Author Topic: Pranayama & meditation  (Read 3024 times)

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Offline Bancopuma

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Pranayama & meditation
« on: April 04, 2015, 02:34:46 PM »
Hi peeps,

I thought this may be of interest to some want to keep on the straight and narrow and remain clean post flood, or who want to augment the iboga afterglow, or incorporate consciousness expanding practices into their daily routines. Attached are brief guides for spinal breathing pranayama and deep meditation, derived from Kriya yoga and Mantra yoga respectively. I like the guide author Yogani's approach...he has many decades of experience with yoga, but applies a scientific and methodological mindset to it, using practices that yield the most direct benefit to one's waking life, and combining different practices with this in mind.

Spinal breathing pranayama is a yogic exercise that is meant be to be very powerful and is highly revered as a core practice of Kriya yoga. Simple to do and easy going as these things go and not much of a time investment...essentially part pranayama (breathwork), part meditation, part visualisation. Two 5 minute sessions with it are recommended in the morning and evening on an empty stomach and it makes a good prelude to meditation. It is meant to be progressive as well, so the more experience you have with the technique, the better you will be able to feel the energies moving. Information on technique is attached. The practice of deep meditation makes for an excellent synergy when following this, or as a stand alone practice.

The deep meditation practice is based on mantra yoga and very simple to do, could make an interesting alternative to mindfulness breathing meditation for some...here you focus your awareness and keep it in the present via an internal mental mantra as oppose to the breath, meant to be a powerful. These two techniques combined make up the core practice that comes most highly recommended. Definitely worthy of investigation for those interested.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2015, 02:38:33 PM by Bancopuma »

Offline Bancopuma

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Re: Pranayama & meditation
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2015, 02:36:32 PM »
...& attached here is the deep meditation guide.

Offline Bancopuma

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Re: Pranayama & meditation
« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2015, 02:00:08 PM »
Health benefits of pranayama & meditation

Dr John Lilly once said:

"Yoga is the science of the East. Science is the Yoga of the West."

While he was referring to the direct experiential methodology of consciousness change that comprises yoga, a kind of science of the self, I thought it might be of value to see what our Western science says about this science of the East.

It seems to me there is a fair bit discussed about how meditation and yogic practices are good for one's health (or more to the point, these practices can act to keep one in optimal health), but I thought some peeps here might want to know a bit more on the science of this area to back up some of these claims.

There has been a fair bit of research to date on meditation, and some also on yogic practices and pranayama, or controlled yogic breathing exercises. The science states that all these practices are potent stress relievers and activators of the parasympathetic nervous system, and lower blood pressure. The bulk of research has been on meditation practices, and research has found that meditation can increase immune system function, increase focus, and reduce stress, depression and anxiety to name just a few things. It is important to distinguish between Transcendental/mantra style meditation, and mindfulness (predominantly breathing) meditation, the two meditation practices on which the vast bulk of research has been conducted to date. Both have positive and overlapping benefits to some degree but they are also quite distinct in the effects they produce.

Research on pranayama has tended to focus on yogic cross breathing, or nadi shodhana, also known as alternative-nostril breathing. This is a very simple pranayama technique to perform, and is held in very high regard by a number of yogi's. Practice of this technique has been found to result in greater hemispheric symmetry and greater activation of the parasympathetic nervous system.

Yoga has a variety of different limbs, and it seems that the asanas or body positions are to assist in preparing one for pranayama, which in turn is a preparation for meditation. However one can do pranayama and meditation and still gain benefit. For any interested, I'd highly recommend experiment with a pranayama technique like nadi shodhana, or bhramari (humming bee breath). Both practices are simple and safe to do (this does not apply to all pranayama techniques it seems and an experienced teacher is recommended for some), and both have a great synergy with meditation if one goes straight into this afterwards.

In my experience thus far I've found pranayama to synergise well with meditation if done right before this. And in this way, one is likely to maximise and augment the benefits of both practices.

Attached is a paper discussing the benefits of alternate-nostril breathing/nadi shodhana pranayama while providing instruction on how to do it.


Sengupta, P. (2012) "Health Impacts of Yoga and Pranayama: A State-of-the-Art Review" International Journal of Preventative Medicine, 3, (7).

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3415184/


Relevant Literature:

Abraham, B. (2014) Effects of 8-week Nadi-Shodhana pranayam training on cardio-pulmonary parameters. Reviews of Literature, 1, (6).

Ankad, R.B., Herur, A., Patil, S., Shashikala, G.V. & Chinagudi, S. (2011) Effect of Short-Term Pranayama and Meditation on Cardiovascular Functions in Healthy Individuals. Heart Views, 12, (2), 58-62.

Brown R.P. & Gerbarg P.L. (2009) Yoga breathing, meditation, and longevity. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1172, 54-62

Domínguez-Alonso, A., Ramírez-Rodríguez, G. & Benîtez-King, G. (2012) Melatonin increases dendritogenesis in the hilus of hippocampal organotypic culture. Journal of Pineal Research, 54, (4), 427-436.

Harinath, K., Malhotra, A.S., Pal, K., Prasad, R., Kumar, R. Kain, T.C., Rai, L. and Sawhney, R.C. (2004) Effects of Hatha Yoga and Omkar Meditation on Cardiorespiratory Performance, Psychologic Profile, and Melatonin Secretion. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 10, (2), 261-268.

Hariprassad, V.R., Varambally, S., Shivakumar, V., Kalmady, S.V., Venkatasubramanian, G. & Gangadhar, B.N. (2013) Yoga increases the volume of the hippocampus in elderly subjects. Indian Journal of Psychiatry, 55, (3), 394-396.

H?lzel, B.K., Carmody, J., Vangel, M., Congleton, C., Yerramsetti, S.M., Gard, T. & Lazar, S.M (2011) Mindfulness practice leads to increases in regional brain grey matter density. Psychiatry Research, 191, 36-43.

Joshi, A., Singh, M. Bharat Bhushan Singla, B.B. & Joshi, S. (2011) Enhanced Wellbeing amongst Engineering Students through Nadi Shodhan Pranayama (Alternate Nostril Breathing) Training : An Analysis. School of Doctoral Studies (European Union) Journal, 3, 112-120.

Nidich S.I., Rainforth, M.V., Haaga, D.A., Hagelin, J., Salerno, JW.., Travis, F., Tanner, M., Gaylord-King, C., Grosswald, S. & Schneider R.H. (2009) A randomized controlled trial on effects of the Transcendental Meditation program on blood pressure, psychological distress, and coping in young adults. American Journal of Hyptertension, 22, (12), 1326-1331.

Pal, G.K., Velkumary, S. & Madanmohan (2004) Effect of short-term practice of breathing exercises on autonomic functions in normal human volunteers. Indian Journal of Medical Research, 120, 115-121.

Ramírez-Rodríguez, G., Vega-Rivera, N.M., Benítez-King, G., Castro-García, M. & Ortíz-L?pez, L. (2012) Melatonin supplementation delays the decline of adult hippocampal neurogenesis during normal aging of mice. Neuroscience Letters, 530, (1), 53-58.

Ross, A. & Thomas, S. (2010) The Health Benefits of Yoga and Exercise: A Review of Comparison Studies. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 16, (1), 3-12.

Singh, S., Gaurav, V. & Parkash, V. (2011) Effects of a 6-week nadi-shodhana pranayama training on cardio-pulmonary parameters. Journal of Physical Education and Sports Management, 2, (4), 44-47,

Tooley, G.A., Armstrong, S.M., Norman, T.R. & Sali, A. (2000) Acute increases in night-time plasma melatonin levels following a period of meditation. Biological Psychology, 53, (1), 69-78.

Wallace, R.K. (1970) Physiological Effects of Transcendental Meditation. Science, 167, (3926), 1751-1754.

Offline Alexandra Lost

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Re: Pranayama & meditation
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2015, 10:07:23 PM »
It's interesting that you posted this now. I just started a Kundalini yoga series that features a variation of alternate nostril breathing.

Place the index and middle finger of the right hand on the third eye, and use the thumb and ring finger to close and open the nostrils. Don't rush the counts. You can mentally vibrate Sat Nam as you count.

Close the left nostril and inhale through the right on the count of 4.
Close both nostrils and hold for a count of 16
Open the left nostril ( keeping the right closed ) and exhale on a count of 8
Inhale through the left on a count of 4
Close both nostrils and hold for 16.
Open the right nostril ( keeping the left closed ) and exhale on a count of 8
Inhale through the right nostril on a count of 4
etc etc etc

Do this for 15 minutes to start. Don't think that the breathing stuff is easy, this exercise is quite possibly the hardest thing I've ever done in a yoga class. We are going to eventually double the counts on everything and do the cycle for 30 minutes.

Offline Bancopuma

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Re: Pranayama & meditation
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2015, 05:18:35 AM »
Hi Alexandra, thanks for chiming in here. So far, pranayama wise, I've been focusing on the type of alternate nostril breathing you describe here. It seems when practicing kumbhaka, a ratio of 1:4:2 is important when inhaling: holding: exhaling. Some yogi's claim one must first practice alternate nostril breathing/nadi shodhana without any breath retention, as the kumbhaka can raise the kundalini and your system needs to be first prepared for this via the alternative nostril breathing without breath retention, does this not apply to Kundalini yoga?

So, with the counting, or you simply mentally stating "Sat Nam" in your head when you count? Have you noticed any interesting energetic effects with this technique? Is this technique used as a method to raise kundalini?

Appreciate your input here, and the instructions, this is exactly what I was practicing before so I'm going to go back to it. Spinal breathing pranayama and its tantric equivalent cobra breath also seem like interesting and powerful pranayama techniques.

Offline Alexandra Lost

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Re: Pranayama & meditation
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2015, 01:32:48 PM »

So, with the counting, or you simply mentally stating "Sat Nam" in your head when you count? Have you noticed any interesting energetic effects with this technique? Is this technique used as a method to raise kundalini?

Appreciate your input here, and the instructions, this is exactly what I was practicing before so I'm going to go back to it. Spinal breathing pranayama and its tantric equivalent cobra breath also seem like interesting and powerful pranayama techniques.

I'm still playing with counting and Sat Nam -- at first I was doing 1 Sat Nam 2 Sat Nam to keep count ( kind of like 1 Mississippi ) to keep from rushing the counts but that felt like too much too fast.  I've changed it up to a slow Sa Ta Na Ma (1 count per syllable ) which is better paced for me and I can repeat it 1 2 and 4 times without counting.

Now I am doing this as part of a longer practice so it's hard to evaluate the effects of this specific element -- I don't really think of it as a way to raise Kundalini, though..........it's more like it clears the pathways and makes the other usually more physical kriyas that raise the Kundalini more effective.

I get a lot of nice energetic effects from the Kundalini practices - mostly a sense of balance and uplifted energy -- but I process these things slowly and I usually don't get the effects until well after the practice is over -- I find I need to take a couple of days off from yoga each week to assimilate and integrate the practices. I know other people process it differently- my teachers will often inquire about "what came up" during an exercise - my classmates often have answers but mine is "I'll let you know tomorrow".

I practice yoga almost exclusively in a class setting - I really don't have the discipline or focus do pull off a full-blown 60 or 90 minute session in my living room. Besides, in terms of addiction recovery, the sense of community is important. So is the aspect of getting out of the house and keeping busy with activities I enjoy. A writer named Jonathan Hari that has studied addiction has a thesis that the opposite of addiction is not sobriety, the opposite of addiction is connection - specifically human connection.

http://upliftconnect.com/opposite-addiction-connection/

Offline BlueTiger

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Re: Pranayama & meditation
« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2018, 08:39:31 PM »
Man, this was my kind of topic.  Been talking about the power of chanting Sat Nam here for awhile, and it seemed to fall upon deaf ears.  Would love to revive it.. thanks for posting this even it was some time ago.