Pranayama

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Pranayama is the science of breathing. It is not about blowing your nose; it is about experiencing LIFE. (edit needed)

Etymology

The word ‘prana’ has a deeper meaning in Sanskrit; it means the source of life, the life force or the energy which is the basis for existence. It does not simply mean air. ‘Prana’ is a kind of vibration which goes inside along with the breath. This vibration stays inside and continues to add more vibrations or frequency to the life energy. Even when one feels that the breathing has almost stopped during deep meditation, prana continues to go in and come out. Prana, the life force is independent of breathing. During meditation, air going in and coming out may reduce but the prana going in and settling increases and this is the main reason why meditation rejuvenates a person.

The practice of breathing without thoughts being awakened is called the science of pranayama.

Scriptural References

Kena Upanishad

yatprāṇena na prāṇiti yena prāṇaḥ praṇīyate tadeva brahma tvaṁ viddhi nedaṁ yadidamupāsate || 9 ||

That, that which one breathes, not with the breathing, but by which the breath, in-breathes vital life energy, prāṇa, being impelled by that Source of life, you must know That alone as Brahman, and not this, which is worshipped and cherished work-shipped here as the limited object.

Introduction

Your breathing and your thoughts are very closely associated with one another. The number of thoughts you are having each second is directly related to the flow of prana in your system.

Along with the length, breadth and depth of the prana movement, the thoughts per second also increases or decreases. Breath is the fuel for the mind!

If the prana movement becomes slow, the number of thoughts also goes down. That is why, when you are tense about something, you are asked to take a few deep breaths. When your breath slows down, automatically your thought flow becomes smoother and clearer.

Breath and mind are simply two sides of the same coin; the same movement called by two names. Do you know, your breath and your mind both move in a circular manner? When you inhale, air enters your inner space as the incoming breath. Then it takes a turn, and comes out as the outgoing breath. At the point where the turn takes place, where the incoming breath becomes the outgoing breath, there is a neutral space. At this point, both your breath and your mind stop for a second. Catching this moment is meditation!

Technique for Enlightenment

"When you stop your mind, your breathing gets fulfilled. If your mind is interfering with your breathing, it won't be fulfilled." This is the essence of the spiritual practice of Pranayama. If you feel you have everything in the outer world and you are not fulfilled, your breathing is not fulfilled. If your breathing is fulfilled, everything will be fulfilled in your life even if you have so many complications in the outer world.

Paramahamsa Nithyananda reflected on the epidemic of depression in the world, "I really feel bad for the western society which is caught in psychiatric medicines to come out of depressions. These techniques can be an instant permanent cure at any level. These techniques can get any human being out of mental diseases, at any level or age."

To demonstrate, he used the example that your body is like a desert filled with sand. Any air movement happens in your body, any airflow, all the dust will be shifted by the air and the wind becomes dusty with sand. In the same way all bodies are filled with biomemory and for any air movement these biomemories are lifted. So breathing by its very nature makes you restless and unfulfilled. However, if breathing happens without provoking thoughts in your inner space, you are enlightened.

That's what he called pranayama - breathing happening without provoking thoughts. Paramahamsa Nithyananda explained the process that happens for his ashramites living around him, and the people attending courses. "I'm actually trying to do my breathing in all your bodies. I'm breathing without thoughts, this breathing is contagious, if you sit in my breathing space, your breathing also catches this. This is what I call ocean." Your bio-memory is intelligent, if you like somebody, just like that you can do what he does. Body language which is able to inspire many people's biomemory to automatically follow with what one is doing is what I call charisma.

He gave a simple technique for breathing without creating thoughts: Sit comfortably and observe the breathing movement. Whenever you get a thought, other than the breathing process, just stop breathing immediately. This is one of the most powerful pranayama processes.

Scriptural References

Shiva Sutras

In his first Sutra, Shiva gives this most simple meditation. Buddha used this technique and called it ‘Vipassana’ which means sitting with the Self, or sitting with God. Indeed, this method is the essence of Buddhism. No other technique has brought so many millions to enlightenment. When asked if he had to pick one of the millions of meditation techniques, Nithyananda says that this is the one he would choose because if all spiritual knowledge on the planet were lost, this is the one that could keep enlightenment alive.

The secret lies in the simple observance and bringing awareness and presence to the breath. The process of breathing in and out is not a parallel movement as one might think, but rather a circular movement. Between the in breath (down) and the out breath (up) and again between the out and in breaths there are gaps.

When reaching the gap the mind stops. Fear of losing identity causes a jump over the gap because identity doesn’t exist there. There is avoidance of maintaining awareness in this gap because the fear of losing identity is stronger than the fear of death. What may happen to “me” after “I” dies is a less terrifying thought than “I” won’t exist. This creates the impulse to protect the unreal or comparative reality (identity) from the real existential reality (pure consciousness).

Here Shiva is creating the subtlest possible technique. A human being as such cannot work directly on the ether or mind. It can only be touched through the breath and this is the bridge between the individual and the Universe. It is the bridge between the body and the mind. Humans are composed of 5 elements, but it is only when the breath happens that mind happens. The body is matter. The mind is ether. The breath is the bridge.

The breath and the mind are very closely related. The length, breadth, and depth of the breath correspond directly to the number of thoughts experienced. With long slow deep breaths, the number of thoughts is reduced. Being aware of the unconscious fear and slowing the thoughts enhances the ability to drop into the neutral zone, just as when driving a car it is necessary to go into neutral before changing gears.

INSTRUCTIONS: 1.Quiet the mind with long, slow, deep breaths 2. Bring awareness to the gap just at the end of the in (down) breath, and just before it turns up into the out breath, and again between the out (up) and in (down) breaths. 3. Relax. Allow the breath to carry you into your inner space, the zone where neither breath nor mind exist. 4. Surrender. Allow yourself to become more and more comfortable with this neutral zone. If you are able to relax into this zone with awareness, an explosion of consciousness can happen. 5. Be patient. You cannot bully yourself into a sense of security.

In every breath God is knocking at your door.

Patanjali Yoga Sutras

The science of absorbing the prana or life energy directly without any unnecessary load on one’s system, and in the highest frequency without awakening any thoughts, is what Patanjali calls as ‘Pranayama’.

Now one can understand why the definition of pranayama as control of breathing might be a misnomer here, because prana and breathing are not equivalent words. The sacred scripture Patanjali Yoga Sutras clearly gives the definition of pranayama as cessation of breathing, where cessation means stopping the very act of breathing which one experiences every day, every moment, which awakens thoughts along with the air movement.

“Tasmin sati shvasa prashvsayoh gati vichchhedah pranayama”

Along with the air movement if thoughts are also awakened, a person is not inhaling pure prana, the life energy. When there are more thoughts, the breath will carry lesser life energy inside, and vice-versa. But unfortunately most of the time one takes in too much of air without any prana flow inside, instead of the ideal situation of taking in only life energy and no air. Hence there is a need to learn the science of breathing without giving rise to thoughts.

If one’s mind is interfering with their breathing, it will always be unfulfilled. If one feels that they have everything in the outer world but still there is no fulfillment, it simply means their breathing is not fulfilled. The first thing such a person needs to fulfill in their life is breathing. When one is able to fulfill their breathing, everything will be fulfilled for them in spite of complexities in the outer world. When this is not the case, only deep emptiness prevails.

Human body is like a desert filled with sand. Any air movement which happens in the body is similar to the air movement in the desert, where the dust is lifted and the whole air becomes dusty, full of sand.

Ordinary body is filled with so much bio-memory that breathing by its very nature awakens too many thoughts and makes a person restless. Hence if one wants to achieve breathing without any thoughts, they should take up the sadhana (intense commitment to practice) of integrating themselves and unclutching. The complete balancing of prana can happen in a person while unclutching.

Breath is the bridge which connects a person with the cosmos. It goes through Shiva consciousness every moment. Every single breath goes in and touches the inner consciousness. Just before it turns to come out, there is always a gap where one does not breathe, where breath is not happening. If one can relax in this gap and be aware of that space, a sudden explosion of consciousness can happen in the person. If a person is comfortable in this neutral zone, they will rejuvenate again and again and will be flooded with energy. To be comfortable in this space, all one needs to do is overcome the fear of losing one’s identity, which does not exist in this neutral zone. Incoming breath is life and outgoing breath is death. On every inhale the person will be filled with energy and on every exhale with intelligence, leading to a continuous cosmic game of Shiva and Shakti dancing in one’s inner space. One becomes active and alive by the energy and intelligence, which will become the source for their life. Such a state is what is called God-consciousness.

When constantly thinking with integrity, all the air taken inside will be converted as energy or prana. All the air which goes inside, if it becomes energy by the bio-memory and the muscle memory, then no other source of energy from outside will be required. Breathing will be very deep and the person will have a strong experience of fulfillment.

I tell you, once you master Pranayama, your breathing style will itself become Pranayama, your body language will become Yoga. When your body language becomes Yoga, how many hours ever you sit, you will not have back pain! Your body knows how to align itself!

Some insights into Pranayama by Paramahamsa Nithyananda from Patanjali

Prana is air movement without thoughts. Cessation of air movements with thoughts is what I call pranayama. If the thoughts are awakened ALONG with the air movement, you are not taking in life energy.

These are the five prana movements in your body: Inhaling, holding, spreading all over your system (muscle memory, mind, brain, all parts of you), exhaling and cleansing.

Balancing your five breath movements naturally will lead to physical health, mental wellness, emotional fulfillment, awakening the non-mechanical parts of the brain, anti-aging and the ultimate enlightenment.

The technology of purifying your bio-memory is pranayama.

If you can absorb the highest frequency in your body without awakening thoughts, you are in tune with what Patanjali calls pranayama.

The whole purpose of pranayama is breathing without thinking.

Whenever there is thinking, breathing only takes air inside. Prana is the pure life energy. Breathing with more thoughts means less prana. This is what we call depression. Breathing with less thoughts means more prana. It means more life energy to live, create, express, share, radiate, and celebrate!

When you absorb the pranic energy directly from the cosmos, all mood swings will disappear. As long as you have mood swings you will not be honest to the decisions about your life. Create a yogic body with an intense workout. With 1,200 long exhale during the workout, the kundalini shakti directly gets awakened.

Your Brain can access different dimensions of the Universe through your Breath!

References

Nithyananda Times Article - Science of Pranayama - nithyanandatimes.org/the-science-of-pranayama/ Technique for Enlightenment - nithyananda.org/video/pranayama-technique-enlightenment#gsc.tab=0 Breath and Mind are deeply connected - nithyananda.org/article/breath-and-mind-are-deeply-connected-0#gsc.tab=0 Nithyananda Times Article - Watch your breath - nithyanandatimes.org/watch-your-breath/ Satsang Transcript - You can make your words come true - nithyananda.org/video/you-can-make-your-words-come-true#gsc.tab=0 http://nithyananda.org/video/space-not-place-matters#gsc.tab=0 http://nithyayoga.com/108-insights-into-yoga/

Description

Various Types of Pranayamas

Pramana

Āpta Pramāṇa - आप्त प्रमाण

Apta Pramana Source

"Haṭhapradīpikā of Svātmārāma (Chapter 4, Verse 8)"

Original Verse

"पद्मासनथितो योगी नाडीद्वारेषु पूरयेत् ॥

मारुतं धारयेद् यस्तु स मुक्तो नात्र संशयः ॥ ८ ॥"

Transliteration

"padmāsanathito yogī nāḍīdvāreṣu pūrayet ॥

mārutaṃ dhārayed yastu sa mukto nātra saṃśayaḥ ॥ 8 ॥"

Translation

Sitting in Padmāsana, a Yogī should inhale through the nostrils and retain the breath. Thus one undoubtedly becomes liberated. 8.