RE: Breathing Exercises
Jul 06, 1996 10:30 PM
by Maxim Osinovsky
On Fri, 5 Jul 1996, Jerry Schueler wrote:
> >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.
> Your conclusion doesn't make sense to me. The whole
> intent of breathing execises and prananyama is to silence the lower
> self, both body and mind. When the body stops breathing and the
> mind stops thinking, then the union with our higher Self will be
> obviously apparent by direct experience. I agree that you don't
> have to sit in a lotus position or any other position, or eat special
> foods, and all of that stuff. This is where the 5th Race stuff comes
> into play. But you will never find union with the
> Self until you silence the body and personality in something
> other than death.
> Jerry S.
> Member, TI
Sorry about improper choice of words--I went too far--what I meant is that
the physical means quickly loose their importance. The path of raja yoga
may be structured as follows:
1. physical and mental purification (yama and niyama). After you complete
this stage you forget about it, that is you do not keep doing it anymore,
like a high school student does not need to refresh elementary math if
she/he is doing higher math.
2. preparatory physical (gross physical
[body] and subtle physical [ethereal body including prana]) exercises:
asana and pranayama, to get gross physical and ethereal bodies reinforced
and well balanced. Again, you first do it and then you forget about
it--that's what I meant, unlike e.g. kundalini yoga or Taoist yoga.
3. withdrawal of senses as preparation for concentration and meditation:
pratyahara. Once again, you master it and you forget about it.
4. mastering basic steps of concentration and meditation: dharana,
dhyana, and samadhi. Again, you master it and then you just use your skills.
5. after all of the above is completed, you are an accomplished master of
yoga, and you may apply the technique of samyama (dharana-dhyana-samadhi
practiced in uninterrupted succession) to whatever you want. The entire
3rd book of Yoga Sutras deals with those applications. For example, by
performing samyama over udana or samana (varieties of prana) levitation
and other siddhis are achieved (III.40 and III.41). Please notice--by
performing samyama, and not by sophisticated breathing exercises like
pumping prana (using the breath as a carrier) into the solar plexus in hatha
So you are right saying that "you will never find union with the
Self until you silence the body and personality", but silencing the body
and personality is not in itself sufficient for the union in raja
yoga--it is a preparation for preparation for preparation for the union.
Same applies to Sri Aurobindo's integral yoga you quoted from:
peace of the mind in his sadhana is again a preparation for bringing down
the Shakti, after which a REAL work of transformation begins: opening to
the Divine, surrender, ascent to Overmind and the Supramental. Hatha yoga
and raja yoga are out of place in Sri Aurobindo's integral yoga: "It will
not be necessary for us to do more than regard the spirit of their
gradations in passing; for in a synthetic and integral Yoga they take a
secondary importance; their aims have indeed to be included, but their
methods can either altogether be dispensed with or used only for a
preliminary or else a casual assitance." (The Synthesis of Yoga, Part 2,
Ch.XXVII. It is to be mentioned that Sri Aurobindo's evaluation of hatha
yoga was different from H.P.B.'s: "Hathayoga, also, is a path, though a
long, difficult and meticulous movement to the Supreme.")
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