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SAGARBHA PRAANAAYAMA

By S. Ramaswami
tant aspect of Bahirangasadhana, which is Pranaayama. Breathing, to which v e r y Praanaayaama ltht Pioktha little a tte n tio nis pai d by many of us i n the Dwivi.ihaf prechyate hi saha ll n o r m a l d a y to d ay l i fs (except w hen one Agarbhascha sagaabhascha suffers fron' asthmaor some such respiratory Dwil6eyasthu Tayorvarahs I a ilm e n t) ir a s b e a n gone i nl o i n great detai l Apidhyonam Vina sgarbhaha b y o u r a n cie n tyo gi s end saget and i n fact Sagarbhasthath s.mancitaha ll there are very many who have proclaimed th a t Pr a n a ya m a el f coul d be the key to its Narada :-: attainment of samadhi. The choiceof Prana Prana refers to the vayu (force) in the body. itself as the object of contemplation comos Aayama is to completsly control it (to bring naturally to many.people. unlike in othet it unde. voluntary control). Such coqtrol of types of meditation, the advantage in Pranathe life force, known as Praanaayama ie of yama is that one need not search and keep two kinds, viz. Agarbha and Sagarbha, of an external obiect .for contemplation or an which the lalter is superior. Agarbha is to abstfact idea for the mind to hang on to. Tho ptactice brsath contlol without dhyana and yogis have found that by exercising conSagarbhais such a praclice with an object trol on Prana ong can control tho mind ond thereafter transcend it. The pranic exorcises lor contemplation. have been gone into in great detail and In the last few issues, some groups of depth in Vedic, Tantlic and also Hathayogic assanas have been described,with thg meth- disciplines. odology, sequence,breathing pattrn along with pratikriyas wherevet necessaryand the IM PORT ANT PR E LU D E S benef it st h a t a c c r u e t o a sle a d y a b h ya si. ThesEare quile sufficient and provide a fair The practice of asana and pranayama to v ariely f o r m a n y y o g a b h y asis e xe r cisoth e is a n im p o r ta n t prel udesto the antharangav ariousj o i n t s , m u s c l e sa n d m a in ta in r e a so - sa d h a n a - p u ja , Upaasana. j apa, dhyana. nably go o d h e a l t h . A f e w m o r e , so m e wh a t Asa n aja ya is a p r erequi si te the practi ce tor of difficult asanagroups remain to be discus- Pranayama, lt has been msntioned that by s ed, but l h s y m a y b e t a ke n u p so m e lim e d e fin itio n Asa n a i s to si t i n a steady and lat ef . lt i s t i m e t o d e s c l i b eth e n e xt im p o r - co m fo r ta b le p o siti on, but that posi ri onor
Aayaamasthisya nigrahaha I Praano Vsavussariraslha

posture should be a yogic posturc, such as Padma,Siddha, Gomukha tc. lt is not necossary that one should have mastored all the asSnas to practico Pranayama. In fact it is rare to find one who could do all the posturos. But ths mathod ol yogasana practico which includes use ol breathing with the various vinyaasasor variationsand ptatikriyas ensures that tho circuletlon thd rospifalion aie positivly improved and ons gets an sxcsllont relaxed feeling belore starting Ptanayama. The savinyasapractice of Yogasana. as propounded by our Acharya based on ruch authorities as Patanjali, Yoga Kurantam, Vrtdha iaiiistam, Vridha sastatapam,etc., ia tdidlftitlc, comprahensivo and hence givee tho maimufn bcnefit to ths abhyasi. by way of ilnproved physiological functioning, a mind attuhd to lollow tho brosth and subsoqugntly attain tho capacity for Ekagra, which is s3ssntial tor all tho Antarangasaohana rnd oiher mental and spiritual rttainmsnts, PAIIANJAII'S DEFINITION

or which The otheris inhalation puraka, is to draw in the atmosphericair to fill up the lungscompletely,
Baahysvayoho Aachsmsn6m Swasah!,

And Pranayamais th6 8ct of prevonting both tho activilics of inhalation and exhalation. Evon this is of two kinds. Ono is holding the breath after cdmpleta inhalation a n d th e o th e r is to hol d tho'brcath out'as i t were, aller complete exhalation. Thus thc four stages are: 1) Pu r a kao r Abhyantard vri thi w hi ch can bo takn to mean complote inhalotion. Strmbhavrithi Antahkumbhakam or which is to hold the breath in after inhalation. Rechaka or Bahyavrithi which can be taken.to mean complete oxhalstion'

2)

3)

4) Bahyakumbhakaor holding tho bteath out after xhalation. .Patanjali,while defining Pranayama elso glressed ths conquest of one asana at loast TO CONTROL THE NEBVOUS SYSTEM bofbrb proceedihg to do Pranayama f t$dn SrthiSwrn P6swssryoho oti yichrdrl PrEnrysmEh!. The time, duration of holding, tho dopth to which one feels tho offect of breathlng, tho frequency, the method of controlling thb psssago of air, tho various ratios of inhala. tion to holding .nd 6rhalation, unafofmity and tho finenqss of tho bloath, th6 us6 ot mantra or othrwise. all th68 mako a formidable number of pranayamasand hencs it roquirs rhe guidanc of arrecptor.toy'e / study and practico pranayama.rThe respiretoryfunction is both vofuntsry and involuntary. Normally our bresthing iD shallow and involuntary. In pranayamsa dsliberate attempt is made to brinli ii' under gratar voluntary conrrol, and hopefully, thsrsby bfing under control many othr involuntary conditions of the body and mind and

Rbmaining in a posture (which is comfotable and stady), controlling tho inward and outwErd movomnt ol breath is Pranayamb. Vyasa in his commantary is moro specific. Ha says "Aasana jaye Sathi"-meaning having conquered a particular posturo, one should start on Pranayama. In yogic breathing,thers sre four distinct asp6ct3. ExpcllirTQthe air in the lungs (KsushtasyaVayu) completely is one, called Prasvaasaor Rechakam. KalrshtasyaVayoho NlssaaranamPrasvaasaha,

achiovo certain extraotdinary powels ovel ono's own physiological functions. According to a well-known nuro . surgon, nourophysiologically speaking, it appars that the basic factor in yoga is rhe contlol of respiralion, Bespiratory lunction can be more easily influenced than any other vital funcrion and the yogi usos it as a first step in his control of the nsrvous systom. Whn cortical higher brain control is achieved ovor one bagic function, it is possible. to achieve control over other baslc functions ss vasomotor etc, lt is therefore possible to dilate bronchical tubos in an asthmatac, reduce blood pressurs or increase it, reduce th rate of hoalt boat all with tho hlp of P ranay am a . N e u r o l o g i c a l b r a in ,d iso r d e r s as epilepsy, skin allergies etc., also respond to pranic control, ALTERATION OF BRAIN CELLS A number ot functions classified as autonomous are not so for an adept yogi, He is able to control by will many functions that ar cantrolled in ordinary human beings by subcortical areas-which is beyond one's voluntary control. The mechanism involved c ould be n e u r o l o g i c a l n d c he m ica l. On ce a a steady regular control of respiration is achieved, there is porhaps a reciprocal bioc hem r c a ls t a b i l i t y w h i c h h e lp s in th e maint enan c e f t h i s c o n t r o l . o When m a n o s t a b l i s h e sf u ll co n tr o l o ve r t his lowe r v i t a l a n d e m otio n a l f u n ctio n by t he ex e r c i s e f h i s . c o r t e x( will) h e h a s to o do it by t h e r e c i p r o c . J l o n n o ctio n sb e twe e n c the c orle x . t h e t e t r c u l a r syste m a n d th e v anous c o n c e r n e d c e n t r e s in th e b r a in . Cons t anty o g i c p r a c t i c e o l bo th p r a n a ya m a and m edr t a t i o n , q u i t e l i k e ly le a d s to a n enlargornentof the scope of ths function of t he ret ic u l a rf u n c t i o n a n d o f th e co r te x. lt is qurt e pos s t b l e t h a t i n a r e a l yo g i th e r e ttcu -

lar system and the cortex are both functionally altered and structurally prolifefatod. Patanjali also emphasises that such a mutation of brair': cells is possible. The chitta parin?ma or scope for altered arrangement of brain cells is inhgrent in overy individual and only p.racticeis the cause of su ch a m u ta tio n , l t i s acti vi ty of the mi nd, o n th e m in d to tr a nscend the mi nd. Li ke a farmer (Kshtrika) who merely diverts the flo w o f wa tsr in fie l d, the yogi has onl y to ch a n n e lise h is n e urol ogi calenergi es el ong certain paths, There is no external cause ( Nim itta m a p r a yo jakam)for such corti caI and neurological changes. And the key appears to bs tho control of brealh or Pranayama. I Pranayamais of two kinds. Samantfaka or Sagarbha which is to practic Pranayama with Montra. Ths other is Agarbha oj a m a n tr a ka . What mantras are to be usEd in Pranayama 7 What aro the othr testrictions. The practice of Pranaayama with Mantra is well known to Hindus. Many authorities have given rules of Pranayama v\.ith Gayatti, Pranavaand Bijakshara Mantras, PRAANAYAAMA WITH GAYATRI Thess ctays whilo tho mantra part is maintained by many who observe sandhys and other religious rites, tho actual Ptanayama portion is completely lett out; most people msrely touch the nose, or wotso still make a suggastion of toking the hand to wa r d s th e n o se . The oft quoted definition of Samantraka Pranayanra, given in Manusmtiti : is
Savyaakritikaam Sapranavaam Gaaystrim Sirasa saha I Triphpateth ayathapraanaha PraanaayaamassaUchyatel

Co n t r o l l i n g t h e b r e a lh a n d m e d ita tin g Wh e n th e i nhal eo breath forces ci rcul a(J apa) t h r e e t i m e s o n Ga ya tr i with th e tio n lr o m th e r oots of hai r and the end of Vyaahritis,siras and the Pranava,is known n a ils a n d h e ld (ni rodha), then i t i s the best a cco r d in gto Rs hi A tri . Thi s crsatesa chai n as Pra a n a y a m a . o t ch a n g e sin the body. B y prana ni rodha, According to Yagnyavalkya,Pranayama vayu is generated,from vayu, agni snd trom is to do japa of Gayatri preceded by it Jala (Vatha saaram, Vahni saaram, Vari Pranava,associatod vyaahrities and follo- sa a r a m ) . With those three ono becomes wed b y s i r a s . V i g n a n e sh wa r a , e la b o r a tin g co m p le te ly p u r ifi ed. Then w hen exhal i ng it says that one has to contfol the vayu in o n e sh o u ld d o it through the nostri l graduthe facs and nostrils. ally, nsvot forced or abruptly, The bodv should be kopt steady. Such a practitionet Yogayaqyavalkya gives a more detailed is kn o wn a s yo gi of the hi ghest order. account of SamantrakaPraanayama. PRANAYAMA & MEDITATION B h u h u , B h u v a h a , Su va h a , M a h a h a , Pr a a n a ya mas to be done w i th dhyana; i J anah a , T a p a h a a n d S a tya m a lo n g with O mk a r a t h e n T a t s a v i t u hu ,fo llo we d b y th e It howevr requiresa prceptor, The better , s iras" O m a a p a h a " - t h e s ir a sm a n tr ais { o u n d known methods of dhyana ar mentioned, in Tai t h r i y a . W h e n o ne d o e s th is th r e e t im es i t i s k n o w n a s P r a an a ya m a . CHAI N O F C H A N G E S IN T HE BODY D e t a i l s o f t h e a c t u a l m e th o d o ' o g y a n d P raan a y a m aa r e t o b e f o u n d in m a n y yo g a t ex t s li k e Y o g a Y a g y a v a lkya ,Siva Sa m h ita , , G heru n d aS a m h i t a ,H a t h a p r a d e e p ikaUp a n is ads a s A m r u t a n a a d a , Ksh u r ika , T r isikh ibraah m a n aO a r s a n a ,D h ya n a b in d u , Na a d a , bindu, Y o g a k u n d a l i n i , Yo Ea ch u d a a m a n i, Y ok at a r t w a Y o g a s r k h a ,Va r a a h a , Sa a n d ilya , , v ariou s P u r a n a s .a n u m b e r o f o th e r te xts, and of c o u r s e t h e G i t a . T o w h a t e x t e n t s h o u ld o n e d r a w th e th a e xte r n a l a ir ex t orn a l a i r ? - J r a w i n g c omc le i e l y i n s o t h a t a l l th e n td is a r e ' fille d up'. T n i s k i n d o f i n d r awin g is kn o wn a s P urak a m . According to Vyaasa, when one does Pu r a ka , n e sh oul d medi tate upon the fout o fa ce d Br a h m aw hcse compl exi on i s red and wh o se p o sition i s i n the naval regi on ( Na a b h ich a kr am). D uri ng A ntahkumbhaka, one should meditate on thg fofm of Lord Vish n u wh o se compl exti on i s that of bl ue lo tu s a n d wh ile-doi ng R echaka one shoul d m e d ita teo n th e w hi te compl exi onedform of L o r d Siva in the ragi on of forehead, H e fu r th e r e xo la in sthe form of S i va as;
Lalaatastha Siv?m Svelam Rechakenaabhichinta-

Sadhum Soatikasamkaas.m Nirmaldm t"":j;j;:

Sankaram Trayambakam Svelam Dhyaayan MuchYate gsndhanaath.

Hclding the inhaled vayu in _!!lJg4g part s o f t h e b o d y , a s i t we r e , b y va r io u s Wh e n o n e practi 3es P raanayamaw i th B andh a s , f t e r d e e p i n h ala tio nis m e n tio n e d a by P a t a n j a l i b y r e f e r r i ng to th e a sp e cto f Ga ya r i, th e m ore popul ar method i s to do Re ch a kawith the mi nd cl osel y fol l ow i ng l he " O es a P a r i d r i s h t i " .

Siva is like a spotless, sphatika, flawlo ss; h e r sm oves al l defi l ements. H e i s p e a ce fu l, r e e -eyed and w hi te. One w ho th i o n r e d ita te s n Hi m thus i n R echaka s rel eased fr o m a lt sin s,

breat h. I n k u m b h a k a o n e s h o u ld m e n ta lly bs with lhe Praanaayama mantra, which is gayatri with pranava, vyaahritris and siras. The exhalation should be dono with the mind closely followin0 the brealh. Briefly in Smriti Batnarkara, it is menti o ned t hat t h s J a p a s h o u l d b e d o n e in Kumbhaka.

M a a tr a s a n d e xh a lati on as 32 maatras F o llo win g th e m e th o d menti onedi n S mi ti rat. n a ka r a ,th e Ja p a is to b e done duri ng hol di ng th e b r e a th .

M a a tr a m e r e ly m eans a measure. In ja p a , ta kin g o n e m a a tr ato roeanone syl l abl e is va lid . T h u s th s Praanayamamantra i s m a d s u p o f 6 4 sylla b les, 21 for the vyahri r is, 2 4 + 1 fo r th e g a yatri porti on and 18 tor Oakshine Rechakam Curyaath Vasmenaapuritodath s sir a sp o sitio n . T h us ons fnany practi ce ,oha I samantrapranaayama. In actual practic6, it Kumbhakeoa Japam Kuryaath P,aanaayamasya porlakshanam. takes about 20 seconds for the mantra tio n , So it wtll wo lk out to be 5 seconds Her t he m e l h o d o f . d o i n g Pr a a n a ya m a to r p u r a ka , 2 0 fo r kumbhaka and 10 for i s c learlymen t i o n e d . l t i s t o d r a w in th e a ir rechaka. lf one practises the Bandhas atter it rhrough t he l e f t n o s t r i l ,d o J a p a d u r in g th e e xh a la tio n , will b e nearl y 40 seconds per Kumbhak a as p e c t a n d e x h a l e th r o u g h th e b r e a th . ri g ht . lt is t o b e u n d e r s t o o d t ha t th e n e xt i n halat ion s h c u l d b e t h r o u g h t h e r ig h t a n d vi ce v ers a. Pr a n a a ya m a with Gayatrii s an adti vati ng p r o ce ss. Ga ya tr iis a n energi si ngmantr! as is se e n fr o m th e wo r d "P rachodavaath".

W hat s h o u l d b e t h e d u r a t io no f in h a la tion, holding aud exhalarion?Patanjali refers to this as pgc ti n o n e o f t h e s u tr a sa s "Ka a la PRANAVA IN PRANAYAMA Paridris ht i" ; t h a t i s P r a a n a ya m a sh o u ld There is also a method of using Pranava conform lo somo measuro0f time. in Praanayama.Using 'A'kaara for inhalation Here again there are rpany variatioos, ' V' ka a r ain h o ld in g a nd 'mb' kaarai n exhal abut there are many authors who refer to tho tion and morging in the total Pranava in ratro of Kumbhaka being four times as long Eahya Kumbha is one Pranayama. This is naturally for 'out of the world yogis and so as Pural(aand twice as long as Rechaka. o n e h a s to p r a ctise p ranayamaaccordi ngto BEFERENCES IN UPANISHADS h is a sh r a m ao r sta tio n i n l i te. M any of t h e U p a n i s h a d sth a t r e fe l to yoga and also other yoga texts give the duration quile xtensively. I n T ris ikh i b r a h m a n o p a n i sa d , is n r e n it tioned.
ldaya Vaayumaapurya Srahman Shodasamaatraya Puritem Kumbhayeth Paschaath "nt* "nin::;""J:

Gh e r u n d a d e ta ils sagarbha pranayama by the repetttion of Bija Mantfa'


Dhyayethvidhim Raiogunm Rekthavarnsm Avarnakam I ldsva purayth vsayum Msotlayt shodssaissudhc-

PurakasnroKumbhakaadyeKarthavyasthuouaddiy?Satlwamayam Harim dhyaatwa Ukaram K.i8hmvar Chluesashtya coo Maatrya Kumbhaken","" i:,li;

DwatimssnmaStraya ssmyag Rochayeth Pingala-

Hre the duration for tnhalation is given as 16 Mas tr a s , h o l d i n g t h e br e a th a s 6 4

Trmomayam sivam dhysstwa Makarram SuilML Dwaa$im3anmastraya cha eva Rochayoth Vjdhina punaha ll

nevr using th indx and middle fingers. The nostrils are to be closod so long as the breath is held in Kumbhaka. There are some who (not initistod in Gayatri or Pranava)make use of mono syllable or two syllabl Tantric Msntras, so that sagarbha praanaayama can b univrsally pfactisod. Patanjali refers also to ths number ot breaths or rounds to be perfotmed as an aspsct in Praanaayama by ,.Samkhya parid. r ish ti". Here again ditforont authors givs different numbers. According to Svaatmaataama and other Hathayogis,it is upto 80 per sitting and four sittings pr day making it 320 Pranayaama per day. This should bo tsken only as the upper limit, as specificslly they refer to gradual incroaseto that numbr. P'aata'maedhyandin Saayamardh8raa$, iil,.ilTi
Sanaivasitipa.yantam chalurvaaram Samabhyaseth I

Punof ping!lsyrapurya Kumbhakenaivs dhsaravetn ldoyg Rshlyoth Paschosth Trtwiiaoa kra, ren,

Anulom VilomrnS vaa.am vaaran cha sasdhayeth I Purskanto Kumbhakantam dhrutanaasaaoutadwayam I Klni3l{rlnsamika .ngushtrihi Ta.iani madhvo viiraa tl

Sat6d in a comfortablo sukhaasana. lacing eest or noith let the abhyaasi contmplato on Brahma, full of Rajas and of blood rcd colour, in the form of tho lot?er. ,OM.. USE OE TANTRIC MAIIITRAS tet him inhale by the left noslril. r6pa.ring 'OM', sixtosn timcs Than bafore he bgin8 retention aftor completing inhalation, let him perform uddiyana bandha (This rcquirss considerablgcontrol and only under immediate guidance from a Guru ons m6y ottempt lt).

From the above stanza in Trisikhibrahmanopanisad,it could be observgd that gO Then let him rotain breath by repearing. rounds pr sitiing in the morning, noon, 9O, sixtv{gur tlmes contemplating on Lorct ovening and midnight, aro suggegtod, By Hari, of black eolour and of Sattws quality. tho words 'Sanaiva', one should take ir a8 gradually and "asitiparyrntam" upto g0 Th6n lot him exhale through pingala (.ight nostril), by repeeting ,lM', 3 Z_timos, rounds. Sage Bharedwaja suggosb thst one shoulcl practise pfanayama with japa during contemplating on Lord Siva of wfiiiicolour kumbhaka, and this should be done tn times and of Tamas quality. bofore procoeding to do gaytri japs. It could bE obrerved that ssgarbha pEansyama requirestiBtly to master a yogic postur6 and thon one should develop the capacity to do kumbhaks tor tho tength of timo requirod for complting the mantra and also to do it without break for tho required number of rounds. Such capacity may be obtai4ed by a variety of Planayamaand Kumbhakapracfices

Then again inhate through the right nostril, rotain by Kumbhaka and exhale by lda (left), in the mothod as abov. changing nostrils altornately. Lt him practice, thus alternating the nostrils again and again, When inhalation is comploted, closo both nostnls, the,ight one by t h u m b ( o f t h e r i g h t h a n d ) a n d th s lofr one by th ring fingor and the littte finger,

rtorred in Hathayoga texts. Thy along capacityto cornmunicato will all the higher with the likely effects on the physiology will worlds. bs dealt with in the next issue. The ultimato bsnefit of Pranaayamais to say. Samadhi itself according to cenain schools. Trr!h k3hiyrto P.akErs! Aavarlnlm I In rhe Gita also it is referredto as lhe merger of Prana in Apana or and Apana, which is With Pranayama. tho clouding of the achieved by a very long (dirgha) and tino mind reduces and tha intelloct shines in its (sukshma) pranayama. truo splendours. SAGARBHA PRANAYAMA Furthsr Vaidic Rshis relar to ths bsnefits of sagarbha Praanayama. According to Manu' if done with Vyaahritis, pranava and siras for three times, is the gtatest Tapas for a Brahmans, Just as a rne'66ii-l-iicleaned a in smltr. by Pranayama the Indriyas lose t hs ir im pu r i t i e s . l f o n e d o e s it 1 6 tim e s a day, in a month ovon the dreaded Brahmahathi dosha is desfroyed. According to Sounaka, if ona practices thre timss with grEat concsntration,all the dos has v a n i s h i n s t a n t a n e ou sty. With 1 2 breath controls, tho chitta becomes clear. 24 time is the greatsst Tapas. Pranayama don with 1O pranava (7 with the vyaakritis, one with Gayatri, one at the beginning ol Sirasand one at the end) and f or 1 4 t i m e s f o r a m o n th r e le a se so n e from Brahmahathi dosha and all other minor condemnable deeds (upapaathaka),sccord. ing to Yamo. Vyaasa simply statos that tha Pranaya. ma mantra japa makes on absolutely fesrless. And Yogayagyavalkya, relates the 7 vyaahritis to the 7 worlds or 7 levels of consciousness, With that, hs gains the
Dhfiana3u ch8 yogylta Manaslhr I

Patanjali authority yoga.has this tho on

As a natural congoqusnce,such a mind, and only such a mind becomes fit tor Dhara. na or tho first stp of Antarangasadhana. UNIOUE SYSTEM The uniquenessof our Acharya's systm is th a t it a tte m p tsto i ncl ude al l th vari ous systems of yoga and the gradual combinstion of the different angas, so that ther is no abrupt change. Thus in the practico of asrns. introduction of brathing hlps to preparing the brathing apparatulr for subsequent Pranayama. With need to prectice Asana with breath control, a carttln montal disciplne is already achioved, so that when one starts Pranayama, th mind also coopcrates in following tho broath, so that in Kumbhaka one may use Vaidic mantras, Bijaksharaor othor Tantric Mantras. With the rquirement of ths adhysyana according to one's Saakha, study of yogig texts like yogadarsana,Hathayoga taxts, the Upanisads with the foundation of savinyasa asana practice,ons may hope to experience th e g r e a tn e ss a n d thofoughness of our a n cie n t syste m o f yoga.

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