Benefits of Anulom Vilom pranayam for hypertension are:
- It oxygenates the blood
- It cleanses the blood vessels deeply to improve blood circulation
- Relieves stress
The alternative name of Anulom vilom pranayam is alternate nostril breathing. As the name suggests, it involves breathing in from one nostril and breathing out from the other and then vice versa.
Anulom and vilom- both are Sanskrit words.
Anulom = Moving along the flow = Breathing in
Vilom = Moving against the flow = Breathing out
It is also called as Nadi Shodhana pranayam.
Nadi means energy channels through which the vital life energy circulates.
Shodhana means cleansing.
It implies that anulom vilom pranayam can deep cleanse the energy channels to eradicate any blockages so that all organs of the body gets enough supply of oxygen to work smoothly.
For hypertension, regular practice of anulom vilom and bhramari pranayam can do wonders. Kapalbhati pranayam is also useful, but, it should be practiced gently- Swami Ramdev, a distinguished yoga guru in India.
Read more: Bhramari Pranayam is a Stress Buster
A case study conducted at the Narayana Medical college and hospital, Nellore, India concluded that regular practice of Anulom Vilom and Bhramari pranayam for 10 minutes each for a period of 3 months can help reduce blood pressure and stress level to ease hypertension symptoms.
How to do Anulom Vilom Pranayam
- Sit on a yoga mat or blanket in any of the yoga postures- Sukhasana, Vajrasana or Padmasana. If you are a beginner, then sukhasana – simple cross legged posture- would be perfect for you.
Read more: Vajrasana after meals to improve digestion
- If you have joint pain and can’t fold the knees, simply sit on a chair.
- Keep the spine straight, close your eyes and focus on the breathing.
- During the whole pranayam, the left hand would remain idle. Hence, rest it on the left knee.
- Lift your right hand a little and gently close the right nostril with right thumb. Make sure that there is no leakage of air.
- Now, inhale from the left nostril. Inhale slowly and deeply.
- Now, close the left nostril with the middle and ring fingers of right hand.
- Immediately release the thumb from the right nostril to breathe out.
- Now, inhale slowly and deeply from the right nostril while the left one is closed.
- Then, plug the right nostril with right thumb and breathe out from the left nostril.
- This is one cycle of Anulom Vilom pranayam.
- Complete 3 to 5 cycles in one go, then take some rest and start again.
- In this way, practice it for at least 5 minutes. Gradually, increase the time up to 15 to 20 minutes.
- The time duration of breathing in and out depends on individual’s age, lung capacity and stamina. In general, you would take around 3 to 4 seconds to inhale and the same to exhale.
- Initially, you would take same amount of time for breathing in and out. For example, 3 seconds each to breathe in and out. Gradually, with regular practice, the exhalation time would automatically increase- up to twice than inhalation. For example, 3 seconds to inhale and 6 seconds to exhale.
- You really don’t need to worry about these time standards. Just practice slowly in a relaxed manner without any hurry. Good results would come slowly, but, surely.
When to do Anulom Vilom Pranayam
Practice anulom vilom pranaym in the morning on an empty stomach after the bowel movements. Choose a well ventilated corner of your house or you can go to the nearest park.
You can practice it in the evening also with a gap of at least 4 hours between your last meal and pranayam.
For better results in case of chronic health problems, practice pranayam twice a day- morning and evening.
Let us know Hypertension (high blood pressure)
Hypertension is one of the largest epidemic in today’s modern world. More than one billion people across the world are suffering from it.
It is quite difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of hypertension. There are numerous factors which can cause or worsen it:
- Faulty genes (if hypertension is a genetic problem in your family)
- Kidney problems
- Adrenal and thyroid gland disorders
- Chronic smoking
- Excessive consumption of alcohol
- Unhealthy diet rich in salt and saturated fats
- Old age
- Stress, anxiety and tension
Proper medical diagnosis and positive changes in lifestyle can really help manage hypertension to avoid any further complications. Positive lifestyle changes includes:
- A low salt diet
- Regular physical workout
- Quitting smoking and alcohol
- Stress management
- Practicing Yoga and pranayam
Anulom Vilom Pranayam for Hypertension
Anulom vilom is an ideal pranayam for a healthy heart.
- Cleanses the blood vessels- High blood pressure causes poor blood circulation and vice versa. Hence, if we can improve the blood circulation in heart arteries, the problem of hypertension can be relieved. Here anulom vilom can help us. By removing the blockages in heart arteries, it improves the blood circulation to normalize the blood pressure.
- Purifies the blood– Anulom vilom pranayam acts as an internal body cleanser by providing ample amount of oxygen to various body organs. Acute deficiency of oxygen can even cause cancer.
Cancer grows in oxygen deprived body cells. Proper breathing may reduce the chances of Cancer in the human body- Mr. Otto Heinrich Warburg, German Noble Laureate
During inhalation, fresh oxygen enters your body to rejuvenate every organ of your body. During exhalation, carbon dioxide and other toxins are released from your body. The successive inhalation and exhalation cycles oxygenate your blood and purifies it.
- Reduction in obesity– Anulom vilom pranayam when practiced along with kapalbhati, can really help in reducing the body weight to treat obesity. Obviously, the impact would vary from person to person depending on body constitution.
- Stress management- Anulom vilom pranayam is a known natural remedy for mental disorders such as depression, stress and anxiety. Your brain is divided into two equal hemispheres.
When you inhale from the left nostril, the fresh oxygen stimulates the right side of the brain. On the same terms, when you breathe in from the right nostril, the right side of the brain gets stimulated. Hence, anulom vilom pranayam has the ability to balance both the hemispheres of your brain to calm down your mind and promote relaxation.
Research Studies- Anulom Vilom for Hypertension
- A case study performed at the Patanjali Research Foundation, Haridwar, India by Acharya Balkrishna and his team– evaluated the immediate effect of anulom vilom branayam on high blood pressure. A total of 90 participants in the age group 20 to 59 performed this pranayam for 10 minutes. The before and after blood pressure readings were noted for each participant. After the pranayam, there was a significant drop in both- systolic and diastolic blood pressure readings.
- Another study conducted at the SMS medical college, Jaipur, India also observed the immediate effect of anulom vilom pranayam on high blood pressure and heart rate.
- As a person with hypertension, don’t adopt an aggressive approach which practicing pranayam. Do it slowly and in a relaxed manner. Inhalation and exhalation at a fast speed can actually worsen the condition.
- Some people practice anulom vilom by holding the breath for a few seconds in between inhalation and exhalation. It is known as Kumbhaka. It is strictly not recommended for people with heart conditions.
- As explained earlier, if you are practicing kapalbhati pranayam also, do it slowly.
Anulom vilom is a safe and easy to practice yoga exercise for people of all ages. But, an expert yoga teacher’s guidance is strictly recommended for below health conditions:
- Any recent injury or surgery
- Chronic illness
- Women during pregnancy and menstruation
During the first trimester, pregnant women can practice anulom vilom pranayam at a slow speed.
Benefits of Anulom vilom pranayam for hypertension are quite obvious. There is no doubt about it. But, you can’t just rely on this pranayam to solve all your worries. Pranayam is a yoga practice and it takes time to show results. Hence, expert medical advice and positive changes in diet and lifestyle are crucial for better results.
Image credit- www.youtube.com, www.projectsmart.co.uk