aryabhatt.com The Science of Pranayama

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Prana and Pranayama
What is Prana ?
Seat of Prana
Sub-Pranas and their functions
The colour of Pranas
The length of  Air Currents
The centering of the Prana
The Lungs
Ida and Pingala
Purification of Nadis
Shat - Karmas
The Meditation Room
The five Essentials
The Place
The Time
The Adhikari
Dietetic Discipline
Yogic Diet
Fruit Diet
Purity in Food
Milk Diet
Articles Allowed
Articles Forbidden
A Kutir for Sadhana
Padmasana(Lotus Pose)
Siddhasana(The Perfect Pose)
Svastikasana(Prosperous Pose)
Samasana (Equal Pose)
Three Bandhas
Arambha Avastha
Ghata Avastha
Parichya Avastha
Nishpatti Avastha
What is Pranayama
Pranayama(According to Gita)
Pranayama(According to Sri Sankracharya)
Pranayama(According to yogi Bhusunda)
Control of Breath
Varieties of Pranayama
Three types of Pranayama
The Vedantic Kumbhaka
Pranayama for Nadi-Suddhi
Mantra During Pranayama
Exercise No. 1
Exercise No. 2
Exercise No. 3
Exercise No. 4
Deep Breathing Exercise
The External Kumbhaka(Bahya)
Easy Comfortable Pranayama
Pranayama for Awakening Kundalini
Pranayama During Meditation
Pranayama while walking
Pranayama in Savasana
Rhythmical Breathing
Surya Bheda
Kevala Kumbhaka
Pranic Healing
Distant Healing
Relaxation of Mind
Importance and Benefits of Pranayama
Special Instructions

The Meditation Room

Have a separate meditation room under lock and key. Never allow anyone to enter the room. Keep it sacred. If you cannot afford to have a special room for contemplative purposes and for practicing Pranayama, have a place in the corner of a quiet room, set apart for this purpose. Have it screened. Place the photo of your Guru or Ishta-Devata in the room in front of your Asana. Do Puja daily to the picture, physically and mentally, before you start meditation and Pranayama. Burn incense in the room or burn Agarbathi (incense sticks). Keep some sacred books there such as Ramayana, Srimad Bhagavata, Gita, Upanishads, Yoga-Vasishtha, etc., for your daily study. Spread a fourfold blanket and over it a piece of soft white cloth. This will serve the purpose of an Asana. Or spread an Asana Of Kusa grass. Over it spread a deer or tiger skin. Sit on this Asana for practicing Pranayama and meditation. You can have a raised platform made of cement. Over this you can spread your Asana. Small insects, ants, etc., will not molest you. When you sit on the Asana keep your head, neck and trunk in a straight line. By doing so, the spinal cord that lies with the spinal column will be quite free.

The Five Essentials

Five things are necessary for practicing Pranayama. First a good place; second, a suitable time; third, moderate, substantial, light and nutritious food; fourth, patient and persistent practice with zeal, ease and earnestness and lastly the purification of Nadis (Nadi-Suddhi). When the Nadis are purified the aspirant enters the first stage in the practice of YogaArambha’.  A Pranayama practitioner has a good appetite, good digestion, cheerfulness, courage, strength, vigour, a high standard of vitality and a handsome appearance. The Yogi should take his food at a time when Surya Nadi or Pingala is working, i.e., when the breath flows through the right nostril, because Pingala is heating and digests the food quickly. Pranayama should not be practiced just after taking meals, nor when one is very hungry. Gradually one should be able to retain the breath for 3 Ghatikas (one hour and a half) at a time. Through this, the Yogi gets many psychic powers. When anyone wants to stop the breath for a long period, he should remain by the side of a Yogi Guru, who knows the practice of Pranayama thoroughly. The breath can be suspended by graduated practice from one to three minutes without the help of anybody. Suspension for three minutes is quite sufficient for purifying the Nadis and steadying the mind and for the purpose of good health.

The Place

Select a solitary, beautiful and pleasant spot, where there are no disturbances; on the bank of a river, lake or the sea or the top of a hill where there is a nice spring and grove of trees, and where milk and articles of food are easily procurable. Build a small Kutir or hut. Have one compound. In the corner of the enclosure, sink a well. It is impossible to get an ideal place that can satisfy you from all viewpoints.

The banks of Narmada, Jamuna, Ganga, Kaveri, Godavari, Krishna are very suitable for building Kutirs or huts. You must select one such spot, where there are some other Yogic practitioners in the neighbourhood. You can consult them in times of difficulties. You will have faith in the Yogic Kriyas. When you see others also who are devoted to such Yogic practices, you will diligently apply yourself in your practice, as you will get an impetus and you will strive to excel them. Nasik, Rishikesh, Jhansi, Prayag, Uttarkasi, Brindavan, Ayodhya, Varanasi, etc., are good places. You can fix a spot in a place far from the crowded localities. If you build a Kutir in a crowded place, people out of curiosity will molest you. You will have no spiritual vibrations there. You will be without any protection if you build your cottage in a thick forest. Thieves and wild animals will trouble you. The question of difficulty for food will arise. In Svetasvatara Upanishad it is said: At a level place, free from pebbles, fire and gravel; pleasant to the eyes, and repairing to a cave, protected from the wind, let a person apply his mind to God.

Those who practise in their own houses can convert a room into a forest. Any solitary room will serve their purpose well.


The Time

The practice of Pranayama should be commenced in Vasanta Ritu (spring) or Sarad Ritu (autumn) because in these seasons success is attained without any difficulty or troubles. The Vasanta is the period from March to April. The Sarad, autumn, lasts from September to October. In summer do not practise Pranayama, in the afternoon or evening. In the cool morning hours you can have your practice.

The Adhikari
(The Qualified Person)

One who has a calm mind, who has subdued his Indriyas, who has faith in the words of the Guru and Sastras, who is an Astika (i.e., one who believes in God) and is moderate in eating, drinking and sleeping and one who has an eager longing for deliverance from the wheel of births and deaths—is an Adhikari (qualified person) for the practice of Yoga. Such a man can easily get success in the practice. Pranayama should be practiced with care, perseverance and faith.
Those who are addicted to sensual pleasures or those who are arrogant, dishonest, untruthful, diplomatic, cunning and treacherous; those who disrespect Sadhus, Sannyasins and their Gurus or spiritual preceptors and take pleasure in vain controversies, or of a highly talkative nature, those who are disbelievers, who mix much with worldly-minded people, who are cruel, harsh and greedy and do much useless Vyavahara (worldly activities), can never attain success in Pranayama or any other Yogic practice.
There are three types of Adhikaris, viz., 1. good (Uttama), 2. middle (Madhyama) and 3. inferior (Adhama) according to Samskaras, intelligence, degree of Vairagya, Viveka and Mumukshutva and the capacity for Sadhana.
You must approach a Guru, who knows Yogasastra and has mastery over it. Sit at his lotus-feet. Serve him. Clear your doubts through sensible and reasonable questions. Receive instructions and practise them with enthusiasm, zeal, attention, earnestness and faith according to the methods taught by the teacher.
A Pranayama practitioner should always speak kind and sweet words. He must be kind to everybody. He must be honest. He must speak the truth. He must develop Vairagya, patience, Sraddha (faith), Bhakti (devotion), Karuna (mercy), etc. He must observe perfect celibacy. A householder should be very moderate in sexual matters during the practice.

Dietetic Discipline

The proficient in Yoga should abandon articles of food, detrimental to the practice of Yoga. He should give up salt, mustard, sour, hot, pungent and bitter things, asafetida, worship of fire, women, too much walking, bathing at sunrise, emaciation of the body by fasts, etc. During the early stages of practice food of milk and ghee is ordained; also food consisting of wheat, green pulse and red rice is said to favour the progress. Then he will be able to retain his breath as long as he likes. By thus retaining the breath as long as he likes Kevala Kumbhaka (cessation of breath without inspiration and expiration) is attained. When Kevala Kumbhaka is attained by one, expiration and inspiration are dispensed with. There is nothing unattainable in the three worlds for him. In the commencement of his practice sweat is getting out. As a frog moves by leaps so the Yogi sitting in Padmasana moves on the earth. With a further increased practice, he is able to rise from the ground. He, while seated in lotus-posture, levitates. Then arise in him the power to perform extraordinary feats. Any pain, small or great, does not affect the Yogi. Then excretions and sleep are diminished; tears, rheum in the eyes, salivary flow, sweat and bad smell in the mouth, do not arise in him. With a still further practice, he acquires great strength by which he attains Bhuchara Siddhi which enables him to bring under his control all the creatures that tread on this earth; tigers, Sarabhas, elephants, wild bulls and lions even die by a blow given by the palms of this Yogi. He becomes as beautiful as the God of Love himself. By the preservation of the semen a good odour pervades the body of the Yogi.


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