In the quest for longevity and optimal health, the ancient wisdom of yogis offers a simple yet profound solution: slow breathing. This practice, deeply rooted in the yogic tradition, has been recognized for its correlation with our health and lifespan. As the saying goes, “Breathe slow to live long.”

Drawing parallels from the animal kingdom, we find that the rate of breath significantly impacts lifespan. For instance, the giant tortoise, one of the longest-living vertebrates, breathes at a rate of just four times per minute and can live up to 150 years. In contrast, dogs, which breathe 20-30 times per minute, have a much shorter expected lifespan of 10-20 years.

Practice Slow, Conscious Breathing

The practice of slow, conscious breathing is not merely a passive process. It’s a powerful tool that can positively influence both our physical and mental health. By controlling our breath, we can manage our mood, enhance our immune function, and mitigate the harmful effects of chronic stress.

One of the most effective ways to cultivate slow, conscious breathing is through the yogic practice of pranayama, specifically Anulom Vilom. This technique involves a pattern of inhalation, breath retention, and exhalation, promoting deeper, slower breathing that increases lung efficiency and reduces strain on the heart.

Anulom Vilom, a form of pranayama, is a powerful yogic practice that can enhance your health and longevity. Let’s delve deeper into this practice and understand its benefits and how to do it correctly.

Anulom Vilom, also known as alternate nostril breathing, is a technique that helps balance and harmonize the functioning of the left and right hemispheres of the brain. It’s a calming practice that can help reduce stress, improve focus, and promote overall well-being.

Detailed guide on how to practice Anulom Vilom:

1. Find a Comfortable Position: Start by sitting in a comfortable position with your spine straight and neck elongated. This could be a cross-legged or diamond position.

2. Prepare Your Hands: Place your left hand in the ‘Chin mudra’, where your index finger touches the thumb, and the back of your hand rests on your left thigh or knee, palm facing up. Your right hand should be in the ‘Vishnu mudra’, with the index and middle fingers folded inwards.

3. Begin Breathing: Close your right nostril with your thumb and exhale completely through your left nostril. Then, inhale for 4 counts through your left nostril.

4. Hold Your Breath: Close your left nostril with your ring and little fingers, so both nostrils are closed. Hold your breath for 8 counts.

5. Exhale and Inhale on the Other Side: Keeping your left nostril closed, exhale through your right nostril for 8 counts. Then, with the left nostril still closed, inhale through your right nostril for 4 counts.

6. Hold Your Breath Again: Close both nostrils once more and hold your breath for 8 counts.

7. Complete the Cycle: Keeping your right nostril closed, exhale through your left nostril for 8 counts. This completes one round of Anulom Vilom.

8. Repeat: Continue this exercise for 5 minutes initially. As you become more comfortable with the practice, you can gradually increase the duration.

Remember, the key to Anulom Vilom is to breathe slowly and consciously. As you practice, you’ll find your breath becoming deeper and slower, which can increase the efficiency of your lungs and decrease the strain on your cardiac system. So, breathe slow, live long, and relax into Anulom Vilom.

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