as understood from teachings of
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.”
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 ).
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
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.
Is Not Breathing Exercise...
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.
And Quick Breathing Causes Harmful Emotions
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.
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.
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.
is not a technique to be practised but it is a highest state of