Pranayama – 1

 

 

Tantra Magazine

PART 1
The techniques of pranayama have a special place within the yogic techniques aiming at the control of the sexual energy. Pranayama is a highly effective technique that amplifies the solar, masculine, Yang energy.

Pranayama is an effective method of increasing your Yang energy, as well as of sublimating the sexual energy to more refined forms of energy, in a controlled and conscious manner.

WHAT IS PRANA?
The translation of the term Pranayama is most often “the control of the breath”. Nonetheless, there is a deeper meaning to this term. Prana is the vital force, and Yama refers to its control.

Consequently, pranayama refers to that discipline integrated as a fundamental stage in the yogic practice, which studies the origin and nature of this mysterious and invisible force, that is prana.

However, prana is more than merely the breath of a being. It is the fundament of all movement, the root of both organic and inorganic life.

Any manifestation or expression of a movement, life, or mind is in fact a manifestation of the prana, which makes it possible.

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Under different forms and in different ways, prana is the ultimate generalization of all forces of nature. Prana is a subtle reality and consequently one cannot see, weight, measure or touch it through any of the instruments human mind has ever produced and invented.

Prana can be perceived and controlled by a human being with the mind. If you can purify and control your body, mind and nadis, you will also control your desires and thoughts and it will be easier to control the manifestations of prana in your being.

Prana is the ultimate cause of all manifested forces of nature. It expresses as any force, powers, energies manifested in the universe, both physical and subtle. All movement in the universe is only specific manifestations of prana.

The vital forces and the mind are but two aspects of prana, reflected in the human being. Moreover, prana manifests within the beings as the different physical, mental and psychic processes. Prana animates, sustains, and energizes the body of all living organisms.

The fine movements of the nerves in a living body and the powers of the mind are in fact only another specific manifestation of the prana. Any desire, any thought represents a particular expression of the prana, modulated precisely in a range of frequency.

The activity of the five senses is also an expression of prana vibrating on a certain frequency. The breath represents only one manifestation of the prana in your body.

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WHAT IS THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PRANA (THE VITAL ENERGY), THE MENTAL ENERGY AND THE SEXUAL ENERGY?
The center or the “deposit” of the pranic energies is Muladhara chakra. Ida and Pingala are the two nadis placed on both sides of the central channel, Sushumna nadi.

In persons that do not practice any spiritual exercises, whose energy is lying dormant in Muladhara chakra, the energy circulates through the two secondary “spinal” nadis: Ida and Pingala. Usually, the energy does not flow through Sushumna nadi, as the entrance to this nadi is normally closed.

As long as a person does not perceive and understand correctly the flow of energy through Ida and Pingala and as long as the energy is not “forced” through Sushumna nadi, that person will not have control over the mind and the prana.

 


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Pranayama – 2

 

 

Tantra Magazine

PART 2
The control of the pranic currents of energy, their direction through Sushumna nadi grants the practitioner the capacity of controlling the mind and thoughts.

Through the control of the mind, prana, and also through the purification of the nadis, the practitioner may easily sublimate the sexual energy.

Pranayama teaches us the perfect control over the mind and thoughts, and consequently the control of the currents of energy that flow through the nadis.

The thoughts and desires are pranic manifestations that are more subtle than the currents of energy flowing through the nadis. Through the control of the breath we may achieve the control of the subtle currents of energy, and of the nadis.

Controlling the nadis, we may then control our thoughts and desires, and the control of our thoughts and desires is crucial in controlling our minds.

The control of the mind and of the prana is an essential condition for sublimating the energies from the vital and sexual levels to the levels of volition, affection, mind, and spirit.

We may assimilate the example of the breath in a living organism to the wheel of a car. The network of the nadis, the mind, thoughts and wishes may be compared to the finest devices of a sophisticated machinery.

Whenever the wheel turns to right or left, the whole car turns that direction. This is a good analogy for exemplifying the relationship between breath and the other bodily functions.

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The most “obvious” proof for the presence of the prana in the process of breathing is the movement of the lungs in the process of breathing. If this function ceases, all other functions of the body cease as well.

You can control your inner forces and energies through the control of the prana. The focus and direction of the prana is a necessity for the balance of the energy, including even techniques for the direction of the excessive prana to other areas lacking is known by the name of pranayama.

Any imbalance in the prana, be it excessive or lacking facilitates the appearance of all kinds of diseases and affections. An even distribution of the prana in the body usually guarantees the slowing down of the aging and degenerative processes.

The purification of the nadis is compulsory for having a healthy body, and a clear mind. You may easily obtain this purification of the body, mind and nadis through pranayama.

It is also important that you are aware of the fact that all impurities present in the physical, mental and ethereal bodies makes the processes of transmuting and sublimating the vital energy more difficult.

The sexual energy is a huge force of the human being. The sexual potential is in fact the deposit of an immense reserve of energy. A person should transform this energy and then sublimate the resulting energy to the superior level.

One should preserve the sexual energy and convert it into refined forms of energy for spiritual purposes, instead of wasting it through ejaculation.

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Once the tensions, obsessions, and stresses originated in the various imbalances of the prana are released, the mind is freed from its strongest attachment.

It is very important to know that mind, prana and sexual energy are in close connection and interaction, influencing one another.

The control of prana-vayu leads to the purification and the control of sexual energy and of the mind. Likewise, when the sexual energy is under control the mind and the prana can be easily controlled.

The seed, the sperm is spread all through the organism, in a subtle way. Influencing sexual desires, thoughts, and actions meant to satisfy one’s libido determines the prana to transform into seed and be located at the level of the sexual organs.

 


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Pranayama – 5

 

 

Tantra Magazine

PART 5
Other recommendations: after choosing a pleasant place (in you decide to practice outdoors), set a mat on the floor or on the grass, or rock. On this mat place a blanket, or a clean piece of cloth made of cotton or wool.

Sit on it, facing North, or East, choosing a position you feel comfortable in. The best position is the one in which you may stay for a long time, without any discomfort.

Remember that your spine should be straight, upward and relaxed at the same time. Contract your anal muscles, and perform a slight abdominal retraction, as in the case of Uddiyana Bandha.

Your chest, neck and head should be as much as possible on an imaginary straight line.

Always practice pranayama on an empty stomach, this means at least two hours after you had a meal. Do not practice pranayama when you are ill, except the cases in which it is a remedy.

Do not practice pranayama when physically or mentally tired. If you desire remarkable and quick results, practice pranayama constantly four times a day: in the morning, at noon, in the evening and at midnight. Especially during this intense practice period, eat and drink regularly.

SIMPLE PRANAYAMA TECHNIQUES
Note: it is compulsory to always practice these techniques after the asanas and to perform the complete yogic relaxation afterwards.

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1. DEEP BREATHS
Sit in the pose you chose for the practice of pranayama (be it Sukhasana, or Vajrasana, or another upright position you are comfortable in).

In the beginning breathe in and out several times, to ventilate the air that might have been stagnating in the respiratory tracts.

After several such ventilation breaths, exhale the air through the mouth, trying to empty the lungs. Maintain the retention of the breath with the empty lungs (apnea) without forcing yourself.

Inhale through the nose filling your lungs with air as much as possible. Hold your breath with your lungs filled with air, but do not force yourself to hold your breath for too long.

In time, you will manage to hold your breath for longer intervals of time, but in the beginning it is compulsory that your body accommodates with the energetic level brought about by the practice of pranayama.

Exhale through the mouth, avoiding the explosive, “massive” elimination of the air. Do every step in a controlled and calm manner. Take a few breaths in your own rhythm, and then try again another deep breath, as shown above.

Focus: during this technique, while exhaling you will eliminate also the toxic energies that disturb your vital balance. While inhaling, perceive the beneficial pranic energies that impregnate and revitalize you.

While holding the breath with the lungs filled with air, perceive the impregnation of the whole body with pure, beneficial energy.

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This technique has even more powerful effects if the pranic currents of energy are visualized as bright-white fluxes of energy radiating in your entire body.

If you want to benefit from this technique in purposes of healing, during the retention with the lungs filled with air, you have to focus the pranic energy on the disordered areas, visualizing the currents of white energy eliminating the tensions from that particular area.

Perform this technique 20 times in one session. Perform one session in the morning, one at noon, one in the evening and one at midnight, increasing the number of breaths with two per week.

Beneficial effects: this technique helps you obtain a greater vitality, and leads to a process of purification of the organism. The mind is calm and focused. The health is restored.

 

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Pranayama – 6

 

 

Tantra Magazine

PART 6
2. THE PURIFYING BREATH
Sit in the pose you chose for the pranayama (be it Sukhasana, or Vajrasana, or another upright position you are comfortable in).

In the beginning breathe in and out several times, to ventilate the air that might have been stagnating in the respiratory tracts.

After several such ventilation breaths, exhale the air through the mouth, trying to empty the lungs. Keep the retention of the breath with the empty lungs (apnea) without forcing yourself.

Cover the right nostril with the right thumb, and inhale slowly, as gently as possible through the left nostril. It is highly important that you make no noise while inhaling.

Take in as much air as you can, as this will oxygenate your organism. Cover the left nostril with the ring and small right fingers, and exhale slowly and gently through the right nostril, without making any noise.

Your breath should be calm, equal and slow, so that even if you have a small thread of water close to your nostril, it should not move.

After you exhaled, inhale slowly, as indicated above, through the same (right) nostril and exhale through the left nostril.

This is one complete cycle of this pranayama technique. Breathe relaxed several times, before you are ready to perform another cycle.

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Focus: while inhaling, visualize firmly how you take in the pranic energy from the universe, filling your body with strength, purity, holiness, force, love, virtue, wisdom.

When exhaling, visualize how you eliminate the tensions, weaknesses, vice, impurities and stresses. You may even work mentally the mantra AUM all this while.

Perform such 12 cycles during one session, taking breaks after each cycle, four times a day in the morning, at noon, in the evening, and at midnight.

If the practice of pranayama is systematic and consistent, in a few months’ time you will notice a purification of the nadis, of the entire body, as well as mental purification and enhanced capacity of concentration.

Effects: this pranayama technique grants the purification of the nadis, body, and mind, especially when practiced for several months in a row.

The external signs of this purification are: calm, tranquil force radiating from the whole of your personality, a clear mind, and sweet voice.

The harshness of the face and rough lines disappear. This pranayama technique brings harmony to our minds and makes us capable of approaching superior pranayama techniques.

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Any person, man or woman may practice this technique with remarkable results, without exposing to the slightest risk (as long as it is practiced correctly).

The purity of the body and of the subtle structures facilitates the ascension of the erotic energies to the upper levels of consciousness. The main purpose in pranayama is to gain the control over the inner vital forces and of the mind.

 

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Pranayama – 3

 

 

Tantra Magazine

PART 3
A man focused on sexual continence controls and transforms the sexual energy into subtler, psychosomatic energy that spreads through the body.

This process stops the physical forming and manifestation of the sperm. Pranayama helps the sublimation of the sexual energy and its transformation into psychosomatic energy that spreads through the body, helping the access to elevated states of consciousness.

This process of control of the prana, mind and sexual energy ultimately leads to the awakening of the fundamental energy, Kundalini Shakti and its rising to the upper chakras.

THE RESPIRATORY PROCESS
A healthy person breathes in and out about 21,600 times a day. Regular breath comes out of the body at about 16 widths of fingers from the body.

During walking, sleep, sexual intercourse, etc, one may perceive breath at about 20, 24 and respectively 30 widths of fingers. Violent physical exercises make this distance about 96 widths of fingers.

When this distance of the breath out of the body stays in the regular limit, that person will benefit of a long and healthy life. If the breath goes beyond that distance, the person in question will life less.

Minerals, vegetal bodies, and animals are made of oxygen, hydrogen, carbon and nitrogen. Of all these, the most important is the oxygen. Usually, the air we inhale has 21% oxygen. The air we exhale has only 12% oxygen.

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Usually we use only 1/6 of our lungs’ capacity. And especially the upper parts of the lungs are left unused. Pranayama may help develop the maximum capacity of the lungs activating areas that are usually inactive.

Activating the lungs to their maximum capacity may help a person gain immense vitality and force, as well as excellent health.

The great majority of the people breathe irregularly, and we may add even erratic/chaotic.

The breath is different in the case of men, women, young and old. Irregularities in the diet generate irregularities in the process of breathing.

Fear, anxiety, tension, passion, violent emotions, diseases, troubles of all kinds, lead to a superficial, erratic breath. These things affect directly the breath, determining an abnormal flow of the prana.

The unbalanced prance energy will circulate through the nadis and will determine chaotic lung movements, which in their turn will influence the breath changing it into an irregular process.

Consequently, an irregular breath is the sign of an unbalanced activity of the energies. A person with regular prana circulation is safe from any diseases. Diseases are in fact energy unbalances manifested at the level of the physical body.

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The control of the prana through the nadis will make the breath and the lungs’ movements regular and under control. Moreover, if the breath becomes regular, the flow of prana circulating through the nadis will become regular.

Pranayama gives us the tools to normalize and to control the breath in order to reach physical, energetic, and subtle purification.

Such purification leads to mental control and balance of the energies from each level of manifestation: vital, sexual, volitional, affective, intuitive, mental and spiritual.

 


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Pranayama – 4

Tantra Magazine

PART 4
THE PRACTICE OF PRANAYAMA AND THE RULES ONE SHOULD OBSERVE
First of all, pay close attention to the place in which you are about to practice pranayama, to your diet and to the behavior you need to have in order to obtain the promised effects of this technique.

The place should be nice, pleasant, even, and neither too high nor too low. Do not go into the wilderness, as you might get anxious because of this.

Also, chose a place that is protected, so that you will not have to deal with wild animals. Also avoid the bank of a river, or a crowded area, or a waterfall, or a windy place.

All these places might prove frightful, or induce a state of anxiety that is not desirable when attempting to practice pranayama.

Pranayama is a practice for the quiet mind. Consequently, the place should be pleasant to the eye and relaxing for the mind.

If possible, you may also practice pranayama in a special ventilated, room, destined for this practice alone. Keep this room always clean, pure, holly, without dust, dirt, smoke, or various insects.

When entering that room, clear any negative, disturbing thoughts and always wear clean clothes. This spiritual atmosphere that we created inside this room will help us in our spiritual practice and will automatically elevate our inner energetic vibration.

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Such a purified environment will have the power to calm your mind, to influence it in a beneficial manner, and to direct our energy towards refined, elevated aspects of the universe.

The food should be pure, natural and nutritious. You should eat it not too warm, neither too cold, hot, spicy, sour, bitter, or sweet. Eat slowly, chewing each bite until it becomes almost liquid.

Also do not eat too much, as you should fill your stomach half with food, a quarter with water and the remaining quarter should stay empty. This is the correct way of eating according to the rules of the yogic system.

As an important rule, do not leave the stomach without any food for more than 3 or 4 hours, because if there is nothing in the stomach to nourish the gastric fire amplified through the pranayama, this will affect your health.

Consequently, if you decide to begin your pranayama practice, you should also consider eating nutritious meals every 3 or 4 hours.

Behavior: avoid feelings of fear, anxiety, anger, lethargy, dizziness, and too much or too little sleep. Be consistent and methodic in organizing your work, practice and rest.

Avoid futile discussions, the company of perverted people. Avoid also walk a lot and too many exhausting physical exercises, to keep in good shape.

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Practice simultaneously and rigorously the sexual continence during the time when you prepare for the awakening, increasing and control of the sexual energy through pranayama.

In case you find it impossible to abstain from ejaculation (in men’s case) and “normal” orgasm (in women’s case), you should definitely try a period of sexual abstinence.

If these rules are not observed thoroughly, the practice of pranayama is dangerous and you will know failure in your attempts. In such a case, instead of helping you, the practice of pranayama is quite dangerous.


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Balancing Prana Vayu and Apana Vayu

 

A Technique for Balancing Two of the Subtle Winds

The exercise we are going to introduce to you is a combination of the yogic efficiency with the simplicity of execution.

This technique is recommendable for both beginners and advanced practitioners. In order to understand this technique, we need to consider first the human being as a transformer of energy, of prana.

An uninterrupted flux of particles, molecules, and atoms traverse the body, not just as solid or liquid form, but also gas, and subtle.

Air that brings us oxygen is also charged with water vapours, and subtle smells, such as the smells of nature play an important role in preserving the health – aromatherapy.

The air contains also energy that is directly assimilated, one of its forms are the negative ions. Consequently, life means changes and transformations. The more active are our changes and interactions with the environment, the more we are alive, in the most dynamic sense of the word.

Our body is a whirl of energy in the universal prana-ic ocean. The yogis perceive distinctly these exchanges of energy with the environment. They even managed to differentiate between these types of energy, and they named them vayu – subtle energy.

The basic sense of the term vayu is sky, which would make someone think of the regular sky, with its chemical components – oxygen, azoth, rare gases.

However, the yogis understand by this word the energies that circulate through the air, in the process of breathing. One absorbs prana-ic energy from the surroundings through prana vayu.

Once the energies are absorbed in the microcircuit of our organism, they have to be personalized and assimilated – this is the function of samana vayu.

Once the body assimilated them, they need to circulate throughout the organism, which is the function of prana vayu. Udana vayu allows the direction and the expression of the energies. The final stage is the elimination, when these energies return to their previous environment. All the functions that concur in this process belong to apana vayu.

THE FUNCTIONS OF THE PRANA AND APANA VAYU
Consequently, the two main vayu-s are prana vayu, which regulates the “intake” of particles and energy, adjusting it to the particular necessities of our organism, and apana vayu, responsible for the elimination of the unabsorbed residues.

We live or we should live balancing these two functions. If apana fails to work properly, the organism is charged with toxins, and lacks vitality and suppleness. One of the main objectives of Hatha Yoga is that of stimulating all the vayu-s in a harmonious manner.

If we act on prana vayu we also need to stimulate apana vayu. Another important objective in Hatha Yoga is to obtain the control over these vayu-s.

This conscious control goes through the control of one function that is alternatively the expression of prana vayu and apana vayu, meaning the breath. While inhaling, the breath is the instrument of prana vayu because it brings us energy.

While exhaling, the breath is the expression of apana vayu, which eliminates the used gases (for instance CO2). The balance of the breath, of the inhalation and exhalation determines the balance of prana vayu and apana vayu.

The following exercise is one of the simplest and most effective in this respect.

STARTING POSITION
Lie back on the floor, relaxed but with a slight contraction of the abdominal muscles so that the lumbar area is on the floor during this exercise. The legs are stretched and they touch each other. It is important to become interiorized and to focus to perceive distinctly the two halves of the body, the left and the right, not the superior and the inferior parts.

We will attempt to balance the sensations at the level of the two halves, without allowing one to predominate over the other, as the right-handed people tend to do with the right side, which they use more. We need to feel that our weight on the left side is the same as on the right side. The arms are also on the floor, along the trunk, palms facing down.

HOW TO DO IT
Each half of the body will work alternatively. First we will work on the left side. Focus on this side, contract the muscles of the shank, flexing the leg. Inhale slowly, lifting up the contracted shank. We need to lift the leg and bring it closer to the body, without lifting or bending the other leg.


 

At this point, the abdominal muscles are very tensed, especially on the left side. At the end of the inhalation, the leg will be in the up position.


 

It is very important to relax the muscles of the right side of the abdomen, pay close attention to the left side, and imagine that you breathe only with this side. It is obvious that the air will get in through both lungs but we need to use the left side to its maximum, as if we were unable to breathe with the right side.

When the inhalation is over, we stop for a few seconds, keeping the lungs filled with air. Before exhaling, stretch the toes and we will perceive other muscles that contract the left shank.


 

Then we exhale slowly, bringing the leg in the starting position. The heel must not touch the ground, before the lungs become empty.


 

REPEATING THE EXERCISE
Begin again, with the same leg, after a few free breaths.

Five executions on the left side will be followed by five executions on the right side. You may even alternate the legs you are working with: one exercise on the left side will be followed by an exercise on the right side, and so on. The way you practice it is up to each of you.

IMPORTANT GUIDELINES
In order to give the exercise the maximum of yogic significance and effectiveness you need to pay close attention to the breath and to make the inhalation and exhalation last an equal interval. You need to synchronize the time and the space. The part of the body that does not work needs to stay inactive.

WHICH PART TO BEGIN WITH?
If you decide to work alternatively, start with the left side. If you decide to work series of five, start with the right side.

CONTRAINDICATIONS
There are no special contraindications for this exercise. Moreover, this exercise has the advantage of the possibility of practicing it even when you are not dressed properly for a yoga session.

THE PLACE IN THE SERIES OF ASANAS
This exercise may be included in a yoga session before the yogic relaxation, but it may also be performed outside of it, for its own advantages.

PHYSICAL EFFECTS
We will make the difference between physical effects and the subtle effects, which are characteristic to the yogic path.

Muscles
This exercise practiced with maximum of interiorization grants a great muscular control and activated each half of the body.

The abdominal musculature is gradually fortified, and so is the musculature of the legs. The legs work hard and therefore they will be toned and we will get a better control over them.

Also the toes will be tensed, then relaxed and stimulated. The effectiveness of this exercise can sometimes be translated through cramps. If this should happen, act immediately and after the cramp has passed, massage the place slowly.

The skeleton
On the first sight, it is not at all obvious that the exercise we described has any effect on the skeleton. However, if the exercise is correctly performed, if we keep the spine on the floor during the execution we may bring the spine, especially the lumbar area in its correct position.

The coxo-femural articulation preserves its mobility and this is an important thing, considering that after the age of 40 the mobility tends to vanish. If this mobility is lost, the mobility of the whole body will have to suffer.

In severe cases, if one loses the mobility of this articulation, he may suffer from premature impotence. The great thing about this exercise is that although at first sight it seems simple, it develops complex physical actions.

The blood circulation
The blood circulation is better when you lie down than when you stand because it is easier to circulate a liquid (the blood) without the interference of gravity. In this position the rising of the leg and the extended breath make the blood act as in the case of Pascals law: the pressure of an incompressible liquid is transmitted into all the senses and is proportional to the column of liquid.

This principle of hydrostatics is highly important for the body. The blood is an incompressible liquid like the water and thus it will transmit the pressure into the entire body and the blood will return faster to the heart.

The cardiac muscle does not need to work as hard and the blood receives more oxygen. This exercise is very effective in preventing cardiac arrests. After a heart attack you may perform this exercise progressively during convalescence.

Abdominal organs
The abdominal organs need, for a proper function the rhythmical contraction of the abdominal muscles during walking or during the other daily activities. In your daily routine, this stimulation is refused most of the day, which results in a decrease of the vitality.

Lifting the leg, we act on the abdominal muscles and thus they stimulate the whole area of the abdomen, the inner organs included. This is why we perform series of five movements. The exercise massages the organs deeply and also superficially.

SUBTLE EFFECTS
Balance and symmetry are two main purposes of yoga. The bodily and prana-ic balance is obtained equalizing the inhalation with the exhalation, and to keep a permanent focus on what is going on in the inner universe.

Some regions of our body are controlled by one or other of these vayu-s. Apana vayu, particularly stimulated by our exercise responds of the area from waist down. Apana vayu is responsible for the elimination of the urine, salts, sperm, menstrual blood, and for the birth process.

In our exercise, the entire action is based on the area governed by apana vayu, with a special effect on the legs and toes. If we make equal the time for an inhalation with that of an exhalation, the prana vayu and the apana vayu will become balanced.

In our exercise, when we try to make one part of the body active and the other passive, prana vayu and apana vayu are energically stimulated by each halves.

If we practice this exercise daily, it will help our spiritual practice, in the sense that asanas such as Halasana, Sarvangasana or Sirshasana will be easier to approach. The perseverant practice of this apparently simple exercise will bring special benefits to the practitioner.

Subtle Breathing

“When the breath is unrestrained, so is the mind. On the contrary, when the breath is under control, the mind will be tamed as well.”

Hatha Yoga Pradipika

 

“Breath is life” states a famous yogic proverb. In the absence of breath, life fades out.

When a child is born, his first breath is life. Any obstruction or delay of this process equals his death. On the other hand, the last breath of a person signifies his passage into another dimension and his parting from this world.

Between these two points in time, birth and death, the human being breathes incessantly, even if unaware of this process most of the time.

The yogic teachings have always stressed the importance of a correct pattern of breathing. According to the tantric teachings, a healthy person breathes approximately 21.600 times in 24 hours. This means one breath at four seconds.

Normally, a person breathes slower when relaxed, and faster when acting. The act of love usually accentuated the breath, the heart is more active, and the blood flows more easily.

However, the Eastern sages tell us of certain prolonged erotic games where breathing is deep, rare, and fully controlled.

According to the yogic tradition, life is in close relationship with the pattern of breathing. One can easily notice this in the case of reptiles.

Take, for instance the turtle: it breathes rarely and has a long life. On the other hand, the mouse has a breathing pattern that implies fast breaths and lives a short life.

According to Gheranda Samhita, “By slowing the rhythm of your breath, the vital energy will reach high levels; by increasing the frequency of the breath, this energy of life will diminish”.

Another Hindu important text, Shiva Samhita, states:

“The body of the one who regularly practices breathing techniques develops harmoniously, has a nice smell and becomes strong and attractive. The sage practicing these techniques will destroy all Karma from this life or from his previous lives.

 

Thus, many yogis devote their lives exclusively to this desiderate, that is obtaining the conscious and complete control over breathing, knowing that this will make them gain the control over their destiny.”

METHOD FOR BECOMING AWARE OF YOUR BREATH
Try it even now, without having to change your ordinary rhythm or pattern of breathing. Place one hand on your abdomen, a little higher above the navel.

First, notice if the abdomen is completely relaxed when you breathe in. A normal breath occurs when the inferior part of the abdomen enlarges as the air gets inside the lungs and it contracts when breathing out.

Yet, many people breathe in a different manner. In addition, many people breathe only through their mouths instead of their noses. Such practice leads to losing the capacity to focus, to physical weakness and heart diseases.

Tantric learning asserts that, if the two lovers breath abnormal and they are stressed out there is the danger of impotence, lack of a normal libido, of emotional and mental problems as well as physical debility.

In the Tantric texts, as well as in the Taoist ones, the importance of breathing rarely during intercourse is accentuated because thus the conscience focuses on assimilating and retaining the energy of life.

PART 2 | PART 3

Subtle Breathing, Part 2

 

 

Many works deal with the posture (asana) and the science of breathing (Pranayama) in yoga. We believe that is extremely important to notice a few major aspects.

First of all the practitioner should pay attention to the stages of breathing: breathing in, retention of the breath and breathing out.

Breathing in should be natural, never forced; the air should get inside the body as the result of the enlargement of the abdomen. When we are retaining the breath inside, the inferior part of the body has to take the form of a vessel; the yogic term for this is kumbhaka, which means “the one that contains”.

Retaining the breath is the milestone of breathing techniques. This is where the great force springs. During this stage, the air is partially absorbed by the lungs out it energizes the whole body.

The Tantric adept is advised to imagine that he absorbs the life-giving energies of Brahma. While on retention, the attention of the adept should be directed on extracting the vital energies and making them circulate through the body.

Finally, during breathing out he/she should imagine that all impurities, diseases or nervous tensions leave the body and go back into the ground in order to be purified.

All these three parts of the process of breathing should be linked together, without interruptions or sudden moves. Moreover, one should always be aware and focused during the act of breathing.

The most important moment is the retention of the breath after inhaling, when the flow of the energy is improved and the subtle channels of the body are being reopened.

There is also an increased amount of gland secretions, especially saliva, which, according to the yoga learning, strengthens and nourishes the human being.

A yogic treatise, Goratsha shatakam, strongly sustains that:

“The practitioner should breathe in slowly and breathe out the same way, trying not to retain his breath for too long, and yet not to let it out too quickly either. The control of the breath destroys all karmic residues, bringing harmony and equilibrium to the whole body.”

Complete breathing – inhalation, retention and exhalation represents the first step in using breathing techniques as modalities of reaching the ultimate state of freedom.

Once you get accustomed with a healthy and harmonious pattern of breathing, you will have the possibility to experience other specific rhythms of breathing.

For the example, the healing breath is an extremely simple technique and can be practiced anytime, as described below:

The rhythm of this type of breathing is 1:4:2, meaning that the retention lasts four times longer than the inhalation and the exhalation – two times longer. In the case of Pranayama (breathing exercises), the inhalation is taken as the measure.

Prolong inhalation at first, and then do exactly as said before. Then gradually increase the time of inhalation, keeping the proportion of the other two. The result of such practice is that the process of breathing is slowed down, and will relax and refresh both body and mind.

Nonetheless, do not practice this technique too much too soon. If you feel dizzy or tired, or if your heart is beating too fast stop practicing it as these are signs indicating that you are forcing things. It is recommendable that you gradually increase the period of retention.

The proportion between inhalation, retention, and exhalation should be counted in terms of heartbeats (they can be noted by simply moving your fingers), or by using a clock.

It is not indicated that the counting be done mentally, because if the mind is not focused entirely on the technique, its benefits will not be as powerful as they would normally be, that is if you are completely focused on the technique.

This recommendation is because the mind should focus on the process of meditation, and not on the logic, rational process of counting. An effective method for concentration is to focus on the sounds produced by the air when inhaled and exhaled.

The Yogic treatises describe a large number of sounds that appear while breathing in and out.
For instance, Gheranda Samhita:

“When the air gets in, it makes the “sah” sound and when it gets out it makes the sound “ham”. These two sounds give birth to the words “saham” (or “soham” which means, “I am HIM”) or “hamsa” (which means “the Great Swan”, referring to “The Bird of the Soul”).

 

Each living being produces these sounds, unconsciously. This subtle sound can be heard in three places: in the so-called ‘root’ centre (situated between the anus and the genitalia), in the heart centre and in the third eye (placed between the eyebrows).

The Yogi will consciously repeat these sounds, gradually increasing the duration of the inhalation, and preserving the proportion between the retention and exhalation.”

Another method for keeping track of the proportion between inhalation, retention and exhalation is to create and repeat a phrase with a powerful, positive meaning, such as: “I am surrounded by a beneficial aura of protection”, using the length of these words as a unit of measure.

During all this time, you may try to visualize this aura as a yellow light around your head. You can use a mantra in exactly the same way. It will be repeated at every stage of the process of breathing, respecting the already established proportion.

Walking is an ideal moment for practicing and developing the healing breath because you can use the number of your steps in order to improve your technique.

The correct practice of the ‘healing breath’ technique will refresh your entire body. Your mind will take advantage from its practice as well, as it gradually reaches a state of profound calmness.

Subtle Breathing, Part 3

Prana, the vital breath, originates in the Self. As the shadow and the person who generates it are inseparable, so are the Prana and the Self. Prana enters the body at birth so that the mind’s wishes, which have come down from another lives, to be fulfilled.”

Prana Upanishad

In fact, the final goal of all breath techniques is that of prolonging the retention until the practitioner reaches higher stages in Yoga (such as supernatural powers) and his karma is destroyed.

The control of the mind over the vital forces of the body will have an immediate and direct effect over the sexual centre, in the sense that the overall level of energy is higher.

The practitioner will notice an increased amount of energy and of his receptivity. The senses become sharper. Any couple wishing to experience the Tantric ecstasy while making love should pay special attention to the breath.

Then the lovers will practice the healing breath so that the subtle channels of the body are purified, and this purification of the subtle channels will eliminate the risk of shocks, physical and psychical uneasiness due to the high energies implied by the Tantric erotic game.

The flows of prana, the mind and the sexual energy are interdependent. Controlling one of the three will result in controlling the other two, as well. In the following, you may see the close interdependence between breath, erotic act and mental subtle processes.

One of the most important aspects in an erotic union is the process of breathing, because emotions are connected directly to it. True physical love leads to a complete coordination between the breaths of the lovers.

This is the key for obtaining huge powers. Nonetheless, there are other breath techniques capable of preparing a couple for a Tantric erotic game.

A secret technique consists in bringing together the lateral margins of your tongue and sticking out the tongue through your lips; breathe in forcefully, retain the air inside your lungs for as long as you can, without forcing and then breathe out through your nose.

According to Shiva Samhita,

“The yogi who practices the Raven’s Beak in the morning and at sunset, is free of all diseases. This practice leads to obtaining clairvoyance and other miraculous powers.”

The Yogic tradition speaks about five vital breaths (prana or the force of life). It is said that, just like a king empowers certain authorities to govern territories of his kingdom, in the same way the primordial prana contains other four types of prana, each designated to coordinate specific functions in the body.

Of all these five types of prana, the primordial prana (which has an ascendant direction) and apana (which has an descendent direction) are the most important.

Tantra Yoga aims to inverse the ‘natural’ course of apana, making it unite with prana, determining thus a complete transformation of the being.

The distribution of prana (absorbed through the lungs) into the five types of vital energy takes place during the retention after inhaling the air. This process may also be the support of profound meditation.

MEDITATION TECHNIQUE
Imagine the air coming in through your nostrils as if it were less thick than water. Pour it into the inferior part of your abdomen, as if it were a vessel. When breath is complete, move on to the retention and imagine that all the openings of your body (ears, eyes, nose, mouth and anus) are shut.

Imagine the prana circulating to the five parts of the body. Try to visualize this process with your mind’s eye. While on retention, try to take out the best and most valuable parts of the air you have inhaled. Then breathe out imagining how all impurities and physical disorders leave your body and go back into the earth in order to be purified and regenerated.

Breath control is essential in practicing correctly the Tantric and Taoist way of lovemaking. These breathing techniques will never be practiced immediately after having a meal or after making great effort.

You should always be aware of your individual breathing pattern. You should not be afraid of the force of your breath. On the contrary, aim to learn how to use it in a careful and conscious manner. By being aware of your own pattern of breathing, as well as of your lover’s, the ecstasy is quite close.

“The wise men do not talk about the capacity of uttering words, about the sight, the hearing, or meditation; they speak only of the different types of prana-s that make all these things possible. For all the rest is nothing but the manifestations of prana.”

Charaka Samhita

 

 

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