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Pranayam - The Art Of Breathing

Kundalini pranayam is the yogic process of consciously creating and sustaining a definite ascending and descending flow of cosmic prana through the cerebro-spinal channel. The sanskrit word, pranayama is usually translated as the science of breath.

Pranayama literally means the "ayamsa" expansion or manifestation, of prana, pra:first unit; na: energy. Prana is the vital energy of the universe.

The mind is a wall between the spiritual growth and reality. Higher energies of prana, need to be attuned and the mind must be controlled. Prana is connected to you with a silver cord. This cord, reined in with breathing exercises, controls the mind. To achieve the higher rungs of spirituality prana must be controlled. Controlling the breath and prana control the mind.

The science of pranayama is connected with the autonomic nervous system and brings its functions under conscious control through the functioning of the lungs. Yoga science, explains that the control of prana is the regulation of inhalation and exhalation.

By eliminating the pause between inhalation and exhalation or expanding it by retention. With regulating the motion of the lungs, the heart and the vagus nerve are controlled. The autonomic nervous system regulates these processes in our bodies.

The autonomic nervous system is divided into the sympathetic and the parasympathetic nervous systems. These two subsystems work in opposition to each other, yet there is harmonious order. The sympathetic nervous system has ganglia, or nerve cell clusters, arranged on either side of the spinal column.

Conscious control over our involuntary nervous system is by practicing breathing exercises and understanding the various channels of prana.

The heart function is regulated by the motion of the lungs. Then the right vagus nerve is brought under conscious control, and that portion of the mind that coordinates with the involuntary system is accessible. If you are strong willed then that is the other way of gaining control over the autonomic nervous system.

The more the mind is dissipated, the more the will is scattered.

When the mind is made one pointed, it strengthens the will power,

and the will power helps the autonomic nervous system functions to perform as one wants.

The junctions of Ida, Pingala and Sushumna along the spinal column are called Chakras, or wheels, and just as the spokes of a wheel radiate outward from the central hub, so do the other nadis radiate outward from the chakras to other parts of the body. In other words, the chakras are junctions of other nadis with the three main nadis: sushuman, ida and pingala

There are seven principal chakras

The sustenance of the body is through the flow of the energy of prana through this network of nadis. In the average individual the dynamic and creative aspect of the energy of prana is only an tiny fraction of the total energy of prana, the major part is in a potential, or seed, state. Stored up energy is kundalini, the sleeping serpent coiled up in the muladhara chakra.

In a average individual there is flow of prana through ida and pingala, but not through sushumna, this nadi is blocked at the base of the spinal column. The techniques of pranayama are aimed at devitalizing ida and pingala and opening up the sushumna nadi, thus allowing the prana to flow through this channel. One experiences great joy and is free from the bondage of time, space and causation.

The energy of prana includes both physical and mental energies, body and mind both being sustained by prana, and body and mind interact. Disease is a manifestation of an imbalance in the flow of prana. The interrelationship between body and mind is the influence of emotions on the breathing.

"it is the breath and prana that maintain the body, such as the blood, flesh, and marrow. Prana is the cause of speech, touch, sound, and scent, and is the origin of joy and cheerfulness. It restrains the mind from undesirable objects and concentrates the mind upon objects that are desirable.

Hathapradepika says, just as a ferocious animal like lion, elephant, tiger, etc has to be tamed and controlled very slowly, in a like manner, one should deal with the breathing (life force) and control it, otherwise, the sadhaka (seeker) is destroyed.

Following are pranayam taught to our students:

  • Bramri Pranayam
  • Anuloma Viloma Pranayam
  • Surya Bhedan
  • Chandra Bhedan
  • Kapal Bhati
  • Ujjayi Pranayam
  • Sheetali Pranayam
  • Bhastrika
  • Pranayam with Bandh (Mool bandh, udyan bandh, jalandher bandh)
  • Pranayam with MAHABANDHA

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