Power of Pranayama
- Part 1 -

Kakchingtabam Brajamani Sharma *

1. Introduction:

Though the vast sky with the various luminaries appears calm and steady, yet they are not what is expected. The Universe with all its variety constituents and, everybody and every being around us seem to be dozing idly without doing anything. But, if investigated to anyone or anybody, it will be found doing work ceaselessly. From the neglected tiny plant to the vast ocean, from the small firefly to the sun or the great stars are themselves busy doing tremendous toil for their individual existence.

The sleeping infant when checked with a stethoscope will be found the heart pumping regularly, the arteries and veins carrying blood, the digestive system, the liver, the lungs and all the limbs performing their allotted duties without taking rest. Similarly, the plants are doing for their existence; the Oceans are having various pressures from currents, living beings and other factors; the sun and stars are burning like huge furnaces with shots of enormous flames and huge soot inside and outside of their bodies; the grave planet-the earth itself has got heated lava inside and several plates are floating on the molten lava and so on.

There comes a question that what power makes them working, what power makes the planets and satellites moving in a regular path of their own, what power makes the heart beat, and so on. The answer cannot be fully explained satisfactorily by the known proposition which can be measured in terms of horse power, potential difference, electromagnetic force etc. However, it is rightly stated that 'Energy can never be created nor destroyed'. So energy is the capacity of doing work.

When the energy is converted into work, the energy which made the body work appears lost or exhausted. Newer energy supply from an in-exhaustible source is necessary to be existed. This energy source is termed as God, Almighty, Lord, Brahma, Parmatama and so on. It is a fact that there need a connecting thing between the generator and the appliance (say, the bulb for emitting light). This is 'Prana' that connects the generator (the Lord) and the appliances (the senses like the eyes, the hands etc.).

Again, the mighty generator cannot be directly used for domestic purposes and hence degraded energy sources are made to supply power to the smaller appliances. Similarly, the degraded power source for a particular human body is termed as "Kundalini Shakti", the serpent power residing in the Muladhara Chakra (Pelvic Plexus) at the root of the genital organ and is lying in dormant condition having three and a half coils, facing downwards.

We know that in a loud speaker, the volume knob when rotated at the amplifier produces different grades of sound, so also the Prana through the "Kundaiini Shakti” gives rise to different grades of activities when it is made in touch with the six points of power storage, known under the style and title
(i) The Muladhara (Pelvic plexus)
(ii)The Swadhisthana (Hypogastric Plexus),
(iii) The Manipuraka (Epigastric Plex-us),
(iv) The Anahata (Cardiac Plexus),
(v) The Vishudha (Carotid Plexus) and
(vi) The Anja (Medulla) chakras.

In some Yoga Texts, there is a little difference in the naming of the Shad Chakras. It will need a research. I have nothing to say on it. However, the Sanskrit names are similar, only the English naming differs. The Pranas which are five in number are termed as Prana, Apana, Vyara, Samana and Udana, assisted by minor five Pranas, namely Naga, Kurma, Krikara, Devadutta and Dhananjaya, brings the energy to all the limbs of the body, and enable them to work well.

If the connecting wires are not controlled or insulated, there is greatest possibility of power shock, so also, the Pranas are to be well tamed or insulated so that, we can handle them at any way as we like. This process of taming, controlling and domesticating the Pranas is termed as Pranayama.

The Yoga Sutra describes "Tasmin sati svasa prasvasayor gati vicchedah pranayamah" (the interruption of inhalation and exhalation is Pranayama), Pranas are not air, nor oxygen. It is that life force which makes the lungs breathing. Parana uses the oxygen. It gives hunger and thirst. The Pranayama controls the pranas and hence controls the impact of hunger, thirst, feelings mental activities lite worrys, sufferings, happiness etc. It is what we say control of mind.

2. Kinds of Pranayama:

Pranayama has been exercised on the four forms of breathing - inhalation, exhalation, outside retention and inside retention. Their Sanskrit terms are Puraka, Rechaka, Vahir Kumbhaka and Antah Kumbhaka. There are several kinds of Pranayama. We can pick up a little.

1) Nadi Sudhi or Anulom-Vilom: Inhale through a nostril as you can steadily and exhale through the other nostril very slowly without retention and practice at least six times, by doing inhalation-exhalation on the both nostrils alternately. It will calm down the body system.

2) Rhythmic Breathing: Sit on Padmasana or any suitable sitting posture, keep the head, neck and body straight. Inhale through one nostril closing the other with thumb and little and ring fingers, as you can very slowly. Close both the nostrils. Retain as you can comfortably. Exhale through the other nostril very slowly as you can comfortably.

3) Suryabheda and Ujjayi; These two kinds produce heat in the body. When the body feels cool, the two kinds are recommended. In the Suryabheda, close one nostril and inhale through the other as you can comfortably. Retain and press the chin to the thorax, and exhale very slowly after the retention. Repeat the process inhaling on the other nostril. Inhale in one nostril, retain as far as you can without burden and exhale through both the nostrils. It gives heat. Similarly in the Ujjayi, a particular sound is made by drawing in air through both the nostrils for a considerable length of time and inhale without retention.

4) Bhramari: it is imitating the bumming of the bee. Inhale through both the nostrils and release very slowly through the both nostrils making a humming sound which affects the crown of the head.

To be continued.....

* Kakchingtabam Brajamani Sharma wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was posted on December 02, 2019 .

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