The Viloma Pranayama Technique

Breathing is fundamental to life. Without your breath, you’d die in minutes. Your breath is the bridge between your body and mind and as you’re about to discover, it’s so much more.

Prana is the life force that’s carried on the vehicle of your breath. Yama means to restrain, to direct and control. Pranayama is a major yogic practice that focuses on your breath and the role it plays in harmonising your physical, spiritual, and mental wellbeing.

Conscious breathwork is a multifaceted and central aspect of yoga. Pranayama techniques each use different breathing patterns to target a specific outcome.

A Sense of Calm and Control

By adding pauses to the flow of the inhale or the exhale, the breath is lengthened and breath capacity increases. Krama Pranayama, as Viloma is also known, steadies the mind much like meditation. The Viloma Pranayama technique is grounded in the awareness of stretched exhalation, using a brief pause that follows a controlled inhale. The moments of suspended breath introduces a sense of calm and control to your body and mind, regrouping your senses. The purpose of this fundamental breathing practice is to expand the breath’s capacity, advancing not only several elements of your yoga practice, but countless areas of your general physical and mental wellbeing.

The immediate, and long-term benefits of incorporating this conscious breathwork into your daily routine– in any capacity– are remarkably impressive. Viloma Pranayama works to strengthen the connection between body and mind. It gently, and safely, improves the movement and reach of air throughout your body, helping to regulate breath during both movement and stillness.

We inhale and exhale an average of twenty-two thousand times per day, yet most of these motions go unnoticed, happening without purpose. Humans are fuelled by breath. Our lungs, the largest organs in our bodies, work tirelessly each day to power us with oxygen. Our breathing is our most important life-sustaining function. Purposeful breathwork promotes relaxation and mindfulness, and can be practiced anywhere and anytime, completely alone, or surrounded by others.

Improved Lung and Brain Function

Viloma Pranayama has been long practiced by many as a technique to minimise anxiety and stress. The physical reaction from controlled breath almost instantly guides your emotional and psychological response during a tense situation. This simple breathing practice offers several important benefits to your physical health too. Suspended and thoughtful breathing has been scientifically proven to promote efficient lung function, manage blood pressure, and support brain function in those who regularly practice it. In addition to these long-term benefits, practicing breath work during a yoga class, or after any kind of workout, is a safe and effective way to cool down, returning your body to its resting state.

Incorporating Viloma Pranayama into your routine is so simple! This particular breathing technique is a gentle introduction into wider suspended breathing practices, working to expand your lung’s capacity and length of breath. It is important to keep your breathing soft and relaxed throughout this interrupted flow, avoiding gasping and heavy airflow.

The cycle of breathwork begins as you exhale. When you’re about a third of the way through your breath out, hold for approximately the count of three, exhale the second third, hold for another count of three, and finally exhale the final third all the way out. With your lungs now feeling empty, inhale smoothly and slowly, completely measuring the breath back into the count of nine. Next, breathe in and out naturally, without pausing, offering your lungs a brief intermission from suspended breath.

Begin the motion again, dividing your exhalation into three equal parts with gentle pauses in between. After completing the breath all the way out, inhale slowly and completely to the count of nine. Practice at least three rounds of Viloma Pranayama. This simple adaptation is a gentle and stress-free introduction to suspended breath. You create for yourself a relaxed and calm state.

Pranayama techniques such as this one are built on the notion of mindfully resisting the natural urge to exhale quickly, instead suspending the breath until your body and mind can release it in unison.

It is a beautiful practice for when you need to calm down, as it steadies your mind and facilitates deep rest. If you’re feeling uptight and need to ‘wind down,’ conscious Viloma breathing is an incredibly effective way to implement calmness.

Join a Pranayama Class at Tamara Yoga today

Here at Tamara Yoga, we take great joy in introducing Pranayama techniques such as Viloma to our range of classes. We incorporate conscious breathwork into all the levels and styles of yoga that we offer and are passionate about sharing with our students the purpose behind suspended breath. Visit one of our studios today, and let us share how we can best teach these incredible breathwork techniques to advance your practice, in and out of the studio!