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 Pranayama Trouble, Getting nothing
greenlantern153
post Nov 1 2013, 02:00 PM
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Hello

I've been practicing alternate nostril breathing daily for a few months, and I'm just not getting anything out of it. I don't think I'm doing it incorrectly, it's a simple procedure after all. I don't even get the stress reduction or feeling of clarity that some folks report, never mind the deeper aspects of pranayama which, if I understood correctly, involve gaining experience and mastery of prana. Am I just being way too impatient with this practice? If you practice pranayama regularly, what do you get out of it?

Ahava


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fatherjhon
post Nov 2 2013, 09:24 AM
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QUOTE(Green Lantern @ Nov 1 2013, 04:00 PM) *

Hello

I've been practicing alternate nostril breathing daily for a few months, and I'm just not getting anything out of it. I don't think I'm doing it incorrectly, it's a simple procedure after all. I don't even get the stress reduction or feeling of clarity that some folks report, never mind the deeper aspects of pranayama which, if I understood correctly, involve gaining experience and mastery of prana. Am I just being way too impatient with this practice? If you practice pranayama regularly, what do you get out of it?

Ahava




Nadi Shodhana (alternate nostril breathing) is not pranayama. Its a breathing exercise designed to clear and balance the nadis. That will aid in meditation but the benefits Nadi Shodhana only come when combined with meditation. According to Hatha Yoga Pradipika perfection in practice happens when you are able to exhale for 32 times a long as you inhale, hen hold for another 16, then inhale for 1 and hold for 16. Do this without discomfort or effort. Then meditation will start on its own, that is how the effects are locked in so to speak. By balancing the nadis the mind becomes calm and stable. The holding the breath allows you to totally suspend the mind. On the inhale it is suspended on the nature of the individual self. On the exhale it is suspended on the nature of the universal self.

Nadi Shodhana is regulated by time, number, and length. Howmany times you breath with each nostril, how long the breath lasts, and the distance that the breath travels one it leaves the nose. In general one is advised to practice three times a day, (morning, before lunch, before bed) for 30 sets consisting of one inhalation then one exhalation, for three months, each week adding five more sets until one can practice for 30min at a time without discomfort. During this preparatory phase one counts mentally the time of inhalation and exhalation and tries to make them as even as possible. The breath needs to be diaphragmatic, free of stops, jerks, wheezes, pauses, and flow in and out like a fly wheel so you must watch very closely to see if you are inhaling or exhaling.

Once this is done, you can work on extending the out breath until you can comfortably and easily exhale for 32 times longer than you inhale. At that point you may include short periodic breath retentions until you can hold as long as you exhale. Then do the same for you inhale. Indications of progress are sweating, then shaking, then stillness after which for the inspired student 6 months will lead to perfection. A year for the middling student, and three for the lazy student. Are so says some book or another.

In my practice I do many types of pranayama, arranged one on top of the other. Pranayama is a building block, many in fact, that lead to more intense practices to clear the mind and stabilize it for mediation.Each type of pranayama has a goal and a time frame wherein it is most effective. You learn one then the other, then another. The most "advanced" pranayama I am doing took over a year to reach even with the guidance of a master. And it is a variation and elaboration on Nadi Shodhana. The most advanced practice that my teacher does is also a variant on Nadi Shodhana but it takes him three min to complete one round of it.

Pranayama in general is the control of prana, prana is controlled when perfection in Pranayama is reached. This is because prana the the subtle aspect of air element while breath is gross aspect. Regulation of the breath is regulation of prana. This is not quite the same as what most people think of as controlling prana, but it is not even half a step from prnayama to moving prana in any-sort of fancy way you can think of. Once your prana is smoothly flowing and the mind is calm you can move prana into or out of your body - with the breath. Which is somewhat easier than moving it with awareness alone as it makes use of natural tenancies and rhythms.

The fastest way to get the best results is practice according to Pradipika, while practicing assana, and meditation. The three are really one activity called yoga. Assana effects the grossest part of prana via the body while countering the mental habits that scatter prana, Pranayama deals with the next grossest, then meditation deals with the finest part while getting us used to the link between mind and prana. From there you add more practices or refine some you already have to make your progress quicker and easier.

All in all pranayama by itself, once a day, is not enough to counter daily stress, never mind get all the other benefits. Keep going and ask questions, it is sooo simple to miss a break through because of some preconceived notions. What is best one day may not be best the next day or even hour. There are many subtle considerations so if you notice something as a pattern then ask about it, it might shave weeks or months off your practice.

This post has been edited by fatherjhon: Nov 2 2013, 12:02 PM


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Cosmic consciousness is devoid of diversity; yet the universe of diversity exists in notion....
We contemplate that reality in which everything exists, to which everything belongs,
from which everything has emerged, which is the cause of everything and which is everything....
The light of [this] self-knowledge alone illumines all experiences. It shines by its own light.
This inner light appears to be outside and to illumine external objects.

-Sage Vasishtha

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greenlantern153
post Nov 3 2013, 01:55 AM
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Thanks for the reply. Let me explain what I've been doing: I used a 4:16:8 count (inhale over 4 through left nostril, hold over 16, exhale over 8 through right nostril, repeat starting with right nostril, etc.). I created a simple sound track using a metronome that keeps the count for me, and rings a bell every time it gets to 1 again. This completely eliminated the need to count mentally, which I thought was good because it allows me to focus my awareness entirely on my breathing. What's also great is I can adjust the tempo. So I started at 60 beats per minute (that's 1 metronome click per beat, or quarter notes), which was fairly easy. I built myself up to 30 minutes a day and then I progressively slowed the tempo down by 2 BPM until I got to 40 BPM, which was excruciatingly difficult. Then I decided to throw in the towel because I just wasn't seeing benefits.

QUOTE
All in all pranayama by itself, once a day, is not enough to counter daily stress, never mind get all the other benefits.


Yeah I noticed pranayama doesn't really help for stress. If I feel the need to get rid of stress, I would much rather use brainwave entrainment. (20 minutes at 10hz works magick for me.)

QUOTE
Keep going and ask questions, it is sooo simple to miss a break through because of some preconceived notions. What is best one day may not be best the next day or even hour. There are many subtle considerations so if you notice something as a pattern then ask about it, it might shave weeks or months off your practice.


Indeed. I'll check out Pradipika, hopefully I'll be better informed. Are there any other texts that you would recommend that you consider essential for proper practice of yoga? I have Swami Vivekananda's Raja Yoga, but he doesn't go into specifics of practice. Inspiring read though.





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fatherjhon
post Nov 5 2013, 11:58 AM
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QUOTE(Green Lantern @ Nov 3 2013, 02:55 AM) *

I used a 4:16:8 count. I created a simple sound track using a metronome that keeps the count for me. This completely eliminated the need to count mentally. So I started at 60 beats per minute and built myself up to 30 minutes a day and then I progressively slowed the tempo down by 2 BPM until I got to 40 BPM, which was excruciatingly difficult. Then I decided to throw in the towel because I just wasn't seeing benefits.


I'm not surprised. Using 4:16:8 is more advanced than most people are comparable with even though it is "easy". The retention in the middle stresses the body unless you can focus the mind. Using a soundtrack was a good idea but is really hindering your progress. We count to regulate the prana, its not a method to keep simple time. It is like a mantra, an internal support for the active (and now pranicaly charged) mind to rest on. When you let something outside yourself count for you you have to split your attention between flow of prana and the metronome. If you make any progress and focus only on the prana the chime will disturb you and make the next round harder than it needs to be.

The mind and prana are like two side of a coin. The mind will go where the prana is, and prana will fallow the mind. In pranayama we make the breath fine and subtle so we can focus on the sensation of the air flowing in and out of the nose. As we progress we find that the sensation will expand, this is awareness of prana. Watching the prana as it flows in and out focuses the mind and in doing concentrates prana even more making it easier to focus on with less effort. When we exhale our minds are so focused we do not notice we need to breath - hence the counting to know when to breath. When we do inhale we are so relaxed the body and mind have not used all the oxygen we took in. Therefore we have a surplus going into the next round further reducing the need to inhale during the kumbhaka (breath retention). That is how relaxation happens via this kind of pranayama.

Kumbhaka is of two kinds: internal and external. Internal will absorb prana while external will expand consciousness. External kumbhaka comes first then internal. During external kumbhaka there is tendency to spread out too far and pass out if you have not build a very solid foundation. If you have not gotten to where you can count and make the breath subtle and fine then adding a kumbhaka will only disturb the mind more and make pranayama "work". That's not what we want. The rule of thumb for pranyama is you should feel wonderful during and wonderful after. Anything less than wonderful means you need to examine why.

Try this for one month: Every day, at night and morning too if you can manage it, do 1:1 breathing. Do not bother with complected counting systems or metronomes. Just breath in..... one one-thousand and out.... one one-thousand. Breath form the diaphragm so your belly expands then the side ribs and then the chest followed by a slight elevation of the clavicle. On the out breath everything reverses order from the clavicle to the belly. Pay attention to the form of this. Be as meticulous as you can. Start with three sets of five breaths. Then sit quietly until you feel like getting up. Then It should take about three mins. Keep track of when you started and when you finished for each session for the whole month. I think you will be surprised at the what you find.

QUOTE
I'll check out Pradipika, hopefully I'll be better informed. Are there any other texts that you would recommend that you consider essential for proper practice of yoga? I have Swami Vivekananda's Raja Yoga.


Vivekananda is not an easy read as far the practice goes. He assumes you already have been practicing hatha yoga under guidance for some time. Raja Yoga is not really what we are talking about here; this is Hatha, actually a small sub-part of Hatha. The Pradipika is a great book and it is one of three classics of Hatha. The other two are Shiva Samhita and Gheranda Samhita. Both good to read but also buy a famous commentary on each. Light on Pranayama by Iyengar is likely the best book written on the topic. Also Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha by Swami Satyananda Saraswati puts much of the other books into a mostly accessible frame of reference.


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Cosmic consciousness is devoid of diversity; yet the universe of diversity exists in notion....
We contemplate that reality in which everything exists, to which everything belongs,
from which everything has emerged, which is the cause of everything and which is everything....
The light of [this] self-knowledge alone illumines all experiences. It shines by its own light.
This inner light appears to be outside and to illumine external objects.

-Sage Vasishtha

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greenlantern153
post Nov 6 2013, 08:30 AM
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QUOTE
We count to regulate the prana, its not a method to keep simple time. It is like a mantra, an internal support for the active (and now pranicaly charged) mind to rest on. When you let something outside yourself count for you you have to split your attention between flow of prana and the metronome. If you make any progress and focus only on the prana the chime will disturb you and make the next round harder than it needs to be.


Ah! It never occurred to me that counting can be a kind of mantra. That makes a lot of sense, thank you.

QUOTE
Try this for one month: Every day, at night and morning too if you can manage it, do 1:1 breathing. Do not bother with complected counting systems or metronomes. Just breath in..... one one-thousand and out.... one one-thousand. Breath form the diaphragm so your belly expands then the side ribs and then the chest followed by a slight elevation of the clavicle. On the out breath everything reverses order from the clavicle to the belly. Pay attention to the form of this. Be as meticulous as you can. Start with three sets of five breaths. Then sit quietly until you feel like getting up. Then It should take about three mins. Keep track of when you started and when you finished for each session for the whole month. I think you will be surprised at the what you find.


Okay. At the moment I also practice dharana and vipassana everyday, so I think I'll add 10 minutes of 1:1 breathing before those, and see how it goes.

Thanks for the book recommendations, I'll check them out.


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fatherjhon
post Nov 6 2013, 11:40 AM
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QUOTE(Green Lantern @ Nov 6 2013, 09:30 AM) *

Okay. At the moment I also practice dharana and vipassana everyday, so I think I'll add 10 minutes of 1:1 breathing before those, and see how it goes.


Don't be greedy. Three minutes for a month will serve you much more then ten minutes will. The point is not to do more or even do better. It is to focus the mind. Use the count as your mantra, force your mind to focus on that and the technique alone. You can't count ten minutes with your eyes closed. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif) You can count three sets of five breaths. A methodical execution of this technique will very quickly settle and focus your mind. But if you go too long it will unsettle your mind. Remember, you are infusing your mind with prana as well as balancing the nadis. A mind not used to abiding on a seat of prana will quickly become agitated and try to do something - anything - with that prana. At that point you are going backwards and it is best to just stop.

Dharana is a natural continuation of the concentration established in pranayama so definitely a synergy there. Vipassana however, is highly specialized complete system of practice in and of itself. It is usually recommended that you should suspend the use of all other techniques while you practice it. Because it aims at directly eliminating all modifications of mind, you will conflict yourself when you use other techniques which utilize one are more modifications of the mind as a focus. Even if you are meditating on "self" you are engaging the mind - placing it on the idea of self. This reinforces the tendency of the mind to focus on "self" which is a modification. In that way no progress is possible. It is best to practice Vipassana on retreat under guidance of a abet. Dharana is much easier to incorporate into a yogic practice.


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Cosmic consciousness is devoid of diversity; yet the universe of diversity exists in notion....
We contemplate that reality in which everything exists, to which everything belongs,
from which everything has emerged, which is the cause of everything and which is everything....
The light of [this] self-knowledge alone illumines all experiences. It shines by its own light.
This inner light appears to be outside and to illumine external objects.

-Sage Vasishtha

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greenlantern153
post Nov 6 2013, 01:32 PM
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I wouldn't dream of being greedy! (IMG:style_emoticons/default/laugh.gif) The thing is, I'm a musician, so I used to practice breathing exercises to strengthen my diaphragm, which gives a singer much better control over his voice. This was a long time ago, but I used to practice 40 minutes a day, and they were challenging exercises. This is why any Pranayama exercise comes quite easy to me, and I tend to think of practicing for a certain amount of time (using a timer). Hence the metronome idea as well. But you're right, I shall abandon the use of a timer and mentally count instead. It makes sense that doing so will serve to focus the mind. Side note: back then I wasn't into any kind of spiritual practice, and doing those hectic breathing exercises never gave me an experience of prana. I think the reason for this is because there was no intention in place. With any spiritual practice, and especially yoga I believe, the practitioner must have a clear idea of what he wishes to accomplish with his practice. Otherwise Pranayama is just a breathing exercise, instead of an experience of Life Force.

Regarding Vipassana, the instruction I received was quite simple: sit with your eyes closed and your back straight, breathe slowly, pay attention to the sensations that constitute your body, allow all thoughts, feelings, perceptions to arise and pass of their own accord. I guess this is really just mindfulness practice, close to as it's described in the Theravada tradition. (They sometimes require you to contemplate impermanence, but it depends on who you talk to I suppose.) I've never heard that about modifications of mind before though. My understanding of Vipassana and its goal goes along the following lines: The truth about existence must be inherent in existence itself. Therefore, if we are to understand existence, we must first let ourselves be aware of it. The point is to experience the truth, or what is often referred to as enlightenment. By observing the reality (which includes the sensations that constitute the body), our awareness of reality is allowed to 'unfold' as a matter of grace. The diligent practitioner will receive progressive insight into reality (which I do receive) and will eventually reach the peak experience called enlightenment.

I am aware that there is a lot of debate going on about exactly how we should practice, but truthfully, I'm happy with my practice because I get results from it, which to me means that it's working. And also, I just don't have the time for retreats (unfortunately). (IMG:style_emoticons/default/alarm.gif)

This post has been edited by Green Lantern: Nov 6 2013, 01:35 PM


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fatherjhon
post Nov 6 2013, 02:56 PM
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QUOTE(Green Lantern @ Nov 6 2013, 02:32 PM) *

Regarding Vipassana, the instruction I received was quite simple... I guess this is really just mindfulness practice, close to as it's described in the Theravada tradition. I've never heard that about modifications of mind before though.
And also, I just don't have the time for retreats (unfortunately). (IMG:style_emoticons/default/alarm.gif)


HA! Who does? Retreats are a luxury and have always been.

QUOTE(Green Lantern @ Nov 6 2013, 02:32 PM) *

Side note: With any spiritual practice, and especially yoga I believe, the practitioner must have a clear idea of what he wishes to accomplish with his practice. Otherwise Pranayama is just a breathing exercise, instead of an experience of Life Force.


You hit on an important concept there. The instruction Vipassana you received sounds correct. I am approaching it from an intellectual rather than a practice perspective so I might have confused the issue a bit. I do not practice Vipassana and it is not strictly correct to compare the two systems, like trying to compare walking and skipping - they look a bit alike but the mechanics are totally different. So I will pass along what I was told by both Vipassana and yogic people, and a nice Buddhist who knows a lot about these things. Progress happens when you dedicate yourself to a practice and mixing and matching will only lead to confusion. Any complete system has all the tools you need to achieve its goal so there is no need to add on from another system. Be clear on what you are using the two for and don't over lap them.

Now if you want to control prana then do pranayama, it might even help your Vipassana but I would not recommend doing them back to back.

This post has been edited by fatherjhon: Nov 6 2013, 02:56 PM


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Cosmic consciousness is devoid of diversity; yet the universe of diversity exists in notion....
We contemplate that reality in which everything exists, to which everything belongs,
from which everything has emerged, which is the cause of everything and which is everything....
The light of [this] self-knowledge alone illumines all experiences. It shines by its own light.
This inner light appears to be outside and to illumine external objects.

-Sage Vasishtha

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greenlantern153
post Nov 6 2013, 03:24 PM
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Alright, thank you. I'll do Pranayama before Dharana, and do Vipassana separately.

Ahava


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fatherjhon
post Dec 3 2013, 11:56 AM
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HI,

How has the month gone? I'm curious to know how things went.


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Cosmic consciousness is devoid of diversity; yet the universe of diversity exists in notion....
We contemplate that reality in which everything exists, to which everything belongs,
from which everything has emerged, which is the cause of everything and which is everything....
The light of [this] self-knowledge alone illumines all experiences. It shines by its own light.
This inner light appears to be outside and to illumine external objects.

-Sage Vasishtha

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greenlantern153
post Dec 3 2013, 01:09 PM
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Hello.

It went pretty well I think. I started with the 1:1 breathing, and eventually started doing 1:1:1:1, and I'm still doing that daily. These are much better than the 4:16:8 I was doing, it has a nice relaxing effect and it also makes me feel more focused. I'm still not having experiences of prana though, but then again, I'm not really sure what to expect with regard to that.

I actually have another question for you that I never got around to asking. Is it a good idea to include some kind of visualization, such as imagining energy moving in and out as I breathe? Or should I just stick to counting?

Thanks (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)


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fatherjhon
post Dec 3 2013, 03:51 PM
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QUOTE(Green Lantern @ Dec 3 2013, 02:09 PM) *

Hello.

It went pretty well I think. I started with the 1:1 breathing, and eventually started doing 1:1:1:1, and I'm still doing that daily. These are much better than the 4:16:8 I was doing, it has a nice relaxing effect and it also makes me feel more focused. I'm still not having experiences of prana though, but then again, I'm not really sure what to expect with regard to that.

I actually have another question for you that I never got around to asking. Is it a good idea to include some kind of visualization, such as imagining energy moving in and out as I breathe? Or should I just stick to counting?

Thanks (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)


I am glad it is working for you. It is easier because your nerves system was not prepared for breath retention and the extra prana was making you even more stressed. That is why it is important to do 1:1 breathing for a few months before starting with retention of any kind. Otherwise you will find that you keeping becoming anxious and stimulated during pranayama. when that happens you have to stop as you are damaging your body and unbalancing your mind. A solid foundation in 1:1 allows you to very quickly progress to more advanced pranayama, then when those are mastered you go back to Nadi Shodhana and add external retention so your mind can contain the extra prana.

As I said above, Nadi Shodhana is not pranayama, its just a breathing exercise that that cleans your nadis. If you are trying to experience prana, then Visualization is not a good idea, because you start to imagine what prana would look like or feel like then you will miss what prana really looks and feels like. Using Pranayama to feel prana is not as easy as other ways you can sense energy. Your nadis have to be clear before you can feel anything impressive.

You can tell if you have cleaned out your nadis enough if you watch your breathing for a few minutes before you start each set of practice and at noon and three o'clock. One nostril will feel a little off, blocked, and air will flow easier via the other nostril. The active, flowing nadi should change about every 90min or so.

If you just want a taste of what prana is then you can simply breath using the complete breath from above. Focus on your nostril, then on your breath flowing in and out of your nostril. Once you have stabilize that concentration focus on the edge of the nostril and the feeling of breath on that spot. Then focus on that feeling without awareness of the physical spot. Do so for a long time. When you stop the practice pay attention to the feeling in your nose. What it feels like, where that feeling comes from, and where it goes.

If want a more impressive display of prana you can do 1:1 breathing by inhaling with both nostrils open then closing your active nostril with a finger and then exhaling. Keep that nostril closed and inhale, then close the other nostril and exhale. Replete until you reach the end of your practice time and make sure you end by exhaling through the blocked nostril.

Did you keep track of when you started the practice and when you finished?

This post has been edited by fatherjhon: Dec 3 2013, 03:55 PM


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Cosmic consciousness is devoid of diversity; yet the universe of diversity exists in notion....
We contemplate that reality in which everything exists, to which everything belongs,
from which everything has emerged, which is the cause of everything and which is everything....
The light of [this] self-knowledge alone illumines all experiences. It shines by its own light.
This inner light appears to be outside and to illumine external objects.

-Sage Vasishtha

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greenlantern153
post Dec 4 2013, 02:08 AM
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QUOTE
If you just want a taste of what prana is then you can simply breath using the complete breath from above. Focus on your nostril, then on your breath flowing in and out of your nostril. Once you have stabilize that concentration focus on the edge of the nostril and the feeling of breath on that spot. Then focus on that feeling without awareness of the physical spot. Do so for a long time. When you stop the practice pay attention to the feeling in your nose. What it feels like, where that feeling comes from, and where it goes.

If want a more impressive display of prana you can do 1:1 breathing by inhaling with both nostrils open then closing your active nostril with a finger and then exhaling. Keep that nostril closed and inhale, then close the other nostril and exhale. Replete until you reach the end of your practice time and make sure you end by exhaling through the blocked nostril.


I will try this sometime. I think what I'm trying to get out of pranayama is firstly awareness of prana, then a degree of control, and if I understood correctly, mastery of prana should also assist out-of-body experiences; the energetic body is the pranic body after all. Is that correct? I haven't had an out-of-body experience and was hoping that pranayama might assist the process of achieving it. And what about forms of energy work such as reiki or any other kind? Will mastery of prana assist energy practices?

QUOTE
Did you keep track of when you started the practice and when you finished?


No, I don't keep track of my meditative practices. I typically do them daily at night, although I do miss a day here and there.


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fatherjhon
post Dec 4 2013, 11:15 AM
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QUOTE(Green Lantern @ Dec 4 2013, 03:08 AM) *

I will try this sometime. I think what I'm trying to get out of pranayama is firstly awareness of prana, then a degree of control, and if I understood correctly, mastery of prana should also assist out-of-body experiences; the energetic body is the pranic body after all. Is that correct? I haven't had an out-of-body experience and was hoping that pranayama might assist the process of achieving it. And what about forms of energy work such as reiki or any other kind? Will mastery of prana assist energy practices?
No, I don't keep track of my meditative practices. I typically do them daily at night, although I do miss a day here and there.



You can have out of body experiences without learning to control energy. Energy work will at some point help you stay out longer but just to pop out and back requires very little energy. I use whatever works and is simple, so for astral travel I use shamanistic methods, mostly visualization meditation on where I want to go.

Any form of energy work will help you get a better idea about energy and how to control it. Each has its focus so what one will help the most is a matter of what you want to accomplish long term. Pranayama specifically deals with the flows of prana that control the body and mind via physical practice it is "easy" to do even the most advanced practice with little understanding. Yoga dos the same only with the whole body. It literally is just breathing and movement. Reiki is a healing discipline which uses meditation to interface with a particular type of energy for healing and for spiritual advancement. Qigong is a broad set of related disciplines that get your energy pathsways flowing in useful ways and teach you to move energy to accomplish things. Energy is energy the approach use use is dependent on your aims.


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Cosmic consciousness is devoid of diversity; yet the universe of diversity exists in notion....
We contemplate that reality in which everything exists, to which everything belongs,
from which everything has emerged, which is the cause of everything and which is everything....
The light of [this] self-knowledge alone illumines all experiences. It shines by its own light.
This inner light appears to be outside and to illumine external objects.

-Sage Vasishtha

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ThothSphere
post Jan 7 2014, 04:06 PM
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Advanced ratios and pranayama in general HAS to be learnt under expert guidance, or a number of issues could occur... not so with self initiation into ceremonial for instance. the best thing to do would be to find the closest chapter of bihar school of yoga... they're totally legit.

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greenlantern153
post Jan 10 2014, 05:07 AM
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@Thothsphere. Unfortunately for me, spiritual and occult schools, groups and organizations are something of a rarity around here. The closest thing to spiritual schools that are easy to find around here are martial arts clubs. I don't know of a single pagan store for example, only bookstores with small 'mind,body,spirit' sections, spice shops with small selections of incense and luxury stores with bath salts. That's about as good as it gets. If I want something I have to order it online. There are of course people around here into all sorts of traditions (there must be right?), but they don't advertise. I know there are a few yoga schools, and there is an OTO in Jo'burg, but they're all very far from me. So I'm practicing in isolation. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/connie_mini_bump.gif) The mostly dominant, hypocritical and passive aggressive christian community around here probably has something to do with it.


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Life is profound.

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ThothSphere
post Jan 21 2014, 07:34 AM
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@ Green Lantern Unfortunate. i have a similar situation here in india. However i still say do not do pranayams beyond the basic level without guidance.Its potentially very dangerous. But if you would like to skype i could probably show u the correct methods ( how to breathe, poses etc) for the basic practices. I also have immediate access to very good teachers so maybe i could get you some guidance. PM me if you'd like help. Meanwhile get urself books like prana pranayam prana vidya etc. pdfs are available on the net or i could dropbox them to you.

as for what you get out of pranayam, at first its simply better health and greater stability. yes you might get more clarity or psychoactive effects of the kind, but whats more important is the permanent effects. In the basic level its just better health and stability and, maybe some increase in cognitive capacity. the real stuff happens one one reaches the intermediate and advanced levels... kundalini awakening and what not. there s a lot of literature on this. but this takes a lot of effort and dedication. Either way pm me and i could help figure out with you what to do next.

This post has been edited by ThothSphere: Jan 21 2014, 07:41 AM

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onijutsu
post Oct 6 2014, 09:37 PM
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As far as pranayama is concerned I find it is mainly a tool to regulate the breath integration with one's body and mind. Ujjayi is the most common form I have practiced so far. However it seems to work well for reducing stress as focusing on the breath centers my mind into the present state. I also teach this style in my classes and it seems to have a calming effect on the students even if they are in physically demanding positions. Resulting in a "blissed out" state. I believe this is more of a yang style so it will energize ones mind making it more active. We do this to allow thoughts to enter the mind in order to deal with them mentally. Thus creating more will-power in the practitioner. I believe the mind is a muscle that we must work-out to gain the beneficial effects. This is how human bodies are made. One thing to remember when practicing like this, is that we have the power to shift the way we view ourselves. So that whenever a flurry of emotions arise, we can control their effects on us. The mind cannot hurt us unless we allow it to.
~Namaste

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