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HOW TO RECOGNIZE THE SWARA? 03 FACTS;- 1-We start the practice of swara yoga by learning how to recognize which nadi and swara is functioning. When the flow of air is coming from the left nostril only, ida is active, and this is known as the vama or left swara. 2-When the right nostril is open, pingala is active, and it is called dakshina or right swara. Recognizing the active swara is a simple process; exhale into the palm of the hand and you will feel a stronger current flow from the open nostril. 3-If you are still unsure after testing in this way, then close one nostril and breathe out through the other. Listen for a difference in the pitch of right and left exhalation. The deeper sound indicates the open nostril, the higher pitch indicates the closed. Sometimes both nostrils flow equally and you cannot differentiate whether the right or left is predominant. This is the flow of sushumna or shoonya swara. WHAT IS THE LENGTH OF PRANA? 04 FACTS;- 1-When you are examining which nostril is active, at different times during the day you will notice that the length of the breath alters. Sometimes it is longer or shorter. According to the swara shastras, the aim of the practice is to reduce the length of the exhaled breath so that more prana is retained in the body. 2-The swara shastras give the length of the natural expiration during particular activities. The distance is given in the measurement of an angula or one finger's breath. Of course, measurements are given for the normal healthy person but other factors of age, weight, height, etc. should also be taken into consideration. 3-1-The natural length is 7-12 angulas. 3-2-During states of emotion and excitation 12-36 angulas. 3-3-While singing 16 angulas. 3-4- Vomiting 18 angulas. 3-5-Eating 20 angulas. 3-6-Walking 24 angulas. 3-7-Sleeping 30 angulas. 3-8-Exercise and copulation 36 angulas. 3-9-Strenuous physical exertion 36-100 angulas. 4-During the day spontaneous emphasis is on inhalation. People with weak constitutions project the expiration to a longer distance. If the breath extends further than 8 inches while lying flat, excess energy is being lost. HOW CAN WE REDUCE THE LENGTH OF SWARA? 06 FACTS;- 1-The Shiva Swarodaya claims that those who can expire with the least possible projection of exhalation retain their vital energy and thus develop siddhis or perfection of pranic and mental abilities. 2-Continuous exhalation which does not exceed the length of one angula, brings about a state of detachment, where you can work without calculating your gain, free from desire (nishkam). It will help you become honest and straightforward ( nishkapat ), so that you can remain impartial (nishpaksha) and unbiased in any situation. 3-Expiration which does not exceed two angulas will keep you happy and content in any situation. You will attain bliss (anandam). 4- Breath of three angulas awakens poetic abilities. 5-Exhalation of four angulas gives vach siddhi (i.e. whatever you say comes to pass). 6-Expiration of five angulas develops foresight so you can perceive the outcome of an event before it eventuates. Pranayama IS PRANAYAMA ESSENTIAL TO REDUCE THE LENGTH OF SWARA? 07 FACTS;- 1-The Shiva Swarodaya recommends the practice of pranayama to help develop, regulate and control the length of the prana. That is what the word pranayama means, 'length of prana'. Ayama is length or extension. Pranayama is usually defined as control of the breath, because people divide the word into prana and yama (control). 2-However, the real aim of pranayama is to extend the prana into previously dormant areas of the body,brain and personality so as to awaken various inherent faculties and sensitize perception. This is achieved through regulation of the breath, which brings about regulation and storage of prana.

3-One of the main objects of practising pranayama with breath retention is to activate sushumna, shoonya swara. Therefore, all the pranayamas are helpful, but swara yoga specifies the use of nadi shodhana for gaining awareness and control over the swara. 4- Nadi shodhana is the method of alternate nostril breathing. The Shiva Swarodaya says one should first breathe in through the lunar swara and then out through the solar swara, and repeat the process from the solar swara. Inhalation and exhalation have to be controlled in definite proportions, and later breath retention is included. 5-Inhalation, exhalation and retention all have a specific significance and effect. Inhalation or pooraka draws vitality into the body. It is symbolic of creation. Exhalation or rechaka eliminates physical impurities and even those at a subtler level. The Shiva Swarodaya says it "destroys bad karma" or negative mental impressions. It represents destruction or transformation. 6-Kumbhaka or retention generates greater vital capacity. By perfecting these three aspects of the breath, conscious control is gained and one can "exist as long as the moon and stars". 7-The practice of nadi shodhana is considered essential for the practice of swara yoga because it establishes consistence in the breath. Normally, inspiration and expiration come and go in unequal proportions. Either inspiration is not full and expiration very long or vice versa. This shows there is an imbalance of prana in the nadis. Rhythmic breathing in and out has to be established for accurate practice of swara yoga. IS THE SPEED(consistency) OF INHALATION & EXHALATION IMPORTANT? 06 FACTS;- 1-The nature of the breath becomes absolutely and compre- hensively correct through the practice of nadi shodhana. It is not sufficient to breathe in the usual way. The breath has to become subtle. When the breath is gross, you can feel it at a distance beyond two fingers. The shorter the distance, the more subtle the breath. 2-Exhalation should be in such a way that it does not extend more that two fingers length, but it must still be complete. During pranayama if you are not accustomed to subtle breathing, you will retain the breath and then exhale or inhale too forcefully. This has to be kept in mind during natural breathing as well as pranayama practice. 3-The speed of inhalation and exhalation is the next important point. It should be consistent. For example, when you are tired, inhalation is deep and slow, exhalation is quick. 4-When you are not tired, you may inhale quickly and exhale slowly and deeply. This is inconsistency in the breathing and creates uneven waves of physical and mental energy which disturb the mind and body. Therefore, consistency is most essential. 5-Besides consistency, there must be uniformity in the breath. Many people breathe in and out with a slight jerk. The breath should be smooth and uniform without any stopping or jerking. If you study the way people breathe, you will see that it is rarely perfectly uniform for any length of time. 6-In pranayama, after internal or external retention, it is particularly noticeable. During just one exhalation there may be up to ten different speeds until uniformity is established. So, whether you are practising pranayama or just breathing, make it a habit to breathe gently with consistency and uniformity and make the breath subtle. HOW TO KNOW SUNRISE FOR TIMING THE SWARA? 05 FACTS;- 1-In timing the swara, the time of sunrise is an important consideration. In summer the sun rises earlier than in winter, and the time is constantly changing throughout the year. The time will also differ according to the exact location and hemisphere of the continent on which you are living. 2-In India the sun rises between 4.45 and 5.15 a.m. in summer, and in winter between 6.15 and 6.45 a.m. Before the actual sunrise, however, it is already quite bright. This means that the specified nadi flows around the time of sunrise.

3-Of course, those people who live in the city and are surrounded by tall buildings will not be able to tell the time of sunrise just by looking at the sky. If the sky is covered by pollution, you will have to check with a newspaper even to know where the moon is. SHOULD WE MAKE PERSONAL OBSERVATIONS OF


1-When you first start observing your swara, it is advisable to make a diary of your own swara activities. However, you have to keep your diary with you and on an hourly basis, or half-hourly if possible, make a note of which swara is active. 2-This will help you in your practice and simultaneously you will become acquainted with your own rhythm. You may even notice the occurrence of particular events coinciding with specific rhythms. If you have the opportunity, compare with other people's charts. 3-There is an example of some sadhakas,who as a part of training, practised swara sadhana for a period of six months.Each sadhaka closely observed the swara cycles in relation to the effects on the mind, body and circumstances.

2-One disciple practised this sadhana in greater detail, noting the swara on a half-hour to one hour basis, the result of these observations corresponded to the swara yoga teaching, and further conclusions were also derived. 3-Of course, certain factors of lifestyle, diet and climate have to be taken into consideration: rising at 3.30-4.00 a.m., sleeping at 9.30-10.00 p.m., vegetarian diet, fasting, and practice of asana, pranayama, japa and meditation.