Articles derived from yogacharya Sharat Arora (Anand Sagar) Teachings

Pranayama Part 8 The Way to Understand Ourselves


The basics of the Pranayama is to understand the true nature of the inhalations and the exhalations. For that we use a method of watching it. As the breath comes through, some areas don’t allow the breath to come in. They are our tensions, these areas are closed. Slowly, slowly, as you exhale and you are relaxed, you start to understand the keys to get in there. When you start to understand getting in there and opening it, your breath is becoming also open and the parts which were obstructed – restored in balance, harmony.

What have you done by bringing balance and harmony? All the old stuff, which is sitting there in the form of conditioning, is slowly being washed out. Its content is in the same way as imprint. Those imprints are left in the body, of all the things that has marked us, all the things that we run after constantly. Pranayama is a way of getting inside it on the deeper level. By doing Pranayama we are understanding energies, this physical form of the mind. Then we understand the energetic body. And that brings us to our intelligent body.

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Pranayama Part 7 The Nature of Inhalations and Exhalations


Let us look at some more detailed aspects of Pranayama. I start the whole process by exhaling and when I exhale what is in fact happening is that I feel the breath going down. The rib cage, which has been expanded in the inhalation, in the exhalation is going back. The diaphragm is going up to expel the air and the abdomen is contracting.

In order to make the exhalation complete, one has to feel that downward movement fully. Where the awareness has come, this is where we are connected with the movement of our breath. So when the awareness has come down, what we feel as a downward movement, from that point the inhalation starts.  

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Pranayama Part 5 Body scan


On a day when we have practised the back bends we cannot do more inhalations in Pranayama because they are also stimulating. Therefore today during the session we are going to do just three to four inhalations and for the rest of the session we will concentrate on exhalations.

We begin by scanning the body from bottom to top. First check the face: allow the eyes to become free and the facial muscles to become less tensed. And then start to scan the rest of the body from bottom to top.    It is absolutely necessary to drop all issues before the practice, put aside all preoccupations. In the same way as we dream about our issues, about the day time, in the same way these issues keep coming back when we relax. Once everything is in order in my world then there is a possibility of settling down.

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Pranayama Part 6 Guided session


After finishing the body scan we can proceed to Pranayma, guiding our breaths. I mentioned it before that on a back bends day we don't do more inhalations in Pranayama as they are also stimulating and bring the energy upwards. So today we will make only few inhalations and then focus on exhalations.

We start with three to four inhalations and we do them with clear awareness, feeling the physical opening in the chest. Then we move on to the exhalations and we make them long. We exhale fully until we get to very foundations of inhalation. This is similar, but now breath is fast to come up to that fullness of the chest. Then the chest is open and we keep that fullness of the chest by keeping the awareness under the breath, just below the nipple. As we exhale our awareness continues to be there. If we hold that awareness muscularly the whole rib cage becomes hard. The rib cage drops, it is natural in the exhalations, but because our awareness is there, it drops less. And that is that exhalation done in Pranayama. While making inhalations we have to be clear about the energy not moving into the head. In the exhalations we have to be clear that the physical body does not drop. Keeping this very clear, we will make exhalations. Just four-five of them. And then that is going to be our Pranayama. Two to three inhalations. Four to five exhalations.

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Q&A session. Correcting imbalances in the body & the teacher’s qualities.


Correcting imbalances in the body

When someone is young we can sort out the imbalances in 4-5 years. Once you reach 40 it is more difficult because of the ways we get. The cells renew every 7 years. When you are young your body can readjust much faster. You grow until there is a plateau at 40, so the first 20 years you will heal quickly, then during the plateau less quickly, than after 40 it is even slower.
When you find what is wrong with the feet then you find what is wrong with the body. This is a science and it is an art to see it. It is a physiological problem how you use your body, not an anatomical one. It is all so logical. How did we loose it?  
Hanging can help to correct the top half of the body, standing poses for the bottom. If the problem stems from the feet, the body compensates with the problems. The weight in hanging will take away the effects of the imbalances.  

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