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Re: Pranayama cautions: Link

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  • 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 1 of 4 , Jul 7, 2004
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      --- 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 2 of 4 , Jul 7, 2004
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        >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 3 of 4 , Jul 8, 2004
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          --- 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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