Sunday, March 22, 2009


Though I do not care much about the intricate systems of Pranayama's that are advised by Hatha Yoga texts, a general understanding of the subject might not be a handicap to you. That is the only reason to include this here. Every text ( modern and ancient) comes with a detailed description of the practice and its methods. But all of them relays more or less on this basic technique.

This is the Nadi Sudhi pranayama which awakens the force called Kundalini. Knowing it might also be of use. If you want to awaken it try picturing the base of your spine as triangular in form and Kundalini as dormant in it while doing pranayama. (I have experience that the Kundalini would awaken through the Nadi Sudhi pranayama alone)

To do it you take in the air through the left nostril and hold it in then lets it out through the other nostril. Then the reverse, take the breath in through the right and holds it and releases it through the left.

As you breath in visualize the prana going down to the triangle at the base and tapping the kundalini awake and sending it upwards. It would awaken sooner or latter. I would not advise the practice though. But some are adventurous and might want to try it.

There are several Chakras or subtle centers in its upward journey. Like Swadhishtana, at the lower abdomen ( its primordial, possibly contains the basic body related unconscious urges. It is dangerous if the Kundlini gets fixed there. Some say that you would become a veritable demon. A Mr. Hyde like charecter)

Then there is the Manipoora above that which is just a little farther removed from the basic side our nature. If this centre gets influenced all sorts of fears , external influence( mostly of an emotional and basic nature) might result they say

Next comes Anahata. This is said to be the seat of pure emotions. I have seen one guy who practices dhyana at the heart chakra. I do not know if he has his kundalini awakened. But the poor man seems to be in the throes of intense emotions at all times!

That is not advisable too.

The force getting fixed on the Visudha is also not very good. It still is a basic chakra.

My advise, if you want very much to awaken this force( I have no opinion about it I must say) try to fix it on the Anja chakra. It might save you if the force gets awakened and starts create havoc within you.

So place your consciousness on the Anja Chakra in normal meditation so that the force would ascend to there if you want to awaken the Kundalini.

Well any way the following is the basic practice of Pranayama. It would bring you the scarce state breath called the the Kevala Kumbaka. This is enough to take you places. You don't need Kundalini for attaining liberation. Possibly it hinders liberation. Here is what you do to get Kevala Kumbaka.

Pranayama has been categorized into three types. The following description may lack finesse, But it might give you a general idea what to the ancients the practice was.

1 Rechaka Pranayama 2. Pooraka Pranayama 3. Kumbaka Pranayama .

Rechaka Pranayama

Rechaka means to expel. In this Pranayama the practitioner expels all air from the lungs and blocks the breath on the outside without letting the air in to the lungs.

Pooraka Pranayama

Pooraka means to fill in. In this the air is taken in slowly till all your nadis( nerves) are filled with it. You might wonder how we can “fill” the nadis( nerves) with air. In the science of Yoga Prana is not merely air, it contains universal life force . It is this life force which is supposed to fill the Nadis.

Kumbaka Pranayama

Kumbaka means to block. This consists of blocking the air from going out once the lungs are filled with it. It is not really that different from Pooraka Pranayama. Kumbaka Pranayama is off three types

1. Sahitha Kumbaka and 2. Kevala Kumbaka

Sahitha Kumbaka

Sahitha means “with”. The meaning in the context is ‘Kumbaka with effort”. There is Pranayama or kumbaka with effort and without effort. This will become clear in the next section. Here it would suffice to know that blocking Prana (air) outside or inside your body is called Sahitha Kumbaka. Thus as you can see there are two types of Sahitha Kumbaka. Rechaka Kumbaka and Pooraka Kumbaka.. These are the same as Rechaka Pranayama and Pooraka Pranayama.

Kevala Kumbaka

This can not be “practiced”; it would have to “happen’ to you. I will explain it. In this Kumbaka or Pranayama the breath gets blocked without any effort either inside or outside of your body . This occurs after practicing Sahitha Kumbaka for some time, some considerable time mind you. It is the most natural outcome of the Sahitha Kumbaka. To me it happens all the time. Some times I would be sitting without breathing for some time before I become aware of it. To make it ‘happen’ you need to practice both the Sahitha Kumbaka’s for some time, the Rechaka variety and the Pooraka variety. Rechaka Kumbaka is a little difficult. You can not block air out side your body as long as you can block it inside.

There are two other types too within the above Pranayama’s .These are called the 1.Sagarbha Pranayama and 2.Agarbha ( Vgarbha) Pranayama’s. Let me explain these futher.

Sagarbha Pranayama

Sagarbha means included. In the context it means the practice of Pranayama with internal recitation of Mantra and taking count of the length of time you do the Pranayama. This is the Pranayama which is practiced with the recitation of OM. The practice is like this, you recite Om for 16 times while expelling the breath through your right nostril. And then fill in the air through left nostril reciting OM for 32 times. Then you hold in the breath inside reciting Om for 64 times. While holding the breath thus you also should think about the meaning of OM.

Agarbha ( Vigarbha) Pranayama.

Agarbha means not included .In this you do the same as above minus the count and the recitation. You expel air through the right, inhale through the left and hold it inside all without any count or recitation of Mantra. There are no rules in this Pranayama. You can practice at your pace. Expel, take in and hold in the air as long as you can.

As far as I know this is the best technique to make the Kevala Kumbaka ‘happen”. In the earlier technique the counting and recitation takes up all our attention and thus defeating the very aim of the practice, that of gaining inner knowledge.

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