Viloma Pranayama – 17 Wonderful Benefits and Contraindications


What is Viloma Pranayama

This pranayama is practiced in three stages and each stage can take 3–4 weeks to perfect.

Each stage is more subtle than the preceding one, and requires a greater level of awareness.

Viloma means “against the natural course” in Sanskrit, because in this pranayama you have to hold your breath for two seconds during each breathing cycle.

‘Vi’ denotes disjunction or negation, “Loma” means hair.

Viloma means anti-hair or against the natural order of things.

In viloma pranayama inhalation or exhalation is not a continuous process, but one that is interrupted by several pauses.

For instance, if one complete inhalation were to take fifteen seconds, then in viloma it would be interrupted every two or three seconds, thus bringing the length of the inbreath to twenty-five or thirty seconds.

Similarly, with interrupted exhalation the out-breath is lengthened from twenty-five to thirty seconds.

This pranayama may be compared to climbing up or down a tall ladder, with a pause at each step.

See that there is no unconscious out or in breath during the pauses of interrupted inhalation or exhalation.

Benefits of Viloma Pranayama

  1. Brings lightness to the body
  2. Regulates blood pressure
  3. This pranayama is useful to cool down after an active yoga class
  4. Relieves symptoms of colds, coughs, and tonsillitis
  5. Helps treat menorrhagia and metrorrhagia
  6. Reduces mood swings and Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) related headaches
  7. Helps treat the symptoms of menopause
  8. Improves control of your breath and movement of air within your body
  9. This pranayama is the most helpful in erasing the negative thinking pattern.
  10. Relieves anxiety
  11. Enhances the lung capacity and oxygenation throughout the body.
  12. Viloma Pranayama helps in overcoming the tough negative emotions such as forgetfulness, agitation, anger and frustration
  13. Reduces eye strain and headaches
  14. The beautiful benefits of this pranayama are efficient decision making ability, focus, patience, concentration, , Increased inventiveness
  15. Reduces mood swings and Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) related headaches
  16. Effectively balances the three doshas of the body – Vata, Kapha and Pitta
  17. Increases the serenity to the mind

How to do Viloma Pranayama

Here are the step wise instructions on How to do Viloma Pranayama

Initial Instructions

  • Place the foam and wooden blocks as in Ujjayi Pranayama.
  • Follow the steps for Savasana.
  • Then practice a few cycles of Ujjayi Pranayama.
  • This will open your chest and stimulate your intercostal muscles.

Step 1

  • Keep your sternum lifted and your diaphragm firm.
  • Inhale and exhale without strain, slowly and deeply.
  • Your exhalation should last for 2-3 seconds.
  • Then, pause for 2 seconds before inhaling.
  • This constitutes a single cycle.
  • Repeat this 3-5 times.

Step 2

  • Your breathing should now fade away effortlessly at each pause and resume equally easily.
  • Follow the instructions for Stage I, with your exhalations longer than your pauses.
  • Practice 15-20 cycles over 7-10 minutes.
  • Rest in Savasana.

Step 3

  • Do a few cycles of Steps I and 2.
  • Focus on the silence of the pauses.
  • Experience a feeling of serenity.

Instructions to come out of the pose

  • Practice a cycle of Ujjayi Pranayama.
  • Then follow the coming out of the pose sequence for Savasana

Contraindications and Cautions

  • Do not practice if you have a severe backache, constipation, or diarrhea.
  • If you feel out of breath or fatigued, finish the cycle you are on, take a few normal breaths, then resume your practice.
  • Swallow your saliva only after a complete exhalation.
  • Always stop before you reach your limit.
  • Beginners should not practice more than 6 cycles.


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