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Breathwork: Viloma Pranayama

Updated: May 12, 2021

My gourd-eous apple pie

Hi there friends! Happy spooky season. My favorite holiday is just a few days away, and although I won't be indulging this year in fun costumes and the like, I have been enjoying my favorite movies and shows 👻 (Addam's Family, American Horror Story, Silence of the Lambs.... anyone else?? What are your favorite Halloween movies?).

My other fall tradition: 🥧 pie! This weekend I made an apple pie with a good lattice crust (which, to be honest, is really why I made the pie in the first place. There are so many fun ways to do the lattice). What is your favorite way to celebrate fall?

This week, DC starts early voting and I cleared my Tuesday just for that, mostly. We are one week out to Nov 3, remember to exercise your right to vote!


Now, my offering to you: a breathing exercise you can incorporate into your meditations or yoga practice, or while waiting for election results - Viloma Pranayama.

This is an interrupted breathing technique. In Sanskrit, Vi means negation and loma means hair: "anti-hair" - as in against the natural flow.

I like this practice because it requires a little more focus and presence. It can be done in several different ways, but here is how I practice it.

1. To start, find a comfortable seat or lie down. Close your eyes, and take a moment to settle in.

2. Take a deep breath in . . . and a long breath out.

3. Then inhale 1/3 of your breath and pause (optional, count to 5 or so on your pauses).

4. Inhale the 2nd 1/3 of your breath and pause.

5. Inhale the final 1/3 of your breath, pause.

6. Exhale everything slowly and without interruption.

7. Repeat 3 times or more, then switch for the exhales.

8. Inhale everything, then exhale 1/3, pause, and so on.

That's it! I like to start meditation with this sometimes, if my mind is going haywire and I'm struggling to be present. This can be a great practice for those with anxiety or depression. Sometimes I will use it in yin yoga during difficult poses, too.

This is a lesser known breathing exercise, at least from my trainings, so I hope it is something you can add to your toolbox 🧰 Enjoy!


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