Precautions for Pranayama Practice
by H.R. Bhavsar
(Dondaicha, Maharashtra, India)
What care should we take while doing pranayama practice?
Here are some generalised precautions before starting pranayama.
1. If you have any chronic medical condition, seek advice of your doctor and yoga teacher before starting pranayama.
2. Pranayama should be practiced only after one has gained control over body by mastering the asanas. Pranayama practice generates prana energy in the body and yoga asana practice removes the blockages of nadis which conducts prana energy throughout the body.
3. Always breathe through the nose unless specifically asked to do so.
4. There should not be any strain during pranayama practice. Lungs are delicate organ; ensure that your breathing is not forced beyond limits.
5. Do not make loud sounds during breathing. Keep the breath rhythmic and steady.
6. Pranayama should not be practiced immediately after meals. You can do pranayama at least three hours after meals. Remember a heavy meal will take much longer to get digested. For example if you do pranayama in evening, eat a healthy lunch which gets digested by the time you start pranayama.
7. Beginners should not hold breath. When you become comfortable with basics of pranayama, learn to hold breath under the
guidance of an expert teacher after mastering the basics of yoga breathing.
8. If you feel tiredness or discomfort, stop doing pranayama, lie down in shavasana while carrying out normal breathing. Consult your yoga teacher before starting with pranayama again.
9. Do not practice pranayama if you are too tired, relax for 10-15 minutes in shavasana before doing pranayama.
10. If you do yoga asanas and pranayama, practice yoga asanas before pranayama. After practicing asanas, relax in shavasana before doing pranayama. Do not do any strenuous exercise after pranayama.
11. Pranayama should not be practiced in a hurry.
12. Do pranayama outdoors or in a well ventilated room.
13. Pranayama should not be practiced when the lungs are congested.Kapalbhati, bhastrika pranayama
is prohibited for people suffering from heart disease, high blood pressure or hernia. For kapalabhati, exhalation must be gentle for beginners, do not use excessive force.Shitkari pranayama
is prohibited for people with low blood pressure. Do not practice this pranayama in winters.
Do not do Suryabhedi
in summers and Chandrabhedi
in winters. Agnisar Pranayama
should not be done by people with hernia, high blood pressure and also not after any stomach surgery.
Hope this helps.