PART-III. (A) Asana for limbs. ASANA OR STATIC BODY POSTURES. A healthy body keeps mind healthy and healthy mind keeps the body healthy. When Body and Mind are in Yoga with Intellect, a well balanced human personality is the final result.
Nearly three hundred Asana are described in Yoga Books, but one needs to learn only a few useful Asana, good for one’s age period and specific needs. Good health of body and all Vital Systems is important for long life and to enjoy material happiness.
All Yoga Asana can be classified into following main groups.
A. Asana for limbs.
They preserve the fullest range of mobility of all major joints of upper and lower limbs.
B. Asana for the spine and neck.
These can be sub-divided into 3 groups.
(i). Backward spine bending Asana
(ii). Foreword spine bending Asana.
(iii). Rotation and side to side spine bending Asana.
C. Asana for the vital systems
(A) ASANA FOR LIMBS.
These Asana maintain and increase the full range of movements in major joints of upper limb like shoulders, elbows and wrists, and lower limb like ankles, knees and hip joints. The limitation of joint movements and various diseases occurring in joints of hands and legs bring crippling state to any person. If some simple Asana are done regularly from young age, a very useful long and healthy life is the real gain.
Only a few popular Asana will be described in these chapters.
The pictures of many other Asana and more details are available in many Yoga books and work out Yoga videos available today.
Garudasana. EAGLE POSTURE.
Stand on one leg. Wrap the other leg around it. Do similar wrapping of one hand on a semi-flexed elbow of other hand. Maintain this position for a few minutes. Do such 2-3 min. spells changing right and left hands and feet.
2. Vajrasana. HIPS AND KNEES POSTURE.
Sit on both flexed knees and ankles pointing backwards. Try to separate both feet slowly outwards according to your tolerance. Maintain this posture as long as you can, but never over do this or any difficult posture longer than your limit of tolerance. Complete flexion of knees and rotation of hips prevents old age arthritis.
This Asana is very useful for the western people who are not used to sit on ground or use toilet in squatting position for excretory functions.
3. Mayurasana. PEACOCK POSTURE.
This is a difficult Asana, but useful for youth and adults. Two palms and forearms flexed at elbow support the straight and horizontally extended body in prone position. Posture looks like an Indian colorful bird peacock.
4. Hirak-asana. DIAMOND POSTURE.
Can be done in standing or sitting positions.
Stand on toes, knees facing outwards. Raise heels and keep two palms on loins. Upper limbs can be placed in various poses like facing sky, or back of neck etc,. These postures can also be done in sitting or lying down positions.
(i) asana for backward bending of spine and neck.
Most people stoop forewords during normal daily activities. This leads to a constant strain on the back muscles of spine. By doing forward bending Asana, the spinal back muscles get toned up. The fatigue of the back muscles is responsible for many minor backaches and loss of mood during work hours. By doing Back bending Asana the range of backward movement of spinal column is increased. Stronger spinal muscles prevent backaches and future slip-disk problems.
Lying in prone position raise head and neck and extended one by one leg as up as you can, keeping two hands by the sides. Carry out this, alternately 5 or 10 times on both sides. Try to synchronize and link with one Maha-Pranayama each spell of leg raising. Two legs raising done together makes a full Shalabhasana. Moving two legs one after another make a Chalit Shalabhasana.
2. Bhujangasana. SERPENT OR COBRA POSTURE.
Lying in prone position raise Head and Chest keeping both legs fully straight. Maintain for 2 or 3 minutes. Breathing is allowed. Short spells of 10 to 30 seconds of Breath In-holds, Kumbhaks, can be done. Support of two elbows is allowed. Do not forget to do a Savasan in between.
4. Dhanurasana. BOW POSTURE (easy).
After doing above two Asana No 1 and 2, lying in prone position try to hold two ankles with two hands on the backside making shape of a bow. Kumbhaks done for 10 to 30 seconds.are useful. Do such 4 to 8 spells and one or two Savasana in between.
BOW POSTURE (perfect).
3. Matsyasana. FISH POSTURE.
Do Padmasana- the meditation posture. Maintaining the flexed knees, lie on back. Then bend neck backwards and lift abdomen and chest upwards. Breathing permitted.
Do such 3 to 5 spells of 2-3 min. each.
5. Chakrasana. HALF WHEEL POSTURE.
Usually done in Standing, but can be done in Supine positions. Keep two legs together, bend knees forewords, try to bend backwards making a half arch of body looking like a half wheel. Difficult for adults and aged. Breathing permitted. Maintain for 2-3 minutes.
6. Ooshtrasana. CAMEL POSTURE.
“A Sitting Triangle” made with (i) base by legs, (ii) thigh and trunk straight, (iii) two hands behind taking support on two ankles: (iv) Keep neck thrown backwards. Breathing allowed. Do 2-3 spells. Try to keep each spell for 2-3 min.
Part-IV.B (ii). ASANA FOR FORWARD BENDING OF SPINE.
These Asana can be done lying on ground in Supine or Standing positions. These are not indicated for people with bone diseases, tumors, slip-disk cases, pregnancy etc.
1.Katiutthanasana. (Bridge Posture of PT Exercises)
Lying supine lift abdomen and chest with half flexed knees, making a triangle supported by shoulders and feet. Keep two hands by sides. Breathing permitted. Do 3 to 5 spells of MahaPranayama. Maintain this for 2-3 min. This is a very good Asana for back of spine, Lumbgo, and legs. It is very easy for most people.
1.Uttanpadasana. (Half-full & Chalit).
STRAIGHT LEG RAISING.
Lye supine, raise one leg up (keeping straight) to 30 to 45 degrees from ground, and doing a Kumbhak. Keep for 10 sec. Breath out. Bring leg down. Do such 8 to 10 spells with each leg. Do Savasana in between. Raising two legs together is full UP-Asan. Moving legs in with Kumbhaks make it a Chalit Uttanpadasana.
This is a good Asan for reducing fat from abdomen, and a good quadriceps exercise for thigh.
3. Naukasan. BOAT POSTURE.
Lying in supine position raise two straight legs and two straight hands at 45 degrees position towards the sky.
4. Pashchimottasana. TOE TOUCH AND HEAD-KNEE POSTURE.
Sit with extended legs in front. Try to touch two big toes with fingers of hands bending forwards. Try to bring face down to touch the knees. This Asana can be done in standing position also.
5. Sarvangasana. ALL LIMBS POSTURE.
Legs up - head down posture with extreme flexion of neck. Raise legs and trunk up. Support body with two hands on buttocks. This Asana is like a half- Sirshasana (Head-down legs-up posture).
6. Halasana, PLOUGH POSTURE. From Sarvangasana further flex trunk, stretching legs and feet backwards to touch ground. Hands remain straight on opposite side of legs.
7. Karnasana. EARS BETWEEN KNEES POSTURE.
After mastering Halasana, try to make a complete curvature of spine by placing head and ears between two knees. This is a difficult Asana for adults and aged. Do not do this asana during early Asana training.
PART-IV. (B) (iii) side bending and rotation of spine. 1. Trikonasana. TRIANGLE POSTURE.
Done in standing position with two legs 18" apart. Bend one knee, same side hand touches ground, other hand straight, neck bent also on same side. 2-3 min. spells. Alternate sides. Breathing allowed.
2. Ardha-Chandrasana. HALF-MOON POSTURE.
Done in standing position. Legs together. Raise one hand towards sky and keep that way. Bring other hand as down from knee towards ankle, making curvature like a half-moon. Alternate sides. Do 2-3 min. spells. Breathing is permitted.
3. Matsyandrasana, or Vakrasana.
HALF AND FULL TWIST POSTURES.
Keep one straight leg on ground. Flex other leg in knee-up position. Twist and pass opposite hand and shoulder over the raised knee. This is half Asana. For complete Asana, flex the straight and try to catch the toes of flexed leg with other hand from behind.
Half and full Matyendrasana and many spine twisting postures are done sitting, standing and lying on ground in supine or Prone positions.
Part IV. (C). Asana for Vital Systems Human body is equipped with five vital systems, namely, (i) Prana= Respiratory, (ii) Vyana= digestive, (iii) Samana= circulatory, (iv) Apana= excretory, (v) Udana= nervous. Many Indian priests chant these words during fire rituals without understanding their meanings. These systems are subconsciously controlled by autonomic nervous system.
Some Yoga exercises help to develop a partial control over these systems. Deep breathing exercises and ASANA done with 'Breath Inholds- Kumbhak help all inner vital organs of body by circulating more oxygenated blood to brain and all abdominal organs.
1. Pavan-Muktasana. GAS-RELIEVING POSTURES
In Supine position, flex one knee, bend head towards knee and do a breath out (RACHAK) forcefully. Repeat on second knee. Flex two legs. Press them by two arms making a Lithotomy position in Gynecology operations. Do in between Kapalbhati, Kumbhaks and RACHAK Pranayama.
2. Vanarasana. MONKEY POSTURE.
This is opposite of above Asana. It is done in Prone position. Flex both knees, raise hips and trunk, both arms stretched forwards. Keep face on one side. Do Kapalbhati, Kumbhaks and Rachaks.
3. Shirsaasana. HEAD-DOWN LEGS-UP POSTURE.
Complete head down position. Take support of a wall to start with. This Asana should not be done by people with high BP, past history of brain stokes and neck problems. Do this for only 2-3 minutes initially.
It cures many headeaches, stops progress and/or cures cases of reading glass numbers and many eye and nasal problems.
Asana names will vary in different Yoga Books.
A student must remember the purpose of a particular Asana and try to do it slowly and without jerks.
Never over do any Asana or any extreme joint stretching exercises.
In all Asana for upper and lower limbs try to flex or extend all joints to their fullest range.
In Aerobic exercises the purpose is shape of body and developing muscle power. The aim of Yoga Asana is to maintain tone of muscles and preserve fullest range of movements of all smaller and larger joints of limbs, neck and spine.
Try to develop your own suitable routine of Asans and stick to that regularly preferably in early morning hours.
Do not mimic someone doing difficult and surprising body postures. People in circus can do wonderful body postures. One should not try to mimic other people.
Never forget the smaller finger joints of hands and feet. Whenever you get time, remember to flex and extend these little joints.
Osteo arthritis of most joints could be prevented and cured to a fair degree by doing regular exercises and correct Yoga Asana.
Pranayama Cures Blood Pressurein 90 % of cases. Pranayama:-Breathing Exercises.
Breathing is a most important involuntary vital system. When the breath stops one dies. One can realize God indirectly by understanding that this Law of Mother Nature (God) work on all human beings and animals in an equal manner. Its voluntary control, even for a short time, creates great will power.
Respiratory system (Prana) is one of the five vital systems of physiology in all human beings and animals. The other four vital systems are Excretory (Apaana), Digestive, (Vyana) Nervous (Udaan) and Circulatory (Samaan). Mostly these are not under voluntary control of any person.
Pranayama practices create a state of peace of mind called thoughtless consciousness (Nirvichar Jagruti). In long run it leads mind into a higher state of self-awareness, self-realization (Atma-Gyan) and spiritual or universal consciousness. This is called Nirvana. This State of Mind is not easy to achieve as it looks. To reach Nirvana one needs regular Yoga and Pranayama practices for days, months and years.
Blood Pressurein 90 % of cases.
I would like to record an Email response of a new friend who had tried only one short session of Maha Prayanama.
“Dear Doctor Gandhi,
It was my pleasure to meet you at the Thanksgiving dinner. I can give thanks that we happened to meet and engage in a very interesting conversation about Yoga.
Saturday night I took my blood pressure. It was above normal at 146 over 95. I waited about 10 minutes and did the breathing exercise and took my pressure after finishing. The pressure was low and close to the new standards issued by the medical profession some time ago, 126 over 85. I am impressed and interested in discovering more about the practice of Yoga.
Thank you for the additional information you gave me today at church. I will put time aside on Monday to read thru the material. The next thing I MUST do is discipline myself to take the time to do the breathing exercises regularly.
Thanks again and I hope to see you soon. Regards,
Ron Ferster.” Pranayama done in chair, or in lying positions during recovery from heart attacks and other surgical procedures, accelerates the recovery and shortens the bed stay. Many known cases of blood pressure are permanently cured by simple Pranayama practices.
Blood pressure is described as idiopathic- disease in 90% of cases in medical books. In simple words “the cause is not known”. It is a silent disease having no symptoms during the early onset period. Sometimes it is discovered during routine medical check ups for insurance. When it remains untreated for a long time it gets established and starts affecting other vital organs like kidneys, coronary arteries (supplying blood to heart), and arteries of brain and other systems. The arteries become hard and loose their elasticity.
Worries, stress and tensions are well-recognized psychological causes responsible for many cases of idiopathic blood pressure. Besides blood pressure, Pranayama and Mantra chanting cures and/or prevents other psycho-somatic diseases like sinus problems, recurrent attacks of colds, asthma, acidity, angina, diabetes, gastric ulcers, constipation, backaches, joint diseases, stiffness, etc., etc.
Breathing is partly voluntary and partly involuntary. Any adult individual, by some practice can develop a good control over the rate and depth of air intake at will for some minutes. Pranayama practices teach how to develop will control over this partly involuntary vital system of body. This helps all persons in sports like swimming, diving (in particular), running, tennis, basket ball, singing skills (Aalap) etc,. This is a worth learning step of Yoga even if one does not wish to learn and practice other steps or play above sports.
Normally the respiratory system is functioning subconsciously. By bringing it under voluntary (conscious) control of mind, the thoughts cropping up in mind disappear at once like criminals running away upon hearing the siren of a police car. One immediately feels good and becomes worries and tension free.
The ancient Indian Rishies had observed another important mental activity associated with breath control.
When one consciously controls the rate and depth of respiration, all worrying and confusing thoughts cropping up in mind like sparks of wild fire- or a monkey jumping from one branch to another disappear for that short period of time. Pranayama when combined with chanting of OM and Prayer Mantras provide a handy tool of pacifying the confused mind for any individual at all times and at all places.
With Pranayama and chanting OM, mind becomes pacified. A pacified mind is needed to learn any subject in school or doing any good job or mental activity of meditation. Mind remains attentive and creative if it is calm. Immediate relief of worries, stress, tensions and confusion of thoughts is experienced. This can be compared to two aspirin tablets relieving joint pains, fevers and headaches in a short time.
The benefits of Pranayama are totally any Individual’s subjective experience (Atma-Anubhuti). One has to confirm by self-experiment and observing all short and long term results.
Deep breathing produces more oxygenated blood in lungs and at the same time wipes out accumulated carbon-dioxide. All vital organs of body like brain, kidneys, intestines and liver start working better immediately because they get oxygenated fresh blood. The mind is peaceful, heart rate falls and this increases cardiac out put per minute. The satisfied vital organs like lungs, liver, heart, kidneys, intestines etc., create a wonderful sense of well-being, alertness and better performance. There is no need for smoking or drinking tea or coffee or alcohol. Pranayama is the threshold for entering Yoga Meditation
The art of Meditation starts with Pranayama and last four steps of Yoga. These steps teach mind control, setting of age related goals and art of positive thinking. They teach how to control five Senses (Pratyahar Step -5), Four Goals of Life (Dharna, 6th step), Art of 100 % Concentration (Dhyan, 7th step) and spiritual realization of Self, by self-knowledge, self-upliftment and vision (Darshan) of invisible God (Samadhi, step 8). They are studied with Upanishads, Darshans like Sankhya, Vedanta and the Bhagavat Gita (Divine song of God).
* * * * It is possible to live long by regulating the Prana (life breath), which is partly under control of your will. Your life is partly in your hands by the free will for actions (Karma) given to only human beings by God. You are Bhagvan - the maker of your own destiny. (Bhag or Bhagya means Luck, destiny).
Nearly 96 types of Pranayama are described in different Yoga books. Learn Pranayama under the guidance of a non-greedy teacher (Guru) having background of modern medical subjects like anatomy, physiology, pharmacology and diseases. Only a few useful and important are described below.
SOME IMPORTANT PRANAYAMA:
Longest Possible One Breath.
Bhrastrika. Rapid Deep Breathings. Long inhalation, short in hold- long exhalation- short out hold. Different combinations of above procedures Combined with OM and Mantra Chanting.
Kapal-Bhati. Deep forced Breath outs with forceful use of diaphragm and the recti (abdominal) muscles.
Tratak: Combined with different Eyes exercises and Pranayama.
Nasal Pranayama. Various tricks of Nasal breathing, in/out from right and/or left noses, and Mouth Breathing.
1. Maha-Pranayama (MP):
Longest possible single breath. In MP Yoga student learns to reduce normal rate of breathing of 15 to 18 per minute to one or two breaths per minute. (MP is author’s name of this Pranayam).
Take a deepest possible in-breath, Maximum Inhalation.
Hold breath in as long as possible. In-hold (Kumbhak).
Breath out slowly; Long Exhale, Rachak. Lastly,
Do not take next breath as long as you can, Keep long outer breath hold – Bahya Khumbhak.
Above 4 parts of one breath cycle make One Maha-Pranayam (1MP).
Mastering MP is foundation stone for all Pranayama Practices. It is simple to learn and easy to practice. In MP normal rate of breathing of 15 to 18 per minute is reduced to one, two or three breaths per minute. Measure this with a wristwatch. Measure also the length of each part.
MP is a very useful and wonderful breathing exercise for all individuals, at all age periods, males or females, sick or healthy.
Normally an adult at rest takes 15 to 18 breaths per minute or one breath in 4 seconds. During same one minute the heart beats 72 times. One heartbeat takes about 0.8 seconds.
During one breath cycle (inhalation and exhalation) a person at rest takes-in and exhales-out nearly 500 cc of air. Out of this 500 cc of air inhaled, only 350 cc of air enters into the inner most sponge like portion of lung (alveoli) for oxygen exchange. Whereas 150 cc of air remains in the ‘dead space’ area made up of bronchi, trachea, pharynx and nasal sinuses. When respiration rate is reduced from normal of 18 per minute, to 2 or 3 breaths per minute, it gives nearly 30 seconds of time for 1300 cc of a “block of fresh air” in the lungs for purification during one MP.
With more practice one can increase 1 MP time to one breath per minute or one breath in 2 or 3 minutes. But do not try such long MP stunts in early practice. Recently I watched on TV one 8 minute long breath-hold (KUMBHAK) by some under water diver.
Even if you wish you will not be able to do more than 5 to 10 MPs. There is a physiological reason. The carbon-dioxide level in blood falls due to deep breath ins/outs. It changes the normal pH of blood. There are nerve sensors located in the carotid arteries, which supply blood to the brain. They send messages to ‘the vital center of respiration’ located in brain stem (Medulla Oblongata) to stop this activity. This is a wonderful design of God. It is comparable to fuel and air mixing devices of automatic sensors of modern carburetors in cars and airplanes.
One can easily master Maha-Pramayam (MP) and a few other Pranayama. MPs provide more oxygenated blood to diseased organs during recovery period in sicknesses, and thus helps to cure many diseases. This knowledge also help during life threatening situations like entrapped in mines, caves or fallen buildings during earth-quakes, land slides, smokes due to fire hazards, poisonous gases etc,.
Any inexperienced person can easily breath-in 3 times than normal air intake- nearly 1300 to 1500c.c. He can hold it in, the breathed air for some more time. By doing such a long in-hold (Kumbhak) more time is allowed for a bigger volume of air for oxygen exchange in lungs. Anybody can easily do 3 or 4 MPs of average 30 seconds each, and can do such 4 to 8 MP session of two to four minutes at very first trial.
Maha Pranayama is a very simple deep breathing exercise. 5 to 10 MPs done at intervals during work intervals or recovery period in hospital beds, improve tone of all body muscles. People take breaks during work hours to refresh their tired bodies and minds. But they smoke cigarettes; take tea or coffee, alcoholic drinks and other intoxicating drugs, which harm liver, lungs and general health. Instead a few MPs, if done regularly, will have no side effects and they do not cost a cent. Besides the results will be far superior, heath preserving, and give immediate mental benefits.
MPs create a general sense of well-being, freshness of mind, improve general tone of body muscles and all joints. MPs refresh all vital organs of body like brain, lungs, kidneys, liver and heart.
Imagine during Maha Pranayam that God as Universal Air (Vayu Dev) and Cosmic Light Energy (Vishva -Jyoti) is entering your body and purifying all internal organs and mind.
Tips: (1). Master each part gradually up to its full capacity, but never overdo any part of a MP to extreme limit. (2). All phases must be smooth and gradual without any jerks. (3). Do 5 to 8 sessions of 4 to 8 MPs daily at two or three hourly intervals.
Advise: Do not do more than 8 MPs in one session at one time. Let your breath come down to normal breathing rate for a few minutes. Then only start next 8 Mps and stop. Do 15 to 20 minutes MPs sessions in one sitting. Than do next the next session after 2 to 4 hours interval.
MPs can be done at any time in a day, e.g. getting up from bed, after taking bath, before prayers, during work intervals, recovery periods from sickness in hospital beds, or any free time, during day or before going to bed at night.
You will soon start seeing its mental, physical and benefits in High Blood Pressure cases and recovery of other disease conditions.
Maha Pranayama is simple to learn and useful for all individuals, at all age periods, males or females, sick or healthy. Learn, master and try to practice 20 minutes sessions of MPs. Do at two or four hourly intervals. Try this for 3 to 5 days regularly.
You will soon start experiencing its mental peace and benefits in recovery of Blood Pressure and other disease conditions. You can teach this Pranayama to many friends after observing its benefits upon yourself.
All other Pranayam practices are some variations of the different phases of MPs. They give some other benefits in specific conditions.
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2. Bhastrika Pranayam.
Rapid Deep breathings.
Long inhalation, short in hold, long exhalation- short outer hold –
All done in one breath. During quick breaths try to make a whistling sound like a Steam Engine from nostrils and throat.
Bhastrika is opposite of MPs. In Bhastrika the normal rate of breathing of 15 to 18 is raised to 25 to 30 per minute. Never over do any Pranayam beyond your capacity and comfort limit. One spell can be of 2 minutes to start with and increased up to 5 minutes maximum. “Never do Bhastrika more than that limit”.
Do such 15 to 30 quick breaths up to tolerable limit in one cycle. Take rest and come back to normal breathing for two to three minutes. Again start a second cycle of Bhastrika. Try to count how many breaths you rapidly took in one minute, and also in one session. Do maximum 4 sessions in one day.
Tip: How to remember four daily sessions of MPs and Bhastrika.
Getting up from bed.
Before Break Fast
In case you forget one session, then try to do before going to bed.
Benefits: Bhastrika is useful in many Headaches, Migraine, Asthma, Chronic Bronchitis, Parkinson’s disease, Paresis of limbs, Liver and kidney diseases, Acidity and Gastric Ulcers, Blood pressure and Heart diseases, etc,. Before diving, a spell of Bhastrika helps to increase under water time.
This is a useful and worth mastering Pranayam for both sexes. In normal breathing adults do not use abdominal muscles in breathing like young children.
In Kapal Bhati one does “Deep forced Breath outs with use of diaphragm and in-drawing the abdominal Recti muscles.
Keep one hand on abdomen and press while exhaling. Try to force out maximum air from lungs with all possible efforts of chest and abdominal muscles. This compresses the lungs to its maximum. From deepest parts of lungs carbon dioxide containing air is thrown out by pulling abdomen inwards with diaphragm, a dome shaped muscle separating abdomen and chest.
Three humors Vat, Pitt and Couf (gases, bile, and sticky mucous) are described in Aur-Vedic texts. Imbalance of these is responsible of many diseases. KB Pranayama creates a balance of all three humors. The forced expiration awakens Swadhistan Chakra, located in chest region.
Benefits: KB produces an abdominal massage, which improves tone of all abdominal organs like, intestines, pancreas, liver, kidneys, and genital organs in males and females. It helps in regulation of menstrual cycles, and cures fibroids of uterus.
KB helps to develop control over urgency and frequency of urination, cures minor prostrate problems and early cancer cases. Helps in cases of cirrhosis of liver, hepatic diseases, controls diabetes and cholesterol. The abdominal in-drawing exercises reduce abdominal fat, circumference of belly and belt size.
KB helps to pass out hard stools from bowels and relieves constipation when done on a toilet seat. KB helps in other abdominal conditions like, prolapsed uterus in females and prostrate conditions in males.
It is believed that KB awakens the Muladhar Chakra, located in pelvis. Awakening of Muladhar Chakra, improve sexual functions in EDS (Erectile Dysfunction Syndrome) cases in males and similar state in females leading to joy (anand) of sexual life.
KB practices push fresh blood on face. Without any cosmetics the face looks brightened up. KB cures early cases of asthma, sinusitis, allergies, snoring at night, and sinusitis. High blood pressure is a silent disease and root cause of many heart diseases Improvement of kidney tone removes toxins from blood and reduction of blood pressure. KB develops attention and concentration powers in all activities.
Tips. Do not do KB after food. Best time is early morning before breakfast, in after noon after 4 hours of meals and after 3 hours of dinner before going to bed. Not advised in later months of pregnancy.
Work out. Do 5 to 10 KB in one spell with intervals of some rest in between. Do not do more than three spells in one sitting.
Bahya Kumbhak - Pranayam.
Longer Outer Breath Holds:
Take few Deep breaths then do a short In-hold and Exhale quickly. Now do not take next breath until you are forced to take next breath. Measure outer breath hold time with a wrist-watch. Mastering BKP is useful in swimming for remaining under water for longer times. Do such 3 to 5 BKP after each session of KB.
Bandha like Jalander Bandha can be combined with this Pranayam. Flex neck and touch chin to chest and Hold. Keep position of flexed neck during BKP.
Different Yoga teachers and schools teach various Tratak tricks. Tratak falls under Hath Yoga practices. In Tratak students are asked to focus Eyes on some Objects like bright Lamps, an Idol of a deity God, photo of a Guru or a great past personality like Lord Buddha.
Fixing eyes on a bright object.
This is a popular trick for achieving concentration (Dhyan), the 7th step in Yoga. The student looks at a fixed bright object usually a candle or a bright lamp. He/she is not supposed to blink even if tears run profusely from the eyes. This washes out dust particles from eyes.
Tratak mastery (Sadhna) imparts ability of mind reading, when one is in Tratak with some one.
Modern psychics and police officers know this trick. In Karate fights also Tratak is taught to students. Conscious mind is fully concentrated upon the object observed.
Yogis who have cultivated this ability can read thoughts of weak minded people. They can easily hypnotize and influence them.
Many successful intellectuals worship more than 1000 Mortal Living Gurus as “Living Gods”. They donate millions of Dollars to build hudge temples as per wish whims and dreams of such Gurus. This is going on to maximum degree at present in India, England and USA.
In sports Tratak helps to concentrate and win a game. Tratak develops fullest attention of eyes and mind. All jobs requiring pin-pointed attention and fullest concentration, like calculations of numbers, driving a car in heavy traffic, ascend and decent of airplane, wrist watch repairing, fine painting, etc, become perfect by Tratak practices.
Yoga Eyes Exercises.
Eyes are important sense organs. Their movements like looking Up, Down, Side to Side and at Tip of Nose without moving head are good Yoga Exercises. Other exercises teach wide opening and closing firmly of both eyes alternately.
After above exercises press softly both eyes with base of palm after rubbing palms. This gives a mild heat pad like soothing effect on Eyes. This can be done when eyes are tired due to constant use in writing or reading.
* * * *
Only a few successful and intellectual individuals have real curiosity to know true religion and God. The higher steps of Yoga require sacrifice of time, liberation from family and material attachments like money and victory over sensual pleasures. This is very difficult practice for many people.
Pranayama and the first three steps of Yoga create a wonderful sense of well being of body and mind and give inner joy, self-confidence and positive attitude to many individuals. These are easy to start and practice for all.
5. Nasal & Oral Pranayama.
Try these Nasal practices before doing Nasal Pranayama.
A. Nose Massage. With tips of thumb and middle fingers of R hand, press nose at top and bring fingers down wards, giving two sides of nose a gentle massage. Do this for 10-15 times.
B. Nose Twistings. Press and Push nose gently on L side with R thumb. Repeat for 10-15 times. Do reverse of this with Left Thumb for 15 times.
C. Nose Expansion Exercises. Two nostrils can be expanded and contracted to some extent by voluntary muscles around two nostrils. Try to do this expansion exercise 10 to 15 Times.
Above Nasal exercises can be done at any time during a day. They increase defense capacity of mucous membrane, the inner lining of nose, and help to prevent attacks of recurring cold.
While doing nasal Pranayama, keep the left hand on left knee. Use only right hand for nasal Parnayama. Keep Spine Erect. Sitin Sukhasan Comfort Posture, PadmasanLotus Posture or Siddhasan for Pranayama practices.
Some palm poses Mudras are done. In Yog Mudra, one makes a circle with index finger and thumb keeping other three fingers extended. In Vayu Mudra, the index finger is firmly pressed at the base of the thumb with three fingers extended.
Nasal & Oral Pranayama.
Lom Anulom (Vilom) Pranayam.
Hasya Pranayama. Long Loud Laughters.
A. Lom Anulom (Vilom) Pranayam
To close left and right nose alternately make a Mudra (hand pose) with Right hand. Keep only Thumb, Little and Ring fingers extended and keep Index and Middle fingers flexed.
(1). Inhale via Right and Breath-out via Left Nose. Second time Inhale via Left and Breath-out via Right Nose.
During early learning phase try to do 10 to 15 breaths in one session, and come down to normal breathing in-between. Try to maintain the rate of breathing about 8 to 10 per minute. Determine to do regularly 3 to 4 such sessions daily. You will observe its benefits within a week.
In yoga books two important Nadies, IDA (also called Sun or Surya–Nadi) and PINGLA (also called Moon or Chandra–Nadi) are described. Ida runs in R. Nose and Pingla runs in Left nose.
(2). Inhale via Right and Breath-out via Left nostril every time. This will be Sun or Surya Pranayam. Do such 30 breathings in one session. Take rest. This will become one session of a Sun Pranayam.
It is claimed that 4 Sun Pranayama done in one session, and such 4 sessions done in a day, reduces body weight by 1 lb/month without any diet changes. If combined with proper food and Calories control it helps to reduce Obesity.
The reverse of Surya Pranayam is Chandra Pranayama.
(3). Inhale via Left and Breath-out via Right nostril. Do this way every time. This will be Moon or Chandra Pranayam. Do such 30 Moon Pranayams in one session. If such 4 sessions are done in one day, it helps to increase body weight by 1lb in a month.
Chandra Pranayam helps to gain weight by increasing appetite. In case you forget one session, then do it before going to bed.
Benefits. This pranayam helps in Asthma cases and Recurrent Sinus problems. Also helps in Arthritis by producing joint fluids and regenerating cartilages in early cases of Osteo-Arthritis. Helps in varicose veins of legs and blockage of Brain and Coronary arteries.
B. Shitli Pranayama.
Temperature Cooling Pranayama.
Inhale from mouth through teeth and exhale via Nose. Some teachers ask to make a tube like protruded tongue while doing Shitli Pranayama.
This is useful in cases of high temperature. The air entering on moist tongue gets cooled and reduces temperature of blood in lungs. When it is exhaled the hot air carries away the heat. Opposite of above breathing is breath-in via Nose and exhale via mouth. This is useful in cold weathers.
C. Bhramari Pranayam.
Place two thumbs of two hands into ears to close any sound coming from outside. Then place index finger on forehead. With remaining fingers partially close two sides of nose. Take deep in-breath. Then while exhaling try to produce a constant humming noise (hum-m-m-m) like that of a Bumblebee. You will experience a loud hum in your ear drums. Measure the length of hummmm by wrist watch.
Benefits: This Pranayam helps to relieve mental tensions, worries, stress, family upsets and business problems, and negative thoughts. Also helps in High BP.
Do 3 to 5 Bhramari Pranayam in early morning and before going to bed. It can be done at any time during free work interval for quitting habit of smoking, alcohol and drugs. It creates self control, (Atma-Sanyam) self confidence (Atma Shraddha) and concentration (Dhyan) in jobs. It awakens Agna Chakra and gives ability of making firm decisions.
Follow up this Pranayama by Udgith Pranayam or Mantra Chanting.
D. Udgith Pranayam.
Association of Speaking or Chanting OM Mantrta, Verses, Prayers, Songs, or musical sounds during breath out phase is Udgith Pranayama.
Note that any Mantra is possible during out breathing phase only. Speaking becomes Karma or activity, which can be done only at present moment “Today and Now”. In this Pranayama each MP is combined with OM or Mantra chanting. This develops singing ability and is very useful for budding singers.
Take deep breath, hold and try to speak a long and loud OM while exhaling air. Measure length of OM with wrist watch. Try to speak 5 letter Mantras like “Om Namah Shivaya”, or 12 letter Mantras like “Om Namo Bhagavate Vasu Devaya”, or some short poetry lines. Later try to chant longer 16 sound Mantras like Gayatri Mantra or Hare-Rama, Hare- Krishna Mantra in one breath.
Keep eyes closed and do this chanting with devotional mood of prayers to God. During chanting imagine as if you are sending your message or praises to King of Universe (Jagdish, Narayana)-or God, residing in paradise at the other end of Universe. Such practices are seen in Islamic and Christian group prayers also.
The sound produced during OM Chanting is called Pranav. Imagine your sound is merging with the spoken words of all people of past and present times in Infinite Space (Aakash, Sky) of Universe.
In Hindu temples group Mantra Chanting of scriptures like Ramayana or Gita is done in a nonstop manner for hours. Combination of devotional songs with music produces wonderful mind pacifying effects. All worries and confusing thoughts disappear for that short or long spell of time.
Singh Mudra: This is a funny variation of Pranayam. A pose of sitting Lion is done. Then tongue is protruded to maximum limit. After taking a deep breath, a sound like the Roar of a Lion is done. It creates a funny atmosphere around. It creates self-confidence in the mind of the doer.
E. Hasya Pranayama.
Long Loud Laughter
This is done in sitting or standing positions. After taking a deep breath, start laughing “as loudly as you can in a non stop manner” until your breath is exhausted, and abdomen drawn in like Kapal Bhati. Repeat such long laughs for 3 to five minutes. This creates a joyful mood in mind and in surrounding people also.
Hasya Pranayama, when done in small groups, creates a happy atmosphere. Regular Laughing Clubs movement is going on in many places in India. This activity helps to over come stress, tensions, and sad moods in friend circles and social groups.
F. Ujjayai Pranayam.
Flex neck and touch chin to chest.
Usually we are not able to produce any sound or noise while breathing in. But with some practice it is possible to make such a sound.
While breathing try to produce a sound like Uoo, Uoo, Uoom during inhaling phase. Try slowly two or three noises in the beginning. Gradually increase up to 5 to 8 in one session.
Benefits: Helps to cure Thyroid problems, Sinus and night snoring problems. Also clears throat stickiness and clears vocal cords and improves quality of voice for singers.
Yoga students must learn and master some simple Asana and these Pranayama. They will soon observe its subjective beneficial effects on Body and worrying agitated Mind.
Indian Yoga Gurus earn lot of money by teaching such simple time tested tricks of breathing, soothing music, Mantra Chanting and Religious group Prayers. All these create a short-term peace in any agitated mind.
When OM or any Mantra is spoken repeatedly and loudly with breath control a powerful pacification of mind occurs. This trick pacifies any worrying and confused mind.
Average Swamies and Yoga teachers who know this trick hypnotize rich and famous and many other people easily. For giving some Mantra to chant Indian Gurus charge lot of money. They mint money by teaching such simple age-old psycho-physiological tricks for pacifying confused minds. The wandering and agitated mind soon becomes quiet. The pacified mind is more receptive to fresh knowledge. New and positive ideas arise only in a cool mind.
Initially learn Pranayam and Asana practices and master some popular Pranayama under the guidance of a non-greedy teacher (Guru), having background of modern medical sciences and diseases. Later on you will be able to teach such Pranayama to others after observing its benefits upon yourself.