Body & Mind

Breathing exercise for better sleep: Viloma Pranayama

 Dara Kennedy

Dara Kennedy is our founder. She's a certified yoga instructor and mother of 2, and her whole family loves this breathing exercise.

 

BREATHING EXERCISE FOR BETTER SLEEP: VILOMA PRANAYAMA

Pranayama is the yogic exercise of controlling the breath. There are many different pranayama techniques that can be practiced with different goals in mind (calming the mind, cooling the body, building heat in the body, etc.), but overall, breath control can have a profound and positive effect on stress. One of my favorite techniques, Viloma Pranayama, is a simple exercise that can be done at bedtime or anytime you'd like to achieve a sense of calm and balance.

“Viloma” means “against the natural order,” and in Viloma Pranayama you inhale with several pauses. Below are instructions for Stage I of the exercise: I’ve kept it to this beginning stage because it’s simple to learn and remember — even for those who are completely new to pranayama.

 

Viloma Pranayama, Stage I: Interrupted Inhale.

Follow these steps when you get into bed, before you go to sleep.

1. Lie down on your back, with your head on your pillow, and close your eyes. It may help to cover your eyes with a cloth or a sleep mask.

2. Let your eyeballs feel soft and let your breath fall into a regular rhythm. Just notice your breathing for a few moments, remembering to breathe not just in your chest, but also in your belly.

3. Take an easy breath in and exhale all the air out.

4. Viloma cycle:

- Inhale to fill a third of the lungs, then pause and retain breath for a moment. 
- Inhale to fill two thirds, then pause. 
- Inhale to fill the lungs completely, then exhale a smooth, steady, deep breath out.

5. Continue your normal breathing cycle, taking two or three normal breaths in and out.

6. Repeat steps 4 & 5 for up to 5-10 minutes until you feel a greater sense of relaxation and balance.

 

Many thanks to yoga instructor Isaac Pena for sharing this — and so many other pieces of knowledge that I will always carry with me — during my yoga teacher training back in 2010.

You May Also like

Letters from Dara

A letter about love

We opened our virtual doors at aylabeauty.com on Valentine’s Day nine years ago, and every year, our birthday prompts the question: why that particular day?
Inside Our Brands

The story behind Guldkorn Cream

Guldkorn Cream was created just for us in Sweden by our wonderful friends at MyHavtorn. Read more about its development in our interview with Robin, MyHavtorn's charming co-founder.
All About Skin Inside Our Brands

Marie Veronique on why you need Vitamin C

“I think I need a Vitamin C serum.” It’s something we hear from a lot of you, and you’re right: you probably do. But finding the right one can be tricker than it may seem. We asked the brilliant Marie Veronique to...