Pranayama — Gateway to Dhyana
1. In the last lesson I said that we would be proceeding in our educational process towards pranayama. If you recall, during the delineation on meditation, I said I wouldn’t tell you about the third kind of meditation, which Patanjali mentioned — the yogic process of meditation…, which later becomes [dhyana]the seventh limb of Patanjali’s ashtanga system.
2. As I said, I [am not] qualified to divulge that, simply because of the very fact that the yogic process of meditation is directly linked, and connected to, pranayama. Pranayama is the gateway to that meditation, more precisely that dhyana, because the sutra on pranayama mentions:
| dharanasu cha yogyata manasah |
The mind (manasah) also becomes fit for concentration (dharana). [PYS II.53]
That means pranayama makes the mind suitable, qualified, and compatible for the process of dharana, dhyana, and samadhi.
3. Therefore, unless we delineate on pranayama, unless we… get to know some… formal knowledge about pranayama, we don’t really qualify to go to dhyana of the third kind. Therefore, I postponed any delineation on the third type of [dhyana], which Patanjali has mentioned.
Now, in order that we qualify, I have now decided to tell you something about pranayama. Of course, it is [part of] an educational process. It is not the way it is taught these days. Today yoga has become a consumer product, a consumer subject, and, therefore, one will not be familiar with this formal process of education.
Asana Connected to Pranayama & Meditation +3.05
1. These days we tend to draw a hard line between asana and pranayama. We say this is asana, and this is pranayama. Now, [although]… the whole process of ashtanga yoga is an integral process, we have not understood how it is integral. How is asana connected to pranayama and pranayama is connected to asana? As a matter of fact, [because] all eight limbs are mutually connected, it has to be an integral process….
2. Today, people are even used to saying, “I do yoga, and I do meditation,” as if yoga should not be meditative. Yoga, pranayama, and meditation have become three practices because yoga is deemed to be merely postural practices in modern times. This needs to be overcome. We need to overcome such a kind of notion, idea, impression, that equates yoga with postural practices…. Yoga itself should be a meditative process. There has to be a meditative process, a meditative facet, a meditative aspect even in asanas, if they are [to be] yoga-asanas.
3. [But]… asanas are taught in a particular framework, and, then, there is another framework for pranayama. This is how we are used to imparting yoga these days. Asana has a framework, and it is taught within that frame, and, then, there is a separate framework for pranayama, and pranayama is taught in that frame. We tend to separate… the two from each other, rather than integrating them…. We are losing the link. When Patanjali defines pranayama, he relates it directly to asana.
The first sutra on pranayama says,
| tasmin sati shvasa – prashvasayoh gati-vicchedah pranayamah |This (asana) having been perfected, regulation of the incoming (shvasa) and outgoing (prashvasa) flow of breath with retention (gati-viccheda)is pranayama. [PYS II.49]
Asanas have been… defined:
| sthira sukham asanam |
Perfection in asana means firmness (sthira) in body, steadiness (sthira) in intelligence and benevolence (sukham: pleasantness) in consciousness (chitta). [PYS II.46]
| prayatna shaithilya ananta samapattibhyam |
Perfection in asana is achieved when the effort (prayatna) to perform it becomes effortless (shaithilya) and the infinite being (ananta) within is reached (samapattibhyam). [PYS II.47]
as the effect of asana.
| tatah dvandvah anabhighatah |
From that (tatah) arises immunity (anabhighata) to the pairs of opposites (dvandva). [PYS II.48]
is an effect of pranayama. Then, thereafter, he says, when the breath is handled, regulated, it becomes pranayama. Tasmin sati (this having been perfected) means thereafter. After [what]? When the dvandvah anabhighata (immunity to the pairs of opposites) condition has been attained through asanas.
4. So, asanas, in the classical approach, are not meant to address physical fitness…, physical considerations, or… corporeal considerations. We are supposed to attain a state of… dvandvah anabhighata…. Like cream appearing on the surface of milk, the dvandva anabhighata condition will appear in asanas, through asanas. That is the effect of asanas.
5. Thereafter, when the breath is regulated,
| tasmin sati shvasa – prashvasayoh gati-vicchedah pranayamah|This (asana) having been perfected, regulation of the incoming and outgoing flow of breath with retention is pranayama. [PYS II.49]
When thereafter, the in-breath and the out-breath are modified in their dimensions of volume, velocity, density, and flow, it then becomes pranayama.
For pranayama you just can’t be breathing through the right nostril, or the left nostril, or do some Bhastrika, or some Ujjayi. Basically, the mind must be in a dvandva anabhighata (immunity to the pairs of opposites)condition. If you adhere to a classical approach, that is a prerequisite.
You can’t just sit in a place and start doing pranayama…, such as Ujjayi Pranayama, Surya Bhedana, Chandra Bhedana, Nadi Shodhana Pranayama, or Anuloma, Pratiloma Pranayama, Bhastrika Pranayama. We just [mistakenly] embark upon pranayama in [any] given state of the mind. This is not done in the classical approach. So let’s try to have a formal understanding here.
Pranayama should be only launched after the mind is in equity, equanimity, equilibrium. Then, in that state, we have a kind of corresponding breath, and that breath has to be regulated.
If you do something with the breath when the mind is spasmodic, sporadic…, mercurial…, wandering…, rambling…, distracted…, fragmented…, indented…, it is not pranayama in the classical approach. Therefore, it implies that there should be a particular state of mind to embark upon pranayama that has to be attained through asana. That state of mind has to be attained through asana, any asana, or asanas. First of all, the mind should be steadied.
6. There are various ways to steady the mind. If the mind is unsteady, you can steady the mind in so many different ways. Go onto the top of the terrace, to watch the sky, look at the sky. Or, steady the mind [by another means]….
So, it’s not that the mind should be steadied by [just] any means and measures. There are so many measures and means to steady the mind. Carry out field work as to how to steady your disquiet mind. How do you steady your rambling mind? You apply means and measures, so the mind is steadied. It’s not steadying the mind by hook or crook, or any means and measures. It is only through asana. Mind steadied through the asana, not mind steadied through… tranquilizers. So steadying the mind through the asana process, is the classical approach.
Patanjali clearly explicitly mentions the
immunity to the pairs of opposites
condition comes condition comes through the endeavor of asana, through the mediumof asana. Then that breath has to be regulated because, as we understand it, pranayama is regulating the breath.
7. Let’s try to formally understand, because we are used to taking up yoga [only] when it is convenient for us, “This is convenient, I will do it this way. This is not so convenient, I will not do it that way.” But that is not the formal approach, that is not the process in classical yoga.
“Whatever suits [me]”… is consumerism. First of all, if we are trying to tread the path of yoga, we have to understand that we can’t be a consumer with likes and dislikes, convenience, and inconvenience. We cannot be looking [just] for our convenience. That is the formal approach.
8. So, the mind has to be steadied first through the asanas. Therefore, asanas are prerequisites for pranayama. Some of you have this idea that one must perfect the asanas to then go for pranayama. There is nothing like perfection of an asana. When the asana reaps the fruit mentioned in the text, that itself is an asana. It is not by somebody’s assessment that the asana is perfect, or by your own assessment the asana is perfect, or imperfect. It must yield that fruit that the mind is capable of getting absorbed in infinitude,
the infinite being within is reached.
Or, when the mind is so steadied. That is the state of mind one must reach in the asanas classically. Again, I tell you, this is educational process. Don’t look at what is possible, and what is not possible, for me, and [then say that] I will only attempt what is possible. “I will not venture to try anything that seems to be impossible.” This is the… practicality of life. In practical life you can [justifiably] look for what is possible, what is not possible, what is good, what is not good for me, what is convenient, what is inconvenient. That consumerism is rampant in yoga, and, therefore, we find this difficult to understand and conceive.
Mind Steady for Pranayama, Not Shvasayama +13.35
1. When the mind is so steadied, then when you start working on… modifying the dimensions of breath — the volume, velocity, density, confines, deployment, function, purpose — it becomes pranayama. Again, it is called pranayama, not shvasayama (restraint of breath).
2. Today, this popular version of yoga has been catering to shvasayama: Watch your breath and then make your breath slow, make your breath deep, etc. We are dealing with our respiratory breath. For the common man breath awareness means awareness of the breath that is moving through the nostrils.
But, if you have sufficient education in yoga, you will understand it is not that you are just supposed to be aware of the breath that is moving through the nostrils, the in-breath for oxygenation and out-breath for [emitting] carbon dioxide.
3. The breath has enormous potential to work within. We must first identify the extra-respiratory purpose and function of the breath. In short, I can say that pranayama is not regulating the respiratory breath. Pranayama is not conditioning, regulating, and controlling the respiratory breath. The breath has so many functions within our embodiment.
The common man thinks breathing [exists] for us to live. If we breathe, we live. Those people who are a little more educated in biology, anatomy, and physiology… know that if breathing is going on, then the autonomic [nervous] system is going on. If the autonomic [nervous] system were to fail, then you would be at the threshold of death. So we think that breath is for the autonomic [nervous] system to function and to live.
4. But yoga has a different perspective. Breathing is not merely for us to live. And the breathing is not merely for the autonomic system to function [to allow] the brain to function, lungs to function, and heart to function. Those are all autonomic functions, where we don’t interfere. We don’t do that. We don’t operate the switches for blood circulation all over the body.
There are no switches to switch on and off the blood circulation…, [or] the nervous system. We never switch off the nervous system. It is working incessantly. The heart: we don’t have a switch for heart to work and heart not to work. So we have no regulation, no control over certain organs of the body, certain processes of the body. That’s called the autonomic system. That’s why it is autonomous.
When… breathing is on, the autonomic system [is on]. You can’t imagine that autonomic system functioning [without] breathing, [else you will] have a seizure. [When there is] no breathing at all taking place…, the autonomic system… won’t function too long. It would just be functioning for a couple of moments. So only when the breathing is going on will the autonomic system then function.
5. Actually it is breath-onomous. More than calling it autonomous, it is breath-onomous. It depends on the breathing process. Such a notion is not there in body science, anatomy, or physiology. They call it autonomic…. Only if the autonomic system functions can breathing take place. Again, there is a mutual dependency. If the autonomic system has been stopped, your breathing will be stopped. [If] the breathing is stopped, your autonomic system is stopped. There is such a relationship between the two.
6. As students of yoga, we have to understand this extra-respiratory function, act, purpose, efficacy of breathing. Laymen will have no idea about how the breathing has extra respiratory functions. It has potential, enormous potential to work in extra-respiratory realm.
This needs to be identified. Explore what breathing does within us…, rather than just having an impression that breathing makes the lungs function, and, when the lungs are functioning, there will be oxygenation… of the cells, the corpuscular particles and the cells of the body taking place, [to ensure] animation will continue.
7. We have a concept of blood circulation. When we take an inhalation, we take in oxygen. How is the oxygen supplied all over the body? Oxygen is not just supposed to go into the lungs.
The oxygen needs to go all over the body, for all the cells, and that takes place via the medium of the blood. There is oxygen content getting into the blood, and, then, that blood circulates all over the body. Therefore, oxygen is carried all over the body and brain by our circulatory system. The oxygen gets into the blood, and that oxygen, through the blood, is supplied to all the cells.
If any part of body doesn’t get oxygen its called anoxia. So, when oxygen doesn’t go there, then that part suffers, and then it dies. That part will die in the body. Although you are not dead, that part will die. So oxygen needs to go everywhere. There is a circulatory system which is about sixteen-odd thousand miles long in our body that supplies oxygen….
But the common man has no idea of something called breath circulation. He thinks the breath circulation is only confined to the respiratory system, the nasal passage, the wind pipe, the bronchi, and the lungs. He thinks that’s is the only region where the breath is circulated.
8. But yoga identifies the enormous potentials of what the breath can do. This has to be explored through the process of yoga–asana. In asana we must devote, dedicate, some part of the asana practice to understanding the usage and applications of the breath, the breath addressal, and the breath as a benefactor… and beneficiary. In physical culture we just see the body as a beneficiary. You get benefits to the body.
Maybe some benefits extend to the mind, as you feel fresh. If you optimally exercise, you feel fresh. If you over-exercise, you feel tired, fatigued. But exercise can refresh your mind. It can overcome the dullness of the mind. The mind can be animated because of optimally done exercises. The mind is also a beneficiary, body is also a beneficiary. We have to see how the breath can be a beneficiary through asanas.
Customize Breath in Virasana Variations +22.35
1. For example, settle down in Supta Virasana. In Supta Virasana see how you breathe in the chest, in the diaphragm, and in the abdomen. When you start, slightly customize the breath, slightly condition your breath a little deeper, a little hyper-normal in volume — more, and more inhalation, more exhalation, with normal velocity. Find out how it will address the body matter. Similarly, in exhalation.
In Supta Virasana find out how the chest part is breathing, how the chest part is breathed,how the diaphragm is breathing, how the diaphragm is breathed, and how the abdominal pelvic region is breathing and breathed.
At the anterior you can feel that the breath is playing a very important role. The postural dynamics can even address the breath. The body matter, abdominal muscles, abdominal skin, abdominal tissues, and the chest tissues can work for the breath. They can work by the breath.
Now identify the body matter, soft tissues and hard tissues — the body matter is made of only two matters, hard tissue matter and soft tissue matter…. How does the breath works for the hard tissue matter? That is the bones. How does the breath work for the soft tissue matter? That is skin, muscles, and flesh. When you deepen your inhalation, you can see that it is making the soft tissues and hard tissues beneficiaries.
Since [tissue] actions and activity are changed — opening of the tissues, skin, muscles, ribs, intercostal cells, pulmonary layers in the chest, and in the abdomen — they can also benefit the breath. The breath is also a beneficiary, and we have to see that we exalt that condition. In asanas you don’t only benefit body matter, but you also benefit the breath matter, and processes. This was Supta Virasana. Now I will radically change the position….
2. Please get up and go to Adho Mukha Virasana, bending forward. You might spread your knees, and taking your head down, extend your arms over the head. See how much the breath is working for the back, on the back, in the back.
How much is the back is working for the breath and breathing? In Supta Virasana the back didn’t work so much. Breath did not work for the back so much, back didn’t work for breath so much. Now [in Adho Mukha Virasana] find out how the back can work significantly for breath and breathing.
Deepen the breath, customize the breath, hypo-normal breath velocity, hypo-normal volume. Similarly, modify from normal to hypo, normal to hyper — deeper breath in normal velocity pattern, hyper-velocity pattern, and with hypo-normal velocity pattern. So the interactions will change.
The body, mind, and breath are mutual benefactors and beneficiaries, which I have emphasized… in asana. Body, mind, and breath are mutual benefactors and beneficiaries of each other. Here you can see how they mutually benefit each other in breath, and the breath perspective.
3. Usually in asanas we have a body perspective, [but] rarely a breath perspective. But in the classical approach, you are supposed to have some percentage — ten, twenty, or thirty percent… — for… addressing the breath, and breath-considerate conditions. If you recall what was mentioned during our… delineation on asanas, the breathing differed during between Adho Mukha Virasana, i.e., bending forward, and Supta Virasana, i.e., bending backward, lying backward.
4. If you sit in Virasana, the upright position, it will be a different interaction. So, now, sit for a while in upright in Virasana. This is a third position in Virasana. The first was supine, the second was bending forward, and, now the third one is sitting straight upright.
Now find out how the pelvic, abdominal, diaphragmatic, and thoracic regions differently participate, partake, and become involved in these three — Supta Virasana, Adho Mukha Virasana, which is also called Shashankasana, and, now, Virasana. In these three positions you will see how the breathing process changes.
So we must devote, dedicate, and allocate some twenty to twenty-five percent of our approach towards reading the breath — the breath processes, contributions, participation…, and involvement — [where the breath acts] as a benefactor and as a beneficiary. We have to carry out some, if I may say so, ‘breath-atic’ studies, studies in the realm of the breath in asanas. That will tell us that the breath can do a lot for our organic body.
5. Once again, go to Supta Virasana. In Supta Virasana, how can you work on your abdominal organs? Exhale a little sharper and deeper, what could be called agricultural act of plowing. With the exhalation, how you will plow? Can you carry out some operation, like a surgical intervention in the abdomen…?
Find out with the exhalation: can you use the strokes of exhalation, divide your exhalation, and deflate your abdomen? Find out you can carry out certain operations.
Your exhalation can be carried out… on the abdominal muscles and the abdominal organs, like the liver, colon, gall bladder, and the urinary bladder. Exhale more and more and more. Do the act of scraping, combing, and plowing in Supta Virasana. See how much you can do for the abdominal organs.
When you work with the mannerisms, they will contribute to the breath. Your breathing will benefit from the strokes at the abdominal location. That is called Uddiyana Mudra and Uddiyana kriya…. So, one of the basic lessons to qualify for pranayama is to go for Uddiyana Mudra in all the various asanas — all the possible and probable asanas, wherever possible, wherever allowed and possible.
Exhalation In, Of, By Senses +30.40
1. Exhale profoundly. Exhale an unusual volume of exhalation. In various asanas, and all asanas, without exception, you can exhale more, and more, and more, and more. If you feel you have exhaled completely, slightly inhale normally, and exhale further, and further, and further. This is a very important exercise to carry out to prepare for pranayama.
Exhale more, and more, and more, and more in every asana, be that a standing…, forward bending…, backward bending…, lateral bending…, rotation lateral…, inverted…, supine…, prone…, or whatever position. In all asanas, make it a point to exhale more, and more, and more.
2. This will certainly not be respiratory physiological breathing. It will work for every organ of body, and every organ of the mind. In the brain confines, in every asana, if you exhale more, and more, and more, and more, you will exhale in cerebral parts. You will exhale in the cerebral-cortical parts. You will exhale in the lobes of the brain, you will exhale even in the senses.
3. Exhale more, and more, and more in the eyes. This is a unique opportunity which is possible… in asana technology.
4. You can exhale more, and more, and more in the nose itself. Why use the nose to exhale? Why not exhale for the nose? Understand exhaling… by the nostrils and by the nose, through the nose and through the nostrils…, on the nostrils…, and for the nostrils.
5. Exhaling for the nose parts…, mouth parts…, eye parts…, ear parts. When you exhale more, and more, and more, you will identify an enormous network, a breathing network like blood vessels. You will identify something that could be called ‘breath-vessels,’ those vessels containing the breath. You can exhale in the eye part, nose part, mouth part, ear part, brain part, frontal brain, frontal lobe, parietal lobe, occipital lobe, temporal lobe, sides of the face, back of the head, front of the face. You can exhale in the throat and chest, and for the throat and chest.
Be aware of these semantics, exhaling in the throat, for the throat, by the throat, of the throat; exhaling in the chest, for the chest, exhaling on the chest, by the chest, through the chest; exhaling in the abdomen, for the abdomen, on the abdomen, with the abdomen. So, also, the pelvic region, and various parts of the body, exhale more, and more, and more in different asanas.
6. I just gave you an example of mutually opposite, counter, positions — in Supta Virasana, and Shashakasana, and Adho Mukha Virasana, one bending backward, the others are bending forward. In all various asanas, there are not only different postures, but there are also different configurations of the breath and breathing.
Explore this, carry out this field work in Trikonasana, Parsvakonasana, Virabhadrasana, Ardha Chandrasana, etc. — all the standing poses. Padangusthasana. Everywhere there are configurations of the breath. It is not only just a change in posture.
7. For an onlooker, there will be a big difference between Trikonasana and Parsvakonasana as postures. He will say there is a difference — this is one pose, and this is another pose. But… it will never occur or dawn on the layman that the breathing…, and breath, will differ in every asana.
Let’s try to open out all these breath passages, which are not used in our common man’s walk of life. We have very limited movements in life, in business activity. But in asana, you can see the whole range of asanas. Look from the first asana in Light on Yoga, to the six hundred and fifth photo of the two-hundredth asana. You only see thedifferences in postures if you look at the photographs. But if you have this approach, see how the breathing differs.
Breath Confines in Tadasana, Sirsasana, Uttana Padma Mayurasana +35.50
1. Imagine Tadasana. Now do Tadasana. Get into Tadasana. This is an upright position. Don’t just see how this posture is done, how the body is positioned as you have presumed. It is important, but take a step beyond it.
How do you breath in Tadasana? In how many ways can you breath in Tadasana? How many confines of the breath can be available? How many configurations of breathing are available in Tadasana? Tadasana can be pelvic breathing, navel breathing, abdominal breathing, diaphragm breathing, thoracic breathing, dorsal back breathing, head/face/brain breathing. There are so many configurations of breathing in Tadasana. It is so important for you to carry out this field work [using] an inscriptive breath and hyper-normal breathing.
2. Immediately go to Sirsasana, which is an inversion. You are standing on your head. When you stand on your head, as [opposed] to standing on the feet in Tadasana…, we call it an inversion because you were upright and now you are inverted. Therefore Sirsasana is called an inversion.
Do you notice how much the breath has changed? How much the breathing has changed… in the pelvic, abdominal, diaphragm, thoracic, facial, back, pelvic-perineum, and hip region? Different configurations of breath… will open out an entire network of breathing passages. Medical science has not measured these breathing passages because there are no vessels for the breath. However, breath flows in so many ways. So this study of breath circulatory system will be exalted by doing so many asanas.
3. Compare Uttana Padma Mayurasana… in Sarvangasana, crossing the legs, and then taking the legs back… more and more towards a Setu Bandha position… of the knees, bending backwards…. See how… the breath is circulating, how the exalted inhalation and exhalation, the inscriptive inhalation and exhalation, and a little sharper inhalation and exhalation work.
4. Now… come to the straight position. See how much the breathing has changed. This is Urdhva Padmasana in Sarvangasana. So in Urdhva Padmasana in Sarvangasana, how is the breathing?
5. Now go to Pindasana. What happened? You are flexing forward, abdominal contraction, anterior body contraction. While you were in Urdhva Padma Mayurasana, there was anterior extension and posterior contraction. Now, here there is anterior contraction and posterior extension. The breathing will be totally different. The configurations of breathing will be different. The breathing process will be different.
Exhaling more, and more, and more, and more in Pindasana is one proposal. The diametrically opposite proposal is exhaling more, and more, and more in Uttana Padma Mayurasana.
The breath in the head region will be different between Pindasana and Uttana Padma Mayurasana. The breath in the chest region will differ between Pindasana and Uttana Padma Mayurasana. The breathing in the diaphragm will differ between Pindasana and Uttana Padma Mayurasana. The breathing in the abdominal, navel, and pelvic region will differ between Pindasana and Uttana Padma Mayurasana.
Asanas Makes Breathing, Breath Circulation Flexible +40.00
1. In various asanas you are not only moving the body in different ways, which is the common man’s view. Even… medical pragmatism, says you will make your body flexible by yoga. Why don’t you explore how the breathing becomes flexible by doing so many… kinds of asanas?
Why only say that the body becomes flexible by movements of yoga-asanas? Because you see that we move the limbs in unusual degrees, and the joints are mobilized to an unusual extent? [When] the body is moved in various ways, various postural positions, bending forward, bending backward, bending laterally, rotation, contractions, extensions, various kinds of movements take place, and we say the body is overhauled by asanas.
2. Then they say the circulatory system will also function better because of the body movements. But nobody recognizes the breath flexibility, breathing system, breathing passages, breathing carriers that also [become more] flexible by so many asanas. The breath circulatory system is only conceived of in asanas, in yoga, not in the body sciences. They have not conceived that idea, notion, concept of breathing circulation….
3. It’s not just that the body moves by forward, backward, lateral bends, lateral rotations, and inversions…. It is so important to develop the breathing circulation to qualify for pranayama. See that you make it a point to dedicate, devote, allocate at least some… meager percentage — starting with five to ten percent. But when you explore more… about it, you will think of allocating more. You will carry out breath studies rather than merely studying how the body bends — the bio-mechanics of the body, the body movements, the body actions, and the body activities. Why not breath?
Uddiyana Kriya in Asana Qualifies for Pranayama +42.50
1. This important kind of initiation… qualifies you to do pranayama. Carry out breath studies in various asanas. [Just] as you [strive] for more intensity in asana, here, in the realm of the breath, you can [strive] for more intensity in the breath itself. The breath needs to be worked in both realms — reaching its polarity in hyponormal velocity, and then reaching its [other] polarity in hypernormal [velocity].
2. Then Uddiyana kriya, uddyanic processes. Then, again, just to give a little clue, what are the abdominal processes of breathing, in Shashankasana, or Adho Mukha Virasana? When you are bending forward, with the abdomen contracted, exhale more and more in the pelvic region…. What happens? It is rolled more and more inwards, and is further contracted by you, as you exhale more and more. The Uddiyana kriya of Shashankasana, or Adho Mukha Virasana.
3. Now go to Supta Virasana, and go for Uddiyana kriya of the abdominal-pelvic region. See the significant difference, the substantial difference, between the Uddiyana of Adho Mukha Virasana and the Uddiyana of Supta Virasana…. Have this fascinating approach.
Start working in the realm of the breath — how the mind works for breath, how the body works for breath — in an asana. These are associated conditions. Even the mind will contribute differently. We just took the example of the body matter contributing to your breath and breathing. Exhaling more, and more, and more with Uddiyanic mannerisms.
But the mind is also contributing because you are doing this consciously. You are not doing this unconsciously. So the mind is also participating differently. The mind contributes. This contribution is so important. The mind should be familiar to contribute for the breath.
4. We are used to the mind contributing to the body. We are used to the mind contributing to the senses — you want some pleasure. Pleasures are [mostly] sensory pleasures, so we know how the mind can contribute to our pleasures, which are vaishekh sukha (pleasure), which I referred to last time. Most of our pleasures are sensory pleasures. If all the senses were numbed, we hardly would have any pleasure channels available. Imagine if all the senses were benumbed…, all the senses were deactivated, what would be the scope and chance for you to get pleasure? Nil. So we know how the mind works for the senses, and how the mind works for the body.
As students of yoga, try to carry out a formal study of how the mind works for body, how the mind works for senses, and, more importantly, how the mind works for the breath.
5. The relationship with the breath and mind have been established in the science of yoga, yoga-shastra. But today we are little aware of that. When the mind is a little disturbed, any Tom, Dick and Harry can advise to just take a few deep breaths. Now let’s change this advice of Tom, Dick and Harry….
6. As students of yoga, do few deeper exhalations, and do a few slower breaths. See how it will work on the mind. The common man has no idea of this, so the common man will only say, “take a few deep breaths.” But you can also take slow breaths. Make your breath slower, slower, and slower as long as there is a positive reap. Go on, find out. Can you get a positive reap by slowing down the breath, deepening the exhalation, deepening the slower inhalations, rather than sniffing inhalations?
If you ask the common man to inhale deeply, he will do a sniffing inhalation ‘sss.’ That’s how he will do it. See the amount of greed there. See the possessiveness, the grabbing nature. That’s almost stealing the breath. If you sniff your inhalation, it is almost like stealing the inhalation. It is grabbing the inhalation. It is not really taking the inhalation. So to the common man…, a deeper breath means a sniffing inhalation. He will sniff the inhalation, he doesn’t take the inhalation. Understand this.
7. In asana processes, in all possible asanas, often completely exhale, exhale more, and more, and go for Uddiyana kriya. This is so important to qualify for pranayama. In classical pranayama, no pranayama is without Uddiyanic mannerisms. It is almost implied that in all pranayamic breathing, there must be Uddiyanic mannerisms in your breath and breathing.
In order to qualify for that in all asanas, go for Uddiyana kriya. Go for even Uddiyana Mudra. Even often as many times as possible, go for a post exhalative retention. This will prepare the system for pranayama. Uddiyana kriya and Uddiyana Mudra are so important for practitioners of yoga.
8. You can even be traveling in a coach, or in an airplane, when you are exhaling more, and more, and more. Make it a habit to exhale more, and more, and more. It will be so important because, otherwise, in the long journeys… we are undertaking these days…, the sluggishness sets in. So, exhale more, and more, and more. Your abdomen will contract, it must contract. It will contract, you have to also mindfully, deliberately contract. Contract more and more and more.
Even if you are on a long journey, you will not develop sluggishness in your peristaltic movements in the digestive system. Otherwise, it becomes sluggish because of the long journey. Usually on long journeys we keep on munching to pass the time…. So we are putting more load on the belly. It’s not that we eat because we are hungry. Its not that we eat because we need to. We eat to pass time. On long journeys it happens. So, go on contracting the abdomen. That will work wonders.
9. Develop this habit in all asanas. Make it a habit to start with. Later it must become a reflex action to exhale more, and more, and more, and more in various confines, in various locations, in various movements of your body. In various negotiations of asanas, exhale more, and more, and also go for retention.
10. Uddiyana Mudra. This is important to really go for a classical kind of daily practice of pranayama. In the consumer process nobody will give this instruction, first learn Uddiyana Mudra. Learn to exhale more, and more. Whereas only in pranayama, they will say sit or lie down, and exhale more and more. That’s all. But in various asanas, you get various configurations of breathing, and that is so important.
11. With that we should end this lesson today. And let me tell you that this will lead towards, for us, understanding the pratyahara aspects later, and then the yogic process of dhyana. Let me not call it meditation. It is the yogic process of dhyana. The breath is so important in the dhyana process in yoga.
12. Breath is so important in the japa process of yoga. Japa is not just mental, or oral repetition. It must incorporate the breath and speech, breath and mind, breath and speech for a yogic process of japa. So this will be slowly opened out.
And, of course, japa is a means, a major highway for embarking on dhyana. It is rare that you will embark upon dhyana without japa. Therefore, japa is so important in yogic dhyana. Let’s see how resourceful the breath will become. The japa will become more and more resourceful. It has the potential to culminate into dhyana. That is for the session which follows.
 In the last lesson I said that we would be proceeding in our educational process towards pranayama: What is it that the breath doesn’t do? See “Pranayama — Breath as Internal Conative & Cognitive Organ +46.15,” Lesson 22: Chitta Vrtti.
 during the delineation on meditation, I said I wouldn’t tell you about the third kind of meditation, which Patanjali mentioned — the yogic process of meditation: In purification (parikarma) of chitta, dhyana is used to attain samapatti (coalescence). [PYS I.33-39; III.2]. See “Dhyana in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali +10.00,” in Lesson 12: Five Types of Dhyana 5-15-20; See “Three Types of Dhyana—Review :” “The third dhyana needs qualification. And meditation is certainly… a component of that dhyana. That comes in the ashtanga scheme, which we are not going to commence discussing here because it pranayama is the gateway for such dhyana. Ashtanga dhyana has its source, and roots, in, and launches from, pranayama.” In Lesson 14: Dhyana Serves Embodiment 5-17-20.
 I postponed any delineation on the third type of [dhyana]: Prashant said ‘pranayama,’ but probably meant dhyana.
 Perfection in asana is achieved when the effort (prayatna) to perform…: The introduction to this terse, two-word sutra is borrowed from Vyasa: bhavati-iti vakya-shesah… sidhyati (As a result, asana is perfected when…). When, which Guruji Iyengar has used to designate prayatna shaithilya as an instrument, signifies a concurrence without an explicit causation, which is a weaker, more vague, use of the ablative case than other interpreters.
 Or, steady the mind [by another means]: Prashant stated in “Three Types of Dhyana—Review,” Lesson 14: Dhyana Serves Embodiment 5-17-20: “there are two kinds of dhyana. One is to lift the sub-normal mind to a normal level. The… turmoil within our minds, gets more settled by measures which are thought processes — counseling, talking to someone…, or association with someone. Philosophically, satsanga (company of truth seekers), shastrasanga.” However, Patanjali ‘s dhyana, in the form of meditation, needs qualification… “rooted in, and launched from, pranayama.”
 Mind steadied through the asana, not mind steadied through… tranquilizers: Although meditation on God with the repetition of AUM removes obstacles to the mastery of the inner Self [PYS I.29], BKS Iyengar contrasted this japa with the superior natural effect of Viparita Karani. He stated that Viparita Karani could afford samadhi, in a way that chanting AUM could not, referring to the sutra: Siddhis may be attained by birth, the use of herbs, mantra, tapas, or samadhi [PYS IV.1]. [B.K.S. Iyengar: “Does Viparita Karani Conquer Death?” 2005 Yoga Intensive at Estes Park 5-DVD Set, Berkeley: Yoga Journal, 2005. 9-29-05 AM +1:38:25. Bruce M. Roger video transcription.]
 In Supta Virasana find out how the chest part is breathing, how the chest part is breathed: Although is breathed is awkward in English, it conveys the passive voice: The chest becomes an object that receives the benefit of the breath. Thus, the chest is a beneficiary, and the breath itself the benefactor. This allows the breath to assume a broader role than mere respiration. Plus, it supports the argument that prana is not just shvasa, breath.
 body, mind, and breath are mutual benefactors and beneficiaries, which I have emphasized… in asana: See “Benefactor & Beneficiary in Asana Defined + 22.35,” Lesson 16: Pratipaksha-Bhavanam Q & A 5-23-20.
 breathing will benefit from the strokes at the abdominal location. That is called Uddiyana Mudra and Uddiyana kriya: According to Prashant, all mudras (gestures) have a kriya (process). Uddiyana Mudra has a kriya (process) initiated at the end of exhalation that begins by deflating the abdomen and sucking it towards the rib cage and diaphragm. Uddiyana Mudra is a seal, an arrested condition of abdominal suction that lasts as long as the external retention, and is then released gradually. See: Prashant S. Iyengar, Pranayama: A Classical and Traditional Approach, New Delhi: New Age Books, 2016. P. 100-107
 mind can contribute to our pleasures, which are vaishekh sukha (pleasure), which I referred to last time: “there is something called depth of sukha (pleasure), duhkha (pain), and moha (delusion), which the mind gets,” in “Chitta Vrtti —Greater Magnitude than Mano Vrtti Ahamkara Vrtti, or Buddhi Vrtti +12.30,” in Lesson 22: Chitta Vrtti.