When we do practice Pranayama, there are so many questions that arise. Here are the beginners level Pranayama and Makarasana breathing FAQs to answer all those questions of yours. Feel free to write if you have any questions.
Q: When in Makarasana I was really pushing my stomach to expand. It cost a lot of effort to do. Is that the right way?
A: No, the stomach and all abdominal muscles should remain relaxed. Just by breathing deeply the belly expands, no effort in the muscles. But the strong effort in the diaphragm. It takes some concentration to remove that habit but just tries to keep your belly as soft as possible.
Q: During Makarasana breathing I practiced breathing deeply. Afterward, it gave me a feeling of strong nausea for several hours. Afterward, I had a strong emotional thing going on.
Maybe it is because of the strong breathing? Did I do something wrong? It is energetical?
A: That can happen when you breathe right and bring the prana to flow in your belly. Cleaning out can happen very naturally. All Pranayamas clean the Nadis and Makarasana breathing especially detoxes the abdominal organs. We store a lot of emotions and memories there. Chemical and energetical blocks remove.
Nausea can happen when we breathe in too much or out too much when the breath is not balanced. But that should subside very fast. Staying for longer time points more to an emotional cleaning process.
Just observe how things develop. The Yoga Nidra also helps to clean out, so effects can increase with more practice also.
Q: The condition you mentioned about that gal is actually a mental condition .. in the west, they call it “ADHD- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
A chronic condition including attention difficulty, hyperactivity and impulsiveness.
ADHD often begins in childhood and can persist into adulthood. It may contribute to low self-esteem, troubled relationships and difficulty at school or work.
1 in 5 kids in North America, for example, have this condition and as they grew up, it either deflated or expands, they have a prescription for this or therapies
But in India, we do have a lot of kids with this condition but we never pay attention or really have the awareness here for ADD/ADHD.
Can Makarasana practice help such kids to relax and calm down?
A: Yes, this can be treated in most cases without any prescription. Mostly in NA children get retain which compromises the development of social behavior and regulating emotions. Then you have different problems in those people like grown-ups.
It really should be part of education on how to work with the mind and emotions. Concentration is required in school, but not taught at all. Many kids have symptoms of ADHD also because of lack of movement, too much mental entertainment (videos, etc) and unhealthy nutrition which compromises the function of the pineal gland.
It´s truly wonderful that researchers are opening up and finding the connections and the power of the mind.
How memories and experiences are stored in body tissues has been known by all pagan traditions and we also had it all in the west. It´s still new that we only see ourselves as bodies and machines. Gladly this cannot survive, the truth will surface always, even after generations the truth shines bright and our bodies are real pathways towards it.
Q: In my practice of Makarasana I have noticed I tend to rush the final stages when I start feeling slightly chilly lying on the floor. So I was wondering if you could help me by offering some time reference for each stage: 1) on the belly, 2) with right cheek on the ground 3) with left cheek on the ground 4) rolled over on the left side 5) Shavasana. Should I think of doing the stages in half an hour all together?
A: You can follow the audio I sent you the link for and practice with that. Then you get a feeling about the time. The first and the last positions are the longest. You don´t stay on the left side when you roll into Shavasana. All positions you go through as I guided you.
Q: Thank you Elli for the wonderful practice today! The last two weeks have been so challenging for me, with a lot of stuff coming up and cleaning out after today’s practice, I feel so refreshed and motivated again!
I have practiced the Anuloma Viloma before and today I realized, that I find it difficult, because one of my nostrils always closes up! It really happens every time and sometimes I have to pause because my mind starts panicking. Today I just went through it and then I could really relax. 🙂
I also have a question to the Jala Neti, I think I didn’t use the right salt before. What kind do you recommend? Just any clean stone salt? And should we do it every day?
A: The nostrils open up after some time through the practice as the Nadis harmonize but it can be very annoying with the blocked nostril.
That´s why the Jala Neti is highly recommended for this. The salt is nowadays a little problem as we have so many impurities in it. So, stone salt is old and clean. You can use any type. Also herbal salt or salt with silver are very healthy. It´s really important to watch out for fluidized or iodized salt or salt with covers to not clump.
You should do it every day in the morning, it´s just part of the cleaning process. I do it under the shower takes 1 minute.
Today in Makarasana I felt how suddenly a knot „popped“ and immediately I felt tingling energy from my feet to my hands. When I moved my head to the sides I felt a strong closing of my throat. I could still breath normally, It just felt weird, that’s why I didn’t change the position of the neck and kept observing.
Yesterday and today as well I noticed that with the Jihva mudra I release tension in my chin, that I never noticed I hold!! I think it could really help me with my headaches which I get from lots of tension in the chaw.
Looking forward to more observation.
A: Yes the knots can really pop like a small bubble or sometimes a big one. You felt the prana moving, very beautiful.
Yes, Jivha Bandha can help with tension or even pop up the sinuses and nostrils, can release pressure from the throat also. Tension in the jaw many people have, I will talk a little about it next time, and how it is connected to the Nadis and the chakras.
Q: Do you have any tips for quietening the breath to silent, please. I’m finding my body is reacting to trying to quiet the breath, particularly by throat restricting and having a fizzy feeling in my stomach and chest. My mind feels relaxed but my body not, particularly on the exhalation. Thank you.
A: Yes, you have to relax the throat completely and relax in the practice mentally. The constriction is a stress reaction coming from the mind. If it is easier for you without the counting (less mental activity) then try that for some days and then do the counting.
Other noises come from the nose and there the Neti is the solution.
So, please do not try to quiet it, just relax and let the sound-making disappear. It´s a passive way, no force applied.
Q: My inhale is always shorter than my exhale. So, in a way this makes me rush a little on the exhale. How can I solve this?
A: With more Makarasana the capacity of the lungs will increase and you will inhale deeper. Of course, that takes more time to exhale also. Make sure you do not tense the belly in exhalation and that there is really NO pause after exhalation. That it should balance out.
Q: When I breathe in more, I have the feeling that I use my belly also… How can I only use the diaphragm and not the belly?
The answer is more Makarasana. The muscle has to be trained. When it´s stronger it will become easier.
Try to sit up and apply pressure on the lower rib cage, then you breathe against your hands. Not against the belly but only where the diaphragm is
Just give it some time to develop. I even had pain when breathing diaphragmatically while sitting. Every day it will improve more.
Q: Belly breathing is diaphragm Breathing isn’t it? I mean pumping air right to your belly instead of chest lifting abdomen is what I have been practicing. We call it to diaphragm Breathing, some people call it belly breathing cause Belly moves up and down.
A: The belly moves passively!!!! No pushing out as then you would use your abdominal muscles. I only took a short look at the video but exhaling completely also uses the abdominal muscles. Just breathe out relaxed until you inhale again. You also do not PUMP the air in, you just breathe as deeply as possible, no forcing, just awareness.
Many people refer to it as belly breathing or abdominal breathing as the belly moves but sometimes it is misleading people to push the belly out. Better to become aware of the muscle and train it, so the breathing process can be natural again.
Words from Students
Your words touched me very deeply because it addressed some topics that I have been thinking about for quite some time now! My senses are pretty aware when it comes to feeling the energies around me, something I experience since childhood and I have been struggling a lot with many spiritual practices, people, offerings and so on because my guts told me that it’s somehow not good for me. I just didn’t always understand why I get this strong feeling, because they seem to be nice people doing good stuff. Today you gave me a better understanding of it, which relieves me a lot! Now I feel that I am on the right path, when I say NO to certain things, even if they are told by a very spiritual person and good friend of mine. And by the way… yes, you can tell from a look into a person’s eyes!
Dear student, that´s really beautiful how your inner voice is leading you. So powerful to trust the feeling inside, the inner wisdom. Often we only find out later why it was like this.
We should all trust this gentle voice inside, it´s coming from the heart. Thank you for sharing this (pray)
I hope we will find some time to speak about external energies also, as people become more and more sensitive to it and most have no clue what it is or how to deal with it. It´s not in our education.
I feel very safe on this journey with you because of your very high integrity and your grounded approach. There’s no chasing after temporary highs or quick fixes. You’re sharing ancient wisdom that’s stood the test of time. It’s not new-age hype or psychedelic toad venom!