed and soft. Try to avoid gasping for breath and focus on keeping the quality of the breath gentle.

Inhale, and God approaches you. Hold the inhalation, and God remains with you.
Exhale, and you approach God. Hold the exhalation, and surrender to God.

Krishnamacharya
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