Some Rules for Pranayama

Pranayama should be done at a pure, calm and quiet and clean place. If possible, it should be practised near some body of water.In cities where there is a lot of pollution, the place before practising Pranayama should be scented with ghee and guggulu (incense), or a lamp of ghee should be lit up.

Some Rules for Pranayama

  • Asana : For Pranayama one should sit in siddhasana, sukhasana or padmasana with the spine held erect. The asana used for sitting should be a bad conductor of electricity, e.g. a blanket or kusa- mat. Those who are unable to sit on ground can practise Pranayama while sitting in chair.
  • Breathing through Nose : One should always breathe through nose. This filters the air during inhalation. Even during the day one should breathe through nose. This also regulates the temperature of the body through iOEda- pingala nadis and foreign matter stays out in the nostrils.
  • Calm Mind : While doing Pranayama the mind should be calm and cheerful. Otherwise, through Pranayama also the mind automatically becomes calm, cheerful and concentrated.
  • Light Exercises : If one feels tired while doing Pranayama, one should do some light exercise (sukshama vyayama) or take rest in between.
  • Food Discipline : Do observe restraint and good conduct for the constant practice of Pranayama. The food should be pure, simple and properly lubricating. It is beneficial to consume milk, ghee, almonds and fruit in right quantity.
  • Breathing steps - Purak, Kumbhak and Rechak : Do not hold the breath forcibly in Pranayama. For doing Pranayama, the act of breathing in is puraka, holding it inside is kumbhaka, breathing out is rechaka, and to hold the breath outside is bahayakumbakha.
  • Stabilising Mind : Pranayama does not merely mean puraka, kumbhaka or rechaka; it also means practising to make the mind stable and concentrated while controlling and balancing the rate of breathing.
  • Mantra Chanting : It is spiritually beneficial that before Pranayama one should do long chanting of OM at least three times, or one should methodieally chant or recite Gayatri, Mahamrityunjaya or some other Vedic mantra.
  • Normal and at ease posture : While doing Pranayama, one should be in his normal, natural state without putting any sort of stress on the organs of his body like face, mouth, eyes, nose, etc. During the practice of Pranayama, sit with your neck, spine, chest and waist erect; only then the practice will be methodical and beneficial.
  • Patience and Caution : Pranayama should be done slowly with patience and caution, without any hurry.
  • Clean Bowels : Pranayama should be done with clean bowels after morning toilet. If somebody has constipation he should take the juice of amalaka (gooseberry) and ghatakumari (aloe vera) after dinner. This will prevent constipation.
  • Bathing : One feels more delighted, cheerful and purified if Pranayama is done after taking bath. If one likes to take bath after Pranayama, it can be taken after 10-15 minutes. One can take juice, sprouted grains or some other food, 10-15 minutes after Pranayama in the morning.
  • Coffee Tea after Pranayama : One should not take tea, coffee or other stimulants and intoxicants immediately after Pranayama.
  • Milk, Curd, juice etc. : It is a healthy habit to take milk, curd, buttermilk, fruit juice, green vegetable juice, and fruits like papaya, apple, guava, cherry, etc.
  • Sprouted Grains : After Pranayama one should take sprouted grains, porridge or some local/indigenous easily digestible food. In the first instance, one should avoid eating paranthas, halwa and other breakfast, and if one has a craving for paranthas, a healthy person may take such heavy breakfast only once, or at the most twice, in a week. A sick person should abstain from taking heavy (fatty, fried) food.
  • Breakfast : It is not proper to take the same type of breakfast everyday. For complete nourishment of the body one should programme oneis breakfast during the week in such a way that one changes from sprouted grains to porridge, to milk, to fruit only, to juice or curd only, to buttermilk etc. on different days. This will give complete nourishment to the body and the breakfast will not be a boredom. Change is the law of life, and our preference too.
  • Food of Yogi : The food of a yoga practitioner should be pure and simple (sattvika). Take green vegetables in a large quantity, take less quantity of cereals, and take the pulses with husk. Eat what is seasonal (atabhuk), what is in a limited quantity (mitabhuk) and what suits your health (hitabhuk). Vegetarian food is the best, wholesome and scientific.
  • Drinking water and washing face : On getting up in the morning, drinking water and washing the eyes with cold water is very beneficial for stomach and eyes.
  • Water betwwen meals : One must drink water once between breakfast and lunch, and in small quantities several times between lunch and dinner. This protects us against diseases of digestive system, urinary system, obesity, cholesterol, etc.
  • Pregnant women should not do kapalabhati, bahya Pranayama and agnisara kriya but they should do rest of the Pranayamas and light (sukshama) exercises like butterfly asana, etc. gently. During the menstrual period women should not do bahya Pranayama and difficult asanas. They must do regularly light exercises and all other Pranayamas, except bahya Pranayama, even during the menstrual period. Pregnant women should not do difficult asanas like sarvangasana, halasana, etc.
  • Persons suffering from hypertension and heart disease must do all the Pranayamas gently. Pranayama is the only remedy for them. The only precaution to be observed is that they should practise bhastrika, kapalabhati and anuloma-viloma etc. gently, without applying too much of force. Some ignoramuses misinform people by saying that patients of high B.P and heart disease should not do Pranayama. This is total ignorance.
  • Kapalabhati pranayama should not be after any surgery. It can be done 4-6 months after surgery. In the case of bye-pass and angioplasty in heart disease, one must practise anuloma-viloma, bhramar∂, udgitha pranayama, light (sukshama) exercises and savasana, after one week only. This will bring them immediate relief and benefit.

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