Archive for the ‘yoga’ Category

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NOSTRIL BREATHING VS MOUTH BREATHING -Part 2

April 21, 2010

No animal, excepting man, sleeps with the mouth open or breathes through the mouth, and in fact it is believed that it is only civilized man who so perverts nature’s functions, as the savage and barbarian races almost invariably breathe correctly. It is probable that this unnatural habit among civilized men has been acquired through unnatural methods of living, enervating luxuries and excessive warmth. The refining, filtering and straining apparatus of the nostrils renders the air fit to reach the delicate organs of the throat and the lungs, and the air is not fit to so reach these organs until it has passed through nature’s refining process.

The impurities which are stopped and retained by the sieves and mucous membrane of the nostrils, are thrown out again by the expelled breath, in exhalation, and in case they have accumulated too rapidly or have managed to escape through the sieves and have penetrated forbidden regions, nature protects us by producing a sneeze which violently ejects the intruder. The air, when it enters the lungs is as different from the outside air, as is distilled water different from the water of the cistern. The intricate purifying organization of the nostrils, arresting and holding the impure particles in the air, is as important as is the action of the mouth in stopping cherry-stones and fish-bones and preventing them from being carried on to the stomach.

Man should no more breathe through his mouth than he would attempt to take food through his nose. Another feature of mouth-breathing is that the nasal passages, being thus comparatively unused, consequently fail to keep themselves clean and clear, and become clogged up and unclean, and are apt to contract local diseases. Like abandoned roads that soon become filled with weeds and rubbish, unused nostrils become filled with impurities and foul matter. One who habitually breathes through the nostrils is not likely to be troubled with clogged or stuffy nostrils, but for the benefit of those who have been more or less addicted to the unnatural mouth-breathing, and who wish to acquire the natural and rational method, it may perhaps be well to add a few words regarding the way to keep their nostrils clean and free from impurities.

A favorite Oriental method is to snuff a little water up the nostrils allowing it to run down the passage into the throat, from thence it may be ejected through the mouth. Some Hindu yogis immerse the face in a bowl of water, and by a sort of suction draw in quite a quantity of water, but this latter method requires considerable practice, and the first mentioned method is equally efficacious, and much more easily performed. Another good plan is to open the window and breathe freely, closing one nostril with the finger or thumb, sniffing up the air through the open nostril. Then repeat the process on the other nostril. Repeat several times, changing nostrils. This method will usually clear the nostrils of obstructions.

In case the trouble is caused by catarrh it is well to apply a little vaseline or camphor ice or similar preparation. Or sniff up a little witch-hazel extract once in a while, and you will notice a marked improvement. A little care and attention will result in the nostrils becoming clean and remaining so. We have given considerable space to this subject of nostril-breathing, not only because of its great importance in its reference to health, but because nostril-breathing is a prerequisite to the practice of the breathing exercises to be given later in this book, and because nostril-breathing is one of the basic principles underlying the Yogi Science of Breath. We urge upon the student the necessity of acquiring this method of breathing if he has it not, and caution him against dismissing this phase of the subject as unimportant.

From – THE HINDU-YOGI Science of Breath

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NOSTRIL BREATHING VS MOUTH BREATHING -Part 1

April 21, 2010

Is to learn how to breathe through  the nostrils, and to overcome the common  practice of mouth-breathing.The breathing mechanism of Man is so constructed that he  may breathe either through the mouth or nasal tubes, but it is a matter of vital importance to him which method he follows, as one brings health and strength and the other disease and weakness.

It should not be necessary to state to the student that the proper method of breathing is to take the breath through the nostrils, but alas! the ignorance among civilized people regarding this simple matter is astounding. We find people in all walks of life habitually breathing through their mouths, and allowing their children to follow their horrible and disgusting example.

Many of the diseases to which civilized man is subject are undoubtedly caused by this common habit of mouth-breathing. Children permitted to breathe in this way grow up with impaired vitality and weakened constitutions, and in manhood and womanhood break down and become chronic invalids. The mother of the savage race does better, being evidently guided by her intuition. She seems to instinctively recognize that the nostrils are the proper channels for the conveyal of air to the lungs, and she trains her infant to close its little lips and breathe through the nose. She tips its head forward when it is asleep, which attitude closes the lips and makes nostril-breathing imperative. If our civilized mothers were to adopt the same plan, it would work a great good for the race.

Many contagious diseases are contracted by the disgusting habit of mouth-breathing, and many cases of cold and catarrhal affections are also attributable to the same cause. Many persons who, for the sake of appearances, keep their mouth closed during the day, persist in mouth-breathing at night and often contract disease in this way. Carefully conducted scientific experiments have shown that soldiers and sailors who sleep with their mouths open are much more liable to contract contagious diseases than those who breathe properly through the nostrils. An instance is related in which small-pox became epidemic on a man-of-war in foreign parts, and every death which resulted was that of some sailor or marine who was a mouth-breather, not a single nostril-breather succumbing.

The organs of respiration have their only protective apparatus, filter, or dust-catcher, in the nostrils. When the breath is taken through the mouth, there is nothing from mouth to lungs to strain the air, or to catch the dust and other foreign matter in the air. From mouth to lungs the dirt or impure substance has a clear track, and the entire respiratory system is unprotected. And, moreover, such incorrect breathing admits cold air to the organs, thereby injuring them. Inflammation of the respiratory organs often results from the inhalation of cold air through the mouth.

The man who breathes through the mouth at night, always awakens with a parched feeling in the mouth and a dryness in the throat. He is violating one of nature’s laws, and is sowing the seeds of disease. Once more, remember that the mouth affords no protection to the respiratory organs, and cold air, dust and impurities and germs readily enter by that door. On the other hand, the nostrils and nasal passages show evidence of the careful design of nature in this respect.

The nostrils are two narrow, tortuous channels, containing numerous bristly hairs which serve the purpose of a filter or sieve to strain the air of its impurities, etc., which are expelled when the breath is exhaled. Not only do the nostrils serve this important purpose, but they also perform an important function in warming the air inhaled. The long narrow winding nostrils are filled with warm mucous membrane, which coming in contact with the inhaled air Warms it so that it can do no damage to the delicate organs of the throat, or to the lungs.

From – THE HINDU YOGI Science of Breath

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HATHA YOGA – Part 3

January 12, 2010

Pranayama

Pranayama or control of Prana, is the means to an end. It helps purification of the nerves and causes Nadi Suddhi. It awakens the mystic, serpent power, Kundalini Sakti. Puraka is inhalation of breath. Kumbhaka is retention. Rechaka is exhalation of breath.

The practice of Pranayama should be systematic and well-regulated. The ratio between Puraka, Kumbhaka and Rechaka is 1:4:2. If you inhale for a period of 12 Matras, you will have to do Kumbhaka for a period of 48 Matras, then the Rechaka period is 24 Matras. You must do Rechaka very, very slowly. This is important. This is a sine qua non of the practice.

Easy Comfortable Pranayama

(Sukha Purvaka)
Sit on Padma or Siddha Asana with an empty stomach in your meditation room before the picture of your Ishta Devata. Close your eyes. Close the right nostril with the right thumb. Draw the air in slowly through the left nostril. Then close the left nostril with the right ring and little fingers and retain the air as long as you can comfortably do.

Then remove the right thumb and exhale through the right nostril very, very slowly. Now half the process is over. Similarly, draw the air in through the right nostril; retain the breath and exhale through the left nostril. This is one round of Pranayama. Do 20 or 30 Pranayamas in the morning and evening to start with and slowly increase the number to 80 for each sitting. First have two sittings only, in the morning and evening. After due

practice you can have four sittings. Have a Bhava that all the Divine qualities such as mercy, love, forgiveness, Santi, joy, enter into your system along with the inspired air and that all Asura Sampat, devilish qualities such as lust, anger, greed, are thrown out along with the expired air. Repeat OM, or Gayatri mentally during Puraka, Kumbhaka and Rechaka.

Pranayama removes all diseases, purifies the Nadis, steadies the mind in concentration, improves digestion, hardens Brahmacharya and awakens the Kundalini. Hardworking Sadhakas can do 320 Pranayamas daily in four sittings at the rate of 80 each sitting. Purification of the Nadis will set in rapidly. Many Siddhis are obtained by Pranayama practice.

Bhastrika Pranayama This is one of the eight kinds of Pranayama of Yogi Swatmaram. As the bellows of the blacksmith constantly dilate and contract, similarly, slowly draw in air by both nostrils and expand the stomach; then let out air quickly making the sound like bellows. Inhale and exhale quickly ten to twenty times. Then perform Kumbhaka after a deep inhalation. Then expel it slowly. Do this three times. This is a very powerful Pranayama.
Sitali
Draw air forcefully in through the mouth (with lips contracted and tongue thrust out) folding the tongue lengthwise with a hissing sound and fill the lungs slowly. Retain it for a short time, as long as is comfortable.

Then exhale slowly through both nostrils. Practise this daily. Bhastrika and Sitali Pranayamas can be practised even in standing posture. [For full particulars, see the book: “Science of Pranayama”.]

From – Yoga in daily life

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HATHA YOGA – Part 2

January 12, 2010

Sirshasana

Sirshasana is the king of all Asanas. Spread a four-fold blanket. Rest the head inside the locked fingers and slowly raise the legs up. Then slowly bring down the legs without jerks. Take the help of a wall or any of your friends. Do it for a minute and increase the period to 5 to 10 minutes. It removes diseases of the eyes, nerves, blood, stomach, intestines, gonorrhoea, spermatorrhoea, dyspepsia, constipation. It augments the digestive fire, and improves appetite. It helps as blood and nervine tonic. Intellectual faculties develop. It helps Brahmacharya and makes you an Oordhvareta Yogi.

Sarvangasana

Lie down flat on the back. Slowly raise the legs to vertical position. Support the trunk with the palms of your hands. The whole body rests upon two shoulders. Press the chin against the chest. Concentrate on the thyroid-gland that is situated at the root of the neck. Do it from 3 to 10 minutes. Slowly bring down the legs. All the benefits of Sirshasana are derived from this Asana also.

Matsyasana

Do Padmasana. Lie on the back. Hold the head by two elbows. This is one variety. Stretch the head back so that the centre of the head rests on the ground and catch hold of the toes. Form an arch of the trunk. This is a contrary Asana to Sarvangasana. This must be done after Sarvangasana to realise the maximum benefits.

Mayurasana

Place the palm of the two hands on the ground. Place the navel on the two elbows. Stand upon the hands, the legs being raised in the air plain or crossed with Padmasana. This destroys the effect of unwholesome food. Take the help of the end of a table. Practise here in the beginning.

Paschimottanasana

Sit. Stretch the legs on the ground stiff like a stick. Exhale and then catch the toes with the
hands. Bend slowly and place the forehead on the knees. Keep the lungs empty when you bend. This
will drive out all diseases of the stomach. Do this five or six times in the morning and evening Do Asanas with an empty stomach.

From – Yoga in daily life

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HATHA YOGA – Part 1

January 12, 2010

Hatha Yoga is a Divine Blessing for attaining success in any field. Body and Mind are instruments which the practice of Hatha Yoga keeps sound, strong, and full of energy. It is a unique armour of defence to battle the opposing forces in the material and spiritual fields. By its practice you can combat Adhi-Vyadhi and attain radiant health and God-realisation. Become a spiritual hero full of physical, mental and spiritual strength.

Asana

Any steady comfortable posture is an Asana. There are 84 Asanas. Sukha, Siddha and Padma Asanas are very good for meditation and Japa. If you practise Siddhasana for a period of twelve years, this alone will give you Moksha. You must keep the head, neck and the trunk in a straight line. You can control the Rajoguna and the Indriyas by practice of Asana. Several ailments such as haemorrhoids or piles, chronic constipation, etc., are removed by Asana.

Sit on the ground. Place the right foot on the left thigh and similarly the left one on the right thigh. Place the hands on the thighs near the knee joint. Close the eyes and concentrate on Trikuti. This is Padmasana.

Siddhasana

Place one heel at the anus. Keep the other heel at the root of the generative organ. Close the eyes. Concentrate and do Japa and meditation on this Asana. Padmasana and Siddhasana are most suitable for meditation. Start practising for half an hour and gradually increase the period to three hours. When you sit on the Asana, there must not be the least shake in the body. You must become a live marble statue. In the beginning, the body feels heavy. Later on when Asana Siddhi is obtained, you will feel a real pleasure and the body becomes very light.

The body becomes your willing servant to obey your commands. Sukhasana Any comfortable Asana in which you can sit for a long time is Sukhasana. You must be careful to keep the head, neck and the trunk in one straight line. The above three Asanas are intended for Japa and meditation. There are several other Asanas that are intended for keeping up Brahmacharya and good health and for awakening Kundalini.

From Yoga in Daily Life

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Opening the Chakras

December 5, 2008

Chakra meditations that use mudras and sounds to open chakras.
These chakra meditations use mudras, which are special hand positions, to open chakras. The mudras have the power to send more energy to particular chakras. To enhance the effect, sounds are chanted.
These sounds are from Sanskrit letters. When chanted, they cause a resonation in your body that you can feel at the chakra the sounds are meant. For pronunciation, keep in mind that the “A” is pronounced as in “ah,” and the “M” is pronounced as “mng.” Do a meditation for 7 – 10 breaths. Chant the sound several times each breath (for example three times). Open the Root Chakra
Let the tips of your thumb and index finger touch. Concentrate on the Root chakra at the spot in between the genitals and the anus. Chant the sound LAM. Open the Sacral Chakra Put your hands in your lap, palms up, on top of each other. Have left hand underneath, its palm touching the back of the fingers of the right hand. The tips of the thumbs touch gently. Concentrate on the Sacral Chakra at the sacral bone (on the lower back). Chant the sound VAM. Open the Navel Chakra Put your hands before your stomach, slightly below your solar plexus. Let the fingers join at the tops, all pointing away from you. Cross the thumbs. It is important to straighten the fingers. Concentrate on the Navel chakra located on the spine, a bit above the level of the navel. Chant the sound RAM.

From – The Body Mirror System of Healing

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YOGA SADHANA – Part 7

November 24, 2008

istockmed2There are also three other forms of Yoga in addition to the four mentioned above. These are:
Hatha-Yoga, Mantra-Yoga and Laya-Yoga or Kundalini-Yoga. Hatha-Yoga relates to the physical
body, Asanas, Bandhas, Mudras, Pranayama, vow of silence, steady-gazing, crystal-gazing,
standing on one leg, etc. Hatha-Yoga is not separate from Raja-Yoga. It prepares the student to take
up Raja-Yoga. Hatha-Yoga and Raja-Yoga are, therefore, the necessary counterparts of each other.
No one can become a Yogi of a perfect order without a clear knowledge of the practice of the two
Yogas. Raja-Yoga begins where properly practiced Hatha-Yoga ends. A Hatha-Yogi starts his
Sadhana with his body and Prana (breath); a Raja-Yogi with his mind. A Hatha-Yogi gets different powers when the mighty Kundalini-Sakti reaches the Sahasrara Chakra (at the top of the head); a
Raja-Yogi gets psychic powers by the combined practice of concentration, meditation and Samadhi
at one and the same time. Mantra-Yoga relates to the recitation of certain Mantras (sacred words to
which definite powers are ascribed), such as Om Namo Narayana, Om Namo Bhagavate
Vasudevaya and Om Namah Sivaya. Laya-Yoga is Kundalini-Yoga. Concentration on the sound
emanating from the heart-lotus is Laya-Yoga. Laya is dissolution. The mind is dissolved in God just
as a lump of ice is dissolved in a tumbler of soda-water.
A Jnana-Yogi can practice his Sadhana even while walking, eating and talking. He is not in
need of any Asana or room. But a Raja-Yogi wants a room and an Asana for his practice. A
Jnana-Yogi is always in Samadhi. He is not affected by Maya or illusion. There is no ‘in Samadhi’
and ‘out of Samadhi’ for a Jnani, whereas a Yogi is affected by Maya when he comes down from his
Samadhi. A Raja-Yogi plugs his mind, as it were, through effort, just as you plug a bottle with a
cork, and thus stops all mental activities. He tries to make the mind quite blank. He remains as a
silent witness of all the activities of his mind and intellect. A Raja-Yogi commences his practice
with his mind. A Jnana-Yogi starts his practices with his will and reason.
A Karma-Yogi does selfless service to kill his little self. A Bhakta or devotee of the Lord
practices self-surrender to annihilate his egoism. A Jnani practices self-denial. The methods are
different but all want to destroy this self-arrogating little “I” the root cause of bondage and
suffering. Karma-Yoga prepares the mind for the reception of Light and Knowledge. It expands the
heart ad infinitum. It breaks all barriers that stand in the way of unity and oneness. Bhakti and
meditation are also mental Karmas. There can be no Jnana without Yoga. The fruit of Bhakti is
Jnana. Have you now understood the nature of the four Yogas and their interrelations?
There is a verse in Sanskrit the gist of which runs as follows: “The Sastras are endless; there
is much to be known; time is short; obstacles are many; that which is the essence should be grasped
just as the swan does in the case of milk mixed with water.” I therefore want you to start doing some
kind of spiritual practice or other and realise the goal of life and justify your existence before the
Lord on the “Day of Judgment.”5

From – SRI SWAMI SIVANANDA