Discussion in 'Yoga Forum' started by Speechless world, Dec 19, 2015.

  1. Speechless world

    Speechless world New Member

    Excerpts taken from the Book -- Yoga From Confusion To Clarity, written by Professor Satya Prakash Singh and Yogi Mukesh.
    means vital force and yama means control. Thus the English translation would be ‘control of the vital breath’.


    Citta has two causes for its existence, desires and vibration of prana, if one of them is subdued then the other is automatically controlled. Out of these two, one should control prana. ( Yogakundalyopanisad, Chapter I 1-2)
    The self is enslaved by the prana, etc. wind moves up and down through the right and the left nostrils and since this movement is so rapid that it is impossible to observe and experience them.

    Like a bird whose wings are tied with a string is frequently pulled up and down so is the self too is pulled by the prana and apana, etc. As the prana pulls the apana and similarly the apana pulls the prana, thus the self as a result of these movements moves frequently up and down and one who knows this process of upward and downward movement is a yogin. (Yogacudamani Upanisad, 27-30)

    Therefore, one should practise pranayama to control prana and apanaas per Sandilya Upanisad’s statement:
    Pranayama is union of prana and apana and it is threefold, namely, exhalation, inhalation and retention (recaka, puraka and kumbhaka) (Sandilya Upanisad,I.6.1)

    • Pranayama is a penance that helps in reducing different kinds of diseases besides its being the bridge between the Ultimate Reality.
    • On the physiological aspect it gets rid of waste products and toxins from the body and on the mental plane it subdues the fluctuations of the mind. Thus by its practice several diseases can be averted as well as cured.
    • Moreover it improves the functions of the brain cells.

    An aspirant (of yoga) should resort to the plain and unpolluted land which is free from pebbles, fire and sand. Neat and clean should be near a river, with no direct sunrays. (Svetasvatara Upanisad, II.10)

    The nerves should be purified by following the procedure in the precedent verses. Subsequently, one should detach oneself from all attachments, choose a solitary place, collect all the materials required for the practice of yoga, make a seat of darba kusa or black deer, etc. and meditate till control of organs is established. To achieve the results one should regularly practise svastika, etc., asanas. (Triskhi-Brahmana Upanisad, II.88-90)
    He (yogin) should remain in the state of concentration at a place that has natural landscape and construct a hermitage or at the peak of a mountain, at the bank of a river, under the shade if bilva tree (Hindi:bael, English: stone apple) solitary place in the forest. He should sit in any posture facing the East or the North. His neck, head, and the body be kept erect and mouth should be closed. (Jabaladarsana Upanisad, 5.4-5)


    Various instructions are involved in the practice of pranayama. They are:
    • The place should be clean and quiet.
    • Free from dust and smoke.
    • The stomach should be empty before the practice.
    • Pranayama should be practised after asanas and before meditation.
    • To be practised in sitting postures such as padma, svastika,sukha and siddha.
    • If practised in the house, the room should be well ventilated.
    • Minimum four to five hours gap between meals and pranayama is mandatory.
    • One should not take bath after the practice for at least four hours. It is better to have bath and then the practice of asanas to be succeeded by the practice of pranayama.
  2. Speechless world

    Speechless world New Member


    Practice of pranayama should be commenced only when one has developed balance through yama, niyama* and asana, etc., and nerves of the body is made strong for it (i.e. by the practice of asana). (Trisikhi-Brahmana Upanisad, II.53)

    * [The wise speak of yama as detachment from the body and sensory organs in its entirety. (Trisikhi Brahmana Upanisad, I. 28)
    Niyama is constant mindfulness of the Ultimate Reality. (Trisikhi Brahmana Upanisad, I, I.29]

    • Before starting the practice of pranayama one should develop the capacity of lungs and nerves by perfecting asanas. Since asanas involve inhalation, retention and exhalation, thereby improve the quality of lungs and nerves.
    • That is why emphasis is laid on calmness, control over sensory organs, nerves and practice of asanas before attempting pranayama.
    • These rules have to be strictly adhered to.

    Practice of yoga should not be started in the following four seasons,viz., winter (November-December), frost (January-February), summer (May-June) and rainy (July-August). If one does, then one will contract many diseases.

    The best seasons for a beginner are spring (March-April) and autumn (September-October). By practising so, he remains free from diseases. (Gheranda Samhita, Chapter V. 8-9; 15)
    x x x

    The practice of yoga should be commenced either in spring or autumn since success in these seasons is attained without trouble.


    Practitioner of yoga should abandon food, which are harmful to the practice of yoga. He should avoid taking salt, mustard, sour, hot, pungent, bitter, vegetables, asafetida, women, walking, bathing at sunrise, torturing of the body by fasting, etc. During the initial stages of the practice, food product of milk and ghee is recommended and by adhering to it, he will be able to retain his breath as long as he desires. (Yogatattva Upanisad, 36-49)

    x x x
    One, who practises yoga without moderation in his diet, incurs various kinds of diseases and obtains no success.

    Yogin should eat rice, barely or wheat bread as well as mudga beans (phaseolus mungo – black gram), masa beans (phaseolus radiatus – green gram), gram, etc. They should be clean, white and free from chaff (and insects).

    He may also eat patola (Hindi: tori; luffa acutangula or uffa cylindrica), jack-fruit, manakacu (Hindi: kachalu; arum colcoasia) kakkola (Hindi:kabab chini or shital chini, also known as java pepper, piper cubeba), jujube (Hindi: ber; ziziphus iuiuba), bonduc nut (Hindi: kat-karanj, katuk ranja, karanjava; bonducella guilandina); cucumber (kakri); plantain, fig (anjeera), unripe plantain, the small plantain, plantain stem, roots, brinjal, medicinal roots and fruits.

    He may also intake green, fresh vegetables, black vegetables, leaves of patola. vastuka (Hindi: bathua; chenopodium album) and hima-locika(lettuce -- lactuca sativa). These are the five vegetables leaves praised as fit food for the yogins.

    Yogin should take pure, sweet and soothing food and fill half the stomach; eating thus, sweet juices with pleasure, and leaving other half of the stomach empty is called moderate diet.
    Half stomach be filled with food, one quarters with water; and one quarter should be kept empty for practising pranayama.

    x x x
    Yogin can also take cardamom, nutmeg, cloves, aphrodisiacs or stimulants, guava (Hindi: amurda), jambula (Hindi: jamun; syzygium cumini), haritaki (Hindi: harar; chebulic myrobalan) and dates.

    Agreeable, easily digestible and soothing foods that nourish the body should be taken by the yogin according to his desire.

    (Gheranda Samhita. Chapter V.16-22; 28-29)


    The discipline of pranayama is quite clear but requires one to following strict dietary control. Control of food is essential to achieve success in it. Our food habit is not healthy and it has become unhealthy due our intake of junk food that is detrimental to our health.

    As advised by ancient texts on yoga, one should take light meals, green vegetables, milk and milk products. In the beginning of the practice one can also take ghee. The food should not be overcooked or precooked


    Yogin should discard, in the beginning of his yoga practice, the following foods, viz., bitter, acidic, salt, pungent and roasted things, curd, whey, not easily digestible vegetables, wine, palm nuts, and over-ripe jack-fruit.

    Avoid kadamba (nauclea cadamba), jambira (Hindi: bijaura or galgal; citron). bimba (Hindi: kundru; Latin: coccinia indica), lakuca (Hindi:satavari, English: wild asparagusa kind of bread fruit), onions, lotus,kamaranga, (Hindi: kamrakh English: star fruit/carambola), piyala(Hindi: chironji; Latin: buchanania latifolia), hinga (asafoetida), shalmali (Hindi: semul; Latin: salmalia malabarica) and kemuka (Hindi:keukanda, kushta; Latin: costus speciosus; English: crape ginger).

    So also, he should discard kulattha (Hindi: kulthi, horse gram); masurbeans (Hindi: masur dal; English: lentil), pandu fruit (pineapple), pumpkin (Hindi: kaddu), and vegetable stems, gourds (Hindi: petha orkarela or lauki ?) berries, katha bael (English: pomegranate), kaëöa-bilva (Hindi: dhatura; Datura stramonium) and palasha (Hindi: dhaka ortesu, Latin: butea frondosa koen).

    He (yogin) should avoid too much travelling, company of women, warming himself with fire as well as fresh butter, ghee, thickened milk, sugar, date sugar, ripe plantain, coconut, pomegranate, dates, lavanifruit (Hindi: ramphal, shitaphala or saripha; English: custard apple; Latin: anona reticulata) and amlaki (Hindi: amla; English: Indian gooseberry) and everything that contains acidic juice.

    x x x

    Yogin should avoid early baths (before sunrise), fasting, or anything that gives pain to the body is prohibited as well as once a day meal or avoiding meals. But he may remain without food for 3 hours.
    In this way, he should regulate his life and practise pranayama. As a beginner, he should take a little milk and ghee daily and food twice a day, i.e. once at noon and the other in the evening.
    (Gheranda Samhita. Chapter V.23-27; 30-32)
  3. Speechless world

    Speechless world New Member


    One should practise the following three, i.e., exhalation, etc. with a firm mind and control. Inhale (the breath) slowly and bind the prana andapana in the cave of the lotus of the heart while uttering pranava. He should also contract his throat and sphincter muscles (i.e. application ofjalandhara and mula bandhas after completion of inhalation). (Dhyana Bindu Upanisad, 99-100)

    One should practise pranayama consisting of recaka, puraka andkumbhaka at each quarter of day. (i.e. early morning, afternoon, evening and night) (Brahmavdiya Upanisad, 54)

    • It involves inhalation, retention, exhalation and retention of breath outside (bahaya kumbaka).
    • The types of pranayama are: quiet breathing, deep breathing, fast breathing, breathing with humming sound, nadi sodhana pranayama.
    • Quiet breathing is smooth breathing that continues naturally without any effort.
    • Deep breathing is caused by deliberate slowing down of the breathing.
    • Fast breathing is caused by deliberate increase in the speed of breathing.
    • Breathing with humming sound is caused by deliberately making sound when inhaling or exhaling.
    • Pranayama practice requires slow and rhythmic inhalation, exhalation and retention of breath without crossing the limits of one’s capacity, i.e. with comfort and one’s capacity.
    • Pranayama practice involves the combination three bandhas, namely, jalandhara, uòòiyana and mula bandhas. These threebandhas are applied after exhalation by retaining the breath outside.
    • While jalandhara, and mula bandhas are applied after inhalation and retention of the breath inside.

    It is important in the practice of praëayama that individual works with a breath ratio that is right for him/her. The ratio choice must take into two factors into account -- what is possible and what is one’s aim. What is possible means that how one can inhale, retain the breath, exhale and again retain the breath. This can be noted by observing the breath during the practice of asanas.

    Asanas indicate about our body’s endurance. If we set the breath ratio in which inhalation and exhalation of the same length and observe the breath over a certain period of time in various postures, we can learn about our breath ratio and from this observation we can formulate our ratio for the practice of praëayama.

    If we formulate the ratio 1:2, i.e. exhalation twice as long as the inhalation, then there is complete emptying of the lungs, which in turn results in more voluminous inhalation and to improve the inhalation we must work with exhalation. This method strengthens the lungs by more expansion and contraction.

    Pranayama as a respiratory exercise if done systematically by following the rules laid down by the yogins, then it results in strong and healthy lungs, improvement in the circulation of the blood, healthy and lustrous body and longevity.

    Normally, we do not breathe deeply and rhythmically. As a result, the lungs get filled with oxygen partially and they do not function properly, which in turn results in the development of diseases like respiratory diseases, coughing, bronchitis, etc. Therefore, it is mandatory to control the process of inhalation and exhalation. That is why the practices of deep breathing through both the nostrils is prescribed, and thenanuloma viloma is prescribed for the beginners and finally, to set the ratio of breath, nadi shodhana. After the mastery of them, other types of pranayama can be practised.

    PraNayama should be practised with mindfulness and one should not talk to anybody, listen to music or get distracted. Mindfulness is the key to success in pranayama.


    Retention of breath should be practised four times daily, i.e., morning afternoon, evening and the midnight. This practise should be increased gradually.

    (Trishikhi-Brahmana Upanisad, II. 101)

    • As per the yogic texts, pranayama should be practised four times a day, i.e. early morning, afternoon, evening and at midnight and gradually increase it to 80 rounds a day. This is the general rule for yogins who are in pursuit of higher state of consciousness.
    • One can practise 20-30 rounds a day i.e., 10 or 15 in the morning and evening respectively for general health and calmness of mind.

    Without being distracted, one should practise pranayama with a calm mind.

    (Varaha Upanisad, 5.55)


    • It should be practised with calm mind preceded with relaxation.
    • One should do savasana before starting the praëayama.
    • Or should do deep and rhythmic breathing with closed or half closed eyes to achieve the state of calmness.

    The wise should practise control on his breathing (pranayama), inhale slowly and retain the breath without discomfort. Like a charioteer who steers the wicked horses cautiously to the destination, similarly, the wise do the same in controlling his mind with utmost care. (Svetasvatara Upanisad, II.9)

    One should adhere to the rules of practice of pranayama strictly and avoid burning sensation in the body. As lions, elephants and tigers are tamed, so also the breath. When rightly practised it comes under control, if not destroys the practitioner.

    He, for the sake of his health and safety, should properly inhale, retain, and exhale it. Then only he will achieve success. By retaining the breath in an approved manner, purification of nadis is achieved resulting in increase of gastric fire, hearing of nada and robust health. (Sandilya Upanisad, I.6.6-8)


    Pranayama is safe provided one follow the guidelines.
    • It should be practised after asanas and meditation.
    • It should be practised by those who can regulate their breath with ease.
    • If one is suffering from breath related problems such as asthma, shortness of breath, etc. one should consult his/her physician and once approved by him should start the practice of pranayama. They should commence the practice when they are ready for it.
    • Asanas helps in increasing the volume of the lungs and free the muscles of the ribs, back and diaphragm. This will help those suffering from breath problems. Once asanas get perfected one commence the practice of pranayama.
    • It is necessary that bowels are clear for better benefit.
    • There is should be 4 hour gap between meal and practice ofpranayama.
    • Also ensure that the bladder is empty.
    • One should not strain oneself beyond the limits which ultimately lead to exhaustion.
    • Breathing exercises should not be repeated continuously. There should be 1 or 2 minutes gap for rest before resuming again. Maximum 10-30 rounds are sufficient in a day.
    • During the practice if one feels the urge to take short breaths, he/she should do that.
    • Breathing should be comfortable as far as possible.
    • The most important thing during the practice in pranayama is exhalation. If exhalation is not noiseless, slow and rhythmic then it indicates that there is some problem or illness.
    • One can achieve a peaceful pause if one does not push inhalation or exhalation to extremes.
    • Avoid retaining the breath to extremes. It should be retained as long as one feels comfortable. This also helps in exhaling and inhaling in control and rhythmic manner. Crossing the limits of retention can injure the lungs.
    • Avoid jerks during inhalation and exhalation.
    • It should be practised in easy and gentle way and there should be no sign of exhaustion or expression of tension on the face or the body. If one experiences this, one should understand he/she is crossing the limits.
    • If fatigue is experienced, stop the practice at once and take rest for a few minutes and then resume the practice.
    • In the beginning of practice, constipation, reduced urination may result. One should stop the intake of salt and spices for a few days to overcome this problem. If one gets loose motions, he/she should stop the practice of pranayama and take rice and yoghurt or light food.
    • All advanced pranayamas should be learnt under the guidance of a yoga expert and should never be attempted on one’s own.
    • Avoid tobacco and drugs or other addictive drugs.
    • Those suffering from chronic diseases, blood pressure, heart disease, pregnant women, should practice pranayama under the guidance of an experienced yoga teacher.
    • Patients of low blood pressure, high blood pressure, lung, heart, eye or ear problems should not retain the breath or practise bellows breaths but they can practise only anuloma viloma.
    • Do not practise asanas after pranayama.
    • It should not be practised when one is suffering from cold and cough or nasal congestion.
    • Avoid pranayama during illness.
    • Children above 2 years can practise anuloma viloma, Nadi Sodhana, bellows breaths and skull cleansing duration of which should 5 rounds initially and gradually increased. When a child is suffering from respiratory afflictions or cold and cough, practice should be stopped and resumed when he or she recovers.
  4. Speechless world

    Speechless world New Member


    Causes of diseases in one’s body are due to sleeping in daytime, late vigils over night, indiscriminate and excessive sexual intercourse, moving in crowd, checking of urine and faeces, eating unhealthy food and mental over exertion. When afflicted by them, the practitioner of yoga says, “My disease has arisen from the practice of yoga.” And he discontinues the practice (of yoga). This attitude is said to be the first obstacle in yoga. The second is doubt; the third is carelessness; the fourth, lethargy; the fifth, too much sleeping; the sixth, too much involvement with sense-organs; the seventh, erroneous cognition; the eighth, sensual objects; the ninth, lack of confidence in oneself; and finally, the tenth, failure to attain the truth of yoga. A wise one should overcome these ten obstacles with great determination. The practice ofpranayama should be practised daily with mind firmly on Truth. (Yogakundali Upanisad, I.56-62)


    Knowledge of Brahman is attained by regulating the air in the body utilising the method ofpranayama. This is achieved by receding or establishing equilibrium by the aid of yoga through the energy that has arisen in the body (i.e. kundalini)

    (Triskhi-Brahmana Upanisad, II.55)

    Yogins say that pranayama is that bridge by which one crosses the worldly ocean since it is like fire that burns to ashes all evils.

    (Yogacudamani Upanisad, 108)

    All kinds of sins are removed merely by practising for a day in the manner described above. The practitioner who does pranayama daily gets mastery in yoga within three years and such a yogin establishes control over the wind, sensory-organs, eats less, sleeps for a few hours, and his body becomes lustrous and strong.

    He enjoys longevity by overcoming fear of premature death. Pranayama that is followed by perspiration is considered to be the lowest while when there is shivering in the body, it is known as medium and that which makes the body ascend is the best.

    All physical and mental afflictions are destroyed by the pranayama of lowest category. Similarly, incurable diseases, and all kinds of ailments physical and mental are cured by thepranayama of medium category while pranayama of the highest category makes the practitioner sleep for a few hours, there is less urination and faeces, slim body and less diet. Both his senses and intellect become acutely sharp and sensitive and is able to know what had taken place (in the past) and what will happen in the future and what is going on in the present.

    A yogin who practises only the retention (kumbhaka) and seldom does exhalation and inhalation attains everything easily since he transcends the three aspects of time.

    Yogin should practise regularly with mindfulness yoga at the navel region. By practising like this, he cures all ailments pertaining to stomach as well as the armpit.

    By retaining the breath at the tip of the nose, he attains to longevity and his body always remain young and full of energy. He obtains within three months the power of speech if air is sucked via the tongue at brahmamuhurta. If this is practised for six months, all his physical ailments are cured.

    Yogin’s ailments are cured by retaining the breath at the afflicted organs or affected area. This is achieved by pervading the prana in the entire body.

    The retention of breath increases when the mind becomes tranquil. Pranayama is prescribed so that once prana is controlled, the agitation of the mind ceases.

    x x x

    With the cessation of the mind by the process of pranayama, the breath becomes well-regulated and its movement is equal through both the nostrils.

    There are three important nerves (i.e. iòa, pingala and suñumna). Breath of yogins flow equally from both the nostrils (i.e. suñumna gets activated). By virtue of this balanced flow (from both the nostrils), he conquers the wind and such a yogin is able to cognise the minutest change of season, movement of sun towards North and South and by virtue of the insight gained by him, he is able to make his body and mind untouched by changing of seasons.

    (Triskhi-Brahmana Upanisad, II. 102-114; 117-120)


    Regular practice twice a day results in:
    • Improvement in general health, frequency of illness or attacks is reduced as well as asthma, bronchitis or any respiratory disorders are reduced.
    • Chest expansion and posture improves.
    • Improves concentration and mind becomes tranquil.
    • Body becomes lean and lustrous. Sparkling eyes.
    • Strong immunity.
    • Alleviates obesity, cholesterol, constipation, acidity, allergy, migraine, insomnia, etc.
    • Averts diseases.
    • Increases the capacity of lungs by making them stronger and healthy.
    • Improves blood circulation.
    • Increases life span.
    • Better quality of breathing.
    • Induces nada.
    • Purifies the nadis and makes the bronchial arteries healthy and free from diseases.
    • Alleviates fear.
    • Activates cakras and raises kundalini.
  5. Speechless world

    Speechless world New Member


    We shall now proceed to kumbhaka (restraint of breath). It is of two types, namely, sahita and kevala. Sahita is coupled with inhalation and exhalation while kevala is devoid of these two. Till one is not perfect inkevala, (he) should practise sahita. For one who has perfected kevala, there is nothing unattainable in the three worlds. By its practice, the knowledge of kundalini arises and he becomes lean in body, serene in face with sparkling eyes, hears the nada distinctly. In fact, he becomes free of all physical afflictions and his gastric fire increases.

    (Sandilya Upanisad, I.7.13-5,)

    By inhaling from both the nostrils, let him (yogin) practise kevala kumbhaka. On the first day, he should retain the breath one to sixty-four times. This kevalé should be practised eight times a day, once every three hours; or one may do it five times a day, as I shall tell you. It should be practised in the early morning, at noon, then in the evening (sandhya, twilight), then at midnight and finally in the fourth quarter of the night (4.00 a.m.) or one may do it three times a day, namely, in the morning, noon and evening. (93-94)

    Yogin should practise every day, one to five times, and increase the length of ajapa japa till success is attained in kevali. He who knowspranayäma and kevali is a real yogin. What can he not attain in this world who has acquired success in kevali kumbhaka? (95-95)

    (Gheranda Samhita. Chapter V.93-96)


    The aim of practice of pranayama is to attain kevali kumbhaka. Initially one should practise sudden suspension of breath once a day and gradually increase this practice up to 8 times a day. (Not for those who are suffering from cardiovascular diseases, shortness of breath, etc. To be practised under the guidance of yoga expert.)
  6. Pranayam is the process of breath control. Its purpose is to purify the consciousness to bring one more into the mode of goodness and to be able to control the mind and not be distracted by it, allowing one to focus fully in meditation.

Share This Page