First let me say that this is the first source where I have seen a seemingly very knowledgeable person, someone who seems like he speaks from living experience, while at the same time, being accessible and honest. Thank you for that, I enjoy reading your blog very much! I found your website after searching for the dangers of incorrect pranayama, and, after reading your website I am slightly relieved to know that I am not the only one who has suffered from this.
I suffer from chronic anxiety and shoulder, neck, and knee pain, but I have always been functional in terms of work and school-and was able to graduate medical school this past year. I looked into pranayam to help me deal with the pain and improve my energy so I could be more focused on work,etc.
In the past year I spent about 6-7 months doing swami ramdevs pranayam. I have done kapalbhati and anulomvilom for about 10-15 min each everyday from Oct 2010 to June 2010. I found that they gave me much energy and helped me with bilateral knee, right shoulder and neck pain which I have had for about seven years. I stopped these practices in June, but I started them up again abt a few days ago, because, for the first time in ten years, I was trying to face my anxiety and work through it and I thought it would help me relax.
When I was doing this pranayam during the year, I was largely avoiding masturbation/sex, because I had read masturbation and pranayam together can be quite harmful. While I would do these practices, I would feel a surge of pressure in my genital regions and it was almost pleasurable, and I found that this would last throughout the day. This was especially true after kapalbhati. The reason I mention this is because when I started up again about a week ago, of course, the same sensation came to me. Unfortunately- and this is embarrassing-I spend a significant amount of time watching pornography that day and I masturbated as well. At the moment of ejaculation, I felt a surge of pressure into my neck and head, I felt a sharp, crippling pain in my right shoulder(previously damaged), and my right knee. I also felt a cramping sensation right below my navel. After that day, I feel as if my neck has become weaker-the pain and crepitus has increased, I feel EXHAUSTED, and I still have a cramping sensation right below my navel-though it has pretty much faded completely. In addition-the pressure that I felt in my head is still there and since that moment, I have had a very loud ringing in my ears-so loud, it is preventing me from sleeping.
I read somewhere that masturbation after yoga can permanently waste/release energy –did I build up some energy and waste it? I’ve also read that sometimes if the body is not strong enough, the release of energy can be damaging to the “structure”. This would make sense as I have a few old injuries. I am absolutely terrified and I feel about 20 years older than I am(I’m 24). I have difficulty sleeping and I am worried that my memory is being affected-though I’m sure if that is because of the lack of sleep/anxiety over this situation. Anyhow, this is really interfering with my life.
Is there anything I can do to correct this? Will it fix itself over time?
Any advice would be much much appreciated. I am willing to do anything to bring myself back to “normal”.
Thank you very much for taking the time to read this!
Through the answer to your question I would try to bring about clarity on the very basic question which many people have been asking me but before that let us understand the principles of Hatha Yoga or Ashtaang Yoga (The eight fold path to self-realization).
Maharshi Patanjali, the one who has documented the first ever treatise on Hatha Yoga (Vedas & many Upnishads have talked about it previously but not as comprehensively and structured as he did), named Patanjali Yoga Sutra has put forth a path which is as logical and methodical as is Mathematics. In mathematics or science Sutra means formula, something concise and leading to a definite result if that be used in a given situation or problem, similarly Patanjali has given us Sutra for Yoga, in most concise form.
A student of science or mathematics very well knows that if a long sequence of formula or equation is presented to him he would follow a particular pre-defined sequence of operations to arrive at the correct result.. for example the operations within the braces (brackets) are to be carried out first.. lastly division happens. You can not arrive at the correct result if you do not follow the correct sequence of operations. Exactly same is true in the field of Hatha Yoga, wherein we take help of Pranayama to control the mind and raise the consciousness or serpent energy coil of Kundalini to its destination of Sahasraara, the Chakra situated at 10th opening of our body, leading to self-realization or enlightenment.
Let us remember if we are working in the field of Hatha Yoga and want it to work without any side-effects or harmful effects we should follow it in exactly the same sequence it has been prescribed. We can neither change the sequence of sutras/discipline nor can we skip a step. Needless to say Yama & Niyama is a preparatory step for taking up Asana. Just as Nadishodhana is to Pranayama.. Pratyahara is to Dharana.. and Dhyaan is to Samadhi.
Yoga was never thought to be, at least to Patanjalis or Gorakhnaths, as a means to attain great physical health nevertheless the pleasant side effects of Yoga were inevitably there thus all Yoga Practitioners enjoyed great lengths of lifespan, at times a few hundred years against the normal human life of 120 Years! But still the latent purpose behind this extension of lifespan was always ‘self-realization’..
Coming back to pre-requisites of Pranayama- how and when Pranayama practices could be adversely affecting your health and general wellbeing. The The first two steps i.e. Yama and Niyama primarily emphasize upon the disciplined life in terms of purity of thoughts and action, gaining of knowledge and having faith in the presence of God etc. while also providing the guiding principles on how to conduct ourselves with others.
To be precise there were five Do’s and Five Don’ts. The five dont’s are Violence & killing ~ Lying or untruthfulness ~ Stealing & misappropriation ~ Continence ~ Greed & selfishness and five do’s are Purity in thought, deeds, & body ~ Contentment with self ~ Spiritual discipline ~ Spiritual learning ~ Surrender to God. Each has its own value in the whole system of Yoga. It is important to know that how each of these do’s and don’t’s affect the flow of energy in our body and for sure they do affect the flow of energy in our body so there is no escaping.
If I start interpreting each of these do’s and don’ts it would become a complete 3 hours discourse for the readers so keep it brief I take up only the continence and breath-mastery (pranayama). Now I have knowingly put up the word continence instead of celibacy because through my interactions with many enlightened masters (many of them happen to be married or with spiritual partners of opposite sex too) I have come to understand that sex is never what is the culprit in blocking the path forward but sexuality is. And what is the difference?
The difference is that in sexuality there is continuous greed, obsession, ringing thoughts and scenes of the act in the mind of the subject; in this way with each and every stimulus received from outside one is projecting one’s own imagination and thus creating a energy build up around the wrong center i.e. mind. The Mind is not supposed to handle sex energy at least in the form it is built up in sexual thinking which makes it dangerous and harmful. Sexuality is a skewed way of looking at people and things, it is loss of perspective and energy both. On the contrary a healthy sexual act essentially with love, compatibility and commitment is a natural process for which sanctity is also given in scriptures of every religion and even in Vedas. Sex is no obstacle to your spiritual ascension however if you are engaged in some sort of Yoga practice you must freely discuss it with your master or guide on preserving the energy during the act and also make the very process of conjugation helpful in elevating your energies to higher chakras. Although not easy but there are certain methods to achieve that. To your surprise there is method of elevating the energy levels using the similar act even without a partner (Mind you there is never an ejaculation though)!
At the kind of age you are in whenever some energy boosting Pranayamas like Bhastrika or Kapalbhati are practised enormous amount of energy is generated and normally this finds outlet only in two opened gates i.e. anger and sex. If the mind has not been trained and disciplined, the sex would turn itself to sexuality and anger will make devil of you. Even in Vedic texts we have mention of Rishi Durvaashaa, the otherwise a very powerful master but prone to provocations and anger. I have seen it happening with many and you are no exception. This happens because neither have you been able to create other pathways for energy release, nor you have been taught to use this excess energy to help in hitting and lifting the Kundalini power in you. That’s the only reason Ancient Indian Gurukuls admitted boys at the age of 8 years for Yoga Practices for that will give masters leverage of having time and opportunities of modulating the complete thought pattern of the disciple and also creating the release channels other than animalistic ones of anger and Sex. This early start would also help the masters in terms of Shuddhikaran (purification) aspect because at the age of 8 hardly any of the nadis are blocked or clogged.
Unfortunately for the modern (health) seeker is neither presented with the elaborate knowledge nor is he himself probably ready to take it because of his own pseudo-busy-ness which he calls his business. So today’s Vitteshnaa and Lokeshnaa driven spiritual masters make it a point they capitalize on your busy-ness. Most of them knowingly (I feel) give you short-cuts which is definitely not a Master-like behaviour but definitely suits your temperament. So instead of real process of YOG you grab AIOG [sounds like a-Yog ] All-In-One-Go; howsoever harmful it might be in long run. I would continue to hammer and hit around to emphasize the nadishodhana before attempting pranayama because it is my duty to do so and its my conviction that its not too far off in time when people shall recognize the value of authentic Yoga system as prescribed in Vedas and the words of wise Masters.
Perry, I have discussed about the possibilities and Masturbating while practicing Yoga can also be the cause however for the physical issues you are facing currently and written about the first thing to be done is to become sure of this being thoroughly tested by the modern medicine system and its root cause. Get yourself checked up properly and find out what doctors have to say about your issues. Once they give you a clean chit or are up against a wall in both the cases my advice would be worth.
As of now all I suggest is to stop practicing all sorts of Pranayama and involve yourself with some social activities to be able to channelize your energy. If this state is due to accumulation of energy in and around your brain, affecting your hearing it will subside to a great extent in next 4-7 weeks. Remember to not load your system with toxins like alcohol, tobacco, pain-killers or sexual thoughts.. laugh at least 20 times a day (for a reason or even without), drink lots of water. Wish you a speedy recovery.
Love and Light
– Acharya Agyaatadarshan Anand Nath