Pranayama

If you are new to pranayama (yogic breathing practices) and want to get started here’s a simple practice for you to try.

Extra instructions for experienced practitioners of pranayama are at the bottom of the page.

Viloma Pranayama

(To be practised on an empty stomach.)

Stage One

Sit or lie quietly for a few moments, becoming attuned to your breath and letting your body settle and soften.

Now begin to divide your inhalations into 4 stages. Do this by breathing in for 2-3 seconds, pausing for 2-3 seconds, breathing in again for 2-3 seconds, pausing for 2-3 seconds, and so on until the lungs are comfortably full.

Then exhale slowly and deeply, without interruption.

Keep the breath easy and comfortable and do not strain in any way.

Note that inhalation is in stages, with pauses in between, whilst exhalation is continuous. Both inhalation and exhalation start from the bottom of the lungs upwards.

Stage Two

This is the reverse of Stage One. Inhalation is steady and continuous, exhalation is divided into four 2-3 second stages, with 2-3 second pauses in between.

Keep the breath easy and comfortable and do not strain in any way.

As before, both in- and exhalation are from the bottom of the lungs upwards.

Both stages are perfectly safe for anyone to practice regardless of their blood pressure reading. However:

Stage One is particularly beneficial for regulating low blood pressure.

Stage Two is particularly beneficial for regulating high blood pressure.

Viloma pranayama can be practised for 5-10 minutes at a time, or for as long as you do not feel fatigue.

Suggestion. 5 minutes Stage One, followed by a few ”natural breaths” then 5 minutes Stage Two.

Experienced Practitioners.

Engage mula and uddhyana bandhas, bhrumadhye drishti and ujjayi breathing throughout.

Stage One, after completing inhalation engage jalandhara bandha and practice anatara khumbaka. Stage Two, after completing exhalation engage jalandhara bandha and practice bahya khumbaka.

Whenever you finish the practice, always allow your breath to find its natural rhythm for at least a couple of minutes before getting up. If you were practising lying down, turn onto your side for a few seconds before sitting up.