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The Experiences of Yogis in the Practice of Pranayama

This lesson is dedicated to illustrating the definite results of the practice of Yoga. One of the biggest problems students of Yoga have is the delusion of spiritual progress from certain abnormal results where no real progress exists. These results may be real and often very showy, but ultimately add up to little spiritually. The flip side is that many students who get none of the results that other students of Yoga experience fear that they are not progressing at all when in fact the real benefits of Yoga are apparent in their lives. Do not give into doubt, but don't delude yourself into thinking that being spiritual is as easy as looking spiritual, calling yourself spiritual, being called by others spiritual, or by making your home look spiritual. As with everything, practice of Yoga alone makes perfect spirituality. Here are the markers on your journey. Look for them in yourself and others who pose as students or gurus of Yoga.

Yama and Niyama will give the Yogi complete self-control where thought and action is involved and the ability to quickly calm the mental faculties when stillness of thought is desired. If you find that there are still residues or whirlpools of thought or memory from your day or your life when you sit to practice Pranayama, then your thoughts and actions were misguided and not in keeping with Yama and Niyama. Look to where your mind rests as you sit to watch the breath to discover where you erred.

Asana will bring physical stillness and mind-body harmony, allowing you to sit absolutely motionless for countless hours in the meditation position without becoming tired, restless, or even aware of the passage of time. If you have not reached this state, work on your meditation posture by practicing it with no thought of time or movement.

Pranayama gives the Yogi control over the heartbeat and pulse. You should be able to have one pulse rate in one arm, a different pulse rate in the other arm, and no pulse in your neck if you so desire. That and that alone is pulse control. Learn to stop the heart at will. Pranayama also brings the ability to still the breath for hours or even days at a time. Finally, Pranayama will give you the awareness of the cool and warm currents in the spine, awareness and control over all the five pranic currents in the body, the melting of the mind into another prana and the merging of it with the breath, and the ability to breathe with the mind alone beyond thought. Pranayama ends with the ability to enter Pratyahara at will. If you have not achieved all this, you are not beyond Pranayama in the school of Raja Yoga.

Pratyahara gives the Yogi the ability to control the senses, the ability to turn off any one, two, three, four, or all the senses, to hear with the skin, to see with the nose, to smell with the eyes, to taste with the hands, etc. Pratyahara gives the Yogi the ability to turn the mind away from the senses. The body will go numb and you will not be aware that you even have a body.

Dharana gives the Yogi the ability to hear the cosmic sound of AUM as limited to the body. You must be able to hear AUM in the body. Your consciousness in the spine will be riveted to the sound of AUM as limited by the astral body.

Dhyana yields the ability to expand on the magnitude of AUM and hear AUM throughout the cosmos. Dhyana expands the consciousness beyond the confines of the body through listening to the oceanic sound of AUM as it expands beyond the body into the vastness of the infinite.

Samadhi is the merging of the consciousness with AUM in the first phase of samadhi or AUM samadhi. It is union between the self and the cosmic Self through the sound of AUM. It is the ability to attain ecstasy at will. You will become desireless.

On the path of ascension, the Yogi gains the ability to produce dreams and visions at will, then the Yogi can remain conscious while the body is sleeping, then the Yogi can enter samadhi at will and see three great lights around him or her in a sphere of darkness, then feel the entire cosmos inside his or her body, then feel his or her presence throughout the entire cosmos. Once you reach this universal consciousness you will gain the ability to materialize another body anywhere in the cosmos at will. Beyond that is Nirvikalpa Samadhi wherein you gain the ability to create solar systems, human beings, anything. You will know yourself to be the source of everything.

End delusions of spiritual grandeur. Test your advancement. If you are dissatisfied then practice, practice, practice. There is no easy way. The path is simple but rough. If you are treading on it daily you will be among the greatest men and women who ever walked the earth. No Yogi sitting in solitude practicing Pranayama is ever truly alone. Use the above information to ground your practice on real advancement. Do not be satisfied with any other experiences. They may be real or they may not be, but they have little value beyond entertainment. Get busy with Pranayama. You will then discover that the greatest proof of advancement is an ever increasing joy in your consciousness that is unconditioned by sensory impressions.