Pranayama: A 7step practical guide

All the methods of pranayama are described in the classic scriptural texts and each pranayama has its own importance. However, a practitioner will find it hard to practice all the seven types of pranayama on a daily basis. Therefore we have formulated a sequence and time for all the seven pranayamas with our experience and divine blessings of God and teachers.

This revised process takes around 20 minutes and a practitioner reaps the following benefits with regular practice:

1. Overcomes Vata, Pitta and Kapha problems.

2. Maintains the functioning of the digestive system and cures all the stomach diseases.

3. Relieves the diseases related to the heart, lungs, and brain.

4. It is beneficial in cases of obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, constipation, gastric trouble, acidity, respiratory problems, allergy, migraine, high blood pressure, kidney diseases, sexual diseases in men and women and even fatal diseases like cancer.

5. It can prevent hereditary diseases like diabetes and heart problems.

6. It prevents aging and is beneficial in controlling hair loss, premature graying of hair, wrinkled skin, poor eyesight, forgetfulness, etc.

7. The seven-step pranayama process gives a natural glow and shine on the face.

8. It purifies the chakras and arouses their strength, thereby providing spiritual strength and arousal of kundalini.

9. It keeps the mind calm, peaceful and cheerful and overcomes depression.

10. It is helpful in contemplation and also gives the strength to meditate for several hours.

11. It relieves all the physical and mental problems along with negative conditions like anger, lust, greed, attachment, and ego.

12. It cures all physical problems, removes foreign particles from the body, etc.

13. Negative conditions are replaced with positive ones and the practitioner remains happy and cheerful.

 

 

1.Bhastrika Pranayama

Sit in any meditative posture and breath in deeply with both the nostrils and breath out with full force. This is known as Bhastrika pranayama. This can be done in three ways depending on the capacity, slow, medium or fast. People with weak heart and lungs should do it slowly. A healthy person and old practitioners (experts) should increase the pace gradually. This pranayama should be done for three to five minutes.

Resolution at the time of doing Bhastrika Pranayama:

Breathe in deeply and think in the mind that the divine strength, energy, purity, peace, and happiness present in the universe are entering into my mind along with the vital life energy. I am filled with divine strengths.

Special Points for Practicing Bhastrika Pranayama:

1. Patients with high blood pressure and heart disease should not practice this pranayama at a fast pace.

2. Do not fill the air into the stomach and do not expand it. Breath into the diaphragm, the stomach will not expand but the ribs and chest will expand.

3. Practice it for less duration during summers.

4. In case of Kapha and sinusitis, people suffer from nose blockage. Such people should close the right nostril and breathe in through left nostril and then repeat it on the other side. Then they should breathe in and out from both the nostrils.

5. This pranayama should be done up to five minutes regularly.

6. Keep the eyes closed and chant Aum mentally with every breath.

Benefits of Bhastrika Pranayama:

1. It overcomes cold-catarrh, allergy, respiratory diseases, asthma, chronic cold, sinusitis and other Kapha related problems. It strengthens the lungs, heart, and brain and gives pure oxygen.

2. It cures thyroid problems, tonsil problems, and other throat problems.

3. It maintains the equilibrium of all the three doshas and evacuates toxic and foreign substances from the body.

4. It stabilizes the mind and prana and is helpful in the arousal of kundalini.

 

 

2.Kapalbhati Pranayama

Kapal means brain and bhati means glow, shine, brightness, light, etc. The pranayama which gives a natural glow, brightness, and shine to the face is known as Kapalbhati. It is slightly different from the previous one. In case of Bhastrika, breathing in and out is done with equal force and pace, but in this case, the breathing out is done with full force and breathing in is done automatically as a reaction to throwing out the air. Breathing out process is done with full concentration. This contracts and expands the stomach and strengthens Muladhara, Swadishthana and Manipur chakras. This should be done for at least five minutes.

Resolution at the Time of Doing Kapalbhati Pranayama:

At the time of practicing this pranayama, the practitioner should think that he is throwing out all the problems of the body. Along with the breath, the problems are getting relieved. The person should throw out the air with this feeling whatever it might be, doshas, anger, lust, greed, hatred, jealousy, etc. Think that diseases are getting relieved while breathing out to reap the full benefit.

Time for Practicing Kapalbhati Pranayama:

It should be done for three to five minutes. Take rest in between whenever you feel tired in the beginning. After one or two months, practice it for five minutes without stopping. This is the complete duration. Initially, the person could suffer from stomach or a backache but it will get relieved gradually. The people with pitta nature should do it for two minutes in summers.

Benefits of Practicing Kapalbhati Pranayama:

1. It increases glow, brightness and shine on the face.

2. Overcomes all Kapha related diseases like asthma, allergy, sinusitis, etc.

3. It is beneficial in case of heart, lung or cerebral problems.

4. It reduces weight, diabetes, gastric trouble, acidity, kidney and prostate problems.

5. Constipation is also cured with five minutes of regular practice. Diabetes is controlled without medicine and it also reduces excess fat from the stomach by four to eight kilos within one month. It opens blockages of the heart.

6. The mind becomes stable, calm and cheerful. It removes negative conditions and depression, etc.

7. It purifies the chakras and circulates a divine energy.

8. This pranayama is beneficial for the health of the stomach, pancreas, liver, spleen, intestines, prostate and kidney. This pranayama is sufficient to cure almost all the stomach problems, which even asanas cannot do. It also strengthens weak intestines.

 

 

3.Bahya Pranayama (with Tribandha)

1. Sit in padmasana or siddhasana and breathe out completely at one time.

2. Do moola bandha, uddiyana bandha, and jalandhara bandha and stop the breath (externally).

3. Remove the bandhas and breath in slowly.

4. Inhale and without stopping inside, breathe out and repeat the process as mentioned in the previous steps. This can be done three to 21 times depending on the capacity.

Resolution at the time of doing Bahya Pranayama:

Think mentally that all the diseases, doshas, negative energies are going out from the body as you throw out the air. Strong resolution at the time of doing this pranayama relieves all problems and gives instant results.

Benefits of Practicing Bahya Pranayama:

This is a harmless pranayama and overcomes playfulness of the mind. It increases digestive fire and is beneficial in case of stomach problems. It makes the mind sharp and bright. It purifies the body, overcomes seminal problems, night pollution, early ejaculation and other humour related diseases. This pranayama has special strength on all the stomach organs and initially, the practitioner could feel some pain in stomach or weakness. Therefore it should be done with all the bandhas.

 

 

4.Anulom-Vilom Pranayama

Method of closing the nostrils: Close the right nostril with the thumb and (alternately) the left nostril with the little finger and ring finger. The hand should be raised slightly above (it should not be in front of the nose).

The left nostril denotes the moon, strength or calm, therefore this pranayama begins with left nostril. Close the right nostril with the thumb and inhale through the left nostril. After inhaling close the left nostril with ring finger and little finger and exhale through the right nostril. The pace of inhaling and exhaling should be increased gradually. Breathe in and out with full force and maintain the pace of respiration either slow, medium or fast depending on the physical strength. The fast pace of inhaling and exhaling creates loud sound in breathing. After breathing out completely, close the left nostril and breath in from right nostril. Then close the right nostril and breathe in from left nostril. This is one cycle. Repeat it several times. In case of slight tiredness, take rest in between and repeat. Begin the practice from three minutes and increase it up to ten minutes. Regular practice for a few days increases the capacity of the person and the practitioner can do it for five minutes without stopping. Everybody practice it for at least five minutes and maximum ten minutes but not more. During summers it should be done for three to five minutes. Regular practice for five minutes arouses the energy accumulated in Muladhara chakra and helps in arousal of kundalini. Chant Aum mentally with every breath. This makes the mind suitable for attaining the stage of contemplation.

Resolution at the Time of Doing Anulom-Vilom Pranayama:

Think that Sushumna nadi is getting aroused with the friction of right and left nostrils. Imagine that a divine light is moving upwards till Sahasrara chakra.

Think that the whole body is enlightened with a divine light. Imagine the presence of divine light inside and outside the body and visualize Aum Kham Brahma.

Think that the divine energy, strength, and knowledge are present on all the four sides of the body, that almighty God is filling celestial energy in the body, take in the energy. Guru is the only source of inspiration for getting this energy and guru combines with heavenly feelings. Anulom-Vilom pranayama done in this manner gives physical, mental and spiritual benefits. Mooladhara chakra arouses a light and arouses kundalini, the divine knowledge will flow upwards and gain tremendous energy.

Benefits of Practicing Anulom-Vilom Pranayama:

1. This pranayama purifies 72 crore 72 lakh ten thousand two hundred and ten nerves. Purification of all the nerves makes the body strong, bright and healthy.

2. It cures joint pain, arthritis, gout, Parkinson’s disease, nervous weakness, Vata diseases, urinary problems, humour related diseases, seminal loss, acidity, Pitta, cold, catarrh, chronic cold, sinusitis, asthma, cough, tonsils and other Kapha diseases. It cures tri-doshas.

3. It opens heart blockages. Regular practice of this pranayama opens around 30 to 40 percent blockage within three to four months. We have experienced it practically on several patients.

4. It overcomes the irregularities of cholesterol, triglycerides, HDL or LDL, etc.

5. It replaces negative thoughts with positive thoughts. It helps in keeping the mind happy, fearless and enthusiastic.

6. In a nutshell, pranayama purifies the mind, body, and virtues. It cures all the ailments and the mind becomes capable of contemplation.

7. Repeat this pranayama 250 to 500 times, the energy present in the Muladhara chakra moves upwards and helps in the arousal of kundalini.
Note: See the cautions and methods of arousal of kundalini for further information in this regard.

 

 

5.Brahmari Pranayama

Inhale completely, press the base of the nostrils with the little fingers, close the ears with your thumbs, keep the index fingers on the forehead, close the eyes and place the ring and middle fingers on the closed eyes. Chant Aum with the mouth closed (only the humming sound) and exhale. The sound resembles the sound of a honeybee, hence the name brahmari pranayama. Repeat it at least three times and maximum up to 21 times.

Resolution at the Time of Doing Brahmari Pranayama:

Imagine the synchronization of celestial power with divine strength. The practitioner should think that God is showering his empathy, love, and happiness on him. He or she should visualize a divine light in the agya chakra and removing all the ignorance present in the mind. The practitioner should feel that he or she is getting eternal wisdom. Pranayama done with such pure thoughts helps in reaching contemplation.

Benefits of Practicing Brahmari Pranayama:

It overcomes playfulness of the mind and is very beneficial for meditation. It is beneficial in cases of mental stress, anxiety, high blood pressure, heart disease, etc.

 

 

6.Aumkara (Udgeet Pranayama)

All the above-mentioned pranayamas should be followed by udgeet pranayama. Our eyebrows resemble the shape of Aum. The body and the entire universe are full of Aum. It is not an individual or a shape; it is a divine strength, which is circulating in the whole universe. As a knower, the practitioner should inhale and exhale so slowly that he or she should not feel the sound of respiration. The breathing should be so gentle that even a piece of cotton kept in front of the nose should not move. Try to feel the respiration from within. In the beginning, you will feel it only at the tip of the nose but gradually you will experience it deep within. In this way chanting Aum for some time helps in contemplation of mind. The practitioner will be able to concentrate the mind and get engrossed in Aumkar. Gayatri mantra should also be chanted after understanding its meaning along with Aumkar. This will help the person in getting engrossed in the true form of God, which gives happiness. This should be practiced at bedtime also in order to enjoy sound sleep. It overcomes bad dreams and gives sound sleep.

 

 

7. Nadi Shodhana pranayama

In the beginning, close the right nostril and inhale through left nostril just like Anulom-Vilom pranayama. Stop the breath inside and do moola bandha and jalandhara bandha. Remove jalandhar bandha after some time and exhale very slowly through the right nostril. Then inhale from right nostril and do Kumbhaka, stop the breath inside and exhale very slowly from the left nostril. This is one complete cycle or nadi Shodhana pranayama.

It is very beneficial if done with full concentration without pressing the nostrils. It helps in concentrating the mind and gives a lot of stability. There should not be any sound at the time of inhaling and exhaling. It should be done from one to three times or more. In the beginning, the ratio of poorak, antah kumbhaka and rechaka should be 1:2:2. for example, poorak, antah kumbhaka and rechaka should be done for 10, 20 and 20 seconds respectively. Gradually, the ratio can be increased to 1:4:2. Bahya kumbhaka can be added later and then the ratio can be 1:4:2:2. This pranayama should be done at a very slow pace. Focus on pace of respiration and its intensity instead of number of repetitions. This is more beneficial, and inhaling, controlling and exhaling the breath is the actual result of this pranayama. There is no need to take rest in between. Chanting Aum or gayatri mantra mentally is favourable while doing this.

Benefits of Practicing Nadi Shodana Pranayama:

The advantages are similar to Anulom-Vilom pranayama.

 

 

 

via http://www.remedyspot.com
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Useful Yoga Bandhas in Pranayama

Bandhas stop the flow of energy in some parts of the body and flow it in other parts. This massages the internal organs and removes the accumulation of the blood. Bandha regulate the nerves of the particular organ, which prevents sickness. The Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra glands produced with the flow of prana (life) in Sushmana nerve arose with the bandha, which develops spiritual energy.

There are three types of Bandha:

 

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1.Jalandhara Bandha

Sit in Sidhasana or Padmasana and rest the knees on the ground. Keep the neck, spine, and head absolutely straight.

Now keep the palms on the knees and close the eyes and let the whole body relax. Slowly take a deep breath and stop it inside. Remain in the same position and keep the elbows straight and put pressure on the knees and simultaneously bend the shoulders forward and raise them slightly. Bend the head in such a manner that the chin touches the lower part of the neck, Remain in this position till you can stop the breath inside but do not stop the breath forcefully,

Keep the head straight before doing rechak and keep the shoulders in the normal position, Bend the elbows and relax. Now, exhale slowly. Repeat the asana when the respiration becomes normal.

Benefits:

Thyroid, Parathyroid glands become healthy. It relieves the person from worries, anger, tension etc.

Who should not do Jalandhara Bandha?

Patients of cervical, Spondylitis, pressure in the skull, giddiness, high blood pressure and heart disease should not do this bandha.

2.Uddiyana Bandha:

Sit in Padmasana or Sidhasana. Rest the knees on the floor, Close the eyes and relax the whole body. Perform dirghrechak (inhale deeply). Stop the breath outside and perform Bahirkumbhak. Keep the elbows straight and put pressure on the knees and bend the shoulders slightly towards the front and raise them upwards. After this perform Jalandhar Bandha, Then contract the stomach muscles inside and upwards, so that the stomach takes the shape of a bow, Now remain in Bahirkumbhak and bandha position. After this slowly leave Uddiyan Bandha and after some time leave Jalandhar Bandha.

Now bring back the elbows and hands in normal position and inhale. Rest for a while and repeat the asana.

Benefits of Uddiyana Bandha:

It cures the diseases of the stomach and abdomen, destroys the worms in the stomach, cures indigestion, gas. It regulates the stomach and improves its functioning. It massages the spleen, liver, kidney and makes them healthy. This asana has a special influence on the prana (life) energy.

Who should not do Uddiyana Bandha?

People suffering from wounds in the stomach or intestines, high blood pressure, hernia, colitis should not do this Bandha.

3.Moola Bandha:

Sit in Padmasana, Take a deep breath and stop the breath. Keep the hands straight and put pressure on the knees with the elbows, Now try and contract the ganglion muscles as much as you can but do not put excessive pressure. These muscles are situated between the rectum and genitals in men and in women, it is located at the back of the vagina, where vagina and uterus meet.

Now relax the bandha and keep the hands and elbows in normal position- Then do rechak, this can be done at the time of Bahirkumbhak as well.

Benefits:

This Bandha gives physical, mental and spiritual benefits, It creates cooperation between the urinary, reproduction and excretory systems. It generates sex desire and cures several sexual diseases.

 

 

 

 

article from https://www.remedyspot.com

Pratyahara: The Most Important Limb of Yoga

Yoga is a vast system of spiritual practices for inner growth. To this end, the classical yoga system incorporates eight limbs, each with its own place and function. Of these, pratyahara is probably the least known.

How many people, even yoga teachers, can define pratyahara? Have you ever taken a class in Pratyahara? Have you ever seen a book on Pratyahara? Can you think of several important pratyahara techniques? Do you perform Pratyahara as part of your yogic practices? Yet unless we understand pratyahara, we are missing an integral aspect of yoga without which the system cannot work.

As the fifth of the eight limbs, Pratyahara occupies a central place. Some yogis include it among the outer aspects of yoga, others with the inner aspects. Both classifications are correct, for Pratyahara is the key between the outer and inner aspects of yoga; it shows us how to move from one to the other.

It is not possible to move directly from asana to meditation. This requires jumping from the body to the mind, forgetting what lies between. To make this transition, the breath and senses, which link the body and mind, must be brought under control and developed properly. This is where pranayama and pratyahara come in. With pranayama, we control our vital energies and impulses and with pratyahara, we gain mastery over the unruly senses — both prerequisites to successful meditation.

 

What is Pratyahara?

The term Pratyahara is composed of two Sanskrit words, prati and ahara. Ahara means “food,” or “anything we take into ourselves from the outside.” Prati is a preposition meaning “against” or “away.” Pratyahara means literally “control of ahara,” or “gaining mastery over external influences.” It is compared to a turtle withdrawing its limbs into its shell — the turtle’s shell is the mind and the senses are the limbs. The term is usually translated as “withdrawal from the senses,” but much more is implied.

In yogic though, there are three levels of ahara, or food. The first is physical food that brings in the five elements necessary to nourish the body. The second is impressions, which bring in the subtle substances necessary to nourish the mind — the sensations of sound, touch, sight, taste, and smell. The third level of ahara is our associations, the people we hold at heart level who serve to nourish the soul and affect us with the gunas of sattva, rajas, and tamas.

Pratyahara is twofold. It involves withdrawal from wrong food, wrong impressions, and wrong associations, while simultaneously opening up to right food, right impressions and right associations. We cannot control our mental impressions without right diet and right relationship, but pratyahara’s primary importance lies in control of sensory impressions which frees the mind to move within.

By withdrawing our awareness from negative impressions, Pratyahara strengthens the mind’s powers of immunity. Just as a healthy body can resist toxins and pathogens, a healthy mind can ward off the negative sensory influences around it. If you are easily disturbed by the noise and turmoil of the environment around you, practice pratyahara. Without it, you will not be able to meditate.

There are four main forms of Pratyahara: indriya-pratyahara — control of the senses; prana- pratyahara — control of prana; karma-pratyahara — control of action; and mano-pratyahara — withdrawal of the mind from the senses. Each has its special methods.

Control of the Senses (Indriya-pratyahara)

Indriya-pratyahara, or control of the senses, is the most important form of Pratyahara, although this is not something that we like to hear about in our mass media-oriented culture. Most of us suffer from sensory overload, the result of constant bombardment from television, radio, computers, newspapers, magazines, books — you name it. Our commercial society functions by stimulating our interest through the senses. We are constantly confronted with bright colors, loud noises, and dramatic sensations. We have been raised on every sort of sensory indulgence; it is the main form of entertainment in our society.

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The problem is that the senses, like untrained children, have their own will, which is largely instinctual in nature. They tell the mind what to do. If we don’t discipline them, they dominate us with their endless demands. We are so accustomed to ongoing sensory activity that we don’t know how to keep our minds quiet; we have become hostages of the world of the senses and its allurements.

We run after what is appealing to the senses and forget the higher goals of life. For this reason, pratyahara is probably the most important limb of yoga for people today.

The old saying “the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak” applies to those of us who have not learned how to properly control our senses. Indriya-pratyahara gives us the tools to strengthen the spirit and reduce its dependency on the body. Such control is not suppression (which causes eventual revolt), but proper coordination and motivation.

The Three Worlds are also called the Three Waters, or Three Oceans. Each form of Vayu is associated with a particular form of the Waters or the ocean. The Earthy or sacrificial form of Agni is associated with ground Water and with caves and springs and with the water and ghee (clarified butter) that is offered to the Fire. The Atmospheric wind (thunder) is associated with the ocean and the rains which are created by Water evaporating from the sea.

The Heavenly (solar) wind is associated with the cosmic ocean and heavenly Waters which are also the Milky Way. Space is the Waters of Heaven through which the Sun moves like a boat.

 

Author Dr. David Frawley (https://www.remedyspot.com)

 

 

Nadis: The Energy Rivers of Human Body

A student of the great Indian poet Kabir once asked him, “Kabir, where is God?” His answer was simple: “He is the breath within the breath.

” To understand the profound implications of Kabir’s reply, we need to look beyond the physical components of breath—the oxygen, carbon dioxide, and other molecules that stream in and out with our every inhalation and exhalation. Beyond this breath—yet within it—is prana, the universal vital energy that is quite literally the stuff of life.

For those of us who practice yoga, the challenge is to harness this energy so it can fuel our physical, mental, and spiritual development. To do this, we need to look deeply into the mysteries of the mind and the subtle body.

Fortunately, the early practitioners of Tantra voyaged into this inner landscape, mapping the many ways energy circulates within us. Among their most important discoveries were the Nadis, the vast network of energy channels that makes each individual an integrated, conscious, and vital whole.

The Sanskrit word Nadi derives from the root Nad, which means “flow,” “motion,” or “vibration.” The word itself suggests the fundamental nature of a  Nadi: to flow like water, finding the path of least resistance and nourishing everything in its path. The Nadis are our energetic irrigation system; in essence, they keep us alive.

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According to many Tantric texts, the human body contains 72,000 Nadis that channel prana to every cell. Some are wide and rushing; others are a mere trickle. When this system flows freely, we are vital and healthy; when it becomes weak or congested, we struggle with poor mental and physical health. The practices of hatha yoga are so effective because they strengthen the flow of prana in our bodies, invigorating the current so that it carries away obstructions that block the free flow of energy.

Because Nadis like the chakras (psychoenergetic power centers), prana, and other aspects of the subtle body—don’t show up under microscopes, medical science has relegated them to the realm of the merely metaphorical. But traditional yogis believe that the subtle body is real and that understanding it and working with it complement and counterbalance the emphasis on gross physical anatomy that predominates our current yoga culture.

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Night and Day

Three Nadis are of particular interest to yogis. The Sushumna (most gracious) Nadi is the body’s great river, running from the base of the spine to the crown of the head, passing through each of the seven chakras in its course.

It is the channel through which kundalini shakti (the latent serpent power) —and the higher spiritual consciousness it can fuel—rises up from its origin at the Muladhara (root) chakra to its true home at the Sahasrara (thousand-fold) chakra at the crown of the head. In subtle body terms, the Sushumna nadi is the path to enlightenment.

The ida (comfort) and Pingala (tawny) nadis spiral around the Sushumna nadi like the double helix of our DNA, crossing each other at every chakra. If you visualize the caduceus, the symbol of modern medicine, you’ll get a rough idea of the relationships among the ida, Pingala, and Sushumna nadis. Eventually, all three meet at the Ajna (command) chakra, midway between the eyebrows.

The Ida Nadi begins and ends on the left side of Sushumna. Ida is regarded as the lunar Nadi, cool and nurturing by nature, and is said to control all mental processes and the more feminine aspects of our personality. The color white is used to represent the subtle vibrational quality of Ida. Pingala, the solar Nadi, begins and ends to the right of Sushumna. It is warm and stimulating by nature, controls all vital somatic processes, and oversees the more masculine aspects of our personality. The vibrational quality of Pingala is represented by the color red.

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The interaction between Ida and Pingala corresponds to the internal dance between intuition and rationality, consciousness and vital power, and the right and left brain hemispheres. In everyday life, one of these Nadis is always dominant. Although this dominance alternates throughout the day, one nadi tends to be ascendant more often and for longer periods than the other. This results in personality, behavior, and health issues that can be called Ida-like or Pingala-like.

Ida-like individuals have lunar, or nurturing, qualities but may lack the verve to sustain a strong yoga practice. They are full of potential, but unless they develop their Pingala side may never manifest that potential in either worldly affairs or spiritual development. Pingala-like individuals have solar qualities: type A personalities, lots of creativity, abundant vitality. But unless they develop their Ida side, they may lack the quietude, introspection, and receptivity necessary to yield to the grace of spiritual awakening.

 

Creating Equilibrium

Bringing Ida and Pingala into equilibrium is a major focus of hatha yoga—so important, in fact, that the term Hatha symbolizes this balance. Although the word Hatha literally means “forceful” in Sanskrit, it is composed of ha and tha, two esoteric bija (seed) mantras that have arcane meaning and power.

He represents the solar qualities, the vital force, of Pingala; tha represents the mind and the lunar qualities of Ida. Balancing sun and moon, or Pingala and Ida, facilitates the awakening and arising of kundalini, and thus the awakening of higher consciousness. In fact, some yoga teachings hold that as long as either Ida or Pingala predominates, Sushumna stays closed and the power of kundalini lies dormant.

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The most powerful method of balancing ida and Pingala is Nadi Shodhana, alternate-nostril breathing. (Literally, the Sanskrit means “nadi cleansing.”) This practice is effective because the ida nadi is directly connected to the left nostril, and the Pingala nadi to the right.

A few rounds of this basic Pranayama technique at the end of an asana practice are an excellent way to help restore equilibrium between the two Nadis and to compensate for any imbalance you may have inadvertently caused during your practice.

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Coming into Balance

To practice Nadi Shodhana, sit in a comfortable meditative position. Make a fist with your right hand, then partially re-extend your ring and little fingers. Lightly place the pad of the thumb on your nose just to the right and below the bridge; lightly place the pads of your ring and little fingers on the corresponding flesh on the left side of your nose. Gently pressing with the ring and little fingers to close the left nostril, exhale fully through the right.

Then inhale fully through the right, close it with the thumb, release the left nostril, and exhale through it. Inhale through the left nostril, close it with the fingers, release the right nostril, and exhale through it. This completes one round of Nadi Shodhana.

In addition to using Nadi Shodhana, you can experiment with using the asanas themselves as a method of balancing ida and Pingala. At the beginning of a practice, sit and observe your breath to see which nostril—and, hence, which nadi—is dominant. (If you can’t tell, try a few rounds of alternate-nostril breathing—it should be immediately clear which side is freer and which feels more inhibited).

If the left nostril dominates, ida is in charge, and you might consider focusing your attention on invigorating asanas—such as backbends, standing poses, inversions, and twists—to engage the Pingala Nadi. If the right nostril dominates, the cooling, calming energy of seated poses and forward bends might be most beneficial.

You can also bring awareness of Ida and Pingala into any asana practice by pausing between poses to notice which nadi dominates your breathing. Notice your mind-states as well; you will find they closely correlate with which nadi is ascendant.

Are you agitated and active (Pingala-like) or calm and receptive (Ida-like)? Through this checking-in process, you can begin to identify which poses activate one nadi or the other, and which are particularly effective—for you, at least—in creating physical and emotional equilibrium. You’ll also be developing your awareness, deepening your practice, and clearing the way for your spiritual growth.

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*article from http://www.remedyspot.com /author Gopal Singh