Sunday, February 08, 2009

Asanas, pranayama, meditation - the right order

I asked my pranayama teacher in India what the right order is: He is a man with 30 years experience of yoga, he even studies the original texts: the right order is asanas, pranayama and then meditation.

My own experience: When I started with meditation I did it before the asana practice. My body was still stiff when I sat in lotus pose. During meditation I was distracted with pain in the legs. Nevertheless I was very happy that I had started with this practice - somehow.
After my Indian trip I did pranayama and meditation after the asanas. First I didn't like it that my body was so sweaty after the practice. I combined meditation, with clean white clothes and not with wet clothes. I decided to take a shower after practice and then I returned to the mat, washed and with new clothes on. I experienced this as an interruption.
Nowadays I don't care anymore if I am sweaty or not. After savasana (5 min), which is my last pose of the Ashtanga series, I put my yoga mat aside and fetch my Indian blanket to sit on it. I don't like to sit on the plastic mat. Am I like a princess on a pea? Probably yes. But yoga makes us sensitive towards ourselves and our surroundings. I put on a white jacket so that I do not feel cold in our cold climate here. This order feels great. First comes the more rough work, asanas. Breathing is already a bit more subtle. Meditation is the most calm exercise. I think it makes sense.
The old master are right: The correct order is asanas, pranayama and then meditation.

Make your own discoveries.

This post was for Flo.


C.K. said...

Hi Ursula,

I agree 100 percent; this is also the order in which Dharma Mittra teaches it.

I also sit on a blanket. In the old days they used an animal skin (look at the pictures of Lord Shiva and Shankaracharya). My teacher said sitting on something wool is OK.

I will think of you in Munich when I do my asana and sitting in cold Chicago.


Flo said...

Thank you for posting this. I questioned which order; because after practicing with different teachers I've heard different things. I too felt odd meditating after such a sweaty and jolting practice, but it makes sense. Calm the body then the mind.
Thanks :)

Ursula said...

Hi Cara,

Thank you for you comment. I know you are a great teacher. It makes me even more convinced that this is the right order.

But it is nothing to believe. One can discover it and one will come to the same conclusion. That's so nice.

I think of you very often. It was so nice to meet you so often in Mysore.
In my memories Chicago is very hot. I was there during summer time. A great city.


I hope you are happy in your new appartement. To move usually comes with a lot of energy and new events.

Ursula said...

You are welcomed Flo.

I am pleased when I could help you.


Yoga Vancouver said...

Hi Ursula,

Would you like to share details of your yoga teacherin India? The order seems right to me as well. That's how I practiced traditionally but I have seen some teachers who teaches pranayamas first.

Thus being established in asana and having control (of the body), taking a balanced diet pranayama should be practiced according to the instructions of the guru.
--Hatha Yoga Pradipika


Ursula said...

Thanks for the comment.

Me too,I was in yoga classes where pranayama came first.

For me it feels slightly better to do pranayama after the asanas, because then it is easier to sit in padmasana.

Doing pranayama first made me wake up, loved this, too.

Yoga Guide India said...

Namaste Ursula,

I would like to invite you to join and share your experience of Yoga in India. It will help other yoga hopefuls who wish to go to India for learning Yoga.


SkidlessYogaTowel said...

Totally agree. I only started prana now (not as fortunate as you to travel to India yet, but I will get there :) )
and I meditate after the physical practice.
I can't say i'm in some high level or something ,but it has taken me to a higher place than I was before, that is certin!
Thanks for sharing
keep on practicing - Princess on a pea :)

Ursula said...

Yep, princess on a pea, that's me.

These are surely the details that I discussed here. It's worth to experiment with the order.