The Anulom Vilom done properly will cause the nadis to “unify” or fully open within three months. According to this text, when all the nadis open, they merge to become the sushumna nadi (central channel). This is the sun and moon uniting. This is prana and apana ascending as one energy.
In the morning, at noon, and in the evening, one should offer the practice of Kumbhaka gradually building up to eighty breaths.
We are told to practice this alternate nostril breathing three times each day for maximum benefits. Some versions of this text indicate four times, adding a midnight practice. Eighty breaths, or 40 rounds, takes about an hour for most people. So the traditional teaching is to practice three or four hours of Anulom Vilom Pranayama each day for three months to purify our nadis and prepare in the best way for the pranayamas that follow.
Remember that this text was written for yogis who dedicated their lives to this practice. For most of us, a slower approach is more appropriate, and you can practive even once a day to receive the benefits of Anulom Vilom. There are those who train for marathons and those who benefit from running a mile. Still, it’s inspiring to know the history, tradition, and possibility.
The benefits of Anulom Vilom are an increased capacity to be with experience, especially uncomfortable experience; a stronger sense of self that is separate from thoughts, feelings, and events; increased introversion; a profound sense of meditative awareness, which creates an easier transition to meditation or asana practice; a sense of increased spaciousness and expansiveness; and greater distance from events happening before the practice. There is research, mostly from India, showing that Anuloma Viloma balances the two hemispheres of the brain. While we believe this could be true, the research is questionable.