Due to unsupervised past pranayama practices for example kapal bhaati, i have come across some unhealthy changes in my body, especially those related to symmetry, which in severe is hernia. Is there a way to fix this? should i start with nadi sodhan pranayama?
what is the difference between nadi sodhana and anulom-vilom pranayam? Their methods are quite similar.
– J Sharma
Beloved J Sharma,
Unlike many other disciplines Yoga is a system which definitely requires personal supervision while learning. And this supervision should be available face to face so that corrections / modifications in the practices can be suggested by your experienced teacher. Now when you have already hurt yourself I am sure you would like to warn others about the possible damages unsupervised practices of Yoga can cause. Make up your mind and follow your urge to help others, making others aware about it will be a great service indeed.
You see, in the system of Yoga we have Asanas prior to ‘Breath control or Pranayama’ and in between Asana and Pranayama there is a hidden step of Nadishodhan. And one must understand why Asanas are to be done for quite sometime – It is because most of our muscular structure is feeble and needs to be strengthened. Asanas improve blood circulation in many unseen muscle groups which we generally use little if we are not engaged in pranayama etc. Dhanurasana, Chakrasana, Paschimottaana Asana, Mayur Asana, Baddha-Padmasana and many more are conducted through for considerable period before one can jump to exercise breathing exercises which make use of many internal muscular groups including hernia, diaphragm etc.
Not having strong muscular structure along with un-methodical overdoing of advanced breathing practices like kapalbhati and bhastrika may severely affect/damage some of these tender and weak muscles and supposedly that has happened in your case. In this stage when your muscular structure has developped deformity and certain ruptures it would be better to call off your practices for a while and take professional medical help to fix those issues. Physiotherapy, warm and cold packs, diathermy and may be even surgery is needed to reverse your condition. My suggestion to you is that please do not engage in any rigorous exercises/asanas but rather seek medical attention. Brisk walking and activities like gardening and sweeping the floor can be done if these do not worsen your condition.
Now to the question of difference between anulom-vilom and nadishodhan. In fact anulom-vilom is also termed as nadi-shodhan in some texts however through my personal experience I can say it is only moderately effective method of cleansing the nadis and that is why in Tattva Shakti Vigyaan initiations we guide people in the elaborate nadi-shodhan regime rather than just anulom-vilom. While seeing from outside nadishodhan may seem like anulom-vilom with only a kumbhaka added in between however there is certain inner prana movements which are done in the process for example the use of bandhas etc. and these too need to be learnt from a teacher. Although you may find several sites over the internet describing the process however we despite giving out details of the practice openly insist that enthusiastic people like you get to a teacher personally and not take (presumably) these info-bits to practice only to harm themselves often.
It is my advice to you that after restoring your health to a moderate level approach an authentic Yoga School and learn all the techniques face to face with continuous guidance from your teacher. If your goal is spiritual then you can also contemplate joining Tattva Shakti Vigyaan deeksha camp in which this process is also taught in detail. I am sure if you would have been wanting to learn swimming you won’t search over the net and seek answers about how to swim.. so please understand the analogy for better and learn from a teacher directly.
Blessings from Masters..
– Acharya Agyaatadarshan Anand Nath