The literal meaning of Pranayama is Prana’s ayam that is an extension of the Prana.
The vital life force. ‘Tasmin ati shwas prashwas yogati vichehhedah
pranayamah’. That is, Pranayama is nothing but a retention of the
Prana-the vital life-force breath through break in the rhythmic
breathing. Prana is that vital life force which seems to be controlling
every thing on this tangible earth, and exist as a thought in the
world. In other words, the prana is related to the mind and mind is
related to the brain and the brain is related to the soul (Atma) and
the soul (Atma) is ultimately related to that eternal divine force
called Paramatma. Thus the objective of Pranayama is to stimulate,
communicate, regulate and control the vital life force that exist in
Importance of Pranayama :
Tapo na param pranayamati, Tata vishuddhirmalana diptishch gyanasya".
That is no other Tapa or penance greater than the Pranayama. It helps
in removing the blemishes and also helps the knowledge to rise.
DAHYANTEDHMAYMANANAM DHATNNAM MIYATHA MALAH
TATHENDRIYANA DAHYANTE DOSHAH PRANASYA MIGRAHAT
That is, as the stage of a metal is removed or destroyed by heating it in fire, smimilarly the blemishes of
the senses of the body are remove by practicing Pranayama. Thus, the Pranayama is very important for uprooting the evil thoughts that accumulate over a long time in the mind and hence refining the mind.
Significance of Pranayama is not limited to the quenching of evil customs and purification of the mind
alone; instead it is related to enhancement of health, mental development, spiritual upliftment and achieving different kinds of spiritual perfection. By performing Pranayama many kinds of diseases are cured. With the awakening of SHADACHAKRAS (Six cycles) and micropores through Pranayama, one experience divine feelings. Doors to physical comforts and luxuries are also opened and the shares that clitch the soul are broken.
Pranayama is like a fire for sin and thus consumes (burn it), thus acts as a bridge to cross the ocean
called the world. Asanas destroys the diseases, while sins are destroyed by Pranayama. Through Pranayama, the spirit of the performance (Sadhak) crosses over all the barriers and reaches the
brain (Mastaka) and it never dies nor falls in the never-ending cycle of the birth and death. As a bird, tied to a string, flies in all the directions but not finding refuge anywhere ultimately returns to its original place, similarly the mind also flied in different directions but ultimate finds support with the soul only because the mind is tied
to the spirit.
With the circulation of life giving breath, the mind remains unstable. Dissolving the mind and the spirit
in each-other, Pranayana paves the way for salvation. Hence, Pranayama has supreme significance.
Benefits of Pranayama
By regularly performing Pranayama the body remains healthy and free from disease. It also decreases
Pranayama extends your life expectancy,enhances your memory and does away with the mental illness.
Pranayama fully and effectively affects the abdomen, liver, urinary track, small and large intestines,
and the digestive system. Thus making you efficient.
Veins and vessels (arteries) are purified through Pranayama and physical lethargy is removed.
Pranayama boosts your appetite, and general health of the body improves and you begin to hear
resonance within your body.
With regular practice of Pranayama spiritual powers awaken which in turn give spiritual joy,
lightness and mental peace.
Performers of Pranayama can successfully follow celibacy.
Essential Knowledge about Pranayama
In order to practice Pranayama fully and effectively, the learner must strictly follow the following
PLACE : The place for performing Pranayama must be isolated and airy with ample ventilation.
TIME : The time of dawn is considered as best for practicing Pranayama. If for any reason it is not possible
to practice it in the morning, Pranayama can be practiced in the evening as well.
Mostly the Pranayama is practical in PADMASAMA or SIDDHASANA.If you face difficulty in sitting
in these postures for too long, you can select any posture you desire in which you can sit for long time comfortably.
Purifications of Veins & Arteries
In order to perform Pranayama in best way, pure veins and arteries are essential.Hence it is said
NARI SHUDDHIM CHA TATPASHCHATE PRANAYAMAM CHA SADHAYETA
Meaning : Practice Pranayama only after purifying your veins. To purify the veins, first practice the postures (Asanas).Pranayama must be practiced punctually at the fixed time with empty stomach. After the ten minutes
of finishing Pranayama, take a glass of milk.In line with, Excess of everything is bad. Never practice Pranayama excessively to the point of dropping you must feel fresh, and active after each session of Pranayama.
Do not take bath immediately after Pranayama. You can take bath after half an hour of Pranayama,
though it is better to practice Pranayama after a bath, instead of taking bath after it.
Always inhale and exhale breath slowly by doing so the mind remains stable and peaceful.
Novices and the learners must initially practice inhalation and exhalation take twice as much times
to exhale the breath as you take to inhale.Increase the period of breath’s retention slowly. During the first week retain the breath for four seconds, during the second week for eight seconds and during the third
week practice to retain the breath for twelve seconds. Continuing the breath upto your full capacity.
Practice inhalation, exhalation and retention of breath in such a way that at no point during the practice you feel suffocation or uneasiness.For inhalation, retention and exhalation of breath keep a ratio of 1,4 and 2. It means inhale the breath chanting OM once, retain the breath upto your times reciting of OM and exhale it reciting OM twice In the second week increase this ratio to 2:3:4 and in third week to 3:12:6. Thus increasing the ratio reach up to 16:64:32. Use the fingers of left hand to count the chanting of OM. Once practiced, you won’t need to keep a count of it, you will spontaneously follow the ratio.
Don’t be discouraged by some initial mistakes, and don’t drop the practice in panic. You will learn
slowly. Your common sense, inner wisdom and soul’s voice together tells you the way to perform perfectly.
IMPORTANT PARTS OF PRANAYAMA
Method of Pranayama
Inhalation, exhalation and retention of breath.
Ida, Pingla, and Sushumna nerves.
Mulabandha, Jallundhurbandha and Uddiyanabandha.
Purification of the veins and arteries.
BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO THE PARTS
Method of Pranayama:
To practice Pranayama, the left and the right nostrils are to be closed successively. This is mostly done with the help of the right hand. Using the right hand’s thumb, right nostril is closed, while the left nostril is closed with the help of the ring and little fingers of the same hand. When the nostrils need not be closed put both the hands on
your knees. Practice Padamasana, Siddhasana, Swastikasana and Sukhasana as far as possible to perform Pranayama.
PURAK, RECHAKA AND KUMBHAKA Meanings of these three terms are thus :
Purak : Inhalation of breath
Exhalation of breath
Kumbhaka : Retention of breath
IDA, PINGLA ∧ SUSHUMNA NERVES:
These are three nerves through which flows the life. The moon, the sun and the fire are the gods of these
three nerves respectively. Ida flows via left nostril, and Pingla flows via right nostril, while Sushumna flows via both the nostrils. Hence Sushumna is also called as the middle nerve. Ida and Pingla keep on changing the tone every hour.
Ida nerve is cool and is mainly Tama. It controls the thoughts of the person.
Pingla nerve is hot and is mainly Raja is nature. Pingla nerve controls the vital force or life of a
Sushumna nerve is also called as The Brahmanadi. Among all the nerves it is the most important nerve. It is also as Saraswati and Shanti nerve. It is neither hot nor cool but maintains a balance between the two. Light and knowledge are gained from this nerve. It helps the learner in spiritual development.
From physical point of view, a balance between these three nerves provides health, vigor, peace and
MULABANDHA, JALLUNDHAR BANDHA & UDDIYANA BANDHA
During Pranayama, these three Bandhas are used. The methods and the benefits of them are thus :
Mulabandha Method :
Press the suture at groin region with the heel of right foot and put the heel of the left foot at the base of the reproductive organs. Contracting the anus, pull it forcibly in towards spinal cord and feel as if you are trying to pull the wind in your belly upward. Position of the feet can be interchanged. (Fig.)
Practicing of Pranayama in this Bandha (posture) you can achieve perfection.
Practice of this posture helps to follow celibacy.
This posture stimulates appetite; removes constipation, and strengthens the semen.
This posture awakens Kundalini
The learner who practices this posture can remain young forever.
First of all take a sitting posture Contract the throat then and bend the head forward, and rest the chin firmly at the chest.
Jallundharbandha is performed at the end of Puraka (inhalation) and beginning of Kumbhaka (retention of
breath) common learners must try this Bandha only after practicing Pranayama well.
With practice of this Bandha, Prana (breath) begins to flow through its prescribed path.
This Bandha stimulates Kundalini power to rise upward. Ida and Pingla nerves are bound by this
UDDIYANA BANDHA :
Method: - This Bandha can be practiced both in standing posture and in sitting posture. It standing
posture put your hands on the knees or slightly above the knees on the thighs. Bend your body a little forward while keeping a gap between your feet. Exhaling forcibly, empty your lungs. Contracting the belly, pull the navel and intestine towards your back. Thus your diaphragm will be pushed up and the wall of the belly will be also be pulled
upward. This Bandha is practices at the end of Kumbhaka (retention of breath) and beginning of Rechaka (exhalation of breath). (Fig.)
With regular practice of Uddiyana Bandha, the learner may remain young forever.
This Bandha is extremely helpful in following celibate
This Bandha awakens the Kundalini power.
With regular practice of this Bandha, the body remains healthy and powerful.
NOTE : Practice and perfect these three Bandhas in Padmasana or Siddhasana