Showing posts with label Diaphragmatic Breathing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Diaphragmatic Breathing. Show all posts

Pranayama - Kundalini Ascension And Vayus

After meditation and health/life extension, the function of the apana vayu as a motor for Kundalini-rousing is the third major area where the vayus are discussed. 

  • The main vayus, with the exception of apana, either travel upwards (prana vayu, udana vayu) or are directionless (samana and vyana vayus). 
  • The apana vayu, with its powerful downward flow, is primarily responsible for life force depletion and keeping us bound to our animal nature. 
  • Apana has a significant effect on vocabulary, resulting in an overuse of faeces and sexual phrases. 
  • If we turn up our apana, we may leave our animalistic side behind and embrace the Divine, according to yoga. 

The mixing of prana and apana in kumbhaka at the Manipura Chakra causes the Kundalini to rise. 

In ancient writings, this is a common topic. By using Mula Bandha in Siddhasana, Sage Yajnavalkya taught to his wife, Gargi, how to send apana on an upward trajectory. 

  • The fire must be fanned after it reaches the Manipura Chakra (the fire chakra) by pulling prana vayu down. 
  • The snake Kundalini's tail will be bummed by the fire, and the serpent will ascend through the chakras, propelled by the twin forces of apana vayu and fire. Kundalini is said to be awakened by apana with fire and moves up like a snake, according to Sage Vasishta. 
  • Raghuvira goes into more depth in his Kumbhaka Paddhati/4, which is dedicated exclusively on pranayama. 

Mastery of apana (apana jaya), he claims, would lead to mastery of mula bandha (root lock), mudras (energy seals), dharana (concentration), agni (fire), Kundalini rising, and an increase in sattva guna (intelligence). 

Here are a few explanations: 

  • Apana (vital down current) and mula bandha (root lock) are almost interchangeable. 
  • The mastery of one will lead to mastery of the other. 
  • The stoking of agni will follow mastery of apana (fire). 
  • Toxins will be absorbed by a powerful agni, which will improve health. Kundalini is roused by a powerful agni and a tilted apana. 

When a diligent practitioner raises Kundalini, the yogi will be able to practice dharana (concentration) and then the other higher limbs. 

It's important to note that in more contemporary texts (i.e. those from the Kali Yuga), the word Kundalini refers to what Patanjali meant by dharana. 

  • Humanity was more intellectually and philosophically oriented during Patanjali's era (Dvapara Yuga). 
  • Patanjali's concept of dharana, which was generally recognized at the time, was the capacity to tie the mind to one location for three hours. 
  • People in our present era, the Kali Yuga, are much more physically oriented, therefore yogis searched for a physical meaning of the word dharana. 
  • Dharana, or tying the mind to a sattvic (holy) meditation object for three hours, was only feasible when the prana was elevated to the upper chakras, according to yogis. 
  • If prana is restricted to the lower chakras, one will express themselves in terms of survival (Muladhara Chakra), sexual identity (Svadhishthana Chakra), or absorption of money, food, and things (Svadhishthana Chakra) (Manipura Chakra). 

Kundalini is the term given to Prana as it rises. 

  • The Kali Yuga's physically oriented yogis sought for methods to elevate Kundalini in order to strengthen dharana. 
  • The route of air and the path of fire, or the usage of both at the same time, are two of the most common methods to raise Kundalini. 
  • 'Path of fire' refers to cleansing and stoking agni (fire). 
  • The term "path of air" refers to raising the apana vayu and utilizing it as a motor to raise Kundalini.
  • Remember that apana is the only vayu current that firmly points down. 
  • If it is turned upwards, all of the vayus will suck up Kundalini like a big vacuum cleaner, and this is what the route of air refers to. 
  • According to the Yoga Kundalini Upanishad, Mula bandha is used to elevate apana, which usually flows downward. 
  • According to the Upanishad, apana ascending up will mingle with agni, and the two will rise together to the Manipura Chakra. 
  • They will join with prana vayu (vital up stream) here, and Kundalini will ascend up via the sushumna, sucked up by the vayus and lit by agni (notice that the English term ignite is derived from the Sanskrit agni = fire). 

In a nutshell, this is how the more contemporary yoga shastras explain how to attain dharana (scriptures). 

However, it just repackages old ideas in a more contemporary language. 

The word sushumna, which refers to the core energy conduit and the route for Kundalini ascension, was first used in the Chandogya Upanishad/9, which predates the Yoga Sutras by centuries. 

I've gone into great length to demonstrate that there isn't a yoga of the Vedic seers, a yoga of the ancient Upanishads, a classical yoga of Patanjali, and a more contemporary yoga of the Hatha Yoga, as some Western academics claim. 

This isn't the case at all. There has been a continuous, consistent history of sages and siddhas who have experienced the same mystical experience for thousands of years. 

What changed was the audience's ability to comprehend the lessons. 

As a result, the same mystical experience was clothed in various languages and modified using diverse techniques to reach an audience whose makeup had changed throughout the millennia.

You may also want to read more about Pranayama and Holistic Healing here.

Pranayama - Vayus To Extend One's Life Expectancy

The study and eventual mastery of apana and prana motions has other significant ramifications. 

  • According to the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, the yogi's physique is transformed into that of a 16-year-old by drawing the apana vayu up and pushing the prana vayu down.
  • As prana vayu is pushed out of the body in an upward trajectory and apana vayu is directed downwards, both vayus ultimately lead to a depletion of life energy. 
  • Mula Bandha and Uddiyana Bandha may be used to drive apana vayu upwards, whereas Jalandhara Bandha and Jihva Bandha can be used to send prana vayu downwards. 

According to the Vedas, the vayus meet in the Manipura Chakra, where they are transformed into samana vayu and absorbed into the body's solar pranic storage by turning them around. 

  • This kind of prana absorption into the Manipura Chakra is believed to be accountable for yogic feats like being buried for days or weeks and yet being alive when dug up. 
  • Pilot Baba, for example, has shown that yogis can survive without oxygen for an extended period of time. This is not a new concept: it is stated in the Brhad Aranyaka, the most ancient Upanishad, that whomever grows samana vayu is beyond death. 

Take note of the yogic tradition's continuity throughout thousands of years. 

  • Apart from absorbing prana, apana, and samana vayus into the solar pranic storehouse, it is beneficial to slow down breath and pulse to the point where they are virtually undetectable. 
  • T. Krishnamacharya and others have shown this capacity. 
  • Slowing the pulse lowers the heart's oxygen consumption and increases the amount of time spent in kumbhaka. 
  • Slowing down one's breathing also extends one's life expectancy.

You may also want to read more about Pranayama and Holistic Healing here.

Pranayama - Vayus And Meditation

Inhalation and intake are linked with Prana vayu, while exhalation and excretion are associated with apana vayu. 

  • Urination, defecation, menstruation, ejaculation, and the delivery of the foetus during childbirth are all aided by Apana. 
  • As a result, it is a downward motion, while prana is an upward motion. 
  • Consider the rise of the chest during inhalation (prana) and the fall of the thorax during expiration (exhalation) (apana). 
  • However, astute meditators will have observed, the inhalation begins at the nose and ends at the perineum, despite the fact that it raises the chest. 
  • Following the exhale with mindfulness will take you from the pelvic floor to the nose, where the breath exits the body. 
  • As a result, there is both an upward and downward movement during inhalation and exhale. 

According to Shrikrishna, a member of Kaivalyadhama and a pranayama researcher, the subtle flow of prana is the inverse of the gross breath.

  • He says that there is a downward flow upon inhaling (called apana gati). 
  • Similarly, there is an energetic upward movement during gross exhalation (called prana gati). 
  • To make things more complicated, he points out that the terms prana and apana are simply equated with breath in certain yogic literature and with subtle energy flow in others (gati). 
  • This is why prana is characterized as a downward flow in certain scriptures and as an upward movement in others. 

One of the most effective secrets of meditation is to experience and harness them both at the same time, when they cross over. 

  • To do so, notice how your gross breath fills your body from the perineum to the neck, while the subtle energy fills your torso from the nose down to the pelvic floor when you inhale. 
  • This implies that your awareness must extend both up and down at the same time. 
  • Then notice how, as you exhale, the top lobes of your lungs empty first, then the chest lowers, and ultimately the belly contracts, all while the delicate energy flow travels from the perineum upwards to the brain. 

One of the most effective methods of quieting the mind is to maintain experiencing this dual movement.

You may also want to read more about Pranayama and Holistic Healing here.

Pranayama - VAYUS Vs. PRANA?

Some earlier writings, such as the Taittiriya Upanishad, use the word vayu instead of prana to refer to life energy. 

However, in recent yogic literature, the word vayu has come to mean a division of the life force, prana, into ten essential airs, which we might call sub-pranas. 

Unfortunately, one of these sub-pranas is referred to as prana, causing some misunderstanding

The life force is therefore referred to as prana, while the vital air prana is referred to as prana vayu. 

  • Five of the 10 vayus (vital airs) are regarded main (prana vayu, apana, samana, udana, vyana) and the other five secondary (apana, samana, udana, vyana) (naga, krkara, kurma, devadatta, dhananjaya).
  • Prana, apana, and samana are the ones we should be most concerned about. 
  • These vayus are significant in three areas for us: meditation, health/life extension, and Kundalini rising.

You may also want to read more about Pranayama and Holistic Healing here.

Pranayama - Prana Distributed Evenly.

The ultimate impact of pranayama is described by the Hatha Tatva Kaumudi. 

  • It states that the prana is equally distributed throughout the body in Kevala Kumbhaka. 
  • The apex of pranayama is Kevala Kumbhaka. 

It is believed to happen naturally after the other kinds of pranayama have been learned, and its absence should be regarded as a sign that the other willful and organized pranayama methods, collectively known as sahita kumbhakas, still need attention. 

In his Yoga Sutra, Patanjali calls Kevala Kumbhaka the fourth pranayama (chaturtha), which leads to samadhi naturally. 

  • In the samadhic condition, according to the Hatha Tatva Kaumudi, prana will not build in certain parts of the body while being drained in others, but will be distributed equally throughout the body. 
  • This is caused by a lack of mental stimulation. 
  • An unequal distribution of prana throughout the body is caused by the mind and training. 
  • In contrast, the mind (adhi) is described in Ayurvedic literature as the underlying cause of all illnesses ( vyadhi).  
  • In its natural condition, the mind not only inhibits samadhi, but also creates illnesses in the body, eventually leading to its demise.

You may also want to read more about Pranayama and Holistic Healing here.

Pranayama - Prana Drawn Into The Center

According to the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, any discussion of selfknowledge (jnana) in yogic circles other than those of the Advaita Vedantins is simply arrogant prattle if it is not accompanied with prana induction into the central nadi (sushumna). 

  • The mind, which is fueled by the two outside nadis, Ida and Pingala, is suspended by this nadi. 
  • When the mind is active, the prana is stored in these two solar and lunar nadis. 
  • The mind is suspended and prana is in sushumna when the yogi achieves the mystical condition. 
  • In his ]ogapradipyaka, Jayatarama states that the introduction of prana into sushumna is solely dependent on the practice of kumbhaka. 

We must remember that, in contrast to Western civilization, which has spent two millennia primarily focused on technology and how to dominate the outside world, Indians have evolved into virtual astronauts of the inner world, the so called inner cosmos reflecting the outer. 

  • This meant that in India, someone who could genuinely reach mystical states was held in the same regard as, say, Columbus, Leibniz, Newton, or Einstein in the West. 
  • There were, however, many who were not genuine craftsmen of prana, but blowers of hot air who participated in the above-mentioned arrogant prattle, in between those true inner astronauts who were authentic yoga practitioners and experienced such experiences. 
  • The wheat was separated from the chaff using Jayatarama's criteria. 

Only those who had mastered pranayama and therefore kumbhaka were allowed to speak about the upper limbs and their associated mystical experiences inside the yoga system.

You may also want to read more about Pranayama and Holistic Healing here.

Pranayama - Increasing And Storing Prana

Only a tiny portion of the prana that might be taken from the air via deep and regulated yogic breathing is actually retrieved with regular, shallow breathing, according to Acharya Bhagwan Dev in his book Pranayama, Kundalini, and Hatha Yoga. 

  • Kumbhaka significantly improves the real storage of prana in the body (breath retention). 
  • Kumbhaka is a technique for securing prana in the body. 
  • This remark further clarifies that pranayama is only accomplished via breath retention, implying that simple Ujjayi breathing is just pranayama in the abstract. 

The Hatha Tatva Kaumudi describes the consequences of retaining or fixing prana in different parts of the body. 

  • During kumbhaka, fixating is as simple as concentrating the attention on the necessary spot. 
  • Because prana follows the mind, conscious attention will naturally direct prana to that location.
  • Sundaradeva claims that keeping the prana at the navel cures all illnesses, that holding it at the tip of the nose gives one mastery over prana, and that holding it at the big toes gives one lightness. 
  • During the exhale phase, prana is primarily distributed to different parts of the body. 
  • While the retention phase is utilized to absorb prana in the Manipura Chakra, it is the exhale that transports prana from the navel to places where it is required more urgently.

You may also want to read more about Pranayama and Holistic Healing here.

Pranayama's Impact On Prana

Pranayama has a number of significant impacts on prana and, via it, the body and mind. 

  • Pranayama brings prana back into the body, increases and stores it, balances the nadi system's flow (svara), and guides prana towards the central energy channel (sushumna). 
A full analysis of these impacts may be seen below. 

  • Pranayama also has a significant impact on the body's humours (doshas) and the qualities (gunas) of the mind. 

    • Because of these benefits, pranayama may be used to fight any of the barriers mentioned by guru Patanjali in the Yoga Sutra!
    • Because knowing the particular pranayama methods is required to explain these effects.

The following are the primary benefits of pranayama practice: 

  • Returning dispersed prana to the body The Vasishta Samhita, which contains sage Vasishta's yoga teachings, claims that prana is angulas bigger than the body (finger widths). 
  • This implies that the pranic body extends 12 finger widths beyond the gross body's surface. 
  • Pranayama, according to Sage Yajnavalkya, pulls prana into the body, which was previously dispersed 12 angulas outside the gross body's surface. 

The Vedic literature also contains the same information. 

  • The sage Atharvan depicts our body as being finger widths long, with prana spreading 12 angulas beyond the body in the Shandilya Upanishad.
  • Sage Atharvan adds that the best of yogis is one who reduces his prana so that it does not disperse outside the body via yoga practice. 

The siddhas of the Middle Ages came to the same conclusion. 

  • According to the Goraksha Shataka, prana emerges from the body's surface in 12 angulas, but is drained during intense acts like as sexual intercourse in 36 or more angulas. 
  • The same statistics are cited by Sage Gheranda. This distributes one's prana and shortens one's life, according to the elders. 
  • You will live longer if you reduce the dispersion of prana. 
  • According to the Hatha Tatva Kaumudi, whomever lowers the discharge of prana to less than 12 digits is a yoga master.

The scattering of prana appears in our life as a scattered mind: 

  1. being chatty and engaged in a variety of activities that don't lead us anywhere. 
  2. It causes restlessness, 
  3. 'being out there' instead of resting in one's center, 
  4. 'being all over the place' instead of resting in one's heart, 
  5. maintaining degrading relationships, 
  6. and creating unwholesome cravings for oneself. 

Pranayama is a technique for concentrating prana in the body and withdrawing the projection of prana out into the environment, making us a more complete and integrated human being.

You may also want to read more about Pranayama and Holistic Healing here.

Pranayama - Prana And Its Purpose

Beyond the significance and breadth of pranayama, we must turn our attention to prana. Prana, like many other words, may have many meanings depending on the situation. 

  • Some yogic texts, for example, say that you should take prana in via your left nostril and expel it through your right nose, and vice versa. 
  • Prana simply means breath in this context. 

  • We often come across texts that urge us not to let prana enter the brain, or to deliberately drive it into the arms to acquire strength, or to direct it towards disease-prone regions of the body. 
  • The scriptural instruction to transfer prana into the center energy channel (sushumna), which creates the mystical experience, is also quite frequent. 

In all of these cases, prana clearly does not refer to breath but rather to 'vital energy.' 

The gross manifestation of the subtle life force is breath. 

In its cosmic form, prana is also a manifestation of the Great Goddess, and it is often characterized in a personalized form as Shakti or Kundalini, depending on whether it is descending or rising. 

Again, depending on the context, these two words are often interchangeable. The Brahman is associated with prana according to the Brhad Aranyaka Upanishad (infinite consciousness I deep reality). 

The Brahma Sutra says the same thing.  

How can the Brahman, which is pure, limitless awareness, and the subtle life force, which pervades and moves the whole world but is still a long way from pure consciousness, be the same thing? 

The solution may be found in the Taittiriya Upanishad's shanti chant 'Sham no mitra.' 

'Namo brahmane namaste vayo tvameva pratyaksham bhrahmasi tvameva pratyaksham brahma vadishyami' is a significant section in this prayer, which translates 'I salute you, oh Brahman, I salute you, oh Prana.' 

  • Prana, you are, after all, the immediately perceptible Brahman. 
  • I will refer to you as the immediately perceptible Brahman.' 
  • The importance of comprehending this paragraph cannot be overstated. God's transcendent nature is known as the Brahman. 
  • The term "transcendent" refers to anything that is not immediately visible (other than through an act of grace). 
  • However, its immanent component, in this instance the prana, may be recognized. 
  • Prana is referred to be the immanent element of Brahman in this shanti mantra. 

Panentheism is a philosophy that holds that God is both immanent and transcendent at the same time. 

  • Panentheistic ideas may be found in all major faiths. 
  • For example, in Christianity, the Father is God transcendent, while Jesus and the Holy Spirit are God immanent. 
  • Spirit is, interestingly enough, the Greek New Testament's translation of the original pneuma. 

The term pneuma is derived from the Sanskrit word prana, and it still has the meaning of inhalation and therefore breath in English. Prana and awareness were also connected by T. Krishnamacharya. 

  • In the waking state, he said, prana is pushed out to both the body and the mind. 
  • It withdraws from the body in the dream state and only extends to the mind. 
  • Prana, on the other hand, is removed from both the body and the mind in the deep-sleep stage and remains aware. 
  • As a result, dreaming is neither relaxing nor beneficial to one's health. It also explains why certain languages have proverbs stating that one returns home to God or does not sin when sleeping. 
  • It reflects the reality that prana has been absorbed into our spiritual essence and there is no action. 

Some texts identify prana as the Samkhya philosophy's prakrti (nature, material cause), but in this instance, we're only looking at the cosmic impersonal expression of what manifests in the human as breath and life force. 

Prana is described as the elixir of immortality in the Shatapatha Brahmana (amrita). 

  • Amrita is most often associated with a creeper-derived medicine, but in yoga, amrita refers to the reservoir of prana located in the third ventricle of the brain. Immortality is achieved when the prana is stopped there. 
  • However, this immortality does not always imply bodily immortality; other schools understand it as the attainment of divine awareness. Prana and apana must be joined in the navel chak:ra, according to other scriptural passages (Manipura). 

In these cases, prana refers to just one of the vital airs (vayus), which are subsets of the larger life force, prana. In the body, Prana has two storehouses: 

  • a lunar, mental storehouse in the center of the brain (Ajna Chakra) 
  • and a solar/physical storehouse in the navel region (Manipura Chak:ra). 
Manipura Chak:ra is also the seat of fire (agni), which is why some scriptures recommend using fire and air (prana) to raise Kundalini, but more on that later. 

In certain ancient writings, the word vayu is used instead of prana (as the Taittiriya Upanishad above). 

  • If prana is employed with the meaning of life energy, it will stand alone in this text. 
  • The complex prana vayu is used instead of the simple prana vayu to indicate the vital up-breath prana vayu, a subdivision of the life-force prana. 

The efferent (outgoing) function of the nadi system, i.e. the capacity of people to actively express themselves via the body, such as moving it in place and having it execute activities, is also referred to as prana Shakti. 

  • Because Prana Shakti is believed to operate via the right nostril, breathing techniques that mainly use the right nostril make one extraverted and active. 
  • Manas Shakti, the collective name for afferent (incoming) nadi signals, which are triggered via the left nostril, is in opposition to this. 
  • Breathing via the left nostril makes one more passive, introspective, and contemplative, since manas Shakti rather than prana Shakti is involved. 
  • The on nadi balancing goes into more depth on this. Swami Ramdev says that prana is not just breath but also invisible heavenly force to people who think of it as just "breath." 

Summarizing, prana is therefore the Great Goddess's body and deeds, by which she creates, generates, maintains, and destroys not just the whole realm of manifestation, but also each and every person. 

  • The two directional manifestations of prana are the downward-moving process of individual manifestation (Shakti) and the upward-surging process of spiritual liberation (Kundalini). 
  • Prana is the immanent God who pervades and maintains the whole world as well as all living things. Furthermore, the word prana is used to describe both the vital upward current and the efferent (outgoing) currents of the nadi system. 

When attempting to comprehend the meaning of the word prana, it is necessary to throw a broad net in order to capture all of these potential interpretations; otherwise, some literary sections will remain ambiguous.

You may also want to read more about Pranayama and Holistic Healing here.

Pranayama - Cognitive, Mental, And Spiritual Benefits

We see the instruction in the Shandilya Upanishad that the fluctuations of prana should be stilled via the practice of pranayama. 

Why should we care about reducing these fluctuations? 

In his Goraksha Shataka, the renowned siddha Goraksha Natha taught that as long as prana flows, mind moves, and when prana is stilled, mind is stilled as well.

  • A quiet mind, like a still lake, may be utilized to view one's own reflection. 
  • Only distorted pictures may be seen since the lake's surface is ruffled. 
  • However, if the surface of the lake of the mind is calm, the mind may reflect whatever it is directed towards, in this instance the self, like a clear crystal.
  • As a result, self-awareness is possible. 
  • As a result, yogis looked into methods for calming the mind. 
  • Based on the insight that thinking is driven by prana, pranayama emerged as the most simple technique for powering meditation. 
  • When the prana is stilled, so is the mind. 

In his Yoga Taravali, Jagatguru (global teacher) Shankaracharya investigates the relationship between the upper limbs and pranayama. 

  • When pranayama is mastered, Kundalini enters what yogis refer to as the center energy channel (sushumna), then dharana (concentration, the sixth limb of yoga) and dhyana (meditation, the seventh limb) occur naturally. 
  • Pranayama enables Kundalini to rise, while Kundalini itself powers dharana and dhyana, according to Shankara. 
  • Dharana and dhyana are difficult to achieve without the Kundalini motor. 
  • In fact, you could monitor your breath for hours every day for decades without going very far. 
  • This is because if your prana is focused in one of the lower chakras, your mind will naturally gravitate toward themes like survival and fear (Muladhara Chakra), reproduction and emotion (Svadhishthana Chakra), and assimilation and riches (Svadhishthana Chakra) (Manipuraka Chakra). 
  • As Shankara says, if you raise Kundalini to the third eye (Ajna Chakra), you will enter deep meditation naturally and spontaneously, and his weapon of choice is pranayama. 
  • In a similar spirit, the Brhadyogi Yajnavalkya Smrti condemns people who believe that freedom may be attained only by knowledge to be ignorant, a reference to the Advaita Vedantins. 
  • Rather, freedom is attainable via the application of knowledge and the eight limbs, especially pranayama, dharana, and dhyana. 
  • This concept is known as Karma-jnana-samuccaya, which means that freedom is attainable via action and knowledge. This is the pranayama. 
  • As a result, the swami repeats what the yogic tradition has stated about meditation from the beginning of time. 
  • Of course, in today's world, few people listen to such expert counsel, and as a result, many people fall into the pit of intellectual torpidity and immobility. 

The Ramayana is famous for depicting the hazards of meditation when not done with a sattvic mentality:

  • The demon king Ravana, the most rajasic of the three demon brothers, practiced meditation with a rajasic mentality, and his anger was his undoing. 
  • Kumbhakarna, his younger brother, pondered with a tamasic mentality and went into a profound sleep from which he only sometimes awoke. 
  • Only Vibhishana, the third brother, pondered with a sattvic mind, and it was only his intellect that drew him closer to the Divine. 

Despite being written after the Mahabharata, the Ramayana includes one of humanity's oldest orally passed-down epics. 

  • It contains numerous profound meditation lessons that, although mastered by sages of a bygone period, are no longer comprehended by contemporary practitioners. 
  • As a result, an increasing number of people are following in the footsteps of Ravana and Kumbhakarna. 
  • This world's basis is not being gnawed at by a widespread lack of meditation, since the whole globe meditates with deep skill on Mammon, the enormous dollar. 
  • What you concentrate on will decide your fate, since you will attract and become what you think on. 
  • The intellect must first be rendered sattvic via pranayama before starting on the meditation journey. 

Andre Van Lysebeth, the author of many excellent yoga publications and the first westerner to meet Krishnamacharya's pupil K. Pattabhi Jois in Mysore, offers a similar warning but goes into more depth. 

He claims that mastering asana and pranayama is required before activating the chakras; else, pranic short circuits may develop.

These are more likely to occur in individuals who do not adequately prepare themselves via asana and pranayama, and one could add kriya, or cleansing procedures, to this list. 

I cite Sir John Woodroffe, author of The Serpent Power and many other timeless classics on Tantra, to conclude our journey into testimonials on pranayama from ancient experts. According to him, Shakti, or Kundalini, may be awakened in one of two ways: via mantra or through pranayama. 

The author of the book Laya Yoga: The Definitive Guide to the Chakras and Kundalini, Shyam Sundar Goswami, makes it clear that mantra is energized via nadi cleansing. 

Pranayama is the most effective way to do so. It must be practiced before moving on to more advanced parts of yoga, since it is the source of all upstream techniques of awakening Kundalini (those that pertain to the upper limbs). 

Here, I aim to have shown to you that pranayama, not asana, is the most important aspect of yoga. 

However, pranayama cannot be done without a solid foundation in asana practice. 

However, continuing to practice asana without moving on to pranayama is like to plowing a field without ever planting the seed or repeatedly washing a garment without ever wearing it. 

  • It is clearly ridiculous to refuse to take the step that will result in a reward for one's efforts, yet the modern yoga movement is doing just that. 
  • Others who practice asana but fail to go on to pranayama are in contrast to those who rush right into meditation techniques without a foundation in asana and pranayama. 
  • Meditation is a vessel that may help us navigate across the sea of conditioned life. Kundalini is the vehicle's engine (roused life force). 
  • The fuel for this engine is kumbhaka (breath retention), which is the core of pranayama. 
  • This fuel, on the other hand, can only be lit in a body that has been created in the fire of asana. 

Hundreds of millions of people have begun to meditate as a result of the visit of some rock band members to Indian gurus and the following New Age movement. 

Some gurus claimed that meditating every day would guarantee success in two years or less. 

  • Now, some 40 years later, we can state unequivocally that such achievements, if they exist at all, are the uncommon. 
  • A meditation practice that is not driven by pranayama, like an asana practice that does not evolve into a pranayama practice, is unlikely to yield more than transitory benefits. 
  • It's also why so many spiritual searchers still depend on their gurus to generate results in them rather than being able to establish their own spiritual discipline on solid ground. 
  • When taught by the ancient sages, most meditation techniques were either done during kumbhaka (breath retention) or propelled by various ways of Kundalinirousing, which frequently incorporated one or more elements of pranayama. 

As a result, pranayama is critical in bridging the gap between asana and meditation. 

Asana provides the ground for pranayama to take place on. 

Pranayama establishes the foundation for effective meditation. When done correctly, meditation may lead to the realization of the Divine.

You may also want to read more about Pranayama and Holistic Healing here.

Pranayama - Physiological Changes And Therapeutic Efficacy

Pranayama may heal and prevent illnesses, according to numerous ancient scriptures and contemporary experts such as Swami Sivananda, by restoring the equilibrium of the three humours, vata, pitta, and kapha. 

Disease is produced by an imbalance of the doshas, according to Ayurveda. 

  • Surya Bhedana pranayama reduces vata and kapha doshas, 
  • Ujjayi pranayama reduces kapha, 
  • Shitali, Sitkari, and Chandra Bhedana pranayamas decrease pitta dosha, 
  • And Bhastrika pranayama reduces all three doshas at the same time. 

According to the Hatha Tatva Kaumudi, diseases caused by aggravated pitta can be cured in three months by practicing Chandra Bhedana (inhaling through the left nostril and exhaling through the right nostril), while diseases caused by aggravated vata or kapha can be cured in the same time by practicing Surya Bhedana (inhaling through the left nostril and exhaling through the right nostril) (inhaling through the right and exhaling through the left nostril). 

According to Swami Niranjanananda, pranayama may also be utilized to harmonize the brainwaves. 

Yoga also claims that pranayama extends one's life. 

  • Every being, according to yoga, has a predetermined amount of breaths. 
  • They are spread across a longer time period by slowing down the breath; therefore, the total life expectancy rises. 

Swami Niranjanananda claims that lowering one's regular breathing rate from 15 to 16 breaths per minute to 10 would increase one's lifetime to 100 years. 

  • By focusing prana in the problematic regions, pranayama may help to relieve chronic illnesses. 
  • The breath is held for this reason so that prana may be absorbed. 

According to the medieval Hatha book Yuktabhavadeva, prana must be focused at the site of the illness in order to alleviate it. 

  • In practice, the yogi mentally focuses on a specific region during kumbhaka, and prana follows the mind to the necessary location. 
  • To improve the method's effectiveness, the kumbhaka duration is increased as the rate of prana absorption rises. 
  • The duration of kumbhaka, on the other hand, is restricted by the heart's oxygen requirements. 
  • As a result, skilled yogis slow down the heart to the point where oxygen consumption is reduced. 
  • This may give the appearance that the yogi's heart has stopped beating and that he or she is dead. 

A team of medical experts, for example, observed and verified T. Krishnamacharya's ability to stop his heartbeat. Others admired Krishnamacharya's talent, but no one willing to put in the necessary three hours of Nadi Shodhana pranayama practice each day, coupled with an entirely milk diet, over decades

You may also want to read more about Pranayama and Holistic Healing here.

Pranayama - For Better Health

Let us consider the assertion that pranayama, not asana, is the most essential yogic limb for spiritual growth and health. 

  • This viewpoint is reinforced by Jayatarama, who claims in his Jogapradipyaka that pranayama may be used to achieve any worldly or spiritual objective. 
  • When we examine the flow (svara) of breath via the left and right nostrils, we shall learn more about this claim. 
  • The ancient Vedic book Brhadyogi Yajnavalkya Smrti states that pranayama brings about complete health by eliminating all diseases of the three humours (doshas) vata, pitta, and kapha. 
  • This is confirmed by Goraksha Natha, a co-founder of the siddha movement, who claims that when prana is stopped, one is free of illness. 

The Yoga Chudamani Upanishad has a similar viewpoint, claiming that pranayama cures all illnesses and that diseases only arise in those who are unable to practice it. 

Sundaradeva, author of the Hatha Tatva Kaumudi, claims that practicing pranayama constantly and with complete dedication results in a long life and cures all vata, pitta, and kapha-related illnesses. This lesson, which has been verified by great yogis throughout history, is still relevant today. 

The Kaivalyadhama Institute in Lonavla, India, is perhaps the most significant pranayama research facility in the past century. O.P. Tiwari, the organization's current director, believes that pranayama both preserves health and elevates Kundalini to enable meditation.

Pranayama, according to Swami Ramdev, is utilized to maintain the Pranamaya kosha clean, healthy, and disease-free. 

  • The pranic sheath that links the gross body (Annamaya kosha) and the mind is known as the Pranamaya kosha (Manomaya kosha). 
  • He goes on to say that pranayama balances the digestive system, cures pulmonary, cardiac, and cerebral diseases, boosts immunity, and aids in the treatment of diabetes, cancer, hormonal issues, allergies, renal issues, and degenerative issues like hair greying, failing eyesight, and the onset of ageing.
  • Pranayama is often hailed as a cure-all for all ills. This idea, on the other hand, is most useful in preventing vata, pitta, and kapha humour imbalances. 

Pranayama should be practiced in combination with medical therapy if you are suffering from a potentially deadly illness.

You may also want to read more about Pranayama and Holistic Healing here.

Pranayama - Contemporary Testimonies

Pranayama's miraculous powers have been verified not just by ancient experts but also by more contemporary ones. 

  • Pranayama eliminates karmas, according to Swami Niranjanananda, and Yogeshwaranand Paramahamsa, founder of Yoga Niketan, agrees that concentrating on the heart lotus in kumbhaka destroys karma from past incarnations. 

  • The great yogi Nathamuni predicted the present trend, in which yoga is limited to the execution of asanas. 
    • He distinguishes between those who practice just asana and those who follow the full Ashtanga Yoga path in his Yoga Rahasya, which was passed down via T. Krishnamacharya. 
    • The sage sought to make it clear that practicing just postures was not part of Patanjali's conventional eightfold yoga (Ashtanga Yoga). Nathamuni goes on to emphasize the importance of pranayama. 

  • The founder of modern yoga, T. Krishnamacharya, need little introduction. B.K.S. Iyengar, K. Pattabhi Jois, B.N.S. Iyengar, SrivatsaRamaswami, T.K.V. Desikachar, and A.G. Mohan were his students. 
    • He said that pranayama was the most essential of the eight limbs and the most effective way to live longer. 
    • It did so by preventing illnesses, which it accomplished by balancing the body's three doshas (humours). 

  • Krishnamacharya further claimed that pranayama would lead to the higher limbs of dharana and dhyana, and that dharana would be difficult to achieve without pranayama practice. 
    • The great instructor also stated in his first book, Yoga Makaranda, published in 1934, that in eight-limbed yoga, one only receives advantages linked to the specific limb that one practices. 
    • If the practice is limited to only asanas, the sole advantage is a stronger body and better blood circulation. 
    • Pranayama should be included if one wants to reap the benefits of health and longevity, intellectual strength, clarity, and strength of expression. 

  • In the same book, Krishnamacharya describes how pranayama allows the yogi to concentrate on and picture the chakras, resulting in a plethora of health advantages. 
    • He also believes that pranayama is the path to dhyana and samadhi. Sundaradeva, author of the 1000-page Hatha Tatva Kaumudi, backs this up by claiming that pranayama is the most essential Hatha Yoga practice, despite Hatha Yoga not being a distinct type of yoga but the lower limbs of Patanjali's eight-limbed Ashtanga Yoga. 

  • Swami Ramdev, the founder of India's strong pranayama revolution, has a similar viewpoint, criticizing those who teach Ashtanga Yoga only asanas. 
    • He argues that postures alone are insufficient to treat severe and chronic illnesses, and that pranayama and traditional ayurvedic medication should be used instead to decrease India's reliance on imported Western pharmaceuticals. 
    • Swami Ramdev responds to those who discourage students from practicing pranayama by making it seem difficult and unachievable by saying that it is so safe that even toddlers and the elderly may practice it. 
    • Hatha Yoga (the asana and pranayama portions of the eight-limbed yoga) and Kundalini Yoga (the concentration dimension of Patanjali's Ashtanga Yoga) are also more essential than ever, according to Swami Ramdev, since there are no more instructors who can provide shaktipat. Shaktipat refers to the power of one's own achievement to reveal mystical states to others. 
    • According to Swami Ramdev, this power is now extinct, since there are no more gurus of such caliber.

You may also want to read more about Pranayama and Holistic Healing here.

Pranayama - Karma And Pranayama According To Medieval Hindu Scriptures

The notion that pranayama removes negative karmas is also seen in medieval Hatha Yoga literature. All karmas are eliminated when pranayama is learned, according to the Hatha Yoga Pradipika.

Sundaradeva's Hatha Tatva Kaumudi agrees that pranayama removes mountains of karmic demerit, while Jayatarama's Jogapradipyaka (a book written in Hindi rather than Sanskrit) expands this to include all kinds of karmic demerit. 

• karma we have produced in the past that has not yet fructified, i.e. is waiting in the karmic storehouse (sanchita karma) 

• karma we have created in the past that is now fructifying or active and has shaped our current bodies (prarabdha karma) 

• karmas that we are currently creating and that will lead to future manifestations (kriyamana karma). Pranayama destroys them all at the same time. 

Without going into too much depth on karma, I would remark that, as you may have observed, anytime one makes a fresh start in life or grows in a new path, old tendencies tend to manifest themselves after the initial excitement has worn off. 

  • This may take the form of attempting a variety of methods but never succeeding in getting beyond a particular degree of difficulty. 
  • The reason for this is because the formation of your current body and mind has specific karmas (prarabdha karmas) attached to it. 
  • These karmas are tough to overcome, and if given the opportunity, they will reassert themselves. 
  • They are so deeply entrenched that some Indian schools recommend accepting them as decreed. 

Similarly, we have collected karmas in the past that have yet to be fulfilled. 

  • The issue with these sanchita karmas, which are waiting for the right trigger in the karmic storehouse, is that we have no idea what they will generate for us.
  • Even if our current circumstances are favorable, these karmas may be bad. 
  • It is a frequent misconception that simply because one is in a good situation today, one is entitled to it indefinitely. 
  • However, according to karma doctrine, you may be using up your last piece of merit right now. 

As a result, the lesson is to never rest on one's laurels and to strive for spiritual development at all times. 

The yogi's goal is to prevent these karmas from bearing fruit. 

Kriyamana karmas are the third kind of karmas that we are now generating and will yield fruit in the future.

  • Kriyamana implies that we are in charge of our own destiny right now. 
  • Our current ideas, expressions, and actions define who we will become in the future. 
  • The rishis and siddhas of old promised us that these three kinds of karma might be burned in the fire of pranayama, resulting in full liberation from our past. 

In his book Hatha Tatva Kaumudi, Sundaradeva states this point quite clearly. 

  • He first describes how the yogi sees the three kinds of karma via Kundalini arousal. 

  • He then extinguishes them with pranayama. 
  • Later in the same book, Buddha states that rigorous practice removes all subconscious imprints (samskaras) as well as karma that has already begun to manifest (prarabdha karma).
  • This precise declaration is especially important since this kind of karma is the most difficult to remove because it has already resulted in the formation of our current body and is intimately linked to it. 
  • This karma is in our DNA, or has created the DNA of our current body, to use a modern phrase.

You may also want to read more about Pranayama and Holistic Healing here.

Pranayama - Bhagavad Gita's Mention Of Pranayama

The Bhagavad Gita is India's most important religious text. It contains Lord Krishna's teachings and defines pranayama in two ways: 

  • To begin, it is said that some people practice pranayama by giving apana (vital down-current) into prana (vital up-current) and prana into apana, thus stopping the breath. 
    • The word prana apana gati is used in the Gita. 
    • The inner down movement, which is included in the rising inhale, is known as Frana gati. 
    • The inner rising, or apana gati, is included in the falling exhale. 
    • This suggests the deep lesson that every force in the cosmos has an equal and opposite force. 
    • Focusing on the gati, which is the inner opposite of the apparent outside force, stops the pranic movement. 
    • One of the primary motors that propels Kundalini (the coiled life energy that propels spiritual emancipation) upward is Apana gati, the inner upward movement inherent in the exhale. 

  • The sacrifice of the senses into prana is the second definition of pranayama given in the Gita. 
    • The senses stretch out and attach themselves to different objects of desire or aversion throughout the movement of prana, i.e. inhalation and expiration. 
    • The senses are naturally pulled inwards during kumbhaka, and the yogi encourages this by concentrating on the Divine throughout kumbhaka. 
    • The yogi abandons and surrenders the senses' usual outward activity, 'offering' it to the prana suspended and stopped in kumbhaka. 

As a result, the Gita, like the Yoga Sutra, views pranayama as both refining the process of inhalation and expiration as well as mental processes done during kumbhaka (breath retention).

You may also want to read more about Pranayama and Holistic Healing here.