The importance of the process of awareness in YOGA practice and daily life (2)
Awareness in PRANAYAMA procedures and its applications in everyday life
by Daciana Matei
Read here the first part of this article
Breathing is an indispensable condition of life. Through the respiratory act a vital fundamental energy called PRANA is captured and accumulated in the being. To become aware of this process will gradually lead us to the very source of universal life.
Through the correct practice of YOGA body postures (ASANA), we understand that only a purely physical exercise, regardless of its nature or complexity, cannot bring profound changes in the practitioner’s being. But accompanied by adequate awareness of the phenomena that occur in the body and of the processes of resonance with specific focal points in the universe that it triggers, this exercise will greatly help our whole being generating both interior changes of a deep nature as well as external transformation in the body.
Similarly, the mechanistic practice of these exercises of control and rhythm of breathing, PRANAYAMA, without being aware of the subtle phenomena that occur in the inner universe of our being, will not bring the extraordinary benefits mentioned in the millennial yoga treaties. It is therefore imperative that we focus our attention, first, on the air entering and leaving through the nostrils during inspiration and expiration. We observe the air flow inside the body and the route it follows and then its way out of the body through the nostrils. This method of awareness is similar to that presented in the first part of the article, where we spoke about how to be aware of the physical posture while performing an ASANA, the movements the body makes in order to reach that position. In the second phase of the awareness of the breathing process after we became familiar with the air circulating through the nostrils, we focus our attention to grasp the more subtle aspects of this process, namely the energies that are brought together with the air into the body and will produce the effect specific to the technique of PRANAYAMA performed by us. As a yoga posture correctly performed brings, through resonance, subtle energies of the macrocosm in the microcosm of our being, similarly, in the case of PRANAYAMA procedures the energy captured from the universe will be circulated in our own being, producing great changes in our inner universe.
For a better understanding we suggest you read the article Pranayama or how we can connect to the inexhaustible source of the universal energy, where detailed information about PRANA and the right way to approach PRANAYAMA techniques are presented.
Effects of conscious breathing on everyday life
Being aware of the breathing, of the way in which the respiratory process develops, can help us tremendously outside the spiritual practice itself, in many moments of our everyday life.
Many problems that the human being has to face are caused by the accumulation and expression of the negative emotions, some of them of a great intensity. Fear, stress, anger, jealousy, etc. trigger within our inner being, when manifested and lived with intensity, true mental and emotional storms and they may even disrupt the proper functioning of the body. Their disastrous effects affect the whole being, as they touch both the nervous system and immune and glandular systems. The mind becomes agitated, disturbed, confused and anxiety or choking sensations occur, etc. To counter these painful events we need to let go of the tide of destructive emotions and to begin immediately to breathe deeply, willingly, as regularly and consciously as possible. We will then focus our attention on the breathing process, realizing how, with the inspiration of air, we bring purifying and revitalizing pranic energy into our being, and as we exhale we will spread elevated energies, captured from the macrocosm, into our body, making evil and negative energies that tended to overwhelm us, dissipate and eventually disappear. After a relatively short time, our psycho-emotional balance is restored completely. A deep sense of peace occurs then, the mind calms down and on this background of clarity, superior insights and even brilliant solutions to problems we deal with may appear. Practicing these conscious breaths for a long enough period of time we achieve a state of self-confidence, enthusiasm, and zest for life, vitality and power to act in harmony with everything around us.
Method to capture the purifying, healthy, elevated energies through a force idea or creative images
In his book Initiation in Hermeticism, Franz Bardon describes a novel method of inner transformation that is based on the idea that air can be impregnated with some beneficial force ideas, thoughts or images. This impregnated air will play a dual role when it is directed to the lungs and then through the blood vessels throughout the body. At first, in the first phase of breathing, the material, coarse part of the air components is brought into the body and will be used to support and vitalize it. In the second phase, the subtle part of the components of the breathed air, filled with those beneficial ideas and images will reach the etheric and astral bodies impregnating them well. It goes without saying that what matters primarily is not quantity but quality of inhaled air, specifically the force idea with which it was impregnated.
From a practical standpoint, this method has the following steps: sit as conveniently and comfortably on a chair or on the ground. We aim to relax the physical structure and to breathe slowly, calmly, through the nose. We focus our attention on the force idea that we want to use in this method, for example: we visualize and realize how, once with the inspired air, health, peace, peace and love (or whatever good aspect we want to assimilate into our being) enter the lungs and blood. The visualization must be very clear, lived intensely and with full conviction. The inhaled air impregnated with the beneficial force idea will be rapidly assimilated in our body and subtle bodies and what we pursue will then become reality. We should practice each visualization at a time, with each of the beneficial states that we aspire towards, moving to the next force idea after we managed to obtain the state that we had aimed for before. Awareness of all the subtle aspects occurring in our being both during the actual practice of this method and at its end are extremely important.
Read the third part of the article here
24th of July 2013
Also available in: Română