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Prana - Pranayama Part 2
12 August 2009. The importance of the subject prompted me to write more on it. Prana is not to be taken as breath as we generally are accustomed to. It means according to true yoga, the very stuff that life is made of. Our body produces the energy and the right amount of pressures from within to pump air in and out of the lungs. Beacsue of the naturalness and the involuntary habit that all of us are too familiar with, we never take notice of the dynamics that accompany this vital function.
We have set forth on a journey to discover and understand the truths of yoga and in the process remove a lot of cobweb and misunderstandings that have clouded its study.
As with any serious mission we must have goals. Goals vary with individuals. Many approach the study with a view to maintain their physique in top shape. While others hope to achieve mastery of the sensory and motor systems by practicing exercises based on hatha yoga. Patanjali's intent on his messages (expressed as pithy aphorisms Patanjala Yoga Sutras) was not to propagate any form of exercise or physical regimes, but to convey and suggest many a method to attain goals far higher than mundane objectives motivate. The mere understanding and acceptance that yoga is only for the general well beig of the body and mind should be a springboard for launching journeys to more lofty destinations!
It is generally seen that teachers of yoga at the Pranayama level rarely utilize the power of visualisation beyond an insistance on focusing on body parts or their professed functions.
Visualisation is paramount in Pranayama as this part of yoga concerns the entry as it were of the life force into a body and the wonders it performs inside it.
Again, the life force here is not to be confused as merely the air we breath in and out. It is easy at the physical level to compel us to find spots and environs to have clean air, conducive odors and the like to motivate us to the practices, but a serious aspirant should be able to first accept any circumstance as optimal and then try to, by positive visualisation, transform the environ into something entirely composed in the mind.
A mature mind can without much difficulty, imagine that it is encased in the physical limits of a body. But it can also with great ease, through imagination and fancy, break out of the limit and travel beyond. Imagine and try to determine what the outer limits of the known dimensions are. What is the space that lies between the objects we know? What are the farthest objects and the nearest objects according to our grasp of things? Why is it that the world outside our encased existence has a lot of functions and processes in continuance with geometric precision since the beginnings? What is the relevance of transience and what are the relative phenomena that will help us understand the opposite of transience, in other words permanence?
Such inquiries woven into our everyday lives will certainly add value to our study of Pranayama. As it deals with the intimacies of interaction with the world outside of us, it should all the more urge us to make the journey more exciting and serendipitous.
Merely following text or blindly mimicking an exercise off a set of instruction manuals would be a gross understimation of the power of Pranayama let alone the task of gaining mastery or control of it (yama) to any extant however miniscule!
The author's intent is to delve as much as possible to engage the reader into the vastness of the subject as its depths too. A stage should probably reach when a mere mention of Pranayama must produce vivid visualisations that would instantly give you experiences of the unity of Nature, both within and without.
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