There has been a lot of queries about whether we should do Pranayam while walking or not. And if yes, what Pranayam should we do? A lot of people say no to Pranayam while walking , because of obvious reasons , citing pollution, inconsistent breathing pattern or simply because you might dilute the awareness about your surroundings, which all are very valid points. However the question remains if all these conditions are taken care of , person is walking in pollution free natural environment and is not in the midst of traffic or any other disturbances, then can he do the Pranayam and if yes, which Pranayam he should do?
A lot of people will still have no clue or wouldn’t tell you straight away no. But what advice to follow? We should follow the advice from a accomplished yogis who have gone through the process of Asthang yoga (8 arms/parts of yoga) and are well aware of the minutiae of Yoga. Dr Shivananda has been an accomplished yogi in mid 20th Century and before becoming yogi he was a certified Doctor and also served during world war 2. I read his books and follow his advice very often as his advice is based on ground of reality and from Shashtras as well. He was well aware of human anatomy and had attained samadhi through yoga. He has written a book on Pranayams , named as ” The Science of Pranayam by Shri Swami Sivananda. He writes in one of the chapters on Pranayam while walking . Here clearly mentions how do Pranayam while walking. Following line have been quoted from his book:
“Walk with head up, shoulders back and with chest expanded. Inhale slowly through both nostrils counting OM mentally 3 times, one count for each step. Then retain the breath till you count 12 OMs. Then exhale slowly through both nostrils till you count 6 OMs. Take the respiratory pause or rest after one Pranayama counting 12 OMs. If you find it difficult to count OM with each step, count OM without having any concern with the steps.
Kapalabhati can also be done during walking. Those who are very busy can practise the above Pranayama during their morning and evening walks. It is like killing two birds with one stone. You will find it very pleasant to practise Pranayama while walking in an open place, when delightful gentle breeze is blowing. You will be invigorated and innervated quickly to a considerable degree. Practise, feel and realise the marked, beneficial influence of this kind of Pranayama. Those who walk briskly, repeating OM mentally or verbally do practise natural Pranayama without any effort.”
The above excerpt has been taken from the book. Please refer to the link of the book. He has mentioned about Kumbhaka. You should read on this upcoming link about kumbhaka.
With his advice you could actually save some time in your morning walks in green natural surroundings and also avail the benefits of Pranayam too. Thanks Shri Shivananda ji for giving us more clarity on the subject. Your view and methods are still relevant even after several decades of your heavenly journey.
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