YOGA-KUNDALINI UPANISHAD 3 – Varieties Of Pranayama

Varieties Of Pranayama

23. Briefly, I will now describe to you Pranayama. Prana is the Vayu that moves in the body. The restraint of Prana within is known as Kumbhaka.

24. Kumbhaka is of two kinds, namely, Sahita and Kevala.

25. Till he gets Kevala, the Yogic student should practise Sahita.

26. There are four divisions or Bhedas. These divisions are: Surya, Ujjayi, Sitali and Bhastrika. Sahita Kumbhaka is the Kumbhaka associated with these four.

Suryabheda Kumbhaka

27. Select a place which is pure, beautiful and free from pebbles, thorns, etc. It should be of the length of a bow free from cold, fire and water. To this place, take a pure and pleasant seat which is neither too high nor too low. Upon it, sit in Padmasana. Now, shake or throw into vibration Sarasvati. Slowly inhale the breath from outside, through the right nostril, as long as this is comfortable, and exhale it through the left nostril. Exhale after purifying the skull by forcing the breath up. This destroys the four kinds of evils caused by Vayu. It destroys also the intestinal worms. This should be repeated often. It is called Suryabheda.

Ujjayi Kumbhaka

28. Close the mouth. Draw up slowly the breath through both the nostrils. Retain it in the space between the heart and the neck. Then exhale through the left nostril.

29. This removes both the heat caused in the head and the phlegm in the throat. It removes all diseases. It purifies the body and increases the gastric fire. It removes all the evils arising in the Nadis, Jalodara or dropsy, that is water in the belly, and Dhatus. The name for this Kumbhaka is Ujjayi. It can be practised even when walking or standing.

Sitali Kumbhaka

30. Draw up the breath through the tongue with the hissing sound Sa. Retain it as before. Then slowly exhale through both the nostrils. This is called Sitali Kumbhaka.

31. Sitali Kumbhaka cools the body. It destroys gulma or the chronic dyspepsia, Pliha (a disease of the spleen), consumption, bile, fever, thirst and poison.

32. Sit in Padmasana with belly and neck erect. Close the mouth and exhale through the nostrils. Then inhale a little up to the neck so that the breath will fill the space, with noise, between the neck and skull. Then exhale in the same way and inhale often and often. Even as the bellows of a smith are moved stuffed within with air and then let out, so you should move the air within the body. When you get tired, inhale through the right nostril. If the belly is full of Vayu, press well the nostrils with all your fingers except the forefinger. Perform Kumbhaka and exhale through the left nostril.

33. This removes the inflammation of the throat. It increases the digestive gastric fire within. It enables one to know the Kundalini. It produces purity, removes sins, gives pleasure and happiness and destroys phlegm which is the bolt or obstacle to the door at the mouth of Brahmanadi or the Sushumna.

34. It pierces also the three Granthis or knots differentiated through the three modes of Nature or Gunas. The three Granthis or knots are Vishnu Granthi, Brahma Granthi and Rudra Granthi. This Kumbhaka is called Bhastrika. This should be especially practised by the Hatha Yogic students.

The Three Bandhas

35. The Yogic student should now practise the three Bandhas. The three Bandhas are: the Mula Bandha, the Uddiyana Bandha and the Jalandhara Bandha.

36. Mula Bandha: Apana (breath) which has a downward tendency is forced up by the sphincter muscles of the anus. Mula Bandha is the name of this process.

37. When Apana is raised up and reaches the sphere of Agni (fire) then the flame of Agni grows long, being blown about by Vayu.

38. Then, in a heated state, Agni and Apana commingle with the Prana. This Agni is very fiery. Through this there arises in the body the fire that rouses the sleeping Kundalini through its heat.

39. Then this Kundalini makes a hissing noise. It becomes erect like a serpent beaten with a stick and enters the hole of Brahmanadi or the Sushumna. Therefore, the Yogins should practise daily Mulabandha often.

40. The Uddiyana Bandha: At the end of the Kumbhaka and at the beginning of expiration, Uddiyana Bandha should be performed. Because Prana Uddiyate, or the Prana goes up the Sushumna in this Bandha, the Yogins call it Uddiyana.

41. Sit in the Vajrasana. Hold firmly the two toes by the two hands. Then press at the Kanda and at the places near the two ankles. Then gradually upbear the Tana or the thread or the Nadi which is on the western side first to Udara or the upper part of the abdomen above the navel, then to the heart and then to the neck. When the Prana reaches the Sandhi or the junction of the navel, slowly it removes the impurities and diseases in the navel. For this reason, this should be practised frequently.

42. The Jalandhara Bandha: This should be practised at the end of Puraka (after inhalation). This is of the form of contraction of the neck and is an impediment to the passage of Vayu (upwards).

43. The Prana goes through Brahmanadi on the western Tana in the middle, when the neck is contracted at once by bending downwards so that the chin may touch the breast. Assuming the posture as mentioned before, the Yogi should stir up Sarasvati and control Prana.

How Many Times Kumbhaka Should Be Practised

44. On the first day, Kumbhaka should be practised four times.

45. It should be done ten times, on the second day, and then five times separately.

46. On the third day, twenty times will be enough. Afterwards Kumbhaka should be practised with the three Bandhas and with an increase of five times each day


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