Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Pranayama: and why the classical structure must be adhered to

Last week  I had a walk-in student. She did yoga, but with lots of errors. She said her teacher was a very soft. That meant that he was not pushing her and she admitted that since it was a private yoga class, she was possibly entering the class with low energy, since she could hear her baby in the other room and somehow that meant her mind was not fully in the practice. She also said that her yoga teacher had created an amalgamation of his own practice.
Her anulom vilom, despite the fact she was a healthy woman, had no ratio and was just an inhale and exhale, as one round!! Her teacher had also done several courses so she trusted him.

Its not a puzze why her yoga classes possibly gave her only 20 per cent of what she is capable of. Private classes are like that.Most teachers will not take more
effort than what the student offers, because the relationship is somehow that of a customer. To fight that, you need to be  tough and you need to a teacher. Not an instructor. And when some teacher says he or she has created a style of his or her own, run a hundred miles away from that person! The classical style is what will give you benefits. Any watering down in the name of innovation is just an excuse for watering down the practices so the customer-instructor relationship is not jeopardized. This happens with the best,because to cling to the classical style of yoga, perfect and complete, calls for guts.

Here, my Sadguru Swami Sivananda, on the benefits of pure pranayama (from his book, and sent over email to the guru's followers by one of Bihar school of yoga, Priyadarshan Pradhan. If you need to have his mailers on your email, you can connect with him on You can also catch news on the fantastic programmes by the Bihar school  of yoga if you connect with him here).

The velocity of the mind will be slowly lessened by Pranayama. It will induce Vairagya.

If you can suspend one inch or digit of breath inside, you will obtain the powers of foretelling; if you can suspend two inches within, you will get the power of thought-reading, for suspending the breath for three inches, levitation; for four inches, psychometry, clairaudience, etc; for five inches, moving about unseen by anybody in the world; for six inches, the power of ‘Kaya Siddhi’; for seven inches, entering the body of another man (Parakaya Pravesa); for eight inches, the power to remain always young; for nine inches, the power to make Devas to work as your servants; for ten inches Anima, Mahima and other Siddhis; and for eleven inches, you will attain oneness with Paramatman. When through great practice the Yogi can perform Kumbhaka for full three hours, then he can balance himself on his thumb. He undoubtedly attains all kinds of Siddhis. Just as fire destroys the fuel, so also Pranayama destroys the bundles of sins. Pratyahara makes the mind calm. Dharana steadies the mind. Dhyana makes one forget the body and the world. Samadhi brings infinite Bliss, Knowledge, Peace and Liberation.

During Yogic Samadhi, the flame of the Yogagni (fire of Yoga) extending from navel to the head melts the Amrita in the Brahmarandhra. The Yogi drinks this with joy and ecstasy. He can remain without food and drink for months by drinking this Yogic nectar alone.

The body becomes lean, strong and healthy. Too much fat is reduced. There is lustre in the face. Eyes sparkle like a diamond. The practitioner becomes very handsome. Voice becomes sweet and melodious. The inner Anahata sounds are distinctly heard. The student is free from all sorts of diseases. He gets established in Brahmacharya. Semen gets firm and steady. The Jatharagni (gastric fire) is augmented. The student becomes so perfect in Brahmacharya that his mind will not be shaken even if a fairy tries to embrace him. Appetite becomes keen. Nadis are purified. The Vikshepa is removed and the mind becomes one-pointed. Rajas and Tamas are destroyed. The mind is prepared for Dharana and Dhyana. The excretions become scanty. Steady practice arouses inner spiritual light, happiness and peace of mind. It makes him an Urdhvareto-Yogi. Advanced students only will get all the other Siddhis mentioned above.

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