"Pranāyāma is a part of our culture - Vedic Culture" By Swami Dayananda Saraswati Excerpts from talks delivered at Mysore 2003 for Vijaya Foundation on 'Spiritual Health' Our culture is very familiar with breathing techniques. This is Pranayama culture. In fact in all the rituals, first you should perform Naadi shuddhi through Pranayama. Then only you are eligible to conduct rituals. om bhūḥ oṃ bhuvaḥ, oṃ suvaḥ oṃ mahaḥ, oṃ janaḥ oṃ tapaḥ oṃ satyam...... like this you do breathe in and breathe out with every mantra.you breathe in through one nostril and breathe out with the other nostril. While breathing you chant this mantra and this is called Naadi shuddhi. After this shuddhi aline you are qualified to perform the ritual. First the antaḥkaraṇa śuddhi where you chant acyutāya namaḥ, anantāya namaḥ govindāya namaḥ. one repeats this mantra three times and symbolically sips water. Then do Pranayama, then only afterwards whatever japa or Pujaa, you are eligible to perform. This is our usual routine. Pranayama is a part of our culture - Vedic culture. There are pūraka pradhāna prāṇāyāma and recaka pradhāna prāṇāyāma. pūraka means that when you are breathing in, it is pradhaana. Breathing out is recaka. Kumbhaka praanayama, where you hold the air inside the lungs. These are all very technically important exercises mentioned in the Yoga Shaastras. Then we have exercises for relaxation. So when we say, to relax the body is also a kind of meditation. So watching the praana is important - prāṇa vīkṣaṇam. We are not creating a new style of breathing but just that you breathe normally and you watch your own breathing. There is no better technique, mark my words ever able to relax. As a person if you are excited, agitated, angry, the best rewarding technique available providing immediate result is watching your own breathing. Do you know why it is so? the logic is simple. you are the observer of your breath and what you observe is yourself during breathing. The 'observer' and the 'observed' are one and the same. So jñānaśakti avicchinna ātmā is watching the kriyāśakti avicchinna jIva.Two different upādhis and jIva is one upādhi and the other is jñānaśakti avicchinna ātmā. ' It is something similar to scratching oneself'. Who is the scratcher? I am the scratcher. Who is scratched? I am scratched. Two upādhis, and therefore the observer and the observed are one and the same. Therefore there is no better method for resolving excitement, agitation or anger.