By Sangeetha Saran
What in the world is too much pranayama? To be honest, you can overdo anything, including drinking water and pranayama. Maybe you feel euphoria during practice, but go easy and pace yourself. “Prana” means fundamental life source, and “Yama” means control. The union of these two is a necessary component of pranayama in Yoga, essentially engaging in methods to control the breath. It might seem impossible that something as rudimentary as breathing could create controversy. However, it is interesting to note that all things done in moderation are fine. Finding the right balance when incorporating pranayama into your yoga classes is important. Quite a few stories are floating around in the yoga world about the importance of learning pranayama from a seasoned guru.
Are Warnings Ridiculous?
Warnings abound to prospective yoginis with the message, “Do not try this at home.” It seems laughable, “Why, can I breathe myself to death?” However, while Pranayama Yoga is a safe practice, there are always those who jump into every new experience too enthusiastically. A breathing regimen should start slowly, just like physical asana practice. For example, it’s time to slow down or stop if you feel lightheaded. There are several things to consider when building Pranayama into your yoga classes. There are health warnings for everything these days.
Consult a Doctor
You can’t do anything without being told it’s bad for you. So, is too much pranayama that dangerous? Pranayama is a breathing technique that is often used in yoga. It involves breath control and can be used to improve your overall health. However, some have warned that pranayama can be dangerous if not done properly. So, are these warnings ridiculous? Well, it depends. Pranayama is probably fine if you are healthy and have no respiratory problems. However, if a student has heart problems, asthma, or other respiratory conditions, he or she should talk to a doctor before trying pranayama.
Many students come to yoga for physical exercise. Experienced practitioners know it is important to incorporate Pranayama into a yoga practice. Not all agree. Often, students want to jump into the physical aspect quickly, so the breathing portion of the class might be limited to 10-15 minutes in most standard yoga classes. Pranayama is an important part of yoga, but are students interested in it? Sometimes, school surveys find interesting facts. One student survey found that only 4% were interested in learning more about pranayama. This suggests that students today who practice yoga are not particularly interested in the breath control aspect of the discipline. However, those interested in pranayama can find plenty of teachers who want to help.
You Can’t Teach it All in One Class.
With so many types of Pranayama in Yoga to choose from, it may be difficult to choose one or two to present to your students. Maybe you have practiced Bhastrika, Ujjayi, Nadi, Shitali, or Anulom-Vilom and find them all beneficial. You can’t throw all these out there in one class. Try to choose one breathing method and stick to it for six weeks; allow your students to master it and then move on to another style. While pranayama is an important part of yoga, you can’t teach every pranayama technique in one class. It’s important to focus on teaching the techniques most appropriate for the students in the class. For example, if you’re teaching a beginner’s yoga class, you might want to focus on teaching the basic pranayama techniques. If you’re teaching an advanced yoga class, you can focus on teaching more advanced pranayama techniques.
The fact is that most people spend their whole life not paying attention to their breathing. After a lifetime of shallow breathing, an intense breathing regimen may be contraindicated for some students, especially those who suffer from asthma. Those new to practicing Pranayama techniques may initially suffer headaches, dizziness, lethargy, or nausea. Therefore, keep a close watch on students and look for signals of the occurrence of these maladies.
When teaching pranayama at workshops, it’s important to take breaks for explanations and lectures. This ensures that students understand the techniques and can properly execute them. It also allows students to rest between sets of exercises. For some of our students, overdoing pranayama can lead to fatigue, so it’s important to find the right balance. It is also beneficial to have a few demonstrations so that students can see how the techniques are performed. By taking breaks, students will be less likely to feel overwhelmed and will be able to retain the information better.
Side Note for Teachers
When practicing pranayama, it is important to be mindful of how much force is used. Overdoing it can lead to hyperventilation and lightheadedness. If this happens, it is best to stop the practice and take some deep breaths until you feel better. It is also important to ensure you are not holding your breath for too long during pranayama. Doing so can cause dizziness and fainting. If you feel discomfort, you should stop the practice and consult with a yoga instructor.
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