guidelines for the practice of pranayma
– Pranayama should not be practiced after meals. When the stomach is full it creates pressure on the diaphragm and lungs, thus avoiding full respiration. Apart from this, the process of digestion can be a big distraction during the practice, it takes energy on a physical and mental level, and makes the mind less clear.
– Bladder and bowel should be empty before starting.
– Extra care should be paid to your nose and nostrils, especially if you suffer from colds and flus with a lot of mucus, runny nose, congestion, headache, or sinusitis. (In this case stop eating diary products will be helpful). The Hatha Yoga Pradipika recommends the practice of shatkarmas (cleansing practices). JalaNeti for example (nasal cleansing with salty water) removes mucus and pollution, relieve allergies and colds, thus creating a good “environment” for the practice, which should be suspended during any illness.
– No strain during the practice, no rush. Everybody can practice Pranayama but that should be done with respect and in a non-intellectual way. Dedication doesn’t mean strain. If you overdo and exhaust your lungs, heart and nerves, they’ll become weak and you can create damages. Special attention should be taken during Kumbhaka (retention), the lungs are really delicate organs, so always keep your practice serene, no forcing of the breath, body or mind.