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RE: Breathing Exercises (Maxim)

Jul 05, 1996 07:01 AM
by Jim Meier

Hi Max --

> From yesterday,

>> <clip>> 
>> >In the context of theosophy, the science of prana is very important (see 
>> >e.g. Rama Prasad's "The Nature's Finer Forces"). On the other hand, one 
>> >may notice that elaborated breathing exercises are condemned as harmful 
>> >in all the primary sources that may be broadly called the theosophical 
>> >tradition: 

Perhaps not all: have you read Vivekananda's chapter on pranayama in his
book RAJA-YOGA, his commentary on the Sutras?


>> >Jim:
>> >>I certainly wouldn't
>> >> recommend anyone to start serious breathing exercises without personal
>> >> instruction from someone experienced. 
>> >Maxim:
>> >I wouldn't recommend anyone to start ANY serious breathing exercises, 
>> >whether under the expert supervision or without it.  
>> Why so adamant?  I thought one of the "core teachings of Theosophy" is that
>> there exist people who are not amateurs at this sort of thing?

>Suppose we agree that the ultimate goal on the level of our personalities 
>is to attain union with our higher selves. 
> So all the physical (both gross physical and subtle physical) means, like
>breathing exercises, 
>are not appropriate anymore.  The way of occult study and meditation is
harder, >but it seems to be the only regular way for the 5th-race
folks--except maybe a 
>few individuals whose karma it is to develop techniques of healing 
>for the benefit of the entire humanity, etc. 

I agree with you on the goal, but it still seems to me that you're being
literal on the mental aspects of raja-yoga to the exclusion of all others.
Is that right?
Vivekanada writes,
  As I have already stated, pranayama has very little to do with breathing.
  Prana, manifesting itself as mental power, can only be controlled by mental
  means.  That part of pranayama which attempts to control the physical
  manifestations of prana by physical means is called physical science, and
  that part which tries to control the manifestations of prana as mental force,
  by mental means, is called Raja-yoga.

Pranayama would seem to have a part to play in Raja-Yoga, as long as we
recognize it for what it is and not merely the action of the lungs.


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