You will only start to understand the impacts of the pranayama once you have done it for some time.
If after doing an asana you get a knee problem, you know you did something wrong. Similarly, you will know that you did something in your pranayama, if you cannot sleep or if you are unrestful all day. It is like a turmoil within. You can also get sick or get a sudden fever.
A common disorder that pranayama practitioners suffer from is heartburn. It is a result of a wrong practice i.e. doing the pranayama after excessive eating or before the digestive process is finished. Heartburn is a disorder of the wind, of vayu – the air element, and it is a very important clue telling you that there is something that you are not doing correctly.
For all neurological disorders arising out of the pranayamic wrong process, you would do recuperative poses which nourish your nervous system: Halasana, Setu Bandha Sarvangasana, Chair Shoulder Stand, Viparita Karani, and even the Hanging Sirsasana. These postures will save you from abuse and excess of ALL kinds.
When you have done pranayama, wait for 15 to 20 minutes before you do any asana. Only one pose can be done straight after pranayama – Viparita Karani.
Hanging before pranayama is always to be done with the head supported. Otherwise you will be fighting about in your pranayama. And you will lose.
In general, if you rest your head when you hang, you will be able to hang for a longer time and come out of the hanging with great peacefulness. You can nourish your brain cells and at the same time be peaceful – this is the amazing thing about Hanging Headstand.
Don’t forget that the breath can sort out a problem but it can break you as well. One session of bad pranayama practice is good to put you out of action for a week, a month, a year. Don’t underestimate it.
Himalayan Iyengar Yoga Centre
Yoga master teacher Sharat Arora
Article derived from the Intensive Yoga Course at the
Himalayan Iyengar Yoga Centre in Arambol, North Goa, 2002