Question from DG:
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.
Going through your question it sounds as if you have not practiced any pranayama but just abdominal breathing and your condition and symptoms are possibly due to following (I’m presuming you have not engage in Kapalbhati here) –
1. Over-doing of abdominal breathing without having trained your body.
2. Posture is of utmost importance during breathing exercises and it is quite possible your spinal chord wasn’t up-right.
3. Pranayama / Breathing exercises increase blood-flow and if blood is not moderately toxin-free it’s increased flow to the brain can induce dizziness and other similar symptoms.
If you wish to take up Pranayama or deep breathing exercises of Yoga some of the precautions need to be observed. Once you have prepared yourself well negative side effects can be kept at bay. Following should be done –
a. Detoxify your body by keeping off from intake of tobacco, alcohol, canned products and stale food.
b. Switch to diet rich in fresh fruits, juices, raw vegetables well 2-3 week in advance.
c. Purity at thought’s level is also important so refrain from all sorts of negative emotions like anger, jealousy, lust etc.
d. Do some Asanas (like Surya Namaskar) everyday that will help in flushing out toxins from your body and also train your body to handle increased blood-flow to the extremities.
However even after you have prepared yourself this way should not skip the preparatory step of Pranayama i.e. Nadi-Shodhana. Practice of Nadi-Shodhana must precede pranayama. Nadishodhana gets completed in 3 months if you complete the regime of 64 kumbhakas everyday.
Pranayama is not harmful neither it will lead to any negative effects if you have prepared yourself well and followed Vedic system of getting into yoga practices.
I shall take up other questions in upcoming posts.
Love & Light
– Ach. Agyaatdarshan