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Celibacy/Abstinence/Pranayama, fasting & diet


Dear Master,

Just some quick questions relating to sadhana for brahmacharaya:

1.) Nadi Shodana--I read in "practice of brahmacharaya" that Pranayam is alternate nostril breathing, that is: inhaling through one nostril, retaining the breath and then exhaling through the other nostril.... According to Science of Pranayama, Sivananda says the yogi must follow a similar procedure. So isn't Nadi Shodana and Pranayama the same thing? Please explain if I am confusing the exact procedure of doing Pranayama and how Pranayama is different from Nadi Shodana.

2.) Fasting-- Sivananda says that fasting clears the five capital sins. I have some diet control, that god has allowed me to have, so I'm wondering if I can fast for Ekadasi days and whether this would be fine for yoga? I plan to first fast for 12-15 hours and increase the period to 24 hours, but nontheless do yoga on the fasting days.

Diet--I don't like eating any other meals other than breakfast, lunch and dinner (3 meals a day), so can I abstain from drinking or eating anything during early morning yoga practice and during the afternoon practice. I plan to eat breakfast right after my morning sadhana and eat dinner right after my evening sadhana. Is this permissible? I would eat the required number of calories, just only for three meals a day rather than consuming food during yoga itself.

1. In 'Nadi Shodhana', there is only alternate nostril breathing (Puraka & Rechaka) as explained in past answers (, without Kumbhaka (retention). Whereas, in Pranayama, all the three are carried out.

2. Those who take 'Mitahara' (a balanced and limited diet), with a life of Yoga & Brahmacharya do not need to fast unless there is an illness or health issue. All sins vacate by themselves through an honest life of Yoga & Brahmacharya carried out to realize the self. Unnecessary fasting, when there is no issue in the body, only leads to weakness and ill health.

3. It is preferable to drink at least two glasses of milk and a glass of curd on a daily basis for optimum health. If you do not feel the urge for the same, early in the morning, drink a glass or two of water before the start of practice.

ॐ तत् सत्
(That Supreme being is the absolute truth)


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Questions concerning the practice of 'Brahmacharya' to know the self, & the means required are dealt with here.


The term 'Yoga' is a derivative of the Samskruth verb 'Yuj' which refers to union. 'Yoga', also called 'Brahma vidy‚' is the eternal dissolution of the individual 'Aham' (Ego) into the Atman (self) for 'Mukti' (liberation). Mere indulgence in '¬sana' or physical postures is not Yoga. ¬sana is only one limb or 'Anga' of Yoga. The eight limbs viz. Yama, Niyama, ¬sana, Pr‚n‚y‚ma, Praty‚h‚ra, Dh‚rana, Dhy‚na and Sam‚dhi are the means to Yoga. Brahmacharya or spiritually based continence is one of the important components of 'Yama'. 'Brahmacharya':- "Brahmani charyathey ithi" - "To surrender one's Ego and go with the will of the Almighty."


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