Re: Breathing Exercises
Jul 04, 1996 02:30 PM
by Maxim Osinovsky
On Thu, 4 Jul 1996, Jerry Schueler wrote:
> BTW, Patajali's pranayama, as far as I know,
> is a relatively safe approach, and anyone who is afraid
> to try it had best stick to reading and study.
I am afraid that when people talk about pranayama they may mean different
things. I am glad that Jerry qualified it by saying "Patanjali's
pranayama." (Pranato be yama as known to readers of such works as
B.K.S.Iyengar's, Swami Sivananda's, S.Yesudian's and so on is something
else.) So it seems to be a good time to remind ourselves what Patanjali's
pranayama is by quoting ALL relevant sutras (I.K.Taimni's
I,34. [The mind becomes clarified by cultivating, among other things],
the expiration and retention of breath.
II,49. This having been (accomplished) Pranayama which is cessation of
inspiration and expiration (follows).
II,50. (It is in) external, internal or suppressed modification; is
regulated by place, time and number, (and becomes progressively)
prolonged and subtle.
II,51. That Pranayama which goes beyond the sphere of internal and
external is the fourth (variety).
II,52. From that is dissolved the covering of light.
II,53. And the fitness of the mind for concentration [is achieved].
III,40. By mastery over Udana levitation and noncontact with water, mire,
thorns etc. [is achieved].
III,41. By mastery over Samana blazing of gastric fire [is achieved].
As to the goal of Patanjali's pranayama, please refer to II,53 above, and
read the following comment by Rammurti S. Mishra ("The Textbook of Yoga
"As a result of mastery gained in pranayama, avidya which is covering the
light of Self is destroyed. Ignorance about Self is destroyed as one
practices pranayama. The magical panorama of lust and desire for
material, sensual, and sexual enjoyment is mighty. As soon as one wave of
desire is satisified, another arises with greater force. This maze of
desires and karmas produces ignorance which covers the conscious
principle, sattva, which is luminous by nature. The vicious cycles of
evil karmas and evil desires of man produce ignorance regarding reality
of Self and cover the sattva quality, conscious principle, of mind and
bind one to repeated births and deaths and suffering.
"By practice of pranayama this ignorance with its consequences is
destroyed and the light of Purusa, Brahman, is perceived shining in its
So much about Patanjali's pranayama.
[Back to Top]
Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application