Please guide me.Thanks in advance

  • Personally advice questions aren't allowed on this site, so I'm closing your question for the time being. If you want to edit your question to make it more general, like "What are the effects of Pranayamam according to Hindu scripture?" or something, that might be more acceptable. – Keshav Srinivasan Mar 28 '15 at 16:41
  • "Personally advice questions aren't allowed on this site.." , I didnt know that ...can you please help me delete my question? Thanks.. – Anonymous Mar 28 '15 at 17:21
  • OK, I'm reopening your question, now that you made the revision. – Keshav Srinivasan Mar 28 '15 at 17:36
  • Pranayama could be very dangerous if not done right. Thus it is safer to go to a Guru or Yogi and learn from them. There are various side effects such as head ache, naussea, respiratory illness, even people go crazy because of lack of proper pranayama . Pranayama is a science, which could be productive when under control and totally destructive if not under the control. All the best. – Sai Mar 29 '15 at 6:54
  • If you want specific references related to Pranayama and Prana here is some information by Sri Swami Vivekanandaji, hermetic.com/vivekananda/raja-yoga/prana.html. Pranayama has many positive benefits as well, but it is safer to do it under the guidance of a Guru sir. All the best – Sai Mar 29 '15 at 7:01

Why are you practicing these things without the guidance of a teacher or guru? Pranayama has many good effects and when done properly can give you calmness of mind, freedom from diseases and so on. But when done incorrectly the effects can be the opposite, including headache like what you have experienced. So the HataYoga Pradipika says:

prāṇāyāmena yuktena sarvarogakṣayo bhavet
ayuktābhyāsayogena sarvarogasamudgamaḥ

Through the proper practice of pranayama all diseases perish, but by the improper practice of paranayama all diseases arise.

hikkā śvāsaśca kāsaśca śiraḥkarṇākṣivedanāḥ
bhavanti vividhāḥ rogāḥ pavanasya prakopataḥ

Hiccup, asthma, cough, pain in the head, ear, eyes and many other diseases arise due to the improper regulation of air/breath.

I don't mean to discourage you, but in yoga it is better to know what you are doing otherwise there can be negative consequences. If your purpose is to attain enlightenment, knowledge or liberation then that can also be achieved by practice of devotion which doesn't have these side effects. Otherwise, take the help of a teacher and he will guide you about mantra and pranayama.


Except for preliminary pranayama, one should not try to practice without the guidance of a guru. Doing so can bring uncontrollable urges. In the Preface to his book, Raja Yoga (which includes his translation of Patanjali's Yoga Aphorisms), Swami Vivekananda gives the following warning (Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda V1. p123):

In the first part some simple and specific directions are given for the student who wants to practice, but all such are especially and earnestly reminded that, with few exceptions, Yoga can only be safely learnt by direct contact with a teacher. If these conversations succeed in awakening a desire for further information on the subject, the teacher will not be wanting.

Pranayama is learning to suspend, control, and restrain the breath. By learning to control the breath, we learn to control prana. Prana is the energy that permeates your body. The universe is made up entirely of Akasha and Prana, matter and force. Most people interpret pranayama as learning to control the breath, but this is only the start of what is meant by pranayama. By learning to control the breath, you learn to control the nerve-endings. By learning to control the nerve-endings you learn to control prana throughout the body. By learning to control prana, you control the senses. By learning to control the senses, you control the mind, with this you can realize Brahman.

By learning to control the breath we are really learning to control the Ida and Pingala, and this is the main objective of learning to control the breath (Complete Works V2 p30).

According to Patanjali, Pranayama is taken up after the student has taken up Yama, Niyama, and Asana. The Yoga Aphorisms give some direction as to pranayama.

Patanjali in his Yoga Aphorisms outlines the steps, warnings, and results of following the steps of his Yoga.

Sankaracharya, however, gives a slightly different alternative to the Yoga Aphorisms. He agrees that all the steps are necessary, but says:

The restraint of all the senses by means of such knowledge as "All is Brahman" is rightly called Yama, which should be practiced again and again. The continuous flow of only one kind of thought to the exclusion of all other thoughts, is called Niyama, which is verily the supreme bliss and is regularly practiced by the wise. (Aparoksanubhuti, verses 104-105.)

In other words, meditation on Brahman, practiced regularly, covers Yama and Niyama. By practicing meditation, all the steps of yama and niyama will occur naturally without any effort on your part. By practicing meditation regularly, pranayama, control of prana, will comes of itself.

Swami Vivekananda said "The greatest help to spiritual life is meditation." (Complete Works V2 p37). Indeed, he further states "No breathing, no physical training of Yoga, nothing is of any use until you reach the idea, I am the Witness." (Complete Works V4 p254)


This is explained in the Patanjali Yoga Sutras in detail:

“Tasminsati shwasaprashwasayorgativicchedaha pranayamaha’’ (II Sutra 49)

tasmin = in that state of asana or posture; sati = being; shwasa = inspiratory breath; prashwasa = expiratory breath; gati = movement; vicchedaha = breaking; pranayamaha = regulating the breath.

“In that state of being in asana or posture, breaking the movement of inspiratory or expiratory breath is regulation of breath.”

There, in that state of asana, obstructing the flow of breath that is natural. You are obstructing the natural flow because your flow is not natural at all. We have made our breath so unnatural, being unnatural. So whatever is natural is now unnatural. We have to revert backwards. How do you revert back? It’s not just by accepting what is. “However the breath is going, I accept it”. No. Gati vichchedaha – break its movement. Break the movement of the breath by consciously breathing long, subtly and with counts and having attention at different places.

The next sutra:

“Bahyabhyantarastambhavruttirdeshakalasankhyabhihi paridrashto dirghasukshmaha’’ (II Sutra 50)

bahya = external; abhyantara = internal; sthambha = total restraint; vrittihi =; movement; desha = place; kala = time; sankhya = number; paridrishtaha = regulated; dirgha = long; sukshmaha = subtle.

“Internal and external breath and total restraint of breath is regulated by place, time and number and thus the breath becomes long and subtle.”

This one sutra has described all the pranayamas, just one sutra. Breath in, hold and breath out with different counts; while having attention on different parts of the body. In one sentence, in one sutra, all the pranayamas are summed up.

There is one more pranayama which happens automatically. When all the thoughts, ideas in the mind and the objects are cleared, there is a natural pranayama which starts. It throws out all the impurities from the mind. That is the fourth pranayama.

“Bahyabhyantaravishayakshepi chaturthaha’’ (II Sutra 51)

bahya = external; abhyantara = internal; vishaya = regions; akshepi = going beyond; chaturthaha = fourth.

“The fourth type of pranayama happens when the regions or spheres of internal and external breaths have been gone beyond of.”

In pranayama again, learn with proper guidance. Do not just do it on your own, but by proper guidance. The pranayama which happens all by itself without any effort is the fourth pranayama. As you go deep, the pranayama begins to happen and it breaks the routine way of breathing. It assumes a form of its own, a different rhythm. This is the fourth pranayama. What is the effect of pranayama?

“Tataha ksheyate prakashavaranam’’ (II Sutra 52)

tataha = then; ksheyate = broken; prakasha = light; avaransam = curtain.

“Then the curtain surrounding the light is broken.”

Breaking down the curtain around the light. You are light, but you do not know that because there is a thick curtain around it; an iron curtain around it. This thins down the curtain and makes it more transparent and you are able to see the light.

Everyone is a spark of light. Everyone is light. Life is light. Yet we live in such darkness. Why? This is because the light is covered. If your nature is joy, if your nature is bliss, then why is there suffering in the world? You have read it in the scriptures, you have heard people talking everywhere that life is bliss, life is ananda, life is joy. The experience of life is however, contrary. There is a problem everywhere. If you like something, there is a problem. If you do not like something, then also there is a problem. If you hate, of course there is a problem. If you love, even then there is a problem. You get more problems in love than in hatred. So there is a problem everywhere.

How come there is so much suffering? What to do? How to recognize that life is joy, as we have heard so much of it? That is where pranayama comes in. Through pranayama, the veil that covers the light gets lifted. The veil begins to get diminished. Tataha ksheyate prakasha avaranam.

Previously, Patanjali also mentions, “Prachchardana vidharaṇabhyam va praṇasya”. Retention and splitting of breath in a special manner. Changing the rhythm, cycles, root of the breath, changing the flow of breath is pranayama. Working in the dimension of the praṇa is what really praṇayama is. Ayama means dimension. Attending to that dimension in you which has been ignored from birth, the dimension of praṇa.

We worked on the body level through the asana. The next level is the subtle body, the pranic body.

Links: http://www.artofliving.org/yoga/patanjali-yogasutra/knowledge-sheet-85 http://www.artofliving.org/yoga/patanjali-yogasutra/knowledge-sheet-86

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .