“I start from one point and go as far as possible. But unfortunately, I never lose my way. I say unfortunately, because what would interest me greatly is to discover paths that I'm perhaps not aware of ... The harmonies have become for me a kind of obsession, which gives me the feeling of looking at music from the wrong end of a telescope.”
John Coltrane

Coltrane: The Story of a Sound

Anuloma Ujjayi

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Anuloma is a recommended technique for getting started with Pranayama breathing practices. Anuloma breathing combines Ujjayi breathing, timing and counting breaths, reading a Pranayama breathing practice and nostril control (this article assumes you are familiar with both) so it is an accessible step-forward from Ujjayi.

The breathing cycle in Anuloma Ujjayi is:

  1. Inhale with both nostrils open using Ujjayi (throat conrol).
  2. Exhale through the left nostril (closing the right nostril by applying pressure to the thumb).
  3. Inhale with both nostrils open using Ujjayi (throat control).
  4. Exhale through the right nostril (closing the left nostril by applying pressure to your ring finger).

IMPORTANT: never use two breath control techniques at the same time. In this case when you inhale using Ujjayi, both nostrils are open; when you exhale using nostril control you release the Ujjayi – DO NOT use Ujjayi when using nostril control. This is true for all Pranayama techniques. Ujjayi and nostril control both act as valves to affect the flow of breath – only use one at any given time.

If your practice includes holds then add them where necessary. Please notice that one round of Anuloma Ujjayi is made up of two breaths. When practicing this means you should always do an even number of breaths – so that the practice remains symmetrical (unless you’ve been given specific instructions by a qualified teacher).

Here is a practice to get acquainted with Anuloma Ujjayi. It begins and ends with regular Ujjayi breathing and in the middle the technique is changed to Anuloma Ujjayi. Find yourself a comfortable seated position and do the following practice sequence :

1   –   0   –   1   –   0   (x4 – Ujjayi)

1   –   0   –   1   –   0   (x4 – Anuloma Ujjayi)

1   –   0   – 1.5 –   0   (x4 – Anuloma Ujjayi)

1   –   0   –   1   –   0   (x4 – Ujjayi)

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