Calming The Mind

1.34 prachchhardana vidharanabhyam va pranayama

When sitting in meditation (va) focus on regulating (vidharanabhyam) the exhalation (prachchhardana) of the breath energy (pranasya). Instead of letting it out in a jolt, or restrictively, try exhaling slowly and fully.

While you are doing this, bring your awareness to the forehead, eyelids, and the nose and face area feeling to see if there is any tightness around these areas. You will find that almost always, there is tension around this area. This is what produces wrinkles and makes you look old much earlier then due. When breathing out, do it in the area you feel tension. Doing this, the mind is brought under control.

Many books on Yoga suggest Prana to be breath. Prana is not the breath, but the energy that makes breathing possible. It is the the energy that operates our senses.

Prana pervades the entire Cosmos. Whatever has life, shall be animated through the manifestation of Prana.

When you first sit, the breath will be fast and irregular. Don't attempt slow exhalation right away. Let the breath settle. At this point there may be some anxiety; recognize and acknowledge its presence. Give it sincere respect and it will settle immediately. If meditating for two hours, use the first hour to settle the breath and bring the thoughts under control. Initially this feels uncomfortable, but I assure you that progress can be made monthly, year in and year out provided one persists.

Once some level of proficiency is gained in monitoring the breath, the first beautiful realization happens. One realizes that it is incoming breath that gives birth to a thought. It is movement of this energy that breathes life into a thought. Depending on the frequency of personal energy, thoughts manifest as divine or develish, facilitated by Prana. Prana does not discriminate nor give preference to good thought over bad. It will power both with equal vigor so be cautious of what you type of mind you court.

If consciousness is loving and compassionate, Prana fuels attraction and propogation of like energy. If it is evil, then Prana will aid in manifesting suffering and destruction. It does not take sides, just provides fuel for that, which is. Just fuel, it is not a determinant of energy type that pervades your being at any given moment.

Importance of Awareness

When the mind is quiet and established in awareness, you may notice that at the end of each exhalation, before the cycle of inhalation begins, there is no thought, there may be an aftertaste of it; but no active new thought.

Before any cycle begins, even before the formation of a universe, Prana remains in an almost motionless state. When the cycle begins, be it a universe, or your breath, Prana manifest. In that exact moment, your thoughts will take on the pattern of the energy that is within the consciousness and use Prana to provide it with juice - fuel.

This is why so much importance is put on the focus of breath in all ancient spiritual teachings. When one is not aware of the breath, prana is given to feeding the thoughts in a way that does not show care or judgement. If this is the case, which it usually is in a common man, including me, then the cycle of suffering perpetuates because one is not in a position to become aware on how the thoughts are perpetuating suffering.

  • 1.34 prachchhardana vidharanabhyam va pranayama
  • prachchhardana - gentle exhalation through the nostrils

  • pratisedha - prevention, negation, neutralizing, prohibition, opposing, voiding, removal

  • vidharanabhyam - expansion or regulation, control

  • va - or (or other practices in 1.34-1.39)

  • pranasya - of prana