Books & E-Books
Page to a
Advanced Secret Aids in the Practice of All Forms of
PranayamaStrictly speaking, Yogis do not hold secrets
from the rest of humanity. The teaching of Pranayama are free to all like
the rays of the sun. However, as the science of Yoga is the greatest form
of knowledge that has ever been devised by humanity, the Yogis protect its
teachings to prevent it from becoming distorted or from reaching
undeserving hands. The undeserving are those who do not value the precepts
and principles and so trample on them with their indifference and
worldliness. Those who respect the teachings of Yoga will do no less than
practice Yoga Pranayama but will not impart its methods without permission
from the teacher that gave those methods. Hence the phrase, "na datavyam,
na datavyam, na datavyam," Don't impart, don't impart, don't impart.
In the countless millenniums that Yogis fine-tuned the science of
Pranayama, many secret aids that assisted Yogis in mastering prana were
discovered and incorporated into the practice of Yoga. For example, as
solar currents travel east to west, Yogis realized that facing East during
the practice of Pranayama was advantageous in one's efforts to go within.
However, they found that when one was consciously exiting the body for the
last time (death of the body), it was best to ritually face north. They
also discovered that sitting on wool was found to be useful in creating a
barrier between the sitting yogi and the mundane currents that travel
through the earth. They further found that silk was an insulator of prana
and so by wearing silk regularly and placing silk over the wool during
Pranayama practice there would be no loss or "evaporation" of the often
scattered pranic currents that run through the body.
Yogis realized that some oils such as olive oil were in fact conductors of
prana and so by applying olive to the hair and other parts of the body the
Yogi could absorb greater amounts of free pranic currents roaming through
the ether. Yogis discovered that practices like fasting and keeping
silence were effective in saving one's pranic nervous energy to be used in
greater force during the practice of Pranayama. Yogis also realized that
the adherence to the Yogic injunctions of yama and niyama was a form of
Pranayama as it limited the flow of prana into restlessness producing
Yogis also found that the sun's ultraviolet rays, when
united with the heightened pranic currents in the spine and body, was able
to produce a spiritual power in the body of the sun-bathing Yogi. Yogis
therefore spent many of their hours during practice naked and in direct
sunlight. Through the use of tension and breath retention, the rays of the
sun mix with the prana of the body and create a tremendous healing force.
This science of health and spirituality is called heliotherapy.
The ancient Yogis discovered that sleep was the subconscious
practice of Pranayama and so the narrow window between wakefulness and
sleep was a door to the superconscious state. Yogis therefore made efforts
to remain mentally awake while the body slept. This is done through will
power and attention directed at the point between the eyebrows. Watch the
body sleep from that high vantage point. It was also determined that if
the state of ecstasy was marked by a cessation of breathing, then Bliss
could be experienced by mimicking the state of breathlessness. In other
words, Yogis assume the virtue of Bliss by placing their bodies
psychophysically in the motionless state which corresponds to the Blissful
Yogis determined that while the mind was restless by
nature, the thoughts could be calmed by the use of the feeling heart.
Toward this end, Yogis practiced Pranayama with one or both hands at the
chest in an effort to extend the antenna of the heart outward. This both
calmed the mind and brought peace to the thoughts and emotions. Armed with
your mastery of prana and devotion, as Krishna points out, the Yogi exits
this world for that which lies beyond nirvana. The only two things you
take with you with the death of the body are your devotion and mastery of
prana. Yogis also realized that by puffing the chest out with the back
straight during Pranayama, courage and drive which aided one in sitting
for long hours would manifest in the practitioner's consciousness.
The Yogis found that noise was among the greatest of distractions
to the mind making efforts to hear the inner sounds of the chakras. Yogis
then designed the armrest on which the Yogi could, for extended periods,
rest the arms and place the thumbs on the tragi of the ears and close off
the ears to all sounds. They discovered that by adhering to a vegetarian
diet the mind and pranic currents were more easily controllable. Yogis
also realized that the practice of continence was very beneficial where
mastery of prana was concerned. Moving on, it was found that it was best
to practice Pranayama four times a day. Once at 5 am, then at 11 am, a
third time at 5 pm, and lastly at 11 pm. By following such a schedule the
Yogi was able to minimize the effects of aging on the body.
discovered that inverting the body daily promoted health, both physical
and mental, longevity, concentration, and happiness. Further, of all the
trees under which to sit and do Pranayama, Yogis found that the pine tree
was conducive toward meditation. They also found that more energy
(negative ions) was in the air in caves and/or near waterfalls. Yogis
realized also that cooler weather was generally better for the practice of
stillness. Continuing, water, used in a variety of ways, was found to be a
cure for most ailments. Water can be both bathed in and ingested. During
bathing, certain salts, aromas, muds, and minerals could be added to water
of different temperatures. Ingested, water can be boiled with herbs,
combined with fruit juices, made sweet or salty depending on the end in
mind, and can be gargled with. Also, bathing before Pranayama was found to
harmonize and settle all of the pranic currents in the body. Continuing,
working with the earth as in gardening and farming was a good way to
overcome the ego and cultivate humility. Finally, they found that the most
spiritually beneficial of all foods were fruits.
The keys to
success in Pranayama are to breathe very slowly, to keep the inhalation
and the exhalation at about the same duration, and to listen to the sounds
of the breath. The breath should in no way be made to sound choppy.
Breathing must be fluid and fine. Slow down your breathing until you can
inhale for twenty-two seconds, hold the breath comfortably for a few
moments, and exhale for twenty-two seconds without any strain whatsoever.
Make an effort to incorporate some, if not many, of the above
secret aids into your daily life. Practice Pranayama in the sun for ten
minutes to one-half hour a day, especially in the winter when the sun is
weaker in strength. Work with the earth and begin your own home garden.
Eat healthier and be sure to include an abundance of fruit in your diet.
Live in negative ion rich surroundings. Failing that, buy an ionizer and
perhaps an inversion table so that you may invert once or twice a day.
Fast regularly and make every effort to be in silence where talking is
unnecessary. Make an effort to mentally remain awake and aware even as the
body falls asleep. It is not easy, but with practice you can do it. Sit
with spine erect during Pranayama and keep the chest out. Always remember
to breathe very very slowly during Pranayama. The slower the breath, the
greater the benefits.