Why is Breath Retention so important while doing Anulom Velom–Alternate Nostril Breathing:
The only difference between us, A Living Being, and A Dead Body, is the Presence or Absence of ‘The Pranic Life Force Energy’. Its Decrease Correspondingly Reduces Our Immunity, And We Fall Sick. The whole idea, thus, is to increase this ‘Pranic Life Force Energy’ inside us so that we may Stay Healthy Till 70…and Forever! This is well achieved, if Anulom Velom is done with ‘Proper Breath Retention, as much as we can’.
The more we retain our breath, the more of Pranic Life Force energy will be absorbed by the body, and very soon we will feel start feeling much better and agile. Retaining Breath Inside, called, Antir Kumbhak, and Retaining Breath Outside, called, Bahir Kumbhak, and both have their own benefits. Bahir Kumbhak is more stressful, and may be avoided. Just Antir Kumbhak is more than enough to take care of 75-80% of the ailments.
The best place to do this, or for that matter any Pranayama is, under a ‘Peepal Tree (Sacred Fig or Ficus Religiosa)’ (One of the few Trees, which give out Oxygen 24 hrs a day). Don’t worry at all, if this is not Possible, Just do it anywhere you can, Your bed, Chair, While Travelling in Metro and so on. You Should just be Empty Stomach, Spine Straight, Head Bit Tucked In, such that the Spine And Head Are In A Straight Line.
In This Pranayama – Breathing Exercise, We Take Deep and Slow Breath, Alternatively from Each Nostril, as Though we Have All The Time in The World. Deep & Slow In – Retain – Deep & Slow Out — Retain Out, If We Can – Deep & Slow In – Retain – Deep & Slow Out – Retain Out, If We Can, As Much As We Can.
- Block Your Right Nostril With Your Thumb, Inhale With Your Left Nostril, Deep and Slow,
- Retain Your Breath (At Present Inside Your Body) As Long As Is Practicable, or as much as you can Comfortably, Without Straining Your Facial Muscles,
- Now, Block Your Left Nostril With Your Index and Middle Finger and Exhale Through Your Right Nostril,
- Retain out, As Much As You Can Comfortably Do – No Straining – Avoid This part, if You Have To. (In This Step, Your Body is Empty, with No Air Inside),
- In The Same Position of Your Index and Middle Finger (Left Nostril Blocked), Inhale Through Your Right Nostril, Deep and Slow,
- Again, Retain the Breath Inside Your Body as Long as is Practicable,
- Finally, Block Your Right Nostril and Exhale Through Your Left Nostril,
- Retain your Breath Out, as Much as You Can,
- This Completes One Cycle.
- Again Inhale Through Your Left Nostril, While Your Right Nostril is Blocked, and so it may be done as much and as long as you can, but, Finally Ending The Cycle, By Exhaling Breath Through Your Left Nostril.
Concentration During Anulom Velom–Alternate Nostril Breathing:
Anytime you are in the Inhaling Part of the Exercise, do it with a Thought that you are Taking In The Positive Energy of The Mother Nature, through your Skull/Nostrils, Feeling the Vibration/Humming Noise in Your Above-Neck Region.
And, While you are in the Exhaling Part of the Exercise, Have the Feeling that the Positive Energy While Traversing Through Your Body, Is Removing Away The Negative Energy of The Body (The Ailments/Stress etc.) and is Leaving Your Body Through Your Foot Soles.
Finally, As Mentioned Before, There Should Not be Any Stressing and Twisting of Facial Muscles, While We Are Doing This Pranayama, and The Flow of Air Should be as Smooth as Possible.
If Your Nostril is Blocked or Remains Blocked Most of the Time, Do the Following:
- Put 2-3 Drops of Pure Desi Cow’s Ghee (A-2 Type) (Heat The Spoon – Pour Cow’s Ghee – Ghee Melts – Use dropper to Drop it To Your Nostrils) into Each Nostril, before going to Sleep, for Few Days,
- You May also Put 2 Drops of Pure-Filtered-Un-Processed Mustard Oil (Kachcha Ghani) 2-3 times a day, in Each Nostril,
- Only Drink Lukewarm/Hot Water,
- Do Only ‘Kapal Bhati’ for few Days, Till Enough of excess Kapha is Removed From the Body, And You Feel Comfortable Doing Anulom Velom, and finally,
- Get Rid of Your Smoking Habit (if you can, I mean!).
Duration: The Duration Per Day Will Depend on the Severity of Ailment. But, as A General Rule, start with at Least 30 Minutes of Anulom Velom Morning and Evening. You May Further Increase The Duration, as You Start Getting Better, Till The Time Your Health Gets Back To Complete Normalcy (I raised It Up To 1.5-2 Hours Morning and evening!).
Please note this is a safe Breathing exercise even during Pregnancy though breath retention may be done in minimal amounts, without straining the abdominal muscles in any-which way. More strenuous Bhastrika & Kapal Bhati may be avoided.
Let me also put in that ‘This Particular Pranayama’ is Highly Beneficial for Most (if not all!) Physical & Mental Disorders & has a huge role to play even for Spiritual Upliftment (such as Kundalini Awakening!).
As Far as The Ratios of Time Duration for Which We Inhale-Exhale- Retain the Breath In or Out, Don’t Worry Too Much about It. Simply follow The Steps as Given Before, and Di It Naturally, As It Happens.