“The  True  Meaning  Of  Praanayama...”

Transcribed as understood from teachings of
Guruji Swami Shree Yogi Satyam - Kriyayoga Master & Scientist

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The word “Praanayama” is comprised of the two words ‘praana’ and ‘ayama.’ ‘Praana’ means life force and ‘ayama’ means dimension (nature). Dimension means all aspects - length, weight, mass, volume, time and space ... Therefore, attaining knowledge of all dimensions of praana is praanayama.

 What Is Praana?

 Praana is the divine creative life force (Brahma shakti) which is also the force of preservation (Vishnu shakti) of all objects of the cosmos and the force of bringing wonderful change (Shiva shakti) to demonstrate infinite beauty. Praan has become body and the same life force has become breath. Body and breath are condensed life force. The changes we feel in the body as lightness-heaviness, pain-pleasure, pressure-relaxation... are manifestations of the divine creativity of praana. By deeper concentration on the body, toes to head, through the practice of Kriyayoga, we can attain knowledge of all aspects (structure and function) of praana.

Praanayama -
The State Of Disjoining The Course Of Inspiration & Expiration...

 Maharshi Patanjali has clearly defined praanayama which is also described in Autobiography of a Yogi by Sri Paramahansa Yogananda. The highest aim of a person is to attain liberation from ignorance of all kinds. “Liberation can be accomplished by the Praanayama which is attained by disjoining the course of inspiration and expiration.” -- (Patanjali Yoga Darshanam- Aphorisms 2:49) Here disjoining the course of inspiration and expiration means absence of inspiration and expiration. It is the state where breath becomes dream.

According to Maharshi Patanjali, Praanayama is a state of cessation of breath, the discontinuance of inhalation and exhalation, which is the state of higher consciousness, known as the state of breathlessness. At this stage we are perfectly united (one) with the praana. We realize that we can live without breath. We are not bound or controlled by breath but we are controller of breath. Kriyayoga practice calms the storm of breath and retires our consciousness in the brain and spine to awaken the dormant power in the chakras (the hidden infinite treasure of wisdom).  

Realized master Sri Paramahansa Yogananda has clearly explained that breathlessness is the higher state of realization known as Samadhi (perfect union with God). We cannot perceive Truth until we have attained full mastery over breath, as explained below in a passage from Autobiography of a Yogi.

Gyanavatar Swami Sri Yukteswar Giriji explains - “The ancient yogis discovered that the secret of Cosmic Consciousness is intimately linked with the breath mastery. This is India’s unique and deathless contribution to the world’s treasury of knowledge. The life force, which is ordinarily absorbed in maintaining the heart pump, must be freed for higher activities by a method of calming and stilling the ceaseless demands of the breath.” The state of breathlessness (gradual, unforced cessation of breathing) is the state of deathlessness where we behold our eternity.

The Bhagavad Gita explains the same truth which is further described in Autobiography of a Yogi - “Offering inhaling breath into the outgoing breath, and offering the outgoing breath into the inhaling breath, the yogi neutralizes both these breaths; he thus releases the life force from the heart and brings it under his control.” -- (Bhagavad Gita 4:29)  The interpretation is - “The yogi arrests decay in the body by an addition of life force, and arrests the mutations of growth in the body by apana (eliminating current). Thus neutralizing decay and growth, by quieting the heart, the yogi learns life control.”

Praanayama is known by many persons through many different ways but Kriyayoga practice is the highest, greatest, fastest and the most royal way of knowing Praanayama. The important point to note is that Praanayama is not a technique to be practised but it is a highest state of consciousness in which a person experiences oneness with God (I and God are one- Ahambrahmaashmi ).

Kriyayoga The Highest Way To Praanayama...

 Kriyayoga is the highest technique to attain the state of praanayama. With the practice of Kriyayoga, the devotee learns to switch on and off the life current to and from the senses and to focus it within the brain and spine where he becomes one with Spirit (God). Transferring the life current from the body and directing it towards the brain and spine is the journey towards divine awakening where self becomes one with God. It is a journey from matter to Spirit, finite to infinite, darkness (ignorance) to light (wisdom).

St. Paul, disciple of Jesus Christ, was expert in this technique, thus he had clearly said - “Verily, I protest by our rejoicing which I have in Christ, I die daily.”-- (1 Corinthians 15:31).  I die daily means that he was able to consciously withdraw the life current from the senses and to merge it with the infinite  light of God (the divine consciousness within brain and spine) which is the sphere of eternal bliss. 

 Praanayama Is Not Breathing Exercise...

 Most people erroneously believe that Praanayama is accomplished by breath control. Therefore, in the name of Praanayama, breathing techniques are being taught which are not true and in fact are harmful. Breath is not praana and breathing exercises are not praanayama. Praana is creator of breath. We cannot know or control praana by breath but by perfectly uniting with the praana, we attain full control over breath. Therefore, control of breath is a result of controlling the praana.

 Fast And Quick Breathing Causes Harmful Emotions
Resulting In Physical And Mental Disharmonies...

All fast breathing exercises and holding the breath in the lungs for an extended time is unscientific and unpleasant. Holding the breath in the lungs for uncomfortably long periods causes pressure in the lungs which is diverted to the heart and others organs of the body; therefore fast and quick breathing exercises should be strictly avoided. A number of misguided zealots promote fast breathing exercises as praanayama.

These exercises are harmful for the nervous system and alveoli of the lungs. They disturb the elasticity of bronchioles, and bronchi and alveoli resulting in improper gaseous exchange between the air of the lungs and the circulating blood.

All the realized masters - Lord Krishna, Jesus Christ, Lahiri Mahasaya, Saint Kabir, Nanak Dev, Moses, Elijah etc, never preached nor practised the fast and quick breathing exercises. Sri Paramahansa Yogananda, whose body bore no sign and symptom of decay even 20 days after departure from body (mahasamadhi), never taught breathing exercises as Praanayama.

 Fast and quick breathing exercises increases fear, lust, anger, greed, temptation and brings about physical and mental disharmonies. When we suffer from fear, our breathing rate increases. Therefore, by calming the breath through the practice of Kriyayoga, we attain the state of fearlessness. Fear is the greatest violence. By attaining the state of fearlessness we are established in the state of non- violence.

Praanayama is not a technique to be practised but it is a highest state of consciousness
in which a person experiences oneness with God...
(I and God are one- Ahambrahmaashmi )