DIET & PLACE in Pranayama YOGA. Tips to get started in Pranayama.

The science of pranayama was developed by profoundly evolved yogis through an intuitive and experiential understanding of prana and its influence on the human mechanism at various levels.

Diet in Pranayama Yoga: The practitioner of pranayama yoga should choose a well-balanced diet that is suitable to his constitution.

There is no one diet that is right or improper for everyone. As the saying goes, "One man's food is another man's poison".

Food can be classified into three basic groups:
  • tamasic - which creates lethargy, dullness;
  • rajasic - which creates excitement, passion and disease
  • sattvic-which bestows balance, good health, and longevity. 
Fresh and natural foods are sattvic; packaged and refined foods are tamasic and should be avoided.

A diet of grains, pulses, fresh fruit and vegetables, and a few dairy products is most beneficial. For non-vegetarians, a small portion of meat, fish or eggs may be added.

The menu must also be adjusted to avoid constipation. Overall, the principle of moderation should be followed.

The Gheranda Samhita states (5:16): "One who takes up yoga practices without observing moderation of diet obtains no benefit; rather, he gets various diseases."

The ayurvedic opinion in regard to diet is: fill half the stomach with food, one-quarter with water and leave one-quarter empty. Given the opportunity, most people overeat when they could manage better on one balanced meal per day.

Excessive eating satisfies the senses and the mind, but it places tension on the diaphragm and lungs, and full-depth respiration becomes hard.

Place in Pranayama Yoga: Pranayama should be practiced in a clean environment to minimize the effects of pollution.

One may practice in the open air or in a well-ventilated, clean and pleasant room. One should never perform pranayama in a foul-smelling, smoky or dusty room.

Ideally, the place of practice should be somewhat isolated, away from people, noise, and interruptions. Avoid practicing Pranayama exercises in the sun or the wind.

The soft rays of the early morning sun are beneficial, but when they become stronger, they are harmful and the body will become overheated.

Practicing in a draught or wind may produce chills and upset the body temperature.