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

Yogic Diet

Instinct or voice within will guide you in the selection of articles of diet. You are yourself the best judge to form a Sattvic Yogic menu to suit your temperament and constitution. Further information is given in the Appendix.


Take wholesome Sattvic food half stomachful. Fill a quarter with pure water. Allow the remaining quarter free for expansion of gas and for propitiating the Lord.

Purity in Food

Ahara-suddhau sattva-suddhih, Sattva-suddhau dhruva-smritih, Smritilabhe sarvagranthinam vipramokshah. By the purity of food, follows the purification of the inner nature, on the purity of the inner nature the memory becomes firm and on the strengthening of memory follows the loosening of all ties, and the wise get liberation thereby.
You must not practise Pranayama just after meals. When you are very hungry, then also you must not practise. Go to the water closet and empty the bowels before you begin Pranayama. A Pranayama-practitioner should observe Samyama (control) in food and drink.
Those who are-strict and regular in diet derive immense benefits during the course of practice. They get success quickly. Those persons who suffer from chronic constipation and who are in the habit of defecating in the afternoon can practise Pranayama in the early morning without answering the calls of nature. They should try their level best by some means or other to get an evacuation of their bowels in the early morning.
Food plays a very important role in Yoga Sadhana. An aspirant should be very, very careful in the selection of articles of diet, in the beginning of his Sadhana period. Later on when Pranayama-Siddhi is obtained drastic dietetic restrictions can be removed.


This is a mixture of boiled, white rice, ghee, sugar and milk. This is a wholesome combination for Brahmacharins and Pranayama-practitioners.

Milk Diet

Milk should be scalded but not too much boiled. The process of scalding is that the milk should be immediately removed from the fire as soon as the boiling point is reached. Too much boiling destroys the vitamins, the mysterious nutritive principles and renders it quite useless as an article of diet. Milk is a perfect food by itself, containing as it does, the different nutritive constituents in a well-balanced proportion. It leaves very little residue in the bowels. This is an ideal food for Yogic students during Pranayama practice.

Fruit Diet

A fruit diet exercises a benign, soothing influence on the constitution and is a very desirable diet for Yogins. This is a natural form of diet. Fruits are very great energy-producers. Bananas, grapes, sweet oranges, apples, pomegranates, mangoes, Chikkus (Sappota) and dates are wholesome fruits. Lemons possess anti-scorbutic properties and act as restoratives to blood. Fruit-juice contains vitamin C. Chikkus increase pure blood. Mangoes and milk is a healthy agreeable combination. You can live on mangoes and milk alone. Pomegranate juice is cooling and very nutritious. Bananas are very nutritious and substantial. Fruits help concentration and easy mental focussing.


Articles Allowed

Barley, wheat, ghee, milk, almonds promote longevity and increase power and strength. Barley is a fine article of diet for a Yogi and Sadhaka. It is cooling too. Sri Swami Narayan, the author of ‘Ek Santka Anubhav’, who wears a Kaupin of gunny bag, lives on bread, made up of barley. He recommends barley bread to his disciples. It is said that Emperor Akbar lived upon barley.
You can take wheat, rice, barley, milk, bread, cow’s milk, ghee, sugar, butter, sugar-candy, honey, dried ginger (Soont), green pulse, Moongdal, Panchashaka vegetables, Peypudalai, potatoes, raisins, dates, light Khichdi of green dal. Khichdi is a light food and can be agreeably taken. The food should be reduced in proportion to the increase in Kumbhaka. You must not reduce your food much, in the beginning of your practice. You must use your commonsense, all throughout the Sadhana. Toor-ki-dal can be taken. The Pancha-Shaka belongs to the species of spinach. They are excellent vegetables; the thick succulent young leaves are boiled and seasoned or fried with ghee. They are five in number, viz., Seendil, Chakravarthi, Ponnangani, Chirukeerai and Valloicharnai keerai. When the Pingala or Suryanadi runs in the right nostril, you must take your food. Suryanadi produces heat. It will digest the food well. You may take jack-fruit, cucumber, brinjal, plantain-stem, Lauki Parval and Bhindi (lady’s finger).

Articles Forbidden

Highly seasoned dishes, hot curries, chutnies, meat, fishes, chillies, sour articles, tamarind, mustard, all kinds of oil, asafetida, salt, garlic, onions, urad-ki-dal (black gram), all bitter things, dry foods, black sugar, vinegar, alcohol, sour curd, stale foods, acids, astringents, pungent stuff, roasted things, heavy vegetables, over-ripe or unripe fruits, pumpkins, etc., must be avoided. Meat can make man a scientist, but rarely a Philosopher, Yogi or a Tattva Jnani. Onions and garlic are worse than meat. All food-stuffs contain a small quantity of salt. So, even if you do not add salt separately, the system will derive the necessary quantity of salt from other food-stuffs. The giving up of salt will not produce deficiency of hydrochloric acid and dyspepsia as allopathic doctors foolishly imagine. Salt excites passion. No ill-effects are produced by the giving up of salt. Mahatma Gandhi and Swami Yogananda had given up salt for over thirteen years. Giving up salt helps you in controlling the tongue and thereby the mind also and in developing will-power too. You will have good health. Sitting before fire, company of women and worldly-minded people, Yatra, long walk, carrying heavy burdens, cold bath in the early morning, harsh words, speaking untruth, dishonest practices, theft, killing animals, Himsa of all kinds either in thought, word or deed, hatred and enmity towards any person, fighting, quarrelling, pride, double-dealing, intriguing, back-biting, tale-bearing, crookedness, talks other than those of Atman and Moksha, cruelty towards animals and men, too much fasting or eating only once every day, etc., are not allowed for a Pranayama-practitioner.

A Kutir For Sadhana

The Pranayama student should erect a beautiful room or Kutir with a very small opening and with no crevices. It should be well pasted with cowdung or with white cement. It should be absolutely free from bugs, mosquitoes and lice. It should be swept well everyday, with a broom. It should be perfumed with good odour and fragrant resin should be burnt therein. Having taken his seat, neither too high nor too low, on an Asana, made of a cloth, deer-skin and Kusha grass one over the other, a wise man should assume the lotus-posture and keeping his body erect and his hands folded in respect should salute his tutelary deity and Sri Ganesa by repeating ‘Om Sri Ganesaya Namah’. Then he should begin to practise Pranayama.


The time taken in making a round of the palm of the hand, neither very slow nor quickly snapping the fingers once, is called Matra.

Each time-unit is called Matra. The twinkling of an eye is sometimes taken as the period of one Matra. Time occupied by one normal respiration is considered as one Matra. Time taken up in pronouncing the mono-syllable, OM, is regarded as one Matra. This is very convenient. Many Pranayama-practitioners adopt this time-unit in their practice.

Padmasana (Lotus Pose)

This is also known by the name Kamalasana. Kamala means lotus. When the Asana is demonstrated it presents the appearance of a lotus in a way. Hence the name Padmasana.

Amongst the four poses prescribed for Japa and Dhyana, Padmasana comes foremost. It is the best Asana for contemplation. Rishis like Gheranda, Sandilya, speak very highly of this important Asana. This is highly agreeable for householders. Even ladies can sit in this Asana. Padmasana is suitable for lean persons and for youths as well.



Sit on the ground by spreading the legs forward. Then place the right foot on the left thigh and the left foot on the right thigh. Place the hands on the knee-joints. You can make a finger-lock and keep the locked hands over the left ankle. This is very convenient for some persons. Or you can place the left hand over the left knee and the right hand over the right knee with the palm facing upwards and the index finger touching the middle portion of the thumb (Chinmudra).


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