Yoga Anubhava Series

Pranayama

A science beyond breath

In this Yoga Anaubhava series, we will be working on a certain program to strengthen and revitalise our lungs, to help us to face the challenges of the Pandemic more effectively and confidently.

In the Yoga Sutras, the practices of pranayama and asana are considered to be the highest form of purification and self discipline for the body and mind.

Prana is the basic fabric of the Universe, a sum total of all the energy in the universe. Scientific research describes prana as a multidimensional energy, a combination of electrical, magnetic, electromagnetic, photonics, ocular, thermal and mental energies.

Ayama means extend /expand / take charge.

When we practice pranayama the quantity of this vital energy in the body is activated to a higher frequency, gearing us towards maintaining a healthy body and mind.

Diligently practicing Pranayama will firstly, stimulate and enhance vital energy in our bodies, leading to better health. Secondly, balance those energies to give us increased clarity and calmness of mind, and more importantly, they help us to enhance our internal awareness of the breath and to discover their effects on the mechanics of our mind and eventually our deeper psyche.

We may suffer from physical, mental, and emotional ailments when energy (prana) is lacking in the body. If energy (prana) does not find sufficient room in the body there can be only one reason: it is being forced out by something that really does not belong there-such as pranic and toxic blockages. When we practice pranayama, we try to reduce these blockages and create conditions in which prana may enter the body and permeate it.

Diseases are the manifestation of an imbalance in the flow of prana within us. Pranayama reduces these blockages and replace them with more and more prana, resulting in balance and harmony within and outside us.

At the Physical level, these practices help in controlling and alleviating high blood pressure, asthma, arthritis, rheumatism, bronchitis, pulmonary tuberculosis, cholesterol, fat, headaches, sinusitis, and various other ailments caused due to shallow breathing.

Pranayama techniques enables us to extend and also overcome our normal limitations and attain higher states of vibratory energy, they makes us more sensitive to the vibrations in the cosmos and within us. It is a method of refining one’s mental and physical pranic existence, and making us aware of dimensions of life and existence. At the Spiritual level, these practices are said to be a direct link to our higher consciousness the Paramatma.

Pranayama is not just breathing practices, neither is prana just air that we breath, Breath is the external manifestation of prana and prana is that subtle energy that can be enhanced with breath.

Breathing exercise only oxygenate our bodies, whereas pranayama practices awaken the prana shakti within us.

One of the most important secrets of success in Panarama, is our overall attitude to breath and pranayama practices. To make rapid progress, we should approach the breath with an attitude of investigation, enhanced by an internal awareness of the relationship between the mind and breath. This will lead us to discovery of “Sukshma Swara” (the subtle, silent psychic breath) at the core of the psychic and spiritual self discovery. In Yogasana practices, we tried to develop the awareness of our concrete/gross body. Now in Pranayama, we are going to move to a more subtle plane by internalising and increasing our sensitivity and by becoming more aware of our breath and developing our internal awareness. This will require us to build up a warm, cordial and an intimate relationship with our breath. In fact, it is said that one has to fall in love with ones own breath in order to succeed in ones Pranayama Sadhana.

There are two distinct stages to Pranayama. The first being Prana Nigraha and the second being the actual Pranayama. Prana Nigraha is the very foundation of pranayama, wherein one learns how to breath properly by extending , expanding, controlling and directing the breath, and then understanding its relationship to the Body and mind.

Pranayam is the second stage wherein one discovers the “Sukshma Swara” (the subtle, silent psychic breath) , and the impulses which are generated in the neuro cellular structure of the body.

The main emphasis during these five days will be on the proper and correct understanding of Natural breathing, Sectional Breathing,Yogic Breathing, Brahamari, Nadi Shodhana, Bhastrika, Sheetali / Sheetkari, Kapalbhati and Ujjayi pranayama.

Most of us take our respiratory process completely for granted, never considering that perhaps there is a correct and an incorrect way of breathing naturally. For our Pranayama Practices to be productive, we must breathe correctly. So let us now acquaint ourselves with our breath as it is – in its present form and if necessary, re-educate it. Most of us breathe incorrectly and inadequately because our lives are not balanced and enlightened. The stresses and strains, the conflicts and challenges of life tend to adversely alter the basic rhythm of our breath-generally speaking, it tends to make it fast and shallow.

We breath Incorrectly or inadequately using only a part of the capacity of our lungs, thus starving the body of precious oxygen nourishment – which is freely available in abundance. By shallow breathing, we also build up stagnant air in the lower regions of the lungs leading to various respiratory disorders. Without breathing, we cannot live. By half breathing, we only half live. Let us rectify this undesirable situation by re-educating our breath by breathing the yogic way.