The process of breathing accompanies our whole life continuously.

On average, we make about 21 thousands respiratory movements per day, what lets one portion of oxygen-enriched air enter the lungs, when the other portion of the air, which contains carbon dioxide and other metabolic products, leaves the body.

Usually a human may be in one of three states: awake, sleep with dreams and the state of dreamless sleep. These are the three facets of one reality. Despite the fact that we go through them one by one, the process of breathing connects these facets.

When we are awake we have one rhythm of breathing, during the sleep with dreams - another, and during the sleep without dreams - the third. In all these cases, we breathe. If there is no breathing, then we observe a state of clinical death or the state of samadhi.

Pranayama, or something that is connected with the breathing process, runs all through the entire life. There is something universal in it, which does not depend on any factors. That is why time-to-time pranayama yoga was chosen as a foundation for a future spiritual path. Moreover, later, in tantric yoga tradition, for example, the emphasis was put precisely on breathing exercises. At that time, same as in the classical brunches of yoga, the first thing that was required for the knowledge is Hatha yoga as it follows from the ancient texts it was outstanding control of physical body.

Pranayama yoga is quite serious yoga, and unlike physical branches of yoga, it requires more skills. Therefore, not by an accident Pranayama follows after doing asanas even in Eightfold Path, or so-called ashtanga yoga of Patanjali. In fact, we need to learn Hatha yoga, learn how to do certain poses first, and only after we can proceed to the breathing exercises.

We need to mention, that in ancient times, it was allowed to start learning Pranayama yoga before Hatha yoga. However, it is connected to some kind of difficulties, because if you make a mistake in Pranayama yoga, and you do not have the Teacher nearby, it will be quite difficult to get rid of it. In case you have learned Hatha yoga first, some flaws in Pranayama yoga will be compensated by Hatha yoga. Therefore, if you try to study Pranayama yoga on your own risk all by yourself, you should not neglect such physical yoga as Hatha yoga, Kriya yoga and Prostration yoga. It will really be a good foundation for your pranayama yoga practice.

What we will practice is a more delicate area: it is the knowledge that we have received from the ancient yogis. We got the knowledge partially - only a pittance compared to the huge potential of exercises and practices, which unfortunately seems to be lost.

How can we understand that practices are lost? By implication, of course. In many texts, in many epics (Mahabharata, the Vedas, and other sources) you will find links that show how powerful exercises used to be and how powerful forces humans who practiced them used to have.

What we know of Pranayama is unfortunately only tiny bits. But even these bits when used now would turn your life upside down. However, it is necessary to practice them in a way it has been prescribed.

According to yoga teachings, respiratory movement is not only a way of drawing oxygen from the air and removing carbon dioxide and other metabolic products, but also an indirect mechanism of attracting what is called prana in yoga.

As taught in yoga, each of us is Atman or Higher Self. Each one of us is a part of a higher, transcendent Absolute, which gave birth to the whole world. Our Higher Self is truly prohibitive, it is grand, powerful, has all imaginable and unimaginable features and qualities. The problem is that we are not aware of ourselves, so we cannot use these treasures. Inside we are full of strength, abilities, but we do not even suspect it.

Our Higher Self manifests itself in the world through its two abilities: consciousnessand energy. In this world, we can see, perceive and do something. For example, we can make something with our hands, because our subtlest energy controls the rougher streams of energy, obtained from food, so we can take a stone, and throw it somewhere. This rougher flow of energy, which bends and unbends our muscles, is managed by more subtle energy. Which, in turn, is controlled by the finest energy, and so it goes to the primary energy that is our manifestation. Anotherability is called consciousness. We can see what happens around using our senses. This information is transmitted to the brain that transmits it further to finer structures, and these structures are highlighted by our consciousness, and so we see what happens.

As yoga teaches us, even before these two expressions there is a universal expression of our Higher Self. From the Supreme Self comes a streaming channel, which then separates into two abilities - consciousness and energy. This single channel is called prana.

Last modified: Sunday, 11 March 2018, 6:48 PM