How to do Viloma Pranayama, Breathing Against the Flow
Viloma Pranayama – This pranayama exercise develops conscious breathing and the ability to use the lungs fully. It is revitalising. As you fill the lungs in three sections, visualise filling a glass of water. First the bottom part fills,then the middle, and then it fills up to the brim.
Inhale in stages
1. Sit or lie in a comfortable position. In your mind divide the lungs into three parts. Inhale about one third of your capacity, mentally directing the air to fill the bottom third of the lungs — your abdomen will lift as you will fill up from the lowest ribs to a third of the way up the ribcage. Pause for two or three seconds.
2. Next, inhale to fill the middle third of the lungs. As you do this, mentally direct the air to the middle section of the chest, including into the side ribs and back of the torso. Your breastbone will start to lift. Pause for a couple of seconds — that there will spread through the lungs during each pause.
3. Now inhale to feel the top third of the lungs. Let your breastbone lift high as you completely fill the lungs. The tips of the lungs are located above the collarbone, so fill up under the collarbone too. It is important that you feel full to the brim, yet in a way that doesn’t create stress in your system. Take any strain out of your throat area. Check that your head doesn’t feel tight. To get the benefits of this exercise, you need to feel very easy and relaxed. Once you are full to the brim, pause for a couple of seconds.
4. Now released their one long, smooth exhalation. Take a few recovery breaths, then repeat twice more.
Exhale in stages
1. Come back to your natural breath. Check over your body and mind and let your tension float away.
2. Inhale in one long, steady flow. Once the lungs are completely filled pause for a few seconds.
3. Now exhale air out of the bottom third of your lungs without tightening the abdominal muscles. As the abdomen drops, reinforce the rib cage and keep it lifted. Pause for a few seconds.
4. With awareness of the mid-section of the lungs, partially exhale for stage two, yet keep your breastbone lifted.
5. Now exhale completely. When the lungs are nearly empty, release your lifting action on the breastbone. Patiently let the rest of the air flow out of the lungs. Once the lungs have unhurriedly emptied, pause for two or three seconds, maintaining complete stillness.
6. When your lungs call for air, inhale in one long, smooth breath to let lungs fill deeply. Rest the lungs with a few normal breaths before repeating twice more. Rest in Savasana (corpse pose).