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 Building a Daily Practice with Self-Pacing
 some questions on pacing breathing exercises
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Posted - Mar 27 2018 :  8:41:47 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Message
Hello everyone,

Just joined the forum, hope I'm posting this in the right place. I have been practicing yoga casually for the past 10 years and I've just started to explore breathing exercises with the hopes of eventually starting meditation. I've been using a free app called "Pranayama Universal breathing" by Saagara for the past 6 months or so. The app has a few beginner variations, each 7 minutes long. Here is what happened:

- I started doing the 7 minute sequence once a day in the morning and gradually worked up to 2-3 times a day over the course of a few months
- I immediately noticed positive changes in my mindset and overall mood
- But I also noticed that when I did get flustered or upset my reaction would be way more severe than before. If I were to rate my mental state from 1-10, 1 being perfectly calm and accepting and 10 being fully stressed and irritable: my normal state would probably be a 6 or 7. Doing the breathing exercises would bring me down to a 3 or 4, but then I'd spike up to a 8 or 9 for short periods of time.
- After noticing this I cut back to once a day or nothing at all and returned to my normal half stressed state lol
- Over time I noticed that I started breathing more from the belly or diaphragm rather than from the chest (which I think is a good thing?)
- But I would also sometimes find myself short of breath and having to raise my shoulders and chest to take in more air
- Again I would cut back after experiencing this
- I've sort of been stuck in this pattern for the past 6 months

My questions:
- Is it possible to progress without having the mood spikes or shortness of breath?
- I find that the app helps with pace and timing but is there another recommended way for complete beginners?
- Is breathing deeply and through the diaphragm our natural way of breathing and recommended for everyone? or are there different recommendations based on a person's natural rhythm or lung capacity?
- I've always been an anxious/nervous person since childhood, I also smoked for about 10 years from 18-28 (I'm 35 now) could this be making it more difficult to keep my breath steady?
- Any other thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated

Some background info on me: My first introduction to yoga was in college about 10 years ago - Hatha, Iyengar style (we had a test on it lol). We went over alternate nasal breathing in the class as well and I remember it helped me a lot on my finals. Since then I've taken some community classes here and there but mostly practice at home using youtube (Ekhart Yoga) 20-45 minutes, 1-2 times a week. My main reason for starting to practice breathing and wanting to start meditation is to quiet my brain be more present with my family.

Happy to provide any additional info - Thanks for your time!


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Posted - Mar 28 2018 :  07:41:35 AM  Show Profile  Visit Charliedog's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi RS445 and welcome to these forums!

As Yogani is the key in explaining some parts from lesson 43:

......practicing pranayama alone without meditation can leave the practitioner vulnerable in some ways. Imagine you plow a field, turning the rich soil over and over. It is exposed, fertile, and ready for the seed to be planted. What will you plant there? If you meditate deeply with an effective method, you will plant the field full with the seed of pure bliss consciousness, and it will germinate and grow strong, filling the field with joy. But what if you don't meditate, and you don't plant anything in particular in your fertile pranayama field? What will grow there? Something will. But what? Whatever happens to be around. Some desires, some thoughts, some emotions, whatever happens to be blowing over the field. To tell you the truth, a lot of weeds can grow there, because there is no crop of pure bliss consciousness filling up that field. This is why pranayama, practiced as a stand-alone over months and years, can lead to less instead of more. In some people this type of imbalanced practice can lead to increasing rigidness, egotism, anxiety, anger, and just plain bad luck. Meditate every day after you do pranayama and you will experience the opposite of these things in great profusion - flexibility, compassion, peace, joy, and lots of good luck. That's how it works.

Pranayama in its various forms has tremendous value, and we will make extensive use of it. It is one of the master keys to opening the human nervous system to divine experience. But, pranayama is not a replacement for meditation. Only through meditation can the nervous system be permeated with pure bliss consciousness. Pranayama and other techniques we will discuss aid greatly in providing the ground for pure bliss consciousness to come up, and they are means for its expansion outward, but they are not the primary cause of its coming up. Meditation is. For this reason, pranayama is not recommended as a stand-alone practice without meditation.

Meditation can be practiced as a stand-alone. It is a complete practice that will lead to a full flowering of pure bliss consciousness in a person over an extended period of time. This is why meditation was said to be enough for those who are not inclined to pursue other advanced yoga practices to speed up the journey. Meditation is the best single practice one can do.

Deep Meditation and Spinal Breathing Pranayama are the core of Advanced Yoga Practices. You are welcome to join and to ask questions here at the forums. The lessons start here

PS. We do not know what kind of pranayama you practice, just a warning from me personally, do not force the breath.

Edited by - Charliedog on Mar 28 2018 07:50:50 AM
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Posted - Mar 28 2018 :  6:29:31 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Thank you Charliedog for the quick response and info! Yikes I was not aware of the relationship between Pranayama and meditation - perfect analogy. Will definitely do some reading before continuing..

thank you
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Posted - Mar 29 2018 :  06:25:31 AM  Show Profile  Visit Charliedog's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
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United Kingdom
1723 Posts

Posted - Mar 29 2018 :  06:58:49 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Welcome to the AYP forum RS445

The AYP approach to this situation would be to discontinue pranayama and take up a meditation practice instead. After a while, when the meditation practice has bedded in, we would add pranayama to our regular routine.

Good idea to read the lessons on this website - the one Charliedog has indicated, and others. There is a wealth of wisdom in them.

All the best
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