How to deal with Anxiety during Pranayama

I received some inquiries how to deal with anxiety during pranayama, a subject that is also covered in detail in the pranayama book. In a nutshell, reduce your breath count and let go of any ambition to lengthen it. The attitude of achievement that many modern yogis use to approach asana practice (that is you feel better when you have achieved a new posture or level of flexibility) cannot be transferred into pranayama practice.

You need to listen to your body to tell you when you can extend your breath count and versus letting your mind decide. Helpful is also the use a 1 : 2 breath ratio, meaning make the exhalation double the length of the inhalation. Finally pranayama techniques that increase kapha and decrease pitta do help with anxiety as well but you need to consider the whole person before subscribing any of them as they are not helpful if you suffer from aggravated kapha already.

About Gregor Maehle

Gregor Maehle began his practice of Raja Yoga in 1978 and added Hatha Yoga a few years later. For almost two decades he yearly travelled to India where he studied with various yogic and tantric masters. Since then he has branched out into research of the anatomical alignment of postures and the higher limbs of Yoga. He obtained his anatomical knowledge through a Health Practitioner degree and has also studied History, Philosophy and Comparative Religion. Gregor lived many years as a recluse, studying Sanskrit, yogic scripture and practising yogic techniques. He has published a series of textbooks on all major aspects of yoga. His mission is to re-integrate ashtanga vinyasa practice into the larger framework of Patanjali’s eight-limbed yoga in the spirit of T. Krishnamacharya. He offers trainings, retreats and workshops worldwide.
Posted in Pranayama.

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