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The Science of Pranayama

The Science of Pranayama

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A very informative book for everyone who wants to study Pranayama. For more details, free articles, songs, videos and life changing books, visit- http://freeliveyourlife.blogspot.in/
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1.Intheearlymorning,answerthecallsofnatureandsitforthepractice.Practise
Pranayama,inadrywell-ventilatedroom.Pranayamarequiresdeepconcentrationandattention.It
isalwaysbettertohavethepracticeinasteadysittingposture.Donotkeepanyonebyyoursideto
avoid distraction of your mind.

2.BeforeyousitforPranayamapractice,thoroughlycleanthenostrilswell.Youcantakea
smallquantityoffruit-juiceorasmallcupofmilkorcoffeeevenbeforethepractice.Whenyou
finish the practice take a cup of milk or light tiffin after 10 minutes.

3.Haveonesittingonlyinthemorningduringsummer.Ifthereisheatinthebrainorhead,
apply Amlaoilorbutterontheheadbeforeyoutakeyourbath.Take Misri Sherbatbydissolving
sugarcandyinwater.Thiswillcoolyourwholesystem.DoSitaliPranayamaalso.Youwillnotbe
affected by the heat.

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THE SCIENCE OF PRANAYAMA

4.Strictlyavoidtoomuchtalking,eating,sleeping,mixingwithfriendsandexertion.
“VerilyYogaisnotforhimwhoeatethtoomuch,norwhoabstainethtoexcess,isaddictedtotoo
muchsleepnoreventowakefulness”(GitaVI-16).Takealittlegheewithricewhenyoutakeyour
meals. This will lubricate the bowels and allow Vayu to move downwards freely.

5. “Mitaharam vina yastu yogarambham tu karayet, Nanaroga bhavettasya kinchid yogo
na sidhyati
—Withoutobservingmoderationofdiet,ifonetakestotheYogapractices,hecannot
obtain any benefit but gets various diseases” (Ghe.S. Chap. V-16).

6.Perfectcelibacyforsixmonthsoroneyearwilldoubtlessenableyoutoacquirerapid
progressinthepracticeandinspiritualadvancement.Donottalkwithladies.Donotlaughandjoke
withthem.Shuntheircompanyentirely.WithoutBrahmacharyaanddieteticregulationsifyou
practiseYogicexercises,youwillnotgetmaximumbenefitinthespiritualpractices.But,for
ordinary health you can practise mild exercises.

7.Beregularandsystematicinyourpractice.Nevermissaday.Stopthepracticewhenyou
areailingseriously.SomepeopletwistthemusclesofthefacewhentheydoKumbhaka.Itshould
beavoided.Itisasymptomtoindicatethattheyaregoingbeyondtheircapacity.Thismustbe
strictly avoided. Such people cannot have a regulated Rechaka and Puraka.

8.ObstaclesinYoga:“Sleepingindaytime,latevigilovernight,excessofurineandfaeces,
evilofunwholesomefoodandlaboriousmentaloperationwithPrana.”Whenoneisattackedby
any disease, he says that the disease is due to the practice of Yoga. This is a serious mistake.

9.Getupat4a.m.MeditateordoJapaforhalfanhour.ThendoAsanasandMudras.Take
restfor15minutes.ThendoPranayama.Physicalexercisescanbeconvenientlycombinedwith
Asanas.Ifyouhavesufficienttimeatyourdisposal,youcanhaveitafterfinishingalltheYogic
exercisesandmeditation.Pranayamacanalsobeperformedassoonasyougetupfrombedjust
beforeJapaandmeditation.Itwillmakeyourbodylightandyouwillenjoythemeditation.You
must have a routine according to your convenience and time.

10.MaximumbenefitcanbederivedifJapaalsoisdoneduringthepracticeofAsanasand

Pranayama.

11.ItisalwaysbettertostartJapaandmeditationintheearlymorningat4a.m.,assoonas
yougetupfrombed.Atthistimethemindisquitecalmandrefreshed.Youcanhavegood
concentration.

12.Vastmajorityofpersonswastetheirprecioustimeintheearlymorninginansweringthe
callsofnatureforhalfanhourandwashingtheirteethforanotherhalfanhour.Thisisbad.
Aspirantsshouldtrytodefecatewithin5minutesandcleansetheirteethwithin5minutes.Ifthe
bowelsareconstipated,havevigorouspracticeofSalabha,BhujangaandDhanurAsanasfor5
minutesassoonasyougetupfrombed.Ifyouarehabituatedtoanswerthecallofnature,late,you
can do so after finishing the Yogic exercises.

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THE SCIENCE OF PRANAYAMA

13.FirstdoJapaandmeditation.ThenyoucantaketoAsanaandPranayamaexercises.
Then finish the course of practice by another short sitting in meditation.

14.ASthereisalwayssomedrowsinesswhenyougetupfrombed,itisdesirabletodosome
AsanasandalittlePranayamaforfiveminutesjusttodriveoffthisdrowsinessandtomakeyoufit
formeditation.Themindgetsone-pointedafterthepracticeofPranayama.Pranayama,thoughit
concerns with the breath, gives good exercise for various internal organs and the whole body.

15.ThegeneralorderofdoingKriyasis:FirstdoallAsanas,thenMudras,thenPranayama
andthenDhyana.Sincetheearlymorningtimeissuitableformeditation,youcanfollowthisorder:
Japa,Meditation,Asanas,MudrasandPranayama.Thisisabetterway.Youcanfollowtheorder
whichissuitabletoyou.AfterdoingAsanas,takerestforfiveminutesandthenbeginPranayama.

16.SomeHathaYogicbooksinterdictcoldbathintheearlymorning.Probablythereason
maybethatonemaycatchcoldordevelopanycomplaintofthelungs,ifhetakescoldbathat4a.m.
particularlyincoldplaceslikeKashmir,Mussoorie,Darjeeling,etc.Thereisnorestrictioninhot
places.IamalwaysinfavourofcoldbathsbeforeonestartstheYogicpracticesasitisrefreshing
andstimulating.Itdrivesoffdrowsiness.Itbringsinequilibriumofcirculationofblood.Thereisa
healthy flow of blood towards the brain.

17.AsanasandPranayamaremoveallsortsofdiseases,improvehealth,energisedigestion,
invigoratethenerves,straightentheSushumnaNadi,removeRajasandawakenKundalini.Practice
ofAsanasandPranayamabestowsgoodhealthandsteadymind.AsnoSadhanaispossiblewithout
goodhealthandasnomeditationispossiblewithoutasteadymind,HathaYogaisofimmenseuse
for Dhyana Yogins, Karma Yogins, Bhaktas and Vedantins as well.

18.ThemaintenanceofthebodyisimpossiblewithoutAsanasoranykindofphysical
exercisesoractivities.EvenanorthodoxVedantinisanunconsciousHathaYogi.Hepractises
somekindofAsanadaily.HepractisesPranayamaalsounconsciouslybecauseduringmeditation,
Pranayama comes by itself.

19.Wheneveryoufeeluneasy,depressedordejected,practisePranayama.Youwillbeat
oncefilledwithnewvigour,energyandstrength.Youwillbeelevated,renovatedandfilledwith
joy.Dothisandtry.Beforeyoubegintowritesomething,anessay,anarticleorathesis,do
Pranayamafirst.Youwillbringoutbeautifulideasanditwillbeaninspiring,powerfulandoriginal
production.

20.Beregularinthepractice.Regularityinthepracticeisverynecessaryifonewantsto
realisethemaximumbenefitsofAsanasandPranayama.Thosewhopractisebyfitsandstartswill
notderivemuchbenefit.Generallypeoplepractisefortwomonthsinthebeginningwithgreat
enthusiasmandleaveoffthepractice.Thisisasadmistake.TheyalwayswantaYogicteacherby
their side. They have got the effeminate leaning mentality. They are lazy, torpid and slothful.

21.PeopledonotwanttoremoveMala(impurity)byselflessserviceandVikshepaby
Yogicpractices.TheyatoncejumptoawakentheKundaliniandraiseBrahmakaraVritti.Theywill
onlybreaktheirlegs.ThosewhoattempttoawakentheKundalinibyAsanasandPranayama,

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THE SCIENCE OF PRANAYAMA

shouldhavepurityinthought,wordanddeed.Theyshouldhavementalandphysical
Brahmacharya. Then only they can enjoy the benefits of awakening the Kundalini.

22.Sowtheseedofspiritualityinyouryoungage.DonotwasteVirya.Disciplinethe
Indriyasandmind.DoSadhana.Whenyoubecomeold,itwillbedifficultforyoutodoanyrigid
Sadhana.Thereforebeonthealertduringyourteens;youwillseeforyourselfinashorttimethe
particular benefits you derive from particular kinds of Sadhana.

23.Whenyouadvanceinspiritualpractices,youmustobservestrictMouna(vowof
silence)for24hourscontinuously.Thismustbecontinuedforsomemonthsalso.Everyoneshould
selectacourseoffewexercisesinAsana,Pranayamaandmeditationaccordingtoone’s
temperament, capacity, convenience and requirement.

24.Itisquitepossibleforamantopractisecelibacy,albeittherearevarioussortsof
temptationsanddistractions.Awell-disciplinedlife,studyofscriptures,Satsanga,Japa,Dhyana,
Pranayama,Sattvicandmoderatediet,dailyintrospection,andenquiry,self-analysisand
self-correction,Sadachara,practiceofYama,Niyama,physicalandverbalTapas,allwillpavea
longwayintheattainmentofthisend.Peoplehaveirregular,unrighteous,immoderate,irreligious,
undisciplinedlife.Hencetheysufferandfailintheattainmentofthegoaloflife.Justastheelephant
throwssandonitsownhead,soalsotheythemselvesbringdifficultiesandtroublesontheirown
heads on account of their foolishness.

25.Donotshakethebodyunnecessarily.Byshakingthebodyoftenthemindalsois
disturbed.Donotstretchthebodyeverynowandthen.TheAsanashouldbesteadyandfirmasa
rock when you do Pranayama, Japa and meditation.

26.Youmustfindoutforyourselfaccordingtoyourhealthandconstitutionwhatsortof
dieteticregulationwillsuitandwhatparticularPranayamawillexactlyhelpyou.Thenonlyyoucan
safelyproceedwithyourSadhana.Firstreadalltheinstructionsofthevariousexercisesgivenin
thisbookfromthebeginningtotheend.Clearlyunderstandthetechnique.Ifyouhaveanydoubts,
justaskanyYogicstudenttodemonstrateandthenpractiseit.Thisisthesafestmethod.Youshould
not select any one of the exercise at random and begin to practise it in a wrong way.

27.InalltheexercisesIhavesuggestedMantra‘OM’asthetime-unit.Youcanhaveyour
GuruMantra,Rama,Siva,Gayatriormerenumberasthetime-unitaccordingtoyourinclination.
GayatriorOMisthebestforPranayama.Inthebeginningyoumustobservesometime-unitfor
Puraka,KumbhakaandRechaka.Thetime-unitandtheproperratiocomesbyitselfwhenyoudo
thePuraka,KumbhakaandRechakaaslongasyoucandoitcomfortably.Whenyouhaveadvanced
inthepractice,youneednotcountorkeepanyunit.Youwillbenaturallyestablishedinthenormal
ratio through force of habit.

28.Forsomedaysinthebeginningyoumustcountthenumberandseehowyouprogress.In
theadvancedstages,youneednotdistractthemindincounting.Thelungswilltellyouwhenthe
required number is finished.

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THE SCIENCE OF PRANAYAMA

29.DonotcontinuethePranayamawhenyouarefatigued.Theremustbealwaysjoyand
exhilarationofspiritduringandafterthepractice.Youshouldcomeoutofthepracticefully
invigorated and refreshed. Do not bind yourself by too many rules (Niyamas).

30.DonottakebathimmediatelyafterPranayamaisover.Takerestforhalfanhour.Ifyou
getperspirationduringthepractice,donotwipeitwithatowel.Rubitwithyourhands.Donot
expose the body to the chill draughts of air when you perspire.

31.Alwaysinhaleandexhaleveryslowly.Donotmakeanysound.InPranayamaslike
Bhastrika,Kapalabhati,SitaliandSitkari,youcanproducealittlemildorthelowestpossible
sound.

32.Youshouldnotexpectthebenefitsafterdoingitfor2or3minutesonlyforadayortwo.
Atleastyoumusthave15minutesdailypracticeinthebeginningregularlyfordaystogether.There
willbenouseifyoujumpfromoneexercisetoanothereveryday.Youmusthaveaparticular
exerciseforyourdailyAbhyasa,whichyoushouldimprovetoahighdegree.Otherexercisesof
course,youcanhaveforoccasionalpracticealongwiththedailyexercise.Youmusthave
Bhastrika,Kapalabhatiand‘EasyComfortablePranayama’foryourdailypractice;andSitali,
Sitkari, etc., can be practised occasionally.

33.ThePurakaisotherwiseknownas‘Nissvasa’andRechakaisknownas‘Uchhvasa’.The
mentalprocessinKevalaKumbhakaiscalled‘Sunyaka’formofbreathregulation.Steady,
systematicpracticeandgradualincreaseofKumbhakaisknownas‘AbhyasaYoga’,swallowingof
air and living on this air alone is known as ‘Vayubhakshana’.

34.TheauthorofSivayogaDipikadescribesthreekindsofPranayama:Prakrita,Vaikrita
andKevalaKumbhaka.“IfthePranaisintheformofbreathinhaledandexhaled,onaccountofits
naturalqualityofgoingoutandcomingin,thePranayamaisknownasPrakrita.IfthePranais
restrainedbythethreefoldmeansofthrowingout,takinginandstoppingthebreathinaccordance
withtherulesprescribedintheSastras,itiscalledVaikritaorartificial.Butwithgreatmenwho
haverisenabovethesetwokindsofrestrainingbreath,thesuddenrestrainingofthevitalcurrents
directly(withoutinspirationandexpiration),isKevalaKumbhaka.PrakritaPranayamabelongsto
Mantra Yoga. Vaikrita belongs to Laya Yoga.”

35.“ThatiscalledKumbhaka(cessationofbreath)whenthereisneitherexpirationnor
inspirationandthebodyismotionless,remainingstillinonestate.Thenheseesformslikethe
blind,hearssoundslikethedeafandseesthebodylikewood.Thisisthecharacteristicofonewho
has attained quiescence.”

36.PatanjalidoesnotlaymuchstressonpracticeofdifferentkindsofPranayama.He
mentions:“Exhaleslowly,theninhaleandretainthebreath.Youwillgetasteadyandcalmmind.”
ItisonlytheHathaYoginswhodevelopedPranayamaasascienceandhavementionedvarious
exercises to suit different persons.

37.“Spreadatiger-skinoradeer-skinorafourfoldblanket.Overthisspreadapieceof
white cloth. Then sit for the Pranayama practice facing the North.”

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THE SCIENCE OF PRANAYAMA

38.Somewouldtaketheorderasexhaling,inhalingandretaining;othersasinhaling,
retainingandexhaling.Thelatterismorecommon.InYajnavalkya,wefindthedifferentkindsof
breathregulationmentionedintheorderofPuraka,KumbhakaandRechaka;whereas,inNaradiya
textwehavethemintheorderofRechaka,PurakaandKumbhaka.Thetwoaretoberegulatedas
optional alternatives.

39.AYogishouldalwaysavoidfear,anger,laziness,toomuchsleeporwakingandtoo
muchfoodorfasting.Iftheaboverulebewellstrictlypractised,eachday,spiritualwisdomwill
ariseofitselfinthreemonthswithoutdoubt;infourmonths,heseestheDevas;infivemonthshe
knowsorbecomesaBrahmanishtha;andtrulyinsixmonthsheattainsKaivalyaatwill.Thereisno
doubt.

40.AneophyteshoulddoPurakaandRechakaonlywithoutanyKumbhakaforsomedays.
Take a long time to do Rechaka. The proportion for Puraka and Rechaka is 1:2.

41.Pranayamainitspopularandpreparatoryformmaybepractisedbyeveryoneinany
posturewhatsoever,sittingorwalking;andyetissuretoshowitsbenefits.Buttothosewhopractise
it in accordance with the specific methods prescribed, fructification will be rapid.

42.GraduallyincreasetheperiodofKumbhaka.Retainfor4secondsinthefirstweek,for8
secondsinthesecondweek,for12secondsinthethirdweekandsoon,tillyouareabletoretainthe
breath to your full capacity.

43.Common-senseorYuktishouldbeusedthroughoutyourpractice.Ifonekindof
exerciseisnotagreeabletoyoursystem,changeitafterdueconsiderationorconsultationwithyour
Guru.ThisisYukti.WherethereisYukti,thereisSiddhi,BhuktiandMukti(perfection,enjoyment
and salvation).

44.YoumustsonicelyadjustthePuraka,KumbhakaandRechakathatyoushouldnot
experiencethefeelingofsuffocationordiscomfortatanystageofPranayama.Youshouldnever
feelthenecessityofcatchingholdofafewnormalbreathsbetweenanytwosuccessiverounds.The
durationofPuraka,KumbhakaandRechakamustbeproperlyadjusted.Exerciseduecareand
attention. Matters will turn to be successful and easy.

45.Youmustnotunnecessarilyprolongtheperiodofexhalation.Ifyouprolongthetimeof
Rechaka,thefollowinginhalationwillbedoneinahurriedmannerandtherhythmwillbe
disturbed.YoumustsocarefullyregulatethePuraka,KumbhakaandRechakathatmustbe
absolutelycomfortableandperformnotonlyonePranayamabutalsothefullcourseorrequired
roundsofPranayama.Experienceandpracticewillmakeyoualright.Practicemakesoneperfect.
Besteady.Anotherimportantfactoristhatyoumusthaveefficientcontroloverthelungsattheend
of Kumbhaka to enable you to do the Rechaka smoothly and in proportion with the Puraka.

46.SuryabhedaandUjjayiproduceheat.SitkariandSitaliarecooling.Bhastrikapreserves
normaltemperature.Suryabhedadestroysexcessofwind;Ujjayiphlegm;SitkariandSitalibile;
and Bhastrika all the three.

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THE SCIENCE OF PRANAYAMA

47.SuryabhedaandUjjayimustbepractisedduringwinter.SitkariandSitalimustbe
practisedinsummer.Bhastrikacanbepractisedinallseasons.Thosepersonswhosebodiesarehot
even in winter can practise Sitali and Sitkari during winter season.

48.Goaloflifeisself-realisation.“Thisisbroughtaboutbymeansofthesubjugationofthe
bodyandthesenses,theservicetoagoodGuru,thehearingofVedanticdoctrineandconstant
meditationthereon”(NiralambaUpanishad).“Ifyouarereallysincereandifyouwishtohavea
quick,suresuccess,youmusthaveasystematicroutineforAsana,Pranayama,Japa,Meditation,
Svadhyaya,etc.YoumustbeverycarefulinkeepingupBrahmacharya.Effectivemeanstocontrol
themindaretheattainmentofspiritualknowledge,associationwiththewise,theentireabdication
of all Vasanas and control of Prana” (Muktikopanishad).

49.OnceagainIwilltellyouthatAsana,Pranayama,Japa,Dhyana,Brahmacharya,
Satsanga,solitude,Mouna,NishkamaKarmaareallabsolutelynecessaryforspiritualattainments.
OnecanhardlyobtainperfectioninRajaYogawithoutHathaYoga.AttheendofKumbhakayou
shouldwithdrawthemindfromalltheobjects.BygradualpracticeyouwillbeestablishedinRaja
Yoga.

50.SomestudentswhoarestudyingVedanticbooksthinkthattheyareJnanisandthey
ignoreAsanas,Pranayama,etc.Theyalsoshouldpractisethese,tilltheyareperfectinShat-Sampat
of the Sadhana-Chatushtaya—Sama, Dama, etc.,—the preliminary qualifications of Jnana Yoga.

51.Donothesitate.DonotbewaitingtogetaGuruwhowillsitbyyoursideandwatchyou
dailyforalongtime.Ifyouaresincere,regularandsystematicandifyoufollowrulesand
instructionsofthisbookverycarefully,therewillbenotroubleatall.Youwillundoubtedlyget
success.Slighterrorsmaycropupinthebeginning,itdoesnotmatter.Donotunnecessarilybe
alarmed.Donotgiveupthepractice.Youwillyourselflearnhowtoadjust.Common-sense,
instinct,theshrillinnervoiceofthesoulwillhelpyouinthepath.Everythingwillcomeout
smoothly in the end. Start the practice this very second in right earnest and become a real Yogi.

OM Santih, Santih, Santih!

Appendix

Concentration on Solar Plexus

Solarplexusisoftencalledthe abdominal brain.Itisanimportantcentreofthenerves,
connectedwiththesympatheticnervoussystem.ItislocatedintheEpigastricregion,behindthepit
ofthestomachoneithersideofthespinalcolumn.Ithascontrolonthemaininternalorgansofman.
Itplaysamuchmoreimportantpartthanisgenerallyrecognised.Ittakesanimportantpartinthe
controlofemotionsandofvariousbodilyfunctions.Itiscomposedofwhiteandgreybrainmatter.
Itisoneofthemostvitalpartsofthebody.Ablowoverthesolarplexusiswell-knowntoboxing
menasareadymeansofrenderinganopponentunconsciousoratanyratehelpless.Itisthe
store-houseofPrana.Itisthepower-house.Itisthemostimportantofallthe Adharas(supports)of
thebodythataresixteeninnumber.Itisaknownfactthatmenhavebeeninstantlykilledbya

54

THE SCIENCE OF PRANAYAMA

severeblowoverthesolarplexus.Thesolarplexusisliterallythesunofthenervoussystem.When
thesunisshiningharmoniously,thewholeofthephysicalsystemisharmonious.Itradiates
strengthandenergytoallpartsofthebody.ThoughtsandPrana,whendirectedtowardsthiscentre
through Pranayama, will stimulate and awaken the sunshine latent therein.

SiterectinPadmasanaorSiddhasana.Closeyoureyes.Drawtheairslowlythroughtheleft
nostrilaslongasyoucandowithcomfort.Keeptherightoneclosedwithyourrightthumb.Repeat
OMmentally.Thenretainthebreath.Havetheattentionwelldirectedtowardsthesolarplexus.
Concentrateyourmindthere.Havethethoughtcentreduponit.Donotmakeanyunduestrainofthe
mindorundueeffortofanykind.DirectconsciouslythePranatotheregionofsolarplexusthrough
theretainedbreath.Imagine:“IambreathinginPrana,happiness,joy,strength,vigour,love.”Then
slowlyexhalethroughtherightnostril.Theninhalethroughtherightnostril,retainitasbeforeand
exhalethroughtheleft.Repeattheprocess12timesinthemorning.Fear,depression,weaknessand
otherundesirableemotions,whichstandinthewayofspiritualadvancement,willvanish.Youwill
become more and more confident of success in Self-realisation.

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