|[ Excerpt from The Science of Yoga, page 40 ]
The place that you practice pranayama should be clean, pleasant and peaceful. Ideally, we would like to practice outdoors, in a clean-air environment. Pranayama is a practice for the quiet mind, so the place should be relaxing for the mind.
If possible, you may also practice pranayama in a special room, kept clean, pure and holy and reserved for this practice alone. This environment will have the power to calm your mind, influence and uplift your energy in a beneficial manner when you enter it.
The optimum time for the practice of pranayama is mid-day, when the sun is at its highest overhead. This is, however, not the optimum time for the practice of other yogic techniques such as asanas, kriyas, or meditation (which should be performed in the early a.m.).
Additionally, pranayama techniques can be practiced at the end of your morning asana practice.
As a general consideration, we don’t want to practice pranayama on a full stomach or on an empty one. So allow at least one hour after a normal meal for proper digestion.
As well, the food that you eat should be pure, natural and nutritious. As a general rule, do not leave the stomach without any food for more than three or four hours, because if there is nothing in the stomach to nourish the gastric fire amplified through the pranayama, this will affect your health.
So, if you practice pranayama, you should also consider eating nutritious meals every three or four hours. (We will discuss much more about the yoga of eating in lessons to come.)
Sit on a mat, a blanket, or a clean cloth made of natural fibres. Face North or East. The best position for pranayama is vajra asana.
As an alternative you may sit in a position where the spine is erect and the torso upright - one in which you may stay for a long time without any discomfort.
NOTE: This yoga article is an excerpt from The Science of Yoga, an online yoga training program with streaming yoga videos and 600 pages of step-by-step yoga instruction.
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