Prana and Pranayama

Yoga Breathing - Breath Control
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mohan
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Prana and Pranayama

Post by mohan » Sun Jun 01, 2008 1:46 pm

Prana and Pranayama

Pranayama is an exact science. It is the fourth Anga or limb of Ashtanga Yoga. Tasmin Sati Svasa prasvasayorgativicchedah Pranayamah Regulation of breath or the control of Prana is the stoppage of inhalation and exhalation, which follows after securing that steadiness of posture or seat, Asana. Thus is Pranayama defined in Patanjali Yoga Sutras, Chapter II-49.

Svasa means inspiratory breath and Prasvasa is expiratory breath. Breath is external manifestation of Prana, the vital force. Breath like electricity, is gross Prana. Breath is Sthula, gross. Prana is Sukshma, subtle. By exercising control over this breathing you can control the subtle Prana inside. Control of Prana means control of mind. Mind cannot operate without the help of Prana. The vibrations of Prana only produce thoughts in the mind. It is Prana that moves the mind. It is Prana that sets the mind in motion. It is the Sukshma Prana or Psychic Prana that is intimately connected with the mind. This breath represents the important fly-wheel of an engine. Just as the other wheels stop when the driver stops the fly-wheel, so also other organs cease working, when the Yogi stops the breath. If you can control the fly-wheel, you can easily control the other wheels. Likewise, if you can control the external breath, you can easily control the inner vital force, Prana. The process by which the Prana is controlled by regulation of external breath, is termed Pranayama.

Just as a goldsmith removes the impurities of gold by heating it in the hot furnace, by strongly blowing the blow-pipe, so also the Yogic student removes the impurities of the body and the Indriyas by blowing his lungs, i.e., by practising Pranayama.

The chief aim of Pranayama is to unite the Prana with the Apana and take the united Pranapana slowly towards the head. The effect or fruit of Pranayama is Udghata or awakening of the sleeping Kundalini.


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What is Prana?

Post by mohan » Sun Jun 01, 2008 1:55 pm

What is Prana


He who knows Prana knows Vedas
is the important declaration of the Srutis. You will find in Vedanta Sutras: For the same reason, breath is Brahman. Prana is the sum total of all energy that is manifest in the universe. It is the sum total of all the forces in nature. It is the sum total of all latent forces and powers which are hidden in men and which lie everywhere around us. Heat, light, electricity, magnetism are the manifestations of Prana. All forces, all powers and Prana spring from the fountain or common source, Atman. All physical forces, all mental forces come under the category Prana. It is force on every plane of being, from the highest to the lowest. Whatever moves or works or has life, is but an expression or manifestation of Prana. Akasa or ether also is an expression of Prana. The Prana is related to mind and through mind to will, and through will to the individual soul, and through this to the Supreme Being. If you know how to control the little waves of Prana working through the mind, then the secret of subjugating universal Prana will be known to you. The Yogi who becomes an expert in the knowledge Of this secret, will have no fear from any power, because he has mastery over all the manifestations of powers in the universe. What is commonly known as power of personality is nothing more than the natural capacity of a person to wield his Prana. Some persons are more successful in life, more influential and fascinating than others. It is all due to the power of this Prana. Such people manipulate everyday, unconsciously of course, the same influence which the Yogi uses consciously by the command of his will. There are others who by chance tumble unaware of this Prana and use it for lower purposes under false names. This working of Prana is seen in the systolic and diastolic actions of the heart, when it pumps the blood into arteries in the action of inspiration and expiration during the course of breathing; in the digestion of food; in the excretion of urine and faecal matter; in the manufacture of semen, chyle, chyme, gastric juice, bile, intestinal juice, saliva; in closing and opening of the eyelids, in walking, playing, running, talking, thinking, reasoning, feeling and willing. Prana is the link between the astral and physical body. When the slender thread-link Prana is cut off the astral body separates from the physical body. Death takes place. The Prana that was working in the physical body is withdrawn into the astral body.

This Prana remains in a subtle, motionless, unmanifested, undifferentiated state during the cosmic Pralaya. When the vibration is set up, Prana moves and acts upon Akasa, and brings forth the various forms. The macrocosm (Brahmanda) and microcosm (Pindanda) are combinations of Prana (energy) and Akasa (matter).

That which moves the steam-engine of a train and a steamer, that which makes the aeroplanes fly in air, that which causes the motion of the breath in lungs, that which is the very life of this breath itself, is Prana. I believe, you have now a comprehensive understanding of the term Prana about which you had a very vague conception in the beginning.

By controlling the act of breathing you can efficiently control all the various motions in the body and the different nerve-currents that are running through the body. You can easily and quickly control and develop body, mind and soul through breath-control or the control of Prana. It is through Pranayama that you can control your circumstances and character and can consciously harmonise the individual life with the cosmic life.

The breath, directed by thought under the control of the will, is a vitalising, regenerating force which you can utilise consciously for self-development; for healing many incurable diseases in your system; for healing others and for other various useful purposes.

It is within your easy reach at every moment of your life. Use it judiciously. Many Yogins of yore, like Sri Jnanadeva, Trailinga Swami, Ramalinga Swami and others, had utilised this breath, this force, the Prana, in a variety of ways. You can also do so, if you practise Pranayama by prescribed breathing exercises. It is Prana that you are breathing rather than the atmospheric air. Inhale slowly and steadily with a concentrated mind. Retain it as long as you can do it comfortably. Then exhale slowly. There should be no strain in any stage of Pranayama. Realise the occult inner life-powers which underlie the breath. Become a Yogi and radiate joy, light and power all around you. Pranavadins or Hatha Yogins consider that Prana Tattva is superior to Manas Tattva, the mind-principle. They say, Prana is present even when the mind is absent during sleep. Hence Prana plays a more vital part than the mind. If you go through the parables in Kaushitaki and Chhandogya Upanishads, when all the Indriyas, mind and Prana fight amongst themselves as to their superiority, you will find that Prana is regarded as the highest of all. Prana is the oldest, for it starts its functioning from the very moment the child is conceived. On the contrary, the organs of hearing, etc., begin to function only when their special abodes, viz., the ears, etc., are formed. Prana is called Jyeshtha and Sreshtha (oldest and best) in Upanishads. It is through the vibrations of psychic Prana that the life of the mind, Sankalpa or thinking is kept up and thought is produced. You see, hear, talk, sense, think, feel, will, know, etc., through the help of Prana and therefore Srutis declare: Prana is Brahman.

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what is Prana and Pranayama?

Post by mohan » Tue Jun 10, 2008 12:31 pm

What Is Prana?

Prana is the sum total of all energy that is manifested in the universe. It is the vital force, Sukshma. Breath is the external manifestation of Prana. By exercising control over this gross breath, you can control the subtle Prana inside. Control of Prana means control of mind. Mind cannot operate without the help of Prana. It is the Sukshma Prana that is intimately connected with the mind. Prana is the sum total of all latent forces which are hidden in men and which lie everywhere around us. Heat, light, electricity, magnetism are all the manifestations of Prana. Prana is related to mind; through mind to the will; through will to the individual soul, and through this to the Supreme Being.

The seat of Prana is the heart. Prana is one; but it has many functions to do. Hence it assumes five names according to the different functions it performs, viz., Prana, Apana, Samana, Udana and Vyana. According to the different functions they perform, they occupy certain places in the body. The table given in the following pages will give you a clear idea.

Breath directed by thought under the control of the will is a vitalising, regenerated force which can be utilised consciously for self-development, for healing many incurable diseases and for many other useful purposes. Hatha Yogins consider that Prana Tattva is superior to Manas Tattva (mind), as Prana is present even when mind is absent during deep sleep. Hence Prana plays a more vital part than mind.

If you know how to control the little waves of Prana working through mind, then the secret of subjugating the universal Prana will be known to you. The Yogin who becomes an expert in the knowledge of this secret, will have no fear from any power, because he has mastery over all manifestations of power in the Universe. What is commonly known as Power of Personality is nothing more than the natural capacity of a person to wield his Prana. Some people are more powerful in life, more influential and fascinating than others. It is all through this Prana, which the Yogin uses consciously by the command of his will.

Having acquired a thorough knowledge of the seat of Nadis and of the Vayus with their functions, one should begin with the purification of Nadis. A person possessed of Yama and Niyama, avoiding all company, having finished his course of study, delighting in Truth and virtues, having conquered his anger, being engaged in the service of his spiritual instructor and well instructed in all the religious practices, should go to a secluded place for Yoga Abhyasa.

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Nadi Suddhi (purification of Nadis) is an important matter in the early stage of Yoga. If there are impurities in the Nadis, the ascent of Kundalini in the Sushumna is seriously retarded. Purity in the Nadis facilitates the ascent of Kundalini. Pranayama brings about quick purification of the Nadis. Nadi Suddhi is the basis of Yoga. It is the foundation of Yoga. It is the first part of Yoga.

Just as you can stop all the other wheels of the factory if you can stop the important fly-wheel of the engine, so also if you can stop the functions of all other organs of the body, you can get control of the subtle, psychic Prana by restraining the breath. That is the reason why Pranayama is prescribed for controlling Prana.

Prana is the over-coat of the mind. If you can control Prana, you can control mind and Veerya also, because Prana, Veerya and mind are under one Sambandha. If you can control mind, breath stops by itself. Prana comes under control. Just as you have a nervous system in the gross physical body, so also there is a nervous system in the astral body. The nervous system of the physical body is the Sthula Prana. The nervous system of the astral body is the Sukshma Prana. There is intimate connection between these two Pranas. There is inter-action between these two Pranas.

By controlling the act of breathing, you can efficiently control all the various functions in the body. You can very easily and quickly control and develop the body, mind and soul. Psychic cure, Telepathy, Television, thought-reading and other Siddhis are the effects of the control of Prana. The process by which the Prana is controlled by regulation of breath is termed ‘Pranayama’. It is through Pranayama that you can control your circumstances and character and consciously harmonise the universal individual life with the cosmic life.
Pranayama

To suit the different constitutions, temperament and purpose, in Pranayama there are many varieties of exercises, viz., deep breathing exercise, Sukha Purvaka (easy comfortable) Pranayama during walking, Pranayama during meditation, Rhythmical breathing, Suryabheda, Ujjayi, Sitkari, Sitali, Bhastrika, Bhramari, Murchha, Plavini, Kevala Kumbhaka, etc. Of all the above exercises only the last eight are described in the Hatha Yogic texts.
from http://theholisticcare.com/Kundalini%20 ... NCTION.htm


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