CHAPTER - 3
28. Surya Chandra Bedha
Explanation : In Yoga connotation, surya is the right nostril and Chandra,
the left. Bheda is activity.
Description : It differs from nadisodhana in that breathing is done through
Sit up straight. Close one nostril and breathe in and out. This is one
round. Make four such rounds. Repeat with the other nostril. In ordinary
language, this amounts to stomach exercise. This froms a part of kapalabhati,
hence it is also called "Ardha kapalabhati", meaning "half-kapalabhati".
Benefits : Stomach, kidneys, spleen and pancreas are activated. It is
beneficial to people with low blood pressure, hyperacidity, peptic
ulcer and constipation.
Caution : Do not put any strain on the facial muscles. The chest should
not move; only the lower abdomen must move back and forth.
with very high blood pressure, and heart diseases, should not do this.
29. Kanta Bhati *
Explanation : "Kanta" is throat and "Bhati" is cleansing
in Sanskrit. Description : Sit in vajrasana. Close the pharynx partiolly,
and forcefully let out the breath through the pharynx in small quantities,
with the mouth closed. The tongue should be touching the back of the
teeth all the time. The sound produced during this practice resembles
that made by a steam engine. Holding in the abdomen helps produce the
Benefits : This cleans the throat and cranium and stimulates the thyroid
gland. It clears the secretions of the throat and is particularly helpful
30. Bhadrasana **
Explanation : "Bhadra" in Sanskrit means 'auspicious' or 'prime'.
This asana prevents disease; hence the name.
Description : Sit in Dandasana, fold the legs sideways and keep both
feet opposed and touching. Hold the ankles with the hands and bring the
feet closer to the body. The heels should be on either side of the Shivanee
Nadi. The body is kept straight.
Benefits: It prevents hernia. Sciatica is relieved. The leg muscles are
* Source : Satkarma Sangraham
'* Source: Hatha Pradeepika, Hatha Ratnavali
31. Baddha Padmasana *
Explanation : "Baddha" in Sanskrit
means 'tied up1 or 'rolled up1.
Description : Sitting in Padmasana, hold the toes of the right foot with
I the right hand extended from behind the back. Similarly hold the toes
ofl the left foot with the left hand.
Benefits : Arthritic pain of the knee joints is relieved. Concentration
the mind improves.
32. Uttana Mandukasana **
Explanation : "Manduka" in Sanskrit
means frog. The body in Uttana Man-1 dukasana resembles an erect frog.
Description : Sit in vajrasana. Straddle the knees half-way behind the
back,! the big toes should oppose each other. The body should be straight.
Cross! both arms behind the head and place the hands on the upper part
of thet back. The chin comes into the Jalandhara bandha in this asana.
Benefits : Lung power is improved. Circulation in the walls of the chestj
and abdomen, tone is increased. The bandhas of Jalandhara, Uddiyana and!
Moola are all partly involved in this asana.
* Source : Bruhad Yoga Sopanam
♦* Sources: Hatharatnavali, Gheranda Samhita.
Explanation : Thula1 or 'tolangin' means weighing scales. The body is.
balanced as the pans in weighing scales.
Description : Sit in Padmasana. Slowly lean back with the help of the
elbows. Keep the body weight on the back and lift the legs. Each palm
is placed below the buttock on the respective side. The centre of gravity
lies on the buttocks and hands.
: Muscles of the abdomen, back and neck are strengthened. The muscles
of the abdomen and waist become taut. This asana is good foi
diabetes and piles.
Explanation : 'Parvatham' in Sanskrit means a hill. Description: Assume
padmasana. Raise arms above the head touching the ears. While lowering
the arms, exhale. Keep the palms on the knees. Repeal 3 times.
Benefits : The stiffness in the neck and shoulders is relieved. Lung
power is increased. This asana is good for people with neck pain.
35. Gomukhasana (Baddha Hastasana) *
Explanation : 'Gomukha' means head of a cow. The legs assume a triangular
form and the body in this posture resembles the head of the cow. Description
: Sit in Dandasana. Fold the lift leg and let the left ankle touch
Source : Hatha Pradeepika, Hatha Ratnavali.
the right buttock. Fold the right leg over the left ? so that the knees
are on top of the other. Let the right ankle touch the left buttock.
The testicles should be free of pressure. Sit straight and raise the
right arm over the head. Fold the left arm behind the back. Let the hands
hook up behind the back. Benefits : Prepares one for
mulabandha. Lung capacity increases.
Caution : Persons with bleeding piles should consult an expert on Yoga
before attempting the asana.
Explanation : The body resembles a lion., with claws drawn, tongue dangling
and eyes centred on the middle of the brows.
Description: Start with Dandasana. Fold the right knee and keep the right
foot under the left buttock and the left foot under the right buttock,
the right ankle should be over the left one. The knees are to be kept
wide apart and touching the floor. To make this asana easier, the body
weight should be on the thighs and knees. The trunk should lean forward,
and the buttocks should be slightly off the ground. Place the hands on
the knees, the fingers spread out. The trunk and spine should be kept
straight protrude the tongue and roar like a lion. If the chin touches
the suprasternal notch, the asana becomes Jalandhara bandha.
Benefits : Throat diseases in the initial stages, and tonsilitis are
cured. The neck becomes toned.
37. Kukkutasana **
Explanation : 'Kukkutam' in Sanskrit means a fowl. The body in this posture
resembles a fowl.
- Source: Hatha Pradeepika, Hatha Ratnavali ** Source: Hatha Pradeepikarflatha
Description : As in Padmasana, start with a foot-lock. Insert the arms
through the spaces between the knee of one leg and the skin of the other
leg. Spread the fingers on the floor this makes balancing the body easier.
With the support of the palms and elbows, lift the body above the ground.
Benefits : The muscles of the abdomen are stretched due to the footlock.
This increases the pressure over the abdominal organs and improves digestion.
With maximum inhalation of air, intra abdominal pressure increases.
The functioning of the heart and lungs improves.
Caution : Gastric ulcer, enlarged spleen, heart and lung diseases are
Explanation: "Baka' means a crane.
Description: Start with Dandasana and assume Padmasana. Spread the hands
on the floor. Supporting the weight of the body on the hands and elbows,
lift the body off the ground. Patience, dexterity and control are a must
to balance the body like this. A different method is to keep the palm
on the floor, keep the buttocks close and, without Padmasana bring both
knees to the umbilicus.
- Source: Kapala Kurantaka Yoga
A tip: The distance between the hands must be adjusted conveniently.
Do not fold the fingers.
Benefits : The muscles of the arms and shoulders become istrong. Chest
muscles also become strong.
Caution : When the body is lifted up with a jerk, there is a chance of
39. Uttana Kurmasana *
Explanation : 'Kurma1 in Sanskrit means a tortoise. This is one of the
ten avatars of Lord Vishnu.
Description: Start with kukkutasana. Hold the hands behind th eneck and
lie on the back. Uttana denotes lying on the back.
Benefits : It is a fine structuring practice for the long and short spinal
muscles and the large muscles of the back such as trapezius, latissimus,
dorsi, rhomboids and hamstrings group of muscles in the thighs. It vigorously
compresses the abdominal viscera and the positive intra-abdominal pressures
produced during the performance of the asana help to relieve congestion
of the visceral organs. It improves their tone resulting
* Source: Hatha Ratnavali
in better Digestion and elimination.
Caution : Patients suffering from high blood pressure, cardiovascular
diseases, peptic or intestinal ulceration etc. should not perform this
40. Svottanasana or Pavana Muktasana *
This asana is known as Svottana because of practising in lying down on
back. Another name of this asana is Pavana Muktasana. Pavana Mukta releasing
wind (bad gases) means gases from the stomach.
Ardha- Svottanasana :
Sthiti: Lie supine on the ground over the mat or blanket with heels together
and arms stretched above the head.
1. Raise the right leg keeping it
straight to 45° from the ground. Keep the left? firmly on the ground.
Place the right? perpendicular to the ground and complete inhalation.
Bend the right leg and press the knees over the chest holding the legs
by interlocked fingers of the hand. Exhale, continue the movement keeping
the knee straight and bringing the leg perpendicular to the ground.
Take the chin above the knees. Rotate the left leg 3 times in an elliptical
fashion and 3 times in the anticlockwise direction. Breathe normally.
• Source: Kapala Kurantaka Yoga
Take both legs to 45° position; keep the knees straight and inhale
Bring the legs perpendicular to the ground and complete inhalation.
Bend the knees, press them on the chest by the hands with interlocked
fingers and exhale.
Keep the chin touching or above the knees and maintain the posture in
of relaxing way.
Benefits : Svottanasana helps to remove accumulation of gases in the
stomach, increase the digestive power and removes constipation.
Caution: The patients with neck-pain are advised not to raise the head
during this practice.
Explanation : Tala' means a palm tree. With upward stretched arms, the
body resembles a palm tree. This asana is also called Tadasana.
Description : Stand straight, keep the feet 3 to 6 feet apart, lift up
the arm straight above the head and stand on tip of the toes. Breathe
in slowly with the arms up and palms together. Stretch all the parts
of the body upwards. Then breathe out slowly bringing the hands down.
Benefits : It helps to increase the height Spine is strengthened. Stomach
and intestines are cleansed. The fat around the stomach and intestines
42. Vrikshasana *
Explanation : In this asana, the body is upright like a tree. This is
called Ardha Chandrasana.
Description: Stand straight, keep both the legs together. With the right
hand lift the right foot and keep the heel against the right thigh near
the hip. The right foot is kept against the left thigh, toes pointing
down. Balance the body in this position. The palms must be kept together
in the middle of the chest in namaskar(greeting). Reverse all the steps
and repeat on the other side.
Benefits : Done regularly, the stiffness of the joints of the feet,
knees is relieved. The muscles of the legs are strengthened. Arthritic
43. Pada Peethasana*
Explanation: In this asana the person stands on one foot, winds the body
and brings the other leg up towards the back and balances.
Description: Fold the leg as in Vajrasana, Stand on the left foot, bend
the right knee, folding the lower half against the upper. Balancing the
body, pull the right foot up with both hands and hold it against the
right buttock. Keep both hands straight Repeat on the other side.
Benefits : All the muscles of the thigh, legs, ankles and feet are stretched.
Rheumatic pains are relieved. The sciatic nerve is activated.
44. Kapala Bhati
Explanation : 'Kapala' is 'Cranium', 'Bhati' means 'to clean'. Surya
chandra bheda is called Ardha kapala Bhati. In this, breathing in and
out occur very fast with both nostrils. If done suddenly, the abdomen
gets cramped. The pharynx should not be closed. The lower abdominal muscles
must move back and forth. The rate of breathing should be 120 breaths
Benefits : In this, the oxygen intake is enhanced. Circulation is stimulated,
cardio-respiratory endurance increases. It is beneficial to people with
45. Vamana Dhouti
This is one of the five practices of Ayurveda. In this practice the contents
Description: This should be done on an empty stomach early in the morning.
Add 10 grams of salt in a litre of boiled and cooled water. The water
should not be cooled to room temperature, but should be warm. Drink 4
to 5 gassess of this. After a few seconds bend forward; tickle the throat
with the index and middle fingers of right hand. Vomiting ensues.
Benifits : Respiratory diseases and bronchial asthma are lessened in
severity. Flatulence and hyperacidity are relieved. Gas passage through
the anus is also relieved. Digestive juices are increased and hunger
♦Source: Hatha Ratnavali
CHAPTER - 4
Introduction : In the previous chapters we have presented a few of the
Asanas and other preparatory practices. Now we move on to Bandhas and
Mudras. They are neuro-muscular locks and gestures. Bandhas are safety
locks used during the process of breath-holding-Kumbhakas. These Bandhas
and Mudras are advanced techniques in Hathayoga used mainly for
culturing of emotions.
Types of Bandhas:
Jalandhara Bandha (The Chin Lock)
Explanation : Jalandhara Yogi discovered this Bandha. Hence Jalandhara
Bandha was named after him. There is the Jalandhar city in Punjab. The
word "JALA" refers to the brain and the nerves passing through
the neck and "DHARA" denotes the upward pull.
Description: (a) Sit in a comfortable position like Vajrasana, Padmasana
in any meditative posture.
- Keep the back erect.
- Place the palms on the top of the knees.
- Relax the whole body and close the eyes.
- Inhale deeply, retain the breath inside, bend the head forward and
chin tightly against the sternum.
- The chin is to be tightly set in the Jugular notch.
- Stay in the final pose for as long a time you can comfortably able
(h) This is Jalandhara Bandha.
Benefits : The chin lock closes the wind pipe and compresses various
organs including the sinus receptors which are located in the throat
region. The receptors are pressure sensitive and so the compression they
receive during the Jalandhara Bandha slows down the heart
The bandha cleans the nasal passages and regulates the flow of blood
and prana to the heart, head and the endocrine glands in the neck. The
thyroid and parathyroid glands are massaged and their functioning improved.
If Pranayama is performed without Jalandhara Bandha pressure is immediately
felt in the heart, brain, eye balls and in the inner ear. This may lead
Jalandhara accelerate venous drainage from the cephalic region i.e. vital
organs in head and neck. The improved venous drainage will check the
accumulation of CO2in and around the respiratory centres and thereby
a person to hold the breath for a longer time.
Concentration : Concentration on Vishuddhi Chakra
Caution: Persons with neck pain, high blood pressure or heart ailments
not practice without expert guidance.
2. Mula Bandha (Perineum contraction lock)
Explanation : Mula means root or origin or corner. It refers to the
region between the anus and the genitals.
Description: (a) Mula bandha should be attempted first in the internal
(b) The practice of contracting the anal sphincter muscles
(asvim mudra) helps
one to master mula bandha.
(c) Asva means a horse. This mudra is so called because it
suggests the staling
of ahorse.(d) It should also be learnt while doing various asans like
pavana muktasana, ustrasana, paschimottanasana and vipareetakami mudra.
Concentration : Concentration on Muladhara Chakra. Sequence : Jalandhra,
Mula and Uddiyana Bandhas in Pranayama practice. Benefits : The pelvic
nerves are stimulated and the associated sexual and eliminative organs
toned. The sphincter muscles of the anus are strengthened and intestinal
peristalsis is stimulated. In this way constipation and piles can be
removed. This generates vitality and helps to awaken the Kundalini. Caution
: It should be practised step by step with proper care and perfect guidance.
If any mistake occurs in mulabhanda dry stools are passed.
3. Uddiyana Bandha (Navel Lock)
Explanation : Uddiyana, which means flying up, is an abdominal grip.
Uddiyana is different from the uddiyana bandha Description : (a)
Sit in meditative pose.
- Close the eyes and relax the whole body.
- The abdominal viscera, particularly above and below the navel are
pulled back with lock.
- This is practised at the end of Kumbhaka before the beginning of
- The practice is optional during Pranayama.
Uddiyana Bandha (Navel Lock)
Concentration: On Manipura chakra. Sequence : Jalandhara Bandha, Mula
Bandha and Uddiyana Bandha. Benefits: Manipura chakra, located in the
region of the navel is stimulated. It purifies the navel through which
the wind is purified.
These three Bandhas Jalandhara, Mula and Uddiyana form one group called
Bandha Traya (the lock trinity). These Bandhas are used exclusively as
locks during Kumbhaka i.e. to restrain and close the passage for the
breath. Jalandhara Bandha is used during Antara-Kumbhaka and Uddiyana
Bandha in Baashya Kumbhaka. Mula Bandha can be done during Purakas, Kumbhaka,
Rechaka and also in Japa and meditation. These Bandhas prevent the building
up of tension in the head.
Types of Mudras
Mudras in general are used mainly in three fields.
- Rituals in performing certain worships.
- Dance (to express the emotions and feelings through bodily gestures)
- Hathayoga (to help in stabilizing the mind)
We will limit ourselves to the region of Hatha yoga which includes Asanas,
Pranayamas, Bandhas, Mudras and Shat kriyas. Many of the Sanskrit yoga
texts take Bandhas and Mudras as a single unit.
According to Gheranda samhita, there are mainly 25 Mudras, where as Hatha
pradipika and Hatharatnavali describes only 10 of these. Among them the
following eleven are the most important ones :-
(1) Mahaa mudra, (2) Mahaa Bandha, (3) Mahaa vedha (4) Viparitakarani,
(5) Vajroli, (6) Sakticalani (7) Uddiyana Bandha (8) Jalandhara Bandha
(9) Mula Bandha (10) Yoni Mudra (11) Khecari - Mudra.
Now we will briefly describe few common mudras.
1. Yoni or Shanmukhi Mudra (six faced Psychic Gesture)
Explanation : This is a technique of Nada yoga " Sravanaputanaayanayugala
Ghranamukhanam Nirodhanam Karyam Suddhasusumnasaranau Sphutamamalah Sruyate
Nadah (HP - IV - 68) i.e. Of closing both the ears, both the eyes, both
the nostrils and the mouth is practiced, a clear distinct sound is heard
in the path of susamna nadi when it is clean.
Siddhasanam Samasadya Kamacaksurnasamukham Angustha Tarjanimadhyinidyaih
pidadhita vai Assuming Siddhasana, one should close the ears with thumbs,
the eyes with index-fingers, the nostrils with the middle fingers and
the mouth with the ring and little fingers.
(GHE S. Ch-LQ-33)
Kaki Mudra (Crow Gesture) is recommeded in the practice. Technique: (a)
Sit in any comfortable meditative pose preferably Padmasana
- Inhale slowly and deeply retain the breath.
- Raise the hands to the face and the elbows to the level of the shoulders.
- Close the ears with the thumb, the eyes with the index fingers, the
with the middle fingers and place the ring and small fingers above
and below the
lips to close the mouth.
Cencentration on Bindu Chakra
Duration : According to your own capacity.
Benefits: This is apowerful practice for with drawing the mind from association
with sense objects (pratyahara). It stimulates awareness of psychic sound
emanate from Bindu Chakra in the back of the head (Shiva Samhita). It
all external stimuli coming from the four special senses. It is useful
suffering from tension headaches.
Caution: Patients of high blood pressure and heart problems should not
without any expert guidance.
2. Maha Mudra (Royal Gesture)
Sit with legs stretched, bend the left leg at the knee and press the
with the heel.
Inhale completely and hold the breath. Catch hold of the big toe of the
stretched right leg with both hands by bending the waist forward. Keep
the chest up. Have Mula Bandha.
While making a swallowing movement, bend the neck forward and press
the chin on the chest Inhale and have Jalandhara Bandha.
While maintaining, relax the head region and feel the locking of air
the throat. Maintain for equal number of times on either side every day.
Many diseases of the stomach are cured by this. Very useful in curing
Maha Mudra (Royal Gesture)
3. Asvni Mudra (Horse-Anus Gesture)
Sit erect in Padmasana, Exhale.
Hold the breath and pull up the anus by contracting the sphincter; hold
for about 10 seconds and inhale.
Release the anus.
Repeat this rhythmically about 10 to 30 times.
This Mudra is useful in evoking the spiritual forces dormant in the lower
centres. Useful for pregnant women, and in curing urinary and anal incontinence.
Asvini Mudra done in Viparitakarani posture is useful in treating piles
and prolapse uterus.
4. Vipareetakarni Mudra
Refer II Chapter P-15.
5. Yoga Mudra
Refer HI Chapter, P-22.
The Name: Brahma is the name of one of the gods of the Hindu trinity,
possesses four heads. Mudra means a symbol.
The Technique: (a) The student sits erect in acomfortable 'asana'. He
then turns his head slowly to the right without moving his trunk the
chin brought almost in the line with the right shoulder line. The final
position is maintained for a few seconds before returning slowly to the
- Then comes a similar movement and pause on the left side.
- Returning to the original position, the head is in the same manner
taken backward, so that the muscles of the throat are stretched to
and again brought to starting position.
- This is followed by bending the head forward, chin pressing on the
jugular notch and again coming to the original position. This completes
round of Brahmamudra.
Thus the head is turned to the right, to the left, backward and forward
imitating the four heads of Brahma.
Advantages: Brahmamudra, though it looks very simple, is very efficacious
for removing psycho-physiological tensions, regulating blood pressure
and bringing vasomotor tone and also for curing functional disorders
of the cervical spine such as stiff neck.
It stimulates the carotid nerve and the carotid arteries which bring
supply to the brain.
The cervical spine is turned forward and backward and is twisted. The
cervical ganglia and the spinal nerves of the cervical spine are also
The practice of Brahmamudra gives added advantage when it is accompanied
by two other practices, namely, Jihvabandha and Simhamudra.
_Breathing and Life Process
More than five thousand years ago, the Yogis of ancient India discovered
the correlation between the subtle rhythm of breathing and the mind.
The "nasal cycle" was not documented in the west until late
in the 19th century.
Man's lifespan (HR-II-Ch-I) depends on his mode of respiration. A person
who breathes in short, quick gasps is likely to have a shorter life than
a person who breathes slowly. The ancient munis and Yogis measured a
person's lifespan not by years but by the number of his respirations.
They considered that everyone is allocated a fixed number of respirations
in his or her life time, which differs from person to person.
There were no laboratories at that time. Forests and surroundings were
the laboratories. The yogis were the scientists and animals their subjects.
They investigated and found that animals with slow breathing rate, such
as snakes, elephants and tortoises have longer lifespans than animals
with fast breathing rates, such as dogs, birds, and rabbits, which live
only for a few years. From this observation they realised the importance
of slow breathing.
Respiration is directly related to the heart. Slow respiration occurs
with a slow beating of heart, and a slow beating heart is conducive to
long life. The heart of a mouse beats one thousand times per minute;
it has a short lifespan. A whale's heart beat is about sixteen times
per minute and an elephant's about twenty five. Both are known for their
Evolution of Pranayama:
Pranayama in Vedas
The evolution of Pranayama is worth mentioning here. The word PRANA is
frequently mentioned in Vedas, among which the ATHAR VAVEDA is most important
for the study of yoga practices. A Yogi can realise the presence of "CHAKRAS1
within his body which contain nine gates. The description of these eight
circles (CHAKRAS) and nine gates (holes) in the human body is clearly
given in the ATHAR VAVEDA as follows:
"ASTACAKRA NAVDVARA DEVANAM PURAYODHYA TASYAM HIRANYAH KOSAM SVARGO JYOTISAVRTAH'
(ATHARVAVEDA - 10-2-31)
PRANA VIDYA is the essence of practical yoga, and a complete sukta has
been devoted to the description of the prana in the Atharvaveda. It is
mentioned that Prana is the essence of the whole universe. We bow before
Prana which controls everything. The different forms of prana are also
mentioned in this hymn as Prana and Apana. Further, it is said that all
gods worship the Prana. Man takes birth in this world due to prana and
can even conceive in the womb due to prana. Past, present and future
exist in the pranas. But Pranayama has not been clearly mentioned in
the Atharvaveda and further yogangas were also still in the state of
Pranayama in the Brahmanas
With the Brahmanas and the Upanishads, we enter the later vedic age.
The Brahmana literature mainly represents the further development of
the ritualism of the yajurveda samhitas. Satapatha Brahmana text is affiliated
to the sukla yajurveda.
It is stated that desire of mind goes to PRANA, PRANA informa it to VAYU
and VAYU tells gods how the man's mind is. At several places, three pranas
viz. Prana, apana and vyana have been mentioned. But in a few places,
all the five pranas have also been enumerated.
The Brahmanas affiliated to the Samaveda and the Atharvaveda seem to
have been composed at a much later date. Amongst the many Brahmanas of
the Sama Veda, the Jaiminiya Brahmana (JB) is the oldest and the most
important. It contains a good deal of discussion on the PRANA VIDYA.
We come across the concept of the VAGBRAHMA in connection with the recital
of various samanas. The unity of S VARA and PRANA has also been emphasized
at several places (JB 1.140,164,215 etc.). Here we can find the root
of the SVARA concept in the yogic treatise like svarodaya. This Brahmana
states that by yoking mind and speech at the time of offering oblations,
one can transcendbothbadandgoodactions(JB-i.l6).SHIVASVARODAYA,SWARA
CMNTAMANI (by Sveu&etu) and SVARASASTRA MANJARI (by Gana-panardhya,
Telugu, 1324-1345 A.D) are important treatises in Swara Yoga. The number
of pranas have been mentioned at different place as two three, five,
nine and ten.
Pranayama in the Chandogya and Brahdaranyaka Upanishads
The age of the Upanishads was a peak period of Indian thought and yoga
forms a very solid part of the same. The term PRANA is used in the UPANISHADS
as on excellent concept. Most of the early upanishads have certainly
revealed in highest transpsychic yogic state of mind. Among the upanishads,
the earliest ones are the CHANDOGYA and BRAHADARANYAKA.
We can find the basis for KRIYAYOGA as also of the YAMAS and NIYAMAS
in these two oldest upanishads. There is no specific description of ASANA
in these upanishads. But PRANA forms a very important topic of discussion.
The Chandogya describes prana, vyana, apana and samana as forming respectively
the Eastern, Southers, Western and Northers gates of the heart, whereas
UDANA is said to be the upper gate (CU-III-13.1-5).
The different NADIS of the heart have been described in both these upanishads.
The colours of these NADIS have also been described. We find here the
root of the yogic concept of PINGALA or the SURY A NADI. These are said
to be thinner than the thousandth part of a hair. The NADI going to the
head is said to be the most important one and it has been declared that
one gets immorality going upwards through this NADI. Here, we find the
root of the yogic concept of SUSUMNA and KUNDALINI. We do not come across
the idea of concentration on the NADIS or vital regions of human body,
in these upanishads.
Pranayama in Bhagvad Gita
Amongst the different sections of the Mahabharata dealing with yoga,
the oldest and by far the most important one is the famous Bhagvad Gita
from the BHISMA PARV AN. This treatise of original GITA of seven hundred
and forty five verses has become one of the most important and popular
scriptures of the world. It has been estimated that the Mahabharat war
commenced in September, 3138 B.C. Pranayama, the next accessor of Patanjali
Yoga, has not been described in the Bhagvad Gita in the context of meditation.
However, while describing different types of sacrifices in the fourth
chapter, the Bhagvad Gita has mentioned two types of practisants of Pranayama.
Some practisants suspend exhalation and retain the breath inside. They
have been said to offer the oblation of exhaled air (prana) into the
inhaled air (apana). The other type of practisants suspend inhalation
and retain the exhaled breath outside. These have been described as offering
the oblation of inhaled air (apana) into the exhaled (prana). Both of
them are said to be devoted to Pranayama. Thus, the Bhagvad Gita seems
to have recognised two types of pranayama as two independent means. In
the fifth chapter, it has been stated that in the state of meditation,
the practisant makes the exhaled and the inhaled airs move inside the
nostrils. It may also be looked upon as suspension of breathing, in a
way. It may be noted that Pratyahara has been mentioned here before Pranayama.
This order has been retained in the Hatha Yoga tradition. Patanjali has
altered it. According to him Pratyahara comes after pranayama.
Pranayama in the Puranas
The Kurma Purana
The puranas form a vast literature of Hinduism. Among the eighteen Mahapuranas,
the KURMA PURANA and MARKANDEYA PURANA occupy an important place
in dealing with Pranayama. The Lord says:
"Those who practise this yoga of mine, twice or thrice a day or all the
time, are known to be identified with Mahesvara" (4).
Pranayama is considered to be of three kinds, viz. Superior, middle and
low. This again admits of another two fold division viz. With something
inside (Sagarbha) and without anything (Agarbha). A Pranayama is called
low when it has the duration of twelve moras (Mathas), a midding when
the duration is of twenty four moras, and the best when of thirty-six
moras. These three kinds of Pranayama cause sweating, trembling and lifting
of the body, The Markandeya Purana
The Markendeya Purana is replete with yoga philosopy. In this purana,
there is mention of seven stages of yoga practice viz. (1) Vrata, (2)
Niyama, (3) Asana, (4) Pranayama (5) Pratyahara, (6) Dharana and (7)
Pranayama is defined as regulation of breath. Just as in the case of
metals (like gold and silver) impurites are burnt when they are melted
in the furnance, so passions of the organs of sense are destroyed by
the control of breath. The control of breath is three-fold: (1) Laghu,
(2) Madhyama, (3) Uttama. The time of matra is that of the winking and
opening of the eye-lids. Laghu P/anayama of 12 matras, Madhyama of 24,
and uttama of 36 matras. This Purana explains how breath is controlled
Pranayama in Sutra Period
ancient period we find the^ractice of Pranayama m the context of religious
rituals. Control of Prana is recommended in the Apasthambha Dharma Sutra 2.5-15(atamitohpranamavacxhet)
Breath exhausted (Yavadanganam Glanirbhavati tavatprananayacchet) isthe explanation
of this sutra by the commentator Haradatta. This position of Pranayama in the
Sutra period may be considered to be the first stage in its evoluUon. Sansknt
and SansEtic culture appear to have flourished in Andhra areas as early as
the Sutra period(600B.C.).P.V.Kane concludes that it is natural to suppose
ApasuTambhaschoolhaditsorigioninthesouthprobablyinAndhra. During this
period Pranayama had no independent position. Some Sutra texts prescnbe
mantras was not recognised as an essential technique of Pranayama during
After the UPANISHADIC scripture, SMRITIS have a great place in Indian
culture. There are more than twenty smriitis but MANUSMRITI and BRHADYOGIYAJNAV
ALKYASMRITI occupies the foremost place among
Authorities on smriti, like Manu and Yajnavalkya, have described the
technique of Pranayama with pranava and Gayatri mantra. Pranayama unaccompanied
by mantra is not at all acceptable to the Smritikaras. In puranas, however,
we get both the varieties of pranayama with and without mantras. Pranayma
accompanied by mantras is called "SAGARBHA' and the one unaccompanied
by mantras is called 'AGARBHA'. The smritis tried to combine pranayama
with the daily rituals. Thus, Pranayma together with Aacamana became
part and parcel of every ritual.
Manu lays emphasis on three types ("PRANAYAMAISTRIBHIH PUTASTATAOMIKARAMARHATIA
MANUSMRITI (II-75).ofPranayama i.e PURAKA, KUMBHAKA and RECHAKA. According
to Manu, prana can purify a person and make him fit for the recitation,
OMKARA. Omkara represents the supreme Brahman recited by the yogis. Pranayama
is the (PRANAYAMAH PARAM TAPAH (Ibid -11-83) PARAM TAPAS for the highest
form of austerity. Both these varieties are of the type of internal retention
of the breath. Describption of an external retention of breath is seen
in limited texts like Patanjali Yogasutras, yogavasistha etc. Hathayoga
texts refer to two types of Kumbhakas, viz. Sahita kumbhaka and Kevala
Kumbhaka. Systematic description of the three aspects of PURAKA, KUMBHAKA
AND RECHAKA in Pranayama is the special feature of the Hathayogic texts.
Sequence of Pranayama
What should be the sequence of asana and pranayama? The answer to the
question is so simple and clear that there is no room for confusion,
if we follow the instructions of Atmarama (HP-I-Cha-56) and Srinivasabhatta
Mahayogin-dra (HR-I-Ch-16). Atmarama and Srinivasabhatta have clearly
"Asanas, different types of Kumbhakas, practices called Mudras, Nada-nussandhana-this
is correct sequence for the practice of Hathayoga".
Patanjali has also said:
Tasmin Sati Svasaprasvasyogati Vicchedah Pranayamah"
(PS - II - 49)
i.e. after establishing oneself in a stable posture, Pranayama has to
There is difference opinion among the Hatha Texts. Gheranda advocates
shatkriyas purifies nadis. Brahmananda a well-known commentator onHP,
states here that some teachers like Yajnavalkya accepted pranayama to
purify the nadis and not shatkriyas (HP-I-ch-38-HR-I-Ch-85).
Basic Unit for Pranayama
According to Adisankara, a yogi attains perfection in pranayama when
his nerves are purified. Further it is said that a yogi should make his
PRANA subtle while sitting at a place which is pure and clean. The whole
atmosphere should be calm, quiet and attractive to the eyes.
(SHYETASVATARA UPANISHAD 2-10) and (YOGATARAVALI - 3)
But according to Vasistha one should purify one's nadis before commencing
Sloka : "KRTVA TU NADIKA SUDDHIM
PRANAYAMAM TATAH KURU'.
At first the Rechaka must be performed by one nostril followeed by the
puraka by the same nostril. Then the air should be expelled through the
other nostril, and so on. Vasistha names this process not as pranayama
but as NADISODHANA. Vasistha gives the correct procedure for the purification
of nadis which is controlled inspiration and expiration without kumbhaka.
This is the reason we prescribe nadisodhana at the beginning of the yogic
Varieties of Pranayama
Pranayamais apause in the movement of breath. In Sanskrit prana means
breath and ayama means a pause. ATMARAMA, the author of HATHAPRAD-IPIKA,
and SRINIVASABHATTA MAHAYOGINDRA, the author of HATHARATNAVALI both authoritative
textbooks on Hatha yoga, mention eight and nine varieties of Kumbhakas
respectively. They are Suryabhedana, Ujjayi, Sitkari, Sitali, Bhastrika,
Bhrameri, Murccha, Plavani and Bhujangee-karana. Kumbhaka is another
name for pranayama in Hathayoga. The technique of all the eight or nine
kumbhakas is the same. But the technique of inhalations and exhalations
differ is every case. Each round of Pranayama is generally a complex
act and consists of PURAKA (inhalation), RECHAKA (exhalation), KUMBHAKA
(pause), and SUNYAKA (holding without air) The duration in pranayama
should be judged mentally. The mind should very closely follow the movement
of breath. The aim of all types of Pranayama is to work up the dormant
kundali. Influence of Seasons and Geographical Conditions
During different seasons of the year, the dhatus undergo certain changes.
If certain precautionary measures are not taken during these seasons,
the person would be exposed to disease. Geographical locations also exert
certain influence on the individuals. The Himalayan range is distinctively
cold and the plains are distinctively warm. They have an influence on
prakriti and yogic practices. Seasons are considered, particularly in
the selection of "PRANAYAMA'. Brahmananda (1830 A.D) adisciple
of Merusastry, the authoritative commentator on HP, attributes cause
not only to seasons, but also to individuals's nature, i.e. he develops
the tridosha concept. He further says in Jyosna (HP-II-66) that Suryabedhana
and Ujjayi generate heat, while Sitali and Sitakari are cool. Bhastrika
preserves an equable temperature. Suryabedhana primarily controls excess
of wind, Ujjayi phlegm, Sitakari and Sitali bile, and Bhastrika all three.
Suryabedhana Pranena Vataharam. Ujjayi pranena slesmaharah. Sitkari Sitalyo
pranena pittahara. Bhastrakhyah kumbhakah tridoshahara it bodhyam.
Oxygen value versus nerve culture of Pranayama
Recently, this nasal cycle has re-emerged as a promising focus of scientific
research. We are conducting a number of experiments in our most sophisticated
laboratory of our Institute on the oxygen value of Pranayama for the
past one decade.
The westerner takes to exercise in deep breathing mainly from the point
of view of its oxygen value. He appreciates these exercises mainly because
they give him a larger quantity of oxygen to vitalise his system with
us the oxygen value of Pranayama is subordinate. We value it more for
its nerve culture. The effects of pranayama is more on the nervous system
than on the lungs. The practice of Pranayama helps to clean the "NADIS'.
The purpose of pranayama is to make the respiratory system function at
its best. This automatically improves the circulatory system, without
which the processes of digestion and elimination would suffer. The respiratory
system is the gateway to the purification of the body, mind and intellect.
The key to this is Pranayama.
Respiration may be classified into four types (a) High or clavicular
breathing, where the relevant muscles in the neck mainly activate the
top parts of the lungs, (b) Intercostal or midbreathing, where only the
central parts of the lungs are activated (c) Low or diaphramatic breathing,
where the lower portions of the lungs are activated chiefly, while the
top and central portions remain less active and (d) Total or Pranayamaic
breathing in which the entire lungs are used to their fullest capactiy.
In concluding this short introductory chapter on Pranayama, we have to
point out to our reader that the subject is very vast and requires a
lot of information for its full practice. Pranayama is a weapon that
easily lends itself to abuse. Yoga texts caution against wrong ways of
practising pranayama (HP-II-Cha-16-HR-cha-III-92). In practising Pranayama
a man plays with his nerves, heart and lungs.
Extra strain or improper methods in pranayama may damage and harm these
delicate parts of the body. So every practitioner should do this practice
with due caution and care.
Now we will briefly describe a few easy and common pranayamas.
Ujjayi (Hissing Pranayama)
Explanation : The prefix "UD" means upwards or expanding; "JAYA" means
conquest or success. "UJ J A Y A1 a variant reading noticed by Brahmananda
in his commentary on HP, actually means "pronounced loudly".
Ujjayi might be interpreted to mean leading to success. Ujjayi is that
which is sonorous. Technique: Sit in Dhyanasana.. Close the eyes. Breathe
in and out through both nostrils. Do chest breathing. While breathing
in, keep the chest expanded and close the glottis partially.
This partial closure of the glottis will produce a continous sound like
the sound that is produced in sobbing. The difference is that in sobbing
the sound is abrupt and borken. Here it is continuous. At the time of
inhalation the facial muscles or the muscles of the nose should not be
As a result, there is a noise from the throat with every breath. The
amount of air exhaled is more than that inhaled. The eyes must focus
on the tip of the nose.
Release the lock by raising the head back and exhale slowly. Hold the
breath out as long as you comfortably can. Rechaka is to be done through
the left nostril. The time proportion between puraka, kumbhaka and rechaka
is 1:2:2. The glottis should all along remain partially closed and then
released. This completes one cycle. Again it is repeated. What is the
orthodox way of closing the nostrils in yoga?
Preparation for closing of nostril
For closing the nose during kumbhaka, the use of fingers except the index
and middle fingers seems to belong to Hathayogic and tantric tradition.
Smriti's allow the use of all the 5 fingers during pranayama practice
for closing the nose.
The right palm is spread out, the index and the middle fingers are turned
down, the other two fingers and the thumb remain extended (vide fig.).
Now the thumb and the extended fingers and placed on the bridge of the
nose, the thumb
on the right side of it, and the fingers on the left.
Equation of Ujjayi
DRAW IN AIR THROUGH BOTH THE NOSTRILS + KUMBHAKA+ EXHALATION ONLY THROUGH
Benefits : Ujjayi removes from the throat diseases caused
by phlegm (slesma dosa haram) and increases the gastric fire. It has
a soothing effect on the nervous system and calms the mind. This practice
is also good for low blood pressure, asthma and depression.
The airway resistance at the palate is the important aspect of this
Surya Bedana Pranayama
In Suryabedhana Pranayama all inhalations are done through the right
nostril and all exhalations through the left.
Explanation : In Hatha yoga literature Surya means the right and Chandra
means the left. Bhid, the root of bhedana, means to pierce, or pass through.
Another meaning of Bhedhana is activity.
Sit in a comfortable meditation pose preferably in Vajrasana. Raise the
right hand, placing the middle and index fingers on the forehead and
the thumb and the ring finger gently on each side of the nose.
Close the left nostril with the ring finger and inhale deeply through
the right nostril. Close both hostrils, retain the breath and perform
Bhandhas. Maintain according to your own capacity. Release Moola and
them Jalandhara Bandhas.
Exhale through the right nostril by keeping the left nostril closed.
This is followed by uddiyana Bandha. This is one round. Repeat the same
process. EQUATION OF SURYABEDANA:
Draw the air through the right nostril + Kumbhaka and exhale only through
the left nostril.
Benefits: This Pranayama activates SUR Y AN ADI (right side of the nostril)
and therefore, increases heat in the body and digestive power. It controls
the VATA DOSHA. It is also good for persons suffering from low blood
pressure. Caution : Do not perform Surya Bhedana and Chandra Bhedana
or Sitali or Sitkari pranayama at the same sitting.
Chandra Bhedana Pranayama
Explanation : The explanation is given in the above pranayama. Source
: This Pranayama has been described in YOGA CHUDAMANI UPANISHAD (95-97)
without mentioning the name Chandra bedhana, but giving only the method.
The name and full technique of Chandrabhedana, Pranayama is de
scribed in the "ORIGINAL HATHAPRADIPIKA" (M.S) (IV-Cha-54 to
Technique : Follow the same techniques as are given in all the stages
Suryabedhana, reading the word "right" for "left" and
Equation of Chandrabhedana : Draw the air through the left nostril +
Kumbhaka and exhale only through the right nostril.
Benefits: This Pranayama activates CHANDRANADI (left side of the nostril)
and therefore, increases cool in the body. It controls the PITTA DOSHA.
also good for persons suffering from the early stages of high blood pressure.
Caution: Do not perform Chandrabedhana and Suryabhedana Pranayama at
Explanation: "BHRAMARI" is the feminine form of "BHRAMARA" meaning
a bee. This kumbhaka is called BHRAMARI because its technique requires
production of a sound resembling that of a bee both in puraka and Rechaka.
Technique : Sit erect in a comfortable meditative posture, keep the mouth
closed throughout the practice; inhale (puraka) deeply through both nostrils.
It will be found that the palate is lifted and drawn towards the nasal
part of the pharynx. This movement can be made closer and closer to the
pharynx, and inhale. A beautiful sound produced by a combination of the
gentle vibrations of the soft plate and the nasal friction will be heard.
Retain the breath inside and perform jalandhara and moola bhandas.
Slowly exhale (Rechaka) while producing a sound from the mouth and nose,
So as to produce a sweet musical humming sound like a female bee. S lowly
release. Repeat the cycle several times.
Equation of Bhramari: Inhale air through both the nostrils + Kumbhaka
+ exhale producing a sound from mouth and nose.
Benefits : Relieves cerebral tensions removes anxiety and stress and
reduces blood pressure. Eliminates ENT disorders and creates awareness
of NADA. Caution : Do not practise Kumbhaka phase in case of high B.P
and heart ailments without consulting yoga experts.
Variation : Gheranda Samhita in V_Cha-77-88 gives another technique (plug
both ears with index fingers) and SHIVA SAMHITA in V ch-39 to 48 describe
yet another under the name of Rajayoga i.e. Sanmukhi Mudra (refer-cha-IV-9)
Explanation : The name of this Pranayama is derived from its cooling
effect on the body. SITALI is the feminine form of SITAL meaning cool.
This pranayama cools the dystem; hence the name. Technique : Sit in
any confortable meditative posture.
Keep the spine erect, and close the nostril with the right hand. Open
the mouth and form the lips into an 0 shape. Push out the tongue and
folding about 3/4 of an inch outside the lips. This lingual channel is
to be used for inhaling air from outside at the time of puraka. In this
pranayama inhalation is done through the mouth and not through the nostrils.
After inhalation, the tongue is to be withdrawn and lipsare to be closed.
Kumbhaka is of the usual type. Rechaka is to be done slowly as in other
cases, but through both the nostrils at the same time. Repeat the cycle.
Equation of sitali: Drawn the air through the (folding tongue) through
mouth + Kumbhaka and exhale air through both the nostrils. Note : Kakacanch
(Shiva Samhita -111-84) is the tongue folded like a crow's beak.
The Tongue arranged as Birds Beak
Explanation : "SITKAR" means the sound "SEET" AND
SITAKARI means the pranayama in which the sound "SEET" is produced.
Technique : Follow the same techniques as are given in all the stage
of "SITALI", reading the word "FOLDING-TONGUE" for "Teeth".
Press the upper teeth on the lower ones. Suck in air through the crevices
of the teeth slowly steadily and continously. There is no reference to
Kumbhaka. But the authors of HP and HR has included Sitkari in the list
of kumbhakas. So to say kumbhaka is of the usual type and exhale through
both the nostrils. Equation of Sitkari : Draw the air through the mouth
(pressing teeth) + Kumbhaka + and exhale air through both the nostrils.
Benefits: These are cooling pranayamas. They cool the system and smooth
the eyes and ears. They are beneficial in cases of low fever. They activate
the liver and spleen, improve degistion and relieve thirst. They also
help in calming down the mind by removing mental anxiety and tension.
These two pranayamas may be done by the practitioner, even when the nostrils
are blocked. Traditional texts suggest pranayamas may be done by the
practitioner, even when the nostrils are blocked. Traditional texts suggest
pranayamas control the "PITTADHOSA" (bile)
2. 3. 4. 5.
Cleansing of the systems of the human body and
the 8 limbs of yoga Note : any six of the above are to be practised
Class 9 10
(syllabus so far to be repeated)
Ardha Paschimottasana 9.
Introduction of Yoga Vision Note: Any six of the above are to be practised
Class 10 10
(Syllabus of the previous classes to be repeated)
- Uttana Kurmasana
Introduction to Swarayoga and Benefits of the above Yogic Practices.
Time of practice :
Yoga should be practised 4 hours after a meal or 2 hours ato a snack.
If L school is residential, the time of pracuce shou d tabetween 5 a.m.
and 8 a.m. If it is a day school, the time of pracuce should be between
2 p.m. and 4 p.m, at least 4 hours after the last meal.
- Each class or grade should practise at least 6 of the prescribed
- A batch should not contain more than 30 pupils.
- the instructor must explain yoga. Instances from theJives of Yogic
and other great men should be cited. Audio aids should be employed.
- Students must be taken to Yoga Research Institutes as a part of their
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