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ACCORDING TO HATHAPRADIPIKA;-- It states very clearly in the Hathapradipika that at the end of all breath retention the mind should be made free of objects. This quickly dispells the notion that pranayama is mere breath exercise. Full pranayama should be done--- first associated with relaxation of body, then full relaxation of mind I.E.,first with the instrumental sensory feeling body, and then the mind rests in the base level luminosity (the quality of being intellectually brilliant, enlightened, inspired, etc), the experiential heart of consciousness itself. THE COMMON MISPERCEPTION;--

02 POINTS;- 1-There is a common misperception within the yoga community that kumbhaka or retention of the breath is done with only the gross breath. However this is a very gross understanding. Many utilize the bandhas and mudras only on the physical level. However, pranayama is useless without the stabilizing of consciousness. It is at this level that we enter the fifth stage of yoga, the pratyahara. 2-Pratyahara according to one of the definitions of Yajnavalkya and Vasistha is the stabilizing of prana in particular configurations (arrangement), traditionally at the various points. Many other texts also describe ways to stabilize and hold the attention energy. This holding of attention/energy in the sparsic( in short supply) field is the "subtle breath" as opposed to holding the gross breath which is holding inhalation and exhalation. WHAT IS SAHITA ?---

02 POINTS;- 1-In the texts, the holding of breath or kumbhaka, done with inhalation or exhalation is called sahita. Without inhalation or exhalation, the breath hold is called kevala. 2-Many interpret this meaning to be that inhalation and exhalation holds are themselves sahita while kevala kumbhaka is an "in between" hold done somewhere between the inhale and exhale. But other interpretations as well as scriptures, we can consider these interpretations to be very gross. CAN WE DEFINE GROSS & SUBTLE BREATH?---

02 POINTS;-- 1-To interpret the sahita kumbhaka,it is just , a hold of the prana, which is inseparable from attention/feeling with inhalation or exhalation (a gross inhalation or exhalation). In other words, the gross breath matches the subtle breath. Kevala kumbhaka is a hold in which the attention/energy is held separately from the inhalation and exhalation movements or pauses. 2-In other words, the subtle breath separates from the gross breath. This can be done with gross breath held and subtle moving, or the subtle held and the gross moving, or both held or both moving. The important point is that there is a separation of gross and subtle that occurs in the kevala.This separation process in kevala kumbhaka is an important thing to understand. WHAT IS KEVALA ?-

02 POINTS;-- 1-In fact, the term kevala means isolated or unmingled. In other words, kevala is a separation or an unmingling of the gross and subtle breaths. This is not as complicated as it may appear. 2-One of the first breath techniques that derived from a powerful technique given in Yoga Vasistha . Traditionally the technique involves breathing in and out to two locus (a particular position or place) points, termed the bahya and antar dvadasantas. Bahya is external, antar is internal, and--- WHAT IS DVADASANTA ?---

02 POINTS;--

1-Dvadasanta means the twelve finger width distance. Traditionally the bahya dvadasanta is held twelve finger digit width distances beyond the nose. The antar dvadasanta is twelve finger digit widths down from the nose base (located at approximately the heart).

2-One focuses on these two points. After years of practice with this, It can be expanded the location feeling of these two points, into the twelve finger digit width distance all around the body from the skin (bahya dvadasanta) and expanded the inner dvadasanta to include the entire central column. This is discussed further in Yoga Vasistha. WHAT IS STAGE ONE?---

05 POINTS;-- So the technique now goes as follows:--- 1-Breath out to the twelve finger width distance space around the entire body (like an external aura) and then breath in to the central column. 2-When you breathe out, focus the breath/attention/feeling at the external field, wait until the body relaxes and then the mind relaxes. 3-Employ Shambhavi Mudra here if you know it. When you breath in, hold the breath/attention/feeling in the central column, all along it, relaxing first body then mind. Shambhavi mudra again. When we say relax here, it mean relaxing everything that is not associated with holding the attention/energy/feeling at the specific location. 4- We should continue this process, holding the attention/energy/breath/feeling at each location, in sync( synchronization-activity of two or more things at the same time )with the gross breathing. This is sahita pranayama and kumbhaka (holding). In other words, the gross breath is in sync with the subtle attention/breath. 5-This is Ujjayi breath, the true Ujjayi. What does it mean to have Ujjayi?(next post ) It means to be victorious. To conquer. It means to conquer the movements of the waters of prana. In other words it means to have true pranayama. Control of the prana. WHAT IS STAGE TWO?--- After some time, switch the gross and subtle movements and holds. In other words, inhale to the external field and exhale to the internal field. This is also sahita but it is reversed. WHAT IS STAGE THREE?----

05 POINTS;- After some time with the second technique, try the third one;--- 1-This technique is the first experience of kevala pranayama. Go back to the first technique and breath out to the external field and inhale to the internal field. 2-Then after some time, stop the gross breath, holding it in. Now, push the subtle breath attention out to the external field, while holding the gross breath in at the spine. 3-Hold for some time, relaxing body and mind in the same way. Then bring the subtle breath/attention in back to the spine and hold the gross and subtle together. 4-Then breathe both subtle and gross breaths out to the external field and then bring them back in together to the center and repeat the separation process again.

5-If you do this right you will notice certain physical processes arise in the body. This process starts to naturally activate bandha and mudra. WHAT IS STAGE FOUR ?----

03 POINTS;- 1-The fourth stage is another kevala practice. Here, we stop the gross breath somewhere in between the inhalation and exhalation and forget whether we are inhaling or exhaling.

2-Then we push the subtle breath/attention out to the external field, hold it with bodily and mental relaxation, and then draw it back in and hold it centrally with respective relaxations. This process can be done rapidly or slow.

3-Take normal gross breaths in between. This is an extremely powerful practice that starts to electrify the central column and may produce deep physical reactions in the eyes and chakra regions. Kundali and the inner vibrations can be aroused in this practice. THE KEY POINT;-

05 POINTS;- 1-The first two techniques are a normal and reversed sahita process. The last two are all kevala techniques in that the 3rd technique holds the gross and moves the subtle, the 4th does the same but in a different way. 2-These techniques should be learned slowly and ideally under the direction of the teacher. They help us to achieve control of the prana. Understanding these techniques leads to a deep understanding of prana, apana, mind, energy, mudra, and kundali, as described in the hatha texts. 3-This process of discovering kevala pranayama and kumbhaka leads to a deep process of separation of the subtle and gross bodies and one quickly learns how to work with the subtle field of sparsa. 4-It is here that one truly starts to understand the instrumental and lower levels of the expression of consciousness as described by Patanjali. Then one is rapidly drawn in to yoga chitta vrtti nirodha through the practice of prana nirodha. In other words, the inner limbs of yoga ripen as a fruit of the practice and meditation is in the palm of our hand, effortlessly. 5-One other interesting thing to note is that kevala and kaivalya are similar words. Kaivalya is that isolation that is described in the fourth chapter of the yoga sutras. The Hatha Yoga teachings also lead us to that Kaivalya through the sublime practice of Kevala.

....SHIVOHAM..... WHAT IS KEVALA ? (IN HINDI ) केवली कुम्भक प्राणायाम को साधना नहीं पड़ता, लेकिन साधना जरूरी भी है। तैराक लोग इसे अनंजाने में ही साध लेते हैं फिर भी वे इसे विधिवत करके साधें तो तैरने की गति और स्टेमिना और बढ़ सकता है।''केवली'' प्राणायाम को कुम्भकों का राजा कहा जाता है। दूसरे सभी प्राणायामों का अभ्यास करते रहने से केवली प्राणायाम स्वत: ही घटित होने लगता है। लेकिन फिर भी साधक इसे साधना चाहे तो साध सकता है। इस केवली प्राणायाम को कुछ योगाचार्य प्लाविनी प्राणायाम भी कहते हैं। हालांकि प्लाविनी प्राणायाम करने का और भी तरीका है। केवली की विधि- स्वच्छ तथा उपयुक्त वातावरण में सिद्धासन में बैठ जाएं। अब दोनों नाक के छिद्र से वायु को धीरे-धीरे अंदर खींचकर फेफड़े समेत पेट में पूर्ण रूप से भर लें। इसके बाद क्षमता अनुसार श्वास को रोककर रखें। फिर दोनों नासिका छिद्रों से धीरे-धीरे श्वास छोड़ें अर्थात वायु को बाहर निकालें। इस क्रिया को अपनी क्षमता अनुसार कितनी भी बार कर सकते हैं। दूसरी विधि- रेचक और पुरक किए बिना ही सामान्य स्थिति में श्वास लेते हुए जिस अवस्था में हो, उसी अवस्था में श्वास को रोक दें। फिर चाहे श्वास अंदर जा रही हो या बाहर निकल रही हो। कुछ देर तक श्वासों को रोककर रखना ही केवली प्राणायाम है। विशेषता- 1-इस प्राणायाम का नियमित अभ्यास करने के बाद फलरूप में जो प्राप्त होता है, वह है केवल कुम्भक। इस कुम्भक की विशेषता यह है कि यह कुम्भक अपने आप लग जाता है और काफी अधिक देर तक लगा रहता है। इसमें कब पूरक हुआ, कब रेचक हुआ, यह पता नहीं लगता। 2-इसका अभ्यास करने से उसका श्वास-प्रश्वास इतना अधिक लंबा और मंद हो जाता है कि यह भी पता नहीं रहता कि व्यक्ति कब श्वास-प्रश्वास लेता-छोड़ता है। इसके सिद्ध होने से ही योगी घंटों समाधि में बैठें रहते हैं। यह भूख-प्यास को रोक देता है। लाभ------ 1-यह प्राणायाम कब्ज की शिकायत दूर कर पाचनशक्ति को बढ़ाता है। 2- इससे प्राणशक्ति शुद्ध होकर आयु बढ़ती है। 3-यह मन को स्थिर व शांत रखने में भी सक्षम है। 4-इससे स्मरण शक्ति का विकास होता है। इससे व्यक्ति भूख को कंट्रोल कर सकता है और तैराक पानी में घंटों बिना हाथ-पैर हिलाएं रह सकता है। 5-इस प्राणायाम के सिद्ध होने से व्यक्ति में संकल्प और संयम जागृत हो जाता है। वह सभी इंद्रियों में संयम रखने वाला बन जाता है। ऐसे व्यक्ति की इच्छाओं की पूर्ति होने लगती हैं। इसके माध्यम से सिद्धियां भी प्राप्त की जा सकती है। सावधानी- इसका अभ्यास किसी योग शिक्षक के सान्निध्‍य में ही करें। I AM NOT A HATHYOGI BUT PRANAYAM IS THE PART OF ASTANG YOG..SO WE HAVE TO FOLLOW ,TO REACH THE FINAL GOAL ; BECAUSE SELF REALIZATION IS THE ONLY GOAL FOR ALL; MAY BE SAHAJYOGI OR HATHYOGI...... ....SHIVOHAM.......