I read your article on internet regarding ill effects of pranayama . I have been doing kapalbhati since 2009 till 2014. In 2014 i was diagnosed with hietal hernia 3cm. I do not know but as your article conveys that it might be due to kapalbhaati which i have been doing for past 6 years.
I just wanted suggestion from your side that what should be my course of action in future. now i have stopped doing kapal bhaati but i have started doing bahahya pranayama for past 3 months.
Through your question I wish to communicate to all pranayam enthusiasts that Yoga is helpful (beneficial without any ill side effects) when it is attempted in sequence as suggested in asthang yoga system, starting from following the rules of proper principled conduct & proper attitude (Yama & Niyama), strengthening muscular structure along with improving flexibility of body (Asana), moving on to Nadishodhan (strengthening of respiratory system & cleansing of energy channels in the body) and then Pranayama (various types of disciplined breathing techniques), further gaining control over your sensory organs (and finally being able to shut them off at will is pratyahara). After having gained this much basic control over body and mind one is advised to concentrate (on external and internal objects known as dharanaa). It leads the practitioner to meditation or Dhyana which is just prolonged uninterrupted state of dharana. And when Dhyana gets perfected its uninterrupted state is known as samadhi where in the practitioner becomes capable of transcending the limitations posed by body, mind and intellect.
If you observe it closely Yoga starts with Mind and the last point of control/transcendence also being the mind. Yama, Niyama are beginner’s control over mind and Samadhi is an adepts way of transcending the mind. In between this system works of body and breath. Yogah karamshu kaushalam.. The perfection in Yoga shall lead to perfected action at the end.
The common man doesn’t wish to spend time in taming and training the mind and body. In general people are in hurry and want instant results. And I have personally seen people only want to gain perfection of health and bit of relaxation of mind to be able to continue in their legitimate struggle of earning money and name. Such an attitude is neither congenial to individual’s growth with the system of Yoga nor it remains risk free for the practitioner. Most of the problems of modern Yoga practitioners are the result of their hurry.
Second most common problem (at least in India) is lack of willingness to read and stay informed about the systems one wishes to adopt. There are many other factors why people fall victim of their own overtures with such noble systems. Coupled with lack of time, lack of will to take guidance in person etc. people more often than not run into some or the other trouble. Sincerely if you wish to pursue Yoga, you can not avoid sitting in the company of a qualified Guru/Teacher. Unlike West where people are ready to learn Yoga from a personal instructor just like they would go for slimming, swimming or music classes clever and budget savvy Indian populace is hooked on to TV and Youtube to learn Yoga. But I have personally known thousands of people who are paying price for such a lapse. Anyways, it is up to the wise reader to take a call whether he/she wishes to be well informed well guided by able teachers or follow the economics. Tattva Shakti Vigyaan also uses breathing techniques but they are in accordance with the guidelines set by ancient seers, who invented Yoga.
Zeeshan, if you would have known what causes Hiatal Hernia you would have taken precautions. I am not deducing the root cause of your hernia because some people may be born with the problem and most of the time, the cause is not known yet medical experts do consider these reasons : Increased pressure in the abdomen such as from pregnancy, obesity, coughing, or straining during bowel movements. Unfortunately they haven’t heard of Bhastrika, Kapalbhati, Sudarshan Kriya (laughs), sooner they revise their list the better.
As far as the answer to your question about ‘course of action in future’ – The first thing I expect you to visit a qualified doctor and take his suggestions. And if you feel his suggestions are not in line with the some of great Yoga Gurus, do show your reports to them and then seek their guidance. Ensure you learn things from them in person. No more watching TV or Youtube for this.
If your doctor says it is alright to go ahead with you straining your respiratory system without any adverse effects on this hernia you should take up Nadishodhana. Fortunately, Nadishodhan is complete package in itself and caters to body, mind and spirit equally. Do not apply bandhas in the beginning and ensure your breathing out time (rechaka) is longer than inhalation time (pooraka). In fact if you maintain a respectable ratio between inhale and exhale (exhale timing being double the inhale timings) it shall give you the desired effect of bahya kumbhaka automatically without causing much of strain. Yes, hold the breath as much as you can in between the two. Few cycles (30-60) of nadishodhana shall keep you going and also help you graduate and heal both. In case you develop any adverse symptoms like GERD, heart-burn etc. stop the practice immediately and consult your physician.
– Acharya Agyaatadarshan Anand Nath