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Pranayama cautions: Link

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  • Gene Poole
    In our recent discussions, the topic of Pranayama and imbalance has been discussed. Here is an excellent article on the subject:
    Message 1 of 4 , Jul 7, 2004
      In our recent discussions, the
      topic of Pranayama and imbalance
      has been discussed.

      Here is an excellent article on the subject:

      http://www.ayurvedacollege.com/services/articles/015.htm


      The information in this article
      correlates with my own experience,
      especially in regard to the need to
      'purify the nadis' before serious
      Pranayama practice is begun.


      ==GP==
    • medit8ionsociety
      ... Yo Sri Geneji, Interesting article, but I was struck with the oddity of it warning about how dangerous pranayama can be if not done properly, but then
      Message 2 of 4 , Jul 7, 2004
        --- In meditationsocietyofamerica@yahoogroups.com, "Gene Poole"
        <gene_poole@q...> wrote:
        > In our recent discussions, the
        > topic of Pranayama and imbalance
        > has been discussed.
        >
        > Here is an excellent article on the subject:
        >
        > http://www.ayurvedacollege.com/services/articles/015.htm
        >
        >
        > The information in this article
        > correlates with my own experience,
        > especially in regard to the need to
        > 'purify the nadis' before serious
        > Pranayama practice is begun.
        >
        >
        > ==GP==

        Yo Sri Geneji,

        Interesting article, but I was struck with the oddity of it warning
        about how dangerous pranayama can be if not done properly, but then
        gives specific methods that are often considered to be some of the
        exact types that should only taught by a teacher giving personal
        guidance, as the directions given can too easily be misunderstood.
        Here's what I am referring to:

        "A common cause of imbalance is attempting to progress too quickly. By
        aggressively practicing pranayama without the proper preparation, the
        well-being of the student is at great risk—even death is possible.5
        Hence, gradual, slow progress is recommended.
        Some of the dangers of pranayama lie in the bandhas and kumbhakas,
        which, if performed improperly, cause pranic disturbances. Bandha
        means "bondage" or "holding," referring to the contraction and holding
        of a body part. This is the method by which yogis control and channel
        the flow of prana, ultimately guiding it into the central canal,
        sushumna-nadi. Kumbhaka is the restraint of the breath. Both of these
        practices powerfully interact with the pranic energy and when
        performed improperly can lead to catastrophic consequences. The three
        major bandhas are:

        (1) Jalandhara-bandha: Here the chin is brought down to the notch at
        the top of the sternum. This regulates pranic flow to the brain,
        lungs, and heart. It is performed at the end of inhalation and during
        retention. This pushes prana-vayu downward toward the chest.
        (2) Uddiyana-bandha: Here the abdomen is contracted and drawn in,
        which lifts the diaphragm up into the chest. It is performed at the
        end of exhalation, during bahya-kumbhaka (retention following
        exhalation).6 (Brahmananda's commentary on the Hatha-Yoga-Pradipika
        states that this is the natural experience of exhalation and does not
        have to be consciously practiced.7 )
        (3) Mula-bandha: Here the perineum is contracted. This increases the
        upward flow of udana-vayu and decreases apana-vayu.

        With proper practice and combination of these three bandhas, the
        energy of apana-vayu moves upward to unite with prana-vayu in the
        chest, which has been forced downward. Their unification pushes the
        fused energies into the sushumna-nadi where the ultimate benefits of
        pranayama are realized."

        So, as they say in S. Philly, Whattayathink?

        Peace and blessings,
        Bob
      • Gene Poole
        ... Hi Bob... It is the whole article, read as interrelated information, which is the ticket. I don t particularly like the promotion of pranayama, but if it
        Message 3 of 4 , Jul 7, 2004
          >medit8ionsociety <no_reply@y...> wrote:
          > > "Gene Poole" > <gene_poole@q...> wrote:

          > > In our recent discussions, the
          > > topic of Pranayama and imbalance
          > > has been discussed.
          > >
          > > Here is an excellent article on the subject:
          > >
          > > http://www.ayurvedacollege.com/services/articles/015.htm
          > >
          > >
          > > The information in this article
          > > correlates with my own experience,
          > > especially in regard to the need to
          > > 'purify the nadis' before serious
          > > Pranayama practice is begun.
          > >
          > >
          > > ==GP==
          >
          > Yo Sri Geneji,
          >
          > Interesting article, but I was struck with the oddity of it warning
          > about how dangerous pranayama can be if not done properly, but then
          > gives specific methods that are often considered to be some of the
          > exact types that should only taught by a teacher giving personal
          > guidance, as the directions given can too easily be misunderstood.
          > Here's what I am referring to:
          >
          > "A common cause of imbalance is attempting to progress too quickly. By
          > aggressively practicing pranayama without the proper preparation, the
          > well-being of the student is at great risk—even death is possible.5
          > Hence, gradual, slow progress is recommended.
          > Some of the dangers of pranayama lie in the bandhas and kumbhakas,
          > which, if performed improperly, cause pranic disturbances. Bandha
          > means "bondage" or "holding," referring to the contraction and holding
          > of a body part. This is the method by which yogis control and channel
          > the flow of prana, ultimately guiding it into the central canal,
          > sushumna-nadi. Kumbhaka is the restraint of the breath. Both of these
          > practices powerfully interact with the pranic energy and when
          > performed improperly can lead to catastrophic consequences. The three
          > major bandhas are:
          >
          > (1) Jalandhara-bandha: Here the chin is brought down to the notch at
          > the top of the sternum. This regulates pranic flow to the brain,
          > lungs, and heart. It is performed at the end of inhalation and during
          > retention. This pushes prana-vayu downward toward the chest.
          > (2) Uddiyana-bandha: Here the abdomen is contracted and drawn in,
          > which lifts the diaphragm up into the chest. It is performed at the
          > end of exhalation, during bahya-kumbhaka (retention following
          > exhalation).6 (Brahmananda's commentary on the Hatha-Yoga-Pradipika
          > states that this is the natural experience of exhalation and does not
          > have to be consciously practiced.7 )
          > (3) Mula-bandha: Here the perineum is contracted. This increases the
          > upward flow of udana-vayu and decreases apana-vayu.
          >
          > With proper practice and combination of these three bandhas, the
          > energy of apana-vayu moves upward to unite with prana-vayu in the
          > chest, which has been forced downward. Their unification pushes the
          > fused energies into the sushumna-nadi where the ultimate benefits of
          > pranayama are realized."
          >
          > So, as they say in S. Philly, Whattayathink?
          >
          > Peace and blessings,
          > Bob

          Hi Bob...

          It is the whole article, read as interrelated information,
          which is the ticket.

          I don't particularly 'like' the promotion of pranayama,
          but if it is to be promoted, the methods should be
          described along with the preparation (necessary
          purifications) and possible side-effects.

          My own experiences with pranayama have revealed
          it to be an extremely powerful method, best used
          with great caution. It is not for the 'weekend yogi'.


          ==Gene Poole==

          Breath easy
        • Nina
          ... Hi, Gene, thanks for the article. It was an interesting read and seemed fairly even in presentation of the material. It is quite true that the use of the
          Message 4 of 4 , Jul 8, 2004
            --- In meditationsocietyofamerica@yahoogroups.com,
            "Gene Poole" <gene_poole@q...> wrote:
            > It is the whole article, read as interrelated information,
            > which is the ticket.
            >
            > I don't particularly 'like' the promotion of pranayama,
            > but if it is to be promoted, the methods should be
            > described along with the preparation (necessary
            > purifications) and possible side-effects.
            >
            > My own experiences with pranayama have revealed
            > it to be an extremely powerful method, best used
            > with great caution. It is not for the 'weekend yogi'.
            >
            >
            > ==Gene Poole==
            >
            > Breath easy

            Hi, Gene, thanks for the article. It was an interesting
            read and seemed fairly even in presentation of the material.
            It is quite true that the use of the bhandas (and those are
            only three of many) can alter the quality of the breath
            when practicing pranayama, whoo-doggy.

            As with any practice, it is good to approach it with the
            scientist's mind, so that the practice can be refined and
            a place of balance can be found. With enough practice, it
            is possible to find correlations between what you do in
            your practice and how you feel immediately upon doing that
            and... this is the trickier part... how you feel in general
            beyond the practice. For instance, it is fairly common to
            say to separate pranayama practice (not talking about 'just
            following the breath' here) from asana practice by
            about 20 minutes of non-yoga practice activity (walking around,
            reading paper, sipping tea, doing housework, etc.). This is
            because... again and again... people who attempt to link the
            two find that they become 'wired' and imbalanced beyond their
            practice.

            Learning about the breath can be fun and enjoyable, though.
            This morning I rediscovered a very good 'entry level' book
            by Donna Farhi called "The Breathing Book: Good Health and
            Vitality through Essential Breath Work". It skirts large
            breathing changes, focusing instead on coming to know your
            breath as it is - how it works, what body parts are involved,
            a few very simple practices to become more aware and easy in
            the breath.

            I find that pranayama can be (and is best) approached in a
            nurturing fashion, as if you were teaching a young child to
            walk. You can't make them walk, but you can clear a floor
            space and remove obstacles to their path. It is the same
            with pranayama. If you force the breath to become longer,
            or hold on tight to a breath retention, you experience
            a counterproductivity - when you finally do get back to a
            'normal breath', it is short and needy. However, if you
            make room for the breath by keeping your ribs, spine, and
            diaphragm flexible (through stretches, for instance), and
            if you learn to make room for the breath by letting these
            anatomical parts float (like continental plates, for instance)
            on the breath during pranayama practice, the breath will
            morph into a deeper breath with longer pauses naturally.
            As with many things - you need do nothing! ;)

            Nina
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