New to Meditation and Yoga Breathing practices?
Here are some helpful hints and a simple 30-minute home Pranayama & Meditation practice to get you started.
The best way to practice these techniques is from an experienced Pranayama teacher, but you may wish to practice on your own too and may find these reminders helpful.
- Dress comfortably with nothing binding; remove any belts or tight clothing.
- If possible, practice in a quiet place, with minimal distractions, and on an empty stomach.
- Sit comfortably on a chair or on the floor with blocks, blankets or bolsters. If you are not in the habit of sitting for long periods of time on the floor, take the time to find easy, supported positions that feel right for your back, knees and hips.
- Play whatever music fits your frame of mind (or fits the frame of mind you’d like to acquire during your practice!) Or just enjoy the stillness of the sound of your breathing.
- Breathe through the nose with the mouth closed, belly relaxed, eyelids closed – unless specifically instructed differently for certain Pranayama techniques.
- If you have a medical condition or are pregnant, talk to your Pranayama teacher about alternative techniques and, as in any yoga class, listen to your inner teacher.
- Do not force the breath; if a nostril is plugged, use only those breathing techniques that are comfortable; you may find that towards the end of your Pranayama session that both nostrils are more open.
- Do not rush your way through the various levels of Pranayama techniques; some techniques can take many, many hours of practice time in order to develop the ability for your muscles and attention to be focused and in tune enough with your body in order to progress gracefully to the next level. If you practice Pranayama only once a week, it may be that you will stay at the “beginner’s” level for 6 months or a year; if you have a daily 30-minute practice, you may progress more quickly but should still allow your movement through the technical levels to be instinctive and not by someone else’s predefined schedule.
- Take your time as you come to the end of your Pranayama session. You may wish to lie down and rest for a few minutes, or perhaps sit in meditation until you feel ready to close your Pranayama session for the day. Just be aware that you could be dizzy or your feet may have become a little numb until you are experienced enough to not allow that to happen! So take it slowly as you come to standing.