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There are 8 component of yoga by Patanjali.

  1. Yamas
  2. Niyama
  3. Āsana
  4. Prānāyāma
  5. Pratyāhāra
  6. Dhāranā
  7. Dhyāna
  8. Samādhi

I want to start Pranayama(e.g. Bhastrika, Kapal Bhati, Anulom Vilom etc.) so should I first master Yamas, Niyama and Asana? Or I can start practice Pranayama without worrying much on first 3 component?

  • you should find your guru first. your guru is your best for guidance in the exact sequence and timing for an individual. To think that you can do without your guru means to accept your own ego as your guru. And it is the blind leading the blind... – Swami Vishwananda Jul 1 '18 at 14:29
  • For doing basic Pranayamas like Bhastrika, Kapalabhati etc following Ramdevji is enough. You don't need to master Yama/Niyama etc. If you want to learn the Pranyamas that involve Kumbhak it's better to learn directly from the teacher. – Rickross Jul 1 '18 at 14:39
  • @SwamiVishwananda: Finding guru is not easy thing and I want to start practising something myself until I find guru. Or I should not try anything without guru. – Alok Singh Mahor Jul 1 '18 at 20:18
  • @Rickross: Actually I want to practice properly and systematically thats why I am concerned about steps and process to progress. If Asana is important before Pranayama then I will not take shortcut rather i will first master Asana. – Alok Singh Mahor Jul 1 '18 at 20:25
  • What's there in mastering Asana? Can't u sit in Padmasana? I think everyone can unless they are suffering from ailments that prevent them from bending their knees and sit. Your intention to do Pranayama is good now if it's stopped at the onset due to some useless advice then that's bad. @AlokSinghMahor – Rickross Jul 2 '18 at 6:05
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Yes , The practice and perfection of Asana is a prerequisite for pranayama. The Yogic scriptures tells us that that we should practice pranayama after fully acquiring technique of Yoga Asanas i.e. postures.

If our internal organs are not healthy, not strong and balanced, then the practice of pranayama will have an negative effect on our body and mind. That's why pranayama is an advanced Yogic practice , perfection in Yama , Niyama and Asana is the prerequisite.


Asanas as Prerequisite -:

Maharshi Patanjali In his Yoga Sutras - Part 2- Yoga and its Practice - Sutra 49 - is telling us the procedure of doing pranayama and he is advising us to gain mastery on postures.

तस्मिन् सति श्वासप्रश्वास्योर्गतिविच्छेदः प्राणायामः ॥४९॥

tasmin sati śvāsa-praśvāsyor-gati-vicchedaḥ prāṇāyāmaḥ ||49||

After mastering posture, one must practice control of the prana (pranayama) by stopping the motions of inhalation and exhalation.

Here is what Vedanta Commentary on Yoga-Sutras is warning us about practicing Pranayama.

What must be emphasized is this: no one should practise the advanced exercises of pranayama without the constant supervision of an experienced teacher. And no one should practise them under any circumstances unless he is leading an absolutely chaste life devoted entirely to the search for God. Otherwise they may easily lead to mental disturbances of the most dangerous kind. Those who encourage others to adopt such practices out of curiosity or vanity can only be described as criminals.


Hatha Yoga Pradipika Chapter II - On Pranayama - also mentioning the same thing as above.

अथासने दॄधे योगी वशी हित-मिताशनः |
गुरूपदिष्ह्ट-मार्गेण पराणायामान्समभ्यसेत || १ ||

athāsane dṝdhe yoghī vaśī hita-mitāśanaḥ |
ghurūpadiṣṭa-mārgheṇa prāṇāyāmānsamabhyaset || 1 ||

Posture becoming established, a Yogī, master of himself, eating salutary and moderate food, should practise Prāṇāyāma, as instructed by his guru.


That means no matter which Asana is used during Pranayama , but one should attain mastery on that postures or all else for getting Pranayamas complete benefits and that is a prerequisite.

Suggested postures for Pranayama - Padmasana , Virasana , Bhadrasana ,Svastika , Dandasana , Paryanka , Sopasraya , Kraunchanisadana , Samasamsthana , Sthirasukha.

  • This is answer of your Asana part , I will update the answer soon with remaining two things i.e. Yama & Niyama as prerequisites.The Vedanta commentary is indirectly telling us about Yama -Niyamas , but will update answer with more clear quotes if found. – SwiftPushkar Jul 1 '18 at 9:48
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    Thanks @SwiftPushkar, But everyone around me does not care about sequence. These days lot of people, teachers, friends ask to practice pranayama and they dont enquire if someone have mastery in asanas and other prerequisite. – Alok Singh Mahor Jul 1 '18 at 9:56
  • Yes you are right , but read the last sentence of Vedanta Commentary -"Those who encourage others to adopt such practices out of curiosity or vanity can only be described as criminals." Its always advisable to follow the sequence for the good benefit otherwise the adverse effect will be there. So we must listen to the scriptures and then after mastering the previous limbs switch to Pranayama. – SwiftPushkar Jul 1 '18 at 10:05
  • Mastering the posture - what's in that? Anyone can sit in a Padmasana unless u have Arthiritis or something. Also who wrote that "Vedanta commentary"? Pranayama is the most effective sin cleanser and disease remover. So, if a person is not leading a chaste life and/or is suffering from diseases then he has more reasons to do it than anyone else. @SwiftPushkar – Rickross Jul 1 '18 at 14:46

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