I just came across your post, because I was looking to find some answers about the side effects of pranayama as I recently had a tough experience. It goes like this: I made abdominal breathing for 3-4 days, the last day for 30 minutes. Then, I began to feel dizzy, vertigo, feelings like fainting and nausea. It lasted for 3 days. 2nd day I wasn’t able to walk or leave the house. I mostly stayed in the bed. can this happen from too much time doing the practice? How much time should I do it? Or should I do it at all…?
Thank you. I’m looking forward to receiving your answer.
I want to thank you for your valuable blog. I was suffering from negative effects of pranayam and with your advices i am returning to normal.But the promblem is that there is much fluctuation sometimes i feel normal sometimes negative effects exist. As you posted that you have more to cure such negitive effects of pranayam, so kindly suggest me what else i can do to get better. Thank you
I read the dangers of doing certain Pranayamas incorrectly. I have Cervical spondylitis and have severe pain in the neck. Could you please tell me what pranayamas can be done, to help this condition. I am suffering from so much stiffness in the shoulders and neck.
Currently i am doing Brahmari (10 rounds), Ohm chanting (10 rounds), 3 stage breathing, Right nostril breathing (10 rounds), left nostril breathing (10 rounds), Anulom Vilom (15 – 20 rounds). This gives some relaxation. I was planning to increase Anulom-Vilom to 10 – 15 minutes. I dont do Kabhalabhati. [I learnt the pranayamas in a Pranayama class few years back ]
1) Could you please clarify if the above practice is correct. If it is incorrect, could you please provide corrections to handle the pain?
2) Can Pranayama be practiced 2 times in a day (morning and evening) for better relief?
3) During pain, can i practice Anulom vilom, slowly multiple times?
Your kind advice will help me a so much.
I am 39 years old woman doing Meditaion and Pranayam regularly since 2012 and not so regular since 2009. I am seeking a solution for my health issues. All the spritual trainings and practices helped a lot on handling stress and life is more joyfull. However my physical health is not improving. Struggle with Psoriatic Arthritis (calcification at joints, muscle/tendon aches all over,no skin issues other than scally scalp) and tingling, fluttering sensation of nerves started after 2009.
As part of my Yoga training i was on more than 50% raw food, (no milk) since beginning of 2011, but by beg of 2012 i was drained, shortness of breath and couldn’t work for 2 months, was depressed, slowly with supplements, cooked food and some fish and chicken (at medicinal levels to improve iron as was diagnosed with low iron reserves), has been a vegetarian since 14 years old). With this change in diet and supplementation my shortness of breath has gone away. But my pains and calcifications are still present.
I do following pranayama every morning – sectionals (kanishta, madyama, jyeshta), mudra pranayams (Chin, Chinmaya, Adi, Merudhanda, poorna), done with seethli in between to cool]. While doing exhalation a slight sound is made from the throat. I do pranayam sitting on a chair as I cannot sit in the vajrasan. While doing pranayam gets distracted as it is done in a hurry in the morning while getting my little one ready, could this have negative effects.
I do samadhi meditation before lunch and evening (not third eye)- just watch the thoughts coming and going (without resisting or following it) and, if mind wanders get attention back by chanting the Beej mantra. It freshens me immensely and some small discomforts also goes away.
But overall my health is struggling and so wondering if any of these practices especially pranayam is having a role. On one side i can see its positive effects but still could it be causing the negative side effects.
Another reason why i am suspecting is because lately my husband is also complaining some joint calcifications like at the wrist, foot and Knee pains, but doesn’t have other issues. He feels super heated up after pranayam (does dhouti and sits in vajrasan). So the only other common denominator between us is the Pranayam and Meditation and Raw food that we used to take (raw food we have cut down a lot as we both were getting tired and tested low on iron reserves).
Request your take on it and suggestions to help with my health challenges.
I have send an email dt Tuesday, April 23, 2013 3:44 PM with all the details and chronological progress of my conditions.
All Lovely Souls,
Blessings from Masters to each one of you!
All of you have in one or more ways inquired on 2-3 major points-
1. What is to be done in case there is suspected negative effect of pranayama, high speed breathing e.g. Bhastrika, Kapalbhati or some kriya etc.
2. What precautions are to be taken while practicing Pranayama in general and how it would help you heal certain ailments/chronic conditions/pain etc.
3. Lastly one important question from Smith, who is suspecting whether it is Pranayama or something else which is causing calcification of joints in her and her husband’s case. Also what suggestions I have for her.
Before I attend to your questions it would be interesting to quote a comment, verbatim from one enlightened person by the name of Chetan Vaknalli who has some brilliant suggestions for all of you.
“Guys, grow up!!! If you do any activity in a wrong manner, you are asking for trouble. The problem is not in Pranayama, Yoga or Sudarshan Kriya – it’s in the way you do it and how much/fast you do it. Why, if you do gym exercises in a wrong manner, you are bound to get hurt!! Does that reduce the importance of gym exercises?
When you join a gym, on the first day itself if you are asked to lift a ton of weight, I guarantee you will have an injury. You guys are trying to give exam of 10th standard when you can’t even write ABCD. If you re-check the videos/text of any Guru who advocates Pranayama, you will see that for beginners, no more than 1-2 minutes of each Pranayama is recommended. Foolish people try it for 30 mins – what a joke!!!
At the end of his knowledge laden suggestions for amateurs and fools like us Shri Chetan ji sparks the ultimate wisdom of his and declares my talks as baseless and impregnated with utter ignorance. He writes..
Don’t get misled by this AD guy – he doesn’t know what he is talking about.”
In fact I thought it would be unfair for me to keep his enlightening words lying in the dark bin of unapproved comments so I am publishing it here for all of you to take benefit from his suggestions and advice of not being misled by anyone in any circumstance whatsoever. And yes.. if after going through my answers below you still have doubts about what you should do then you can have second opinion from Shri Chetan ji by writing to him at email@example.com. (It is sheer favor of divine that Chetan ji cared to leave his correct mail ID with his comment. I truly bow down to his kindness.) Also I am relieved by siting his comment here for now you can’t say that some one din’t warn you about my ignorance!
Now, back to classroom…
Everyone who is serious about the ancient Vedic practice of Yoga, of which Pranayama is an integral part should know that :
Pranayama is not just breathing –
Prana is essentially the life-force and aayama means circulation range. Thus word pranayama would mean – the method of correcting, controlling and enhancing the circulation range of vital life-force. What most of people mistakenly understand about pranayama that it is correcting, controlling and enhancing the breathing capacity; which it is not. Though viewed externally it definitely feels like regulating the breathing span and pattern yet what is being intended by the practitioner (who has received guidance from an able Guru) is nothing but better control on energy (prana) circulation through nadis (energy channels).
And those who think that better circulation of energy happens by better flow of well-oxygenated blood in the body are missing the point because if that would have been the case in stead of pranayama, in ashtaang yoga system Masters would have suggested cardio-vascular exercises like running and jogging. If you observe the process of running you would notice that to make up for oxygen-debt (dip of oxygen level created in body during rigorous exercises) your breathing and heart rate is increased. It is also a known that that in cardio-vascular exercises certain hormones are also secreted which give you sense of ‘feeling good’. Looked from this point of view cardio-vascular (CV) exercises will fare better than pranayama.
But, we have seen that what pranayama can do to your body and mind still is not fully achievable through CV exercises. In fact most of the people who take up pranayama are simply breathing in and out and nothing more than that. Whatever benefit they are getting is of gross in nature because they hardly are able to trigger that conscious process through their awareness of which the controller is mind. Let me once again clarify that in ‘conscious breathing‘ your mind follows the breath while in ‘pranayama‘ your breath follows the mind. This is a very subtle yet extremely important difference. And only through great lengths of conscious practice makes this process possible.
Conscious breathing is a bodily process and shows tangible effects on your bodily functions whereas ‘pranayama‘ is a spiritual process which overshoots the domain of bodily functions thus entering a plane from where ‘pratyahara‘ (detaching your sense organs from their respective sense objects) becomes possible. So, don’t misled by thinking that pranayama is only about making you healthy (it has been marketed and popularized like that since last few decades or else its knowledge and practices were taught to people who wanted to raise their consciousness spiritually) it is about bringing you closer to ‘samadhi‘ by taking you one step further (to pratyahara) where you can detach your sense organs from their sense objects.
Pratyahara is about not being affected by external sense feeders. A true pratyahari would be able to say that he din’t see a thing while his eyes were all open. He can cut off his hearing to that extent where he would not be deterred by the sounds of even loudest of drums… This is made possible by gaining control on the ‘flow of vital energy’ in your nadis through pranayama. During pratyahara practice a practitioner shuts off the incoming energy channels originating from sense organs and that is how he is able to cut off from his senses.
I, myself don’t claim to be a perfected Ashtanng Yogi (though many at times people address me that way, for clarity I must tell you that I am a Kaula by initiation and Master of Tantra. I teach Kriya Yoga and Tantra, prepare people through Tattva Shakti Vigyaan to receive highest practice of Tantra tradition i.e. Shree Vidyaa Sadhana) yet I know of some siddhas in Himalayas who are ardent practitioners of Hatha Yoga and Ashtaang Yoga and these are the Yogi who have shared deep secrets of Yoga system with me. These encounters and discussions happened during those years when I was learning the secrets of Yoga practices under the guidance of my revered Yoga-Guru Shri Balendu ji Giri Maharaj of Naga sect from Rishikesh.
It is unfortunate that people are merely interested in getting physical benefits from this spiritual practice forgetting the fact that once pranayama is mastered you qualify to practice pratyahara. And you would be surprised to know what mastering pratyahara can make possible for you.
Next time I shall take up your specific questions and also tell you an interesting incident about what ardent Yogis can do. Till then you can roam around the web contemplating, verifying and rechecking the authenticity of what you have read so far 🙂
Love & Light
– Ach. Agyaatdarshan Anand Nath