Skip to main content

Principles of Pranayama

Before doing Pranayama, it is essential to know the principles of Pranayama. Therefore, the principles of doing Pranayama are being described in brief-

Prana is called Agni. One who plays with fire gets consumed. Similarly, Pranayama should not be practiced considering it as a game. It is said in Hatha Yoga Pradipika

“Yatha Singho Gajo Vyapanno Bhavedshya Shanai Shanai.

Tathaiv Sevito Vayuranyatha Hanti Sadhakam” (H. P.- 2/15)

“यथा सिंहो गजो व्यापन्नो भवेदश्य शनै शनै।

तथैव सेवितो वायुरण्यथा हन्ति साधकम्” (हठयोग प्रदीपिका.- 2/15)

That is, just like lions, elephants etc. strong animals living in the forest are also controlled slowly by method, in the same way, by practicing Pranayama gradually, the Prana becomes under control and does not cause any kind of harm.

If practiced properly, diseases are destroyed and if not done properly, diseases arise. Therefore, practice keeping in mind the quantity, time, strength of the body, proper diet etc. (H.P. - 2/ 16)

Sadhaks with gross body nature should get rid of physical defects by practicing Shatkarma before practicing Pranayama. Other people do not need Shatkarmas. Even then the practice of Neti, Dhoti, Nauli, Tratak, Kapalbhati brings lightness in the body of the seeker. Hence it is better to practice them occasionally. (H.-Q. 2 /21)

Pranayama should be practiced only in a secluded place that is clean, pure, free from dust, smoke and odor.

If the body sweats due to the practice of Pranayama, it should be smeared on the body. This brings firmness and stability in the body. (H.P.- 2 / 13)

It has been prescribed for the full-time devotees to practice Pranayama four times only in Yoga Sadhana work. But other part-time seekers should practice Pranayama in the morning only. (H.P.- 2/ 11)

New seeker should start yoga in spring and autumn. Do not practice yoga in autumn, winter, summer and rain. If you do, there will be a possibility of disease. (Gherand Sanhita-5/89)

In purak (while inhaling), the stomach should be outside and the chest area should be raised. In rechak (while exhaling), the stomach should remain pressed inside and the thoracic region. The stomach should be pulled upwards by applying Uddiyana bandha.

Pranayama practice should be increased from 5 to 80 at a time. And it should be increased from 4 quantity to 20 quantity.

Use diet. Consumption of greasy substances like ghee, milk etc. keeps on extinguishing the fire generated by Pranayama. Traveling, heating fire and accompanying women is prohibited.

First of all, do the practice of Nadishodhan Pranayama for at least four months and purify the pulses. After that practice Pranayama. Use of unnecessary force is strictly prohibited.

The following preparations are necessary before Pranayama

Siddhi should be attained in Padmasana or Siddhasana so that one can sit motionless for Pranayama.

Practice should be done on an empty stomach. If it is to be done after meals, it can be done at an interval of 5-6 hours.

At the place where the practice is to be done, there should be movement of air, but the air should not directly touch the body of the practitioner.

Bathing should be done before Pranayama. If it is to be done later, there should be a minimum gap of half an hour.

Clothing should be comfortable. If there is an obstacle of mosquitoes, flies etc., then the seeker can sit even wearing a cloth.

Pranayama should be practiced only after knowing the correct method. If headache, eye pain, hiccups, cough, respiratory disease, earache etc. occur while practicing, then leaving the practice, only long breathing should be done.

Sadhak should know about Rechak, Purak, Kumbhak, Prana Bheda, Pranayama Bheda, correct methods of Pranayama, Matra, Kaal, Bandha, Shatchakra, Kundalini, Nadis etc.

importance of Pranayama: Objectives of Pranayama