Points to Remember While Practicing Pranayama
Here are a few important points your need to bear in mind while performing or before attempting to perform Pranayama.
1.) It is important to understand that the base of yoga is relaxation. All the Asanas and breathing exercises involved in Pranayama should be performed in a mentally and physically relaxed state. If your mind is filled with thought, try to relax and let the breathing exercise fix your concentration away from the thoughts.
2.) It is important never to strain yourself while performing any of the exercises. It takes practice to perfect the control of your breath and it cannot be achieved in a day or two. It takes a few months of patient practice but the returns are worth the effort.
3.) It is normal for people to get impatient while practicing Pranayama initially, this is just your body reacting to its old conditioning of irregular breathing. Be patient and continue your exercises in a relaxed manner. Slowly your mind will also relax and enter into the state of alert consciousness.
4.) There should be no abrupt movements, no sharp exhalations or inhalations and neither should you feel uncomfortably suffocated. Yoga is none of these. There should be no discomfort while performing yoga. Initially it helps to perform yoga under the guidance of an experienced guru because it entails great care and precision. Once you have perfected the exercise you can perform on your own.
5.) It is advisable to perform Pranayam in an empty stomach. Early in the mornings is preferably the best time. If you prefer doing Pranayama in the evenings, make sure to keep a gap of four to five hours depending on the type of meal you are eating. This is considering that heavier meals take more time to digest.
6.) If you find it difficult to sit in Padmasana, you can sit in a pose that you feel comfortable in. You can also considering sitting on a chair if sitting in Asanas is difficult for you.
7.) Pregnant women and women who have recently delivered should not do Pranayama.
8.) People suffering from abdominal wounds, hernia, peritonitis, appendicitis and those recovering from surgery should not perform Pranayama.
9.) People suffering from heart problems, high blood pressure, weekness and/or back-pain are advised to do inhalations and exhalations slowly without exerting pressure.
10.) Sit in an erect pose (Your spine must be straight) a You can sit in Siddhasan, sukhasan, or Padmasan, and assume a vayu mudra or dhyan mudra
It is best to take training from an expert before attempting to perform advanced Pranayama techniques like the Kapalbhati. The expert will be able to guide you on the duration and proper methodologies of performing these breathing exercises so you can benefit the maximum.
Part 1: Understanding Pranayama and its Benefits
Part 2: Pranayama Techniques