Instructions on Pranayama

  1. Early morning, answer the calls of nature and sit for the yogic practices. Practise pranayama in a dry, well-ventilated room.
  2. Pranayama requires deep concentration and attention. Practise alone, and make sure you will not be disturbed.
  3. Before you sit for pranayama practice, thoroughly clean the nostrils.
  4. Do not twist the muscles of the face when you do kumbhaka. This is an indication that you are going beyond your capacity.
  5. Pranayama can also be performed as soon as you get up from bed and just before japa and meditation. It will make your body light and you will enjoy the meditation.
  6. Keep a set routine of practice times and duration according to your convenience and time.
  7. Always inhale and exhale very slowly. Do not make any sound. In pranayamas like bhastrika and kapalbhati, you can produce a mild or the lowest possible sound.
  8. Do not shake the body unnecessarily. By shaking the body, often the mind also is disturbed. Do not scratch the body every now and then. The asana should be steady and as firm as a rock when you do pranayama, japa and meditation.
  9. You should not expect the benefits after doing it for two or three minutes only for a day or two. You must have at least 15 minutes of daily practice in the beginning.
  10. A beginner should do pooraka and rechaka only, without any kumbhaka, for some days.
  11. In the beginning you must observe some time-unit for pooraka, kumbhaka and rechaka. In all exercises, repeat Rama, Shiva, Gayatri, or any other mantra, or merely count numbers, or use any other time-unit according to your inclination. Gayatri or Aum are the best for pranayama.
  12. Take a long time for exhalation, the proportion for pooraka and rechaka is 1:2.
  13. Gradually increase the period of kumbhaka. Retain for four seconds in the first week, for eight seconds in the second week and for 12 seconds in the third week and so on till you are able to retain the breath to your full capacity.
  14. You must adjust the pooraka, kumbhaka and rechaka so precisely that you do not experience the feeling of suffocation or discomfort at any stage of pranayama. You should never feel the necessity of catching hold of a few normal breaths between any two successive rounds. The duration of pooraka, kumbhaka and rechaka must be properly adjusted.
  15. In the beginning you must count the number and see how you progress. In the advanced stages, you need not distract the mind in counting. The lungs will tell you when you have finished the required number.
  16. You must not unnecessarily prolong the period of exhalation. If you prolong the time of rechaka, the following inhalation will be done in a hurried manner and the rhythm will be disturbed. You must so carefully regulate the pooraka, kumbhaka and rechaka that you must be able to do with absolute comfort and care, not only one round of one pranayama but also the full course and required rounds of pranayama. I have to repeat this often.
  17. When you have advanced in the practice, you need not count or keep any unit, you will be naturally established in the normal ratio through force of habit. The time unit and the proper ratio come by themselves when you advance in the practice of pooraka, kumbhaka and rechaka as long as you can do them comfortably.
  18. Another important factor is that you must have efficient control over the lungs at the end of kumbhaka, to enable you to do the rechaka smoothly and in proportion to pooraka.
  19. Do not perform the pranayama until you are fatigued. There must always be joy and exhilaration of spirit during and after the practice. You should come out of the practice fully invigorated and refreshed.
  20. Experience and practice will make you perfect. Be steady.
  21. When you finish the practice, take a cup of milk or a light snack after 10 minutes.
  22. Take a little ghee with rice when you take your meals. This will lubricate the bowels and allow wind and gas to move downwards freely.
  23. Do not take a bath immediately after pranayama is over. Take rest for half an hour. If you get perspiration during the practice, do not wipe it with a towel. Rub it with your hands. Do not expose the body to the chill draughts of air when you perspire.
  24. Strictly avoid too much talking, eating, sleeping, mixing with friends and exertion.