Pranayama

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tie of the most effective ways to cleanse and calm your emotional body 1$ through the breath. The next few tools offer breathing techniques that are based on Eastern yoga practices. This is one of the only parts of the New Hermctics that specifically uses Eastern technology. The reason for this is that the yogis of India have a very scientific understanding of the emotional body and specific techniques for centering and managing the emotions. We are borrowing these techniques because of their practical value. The ancient Hermetic tradition most likely contained some similar breath technologies, but they are unfortunately lost to history.

Please keep in mind the Western breathing tools you were taught at the Initiate level, because you will be able to use the technology of charging the breath energy with intention during your pranayama once you are familiar with these techniques.

Do not use these tools within an hour after eating, as it may cause abdominal discomfort. If at any time you are feeling excessively uncomfortable, please stop and resume again later. The purpose of these tools is to purify, vitalize, and calm your body, not to make you ill. If you are in a state of ill health, use these tools with caution and build up slowly.

Pranayama 1—Complete Yogic Breath This tool will dramatically increase the oxygen supply in your body. Ii will allow your heart rate to slow down, calming your body and allowing your central nervous system to relax.

1. Sit down in a place where your spine can remain comfortably straight and erect.

2. Enter the altered state using your meditation anchor (see page 132).

3- Take a deep breath through your nostrils, and as you let ic out, pull your abdomen inward and upward, fully emptying your lungs.

4. Inhale deeply, drawing the air down into your belly, allowing your abdomen to open up.

5. Continue to breathe air in fluidly, allowing your ribcage to open, and allow the air to fill your lungs all the way up to your collarbone. Your entire lung capacity should be comfortably full.

6. Hold this breath for a brief moment, then release it slowly through your nostrils, starting at the upper chest, and finally completely emptying the belly, gently drawing your abdomen inward to let out all of your breath. This is one complete breath.

7. Repeat this breathing pattern ten to twenty times.

Pranayama 2—Kapalnbhati Breath This tool is somewhat similar to the last, but slightly more vigorous. The purpose of this exercise is to cleanse the respiratory system, to invigorate the body, to clear the mind, and to improve your concentration. It also tones the stomach, heart, and liver. If you are in poor physical condition, you may wish to reduce the number of repetitions to five or ten.

1. Sit down in a place where your spine can remain comfortably straight and erect.

2. Enter the altered state using your meditation anchor (see page 132).

3. Take a deep breath through your nostrils and, as you let it our, pull your abdomen inward and upward slowly, fully emptying your lungs.

4. Inhale deeply as before, drawing the air down into your belly, allowing your abdomen to open up, allowing your ribcage to open, and allowing the air to fill your lungs all the way up to your collarbone. Your entire lung capacity should be comfortably full.

5. As your lungs reach their full capacity, vigorously and quickly exhale through your nostrils, pulling in your abdomen to empty your lungs completely.

6. Repeat this breathing pattern twenty times, then take a complete breath and hold it in as long as possible. Let this breath out naturally. Resume normal breathing.

Pranayama 3—Anuloma Viloma Breath [his is alternate-nostril breathing. The purpose of this tool is to align the "ght and left sides of your body, so that energy flows evenly through it. ■S you breathe with this exercise, use a ratio of 1:4:2 for inhaling: retailing: exhaling. In the instructions, we use the count of 4:16:8, but you in adjust this to your personal needs and level of experience. It is said at you begin to develop sidclhis, or magical powers such as levitation, when you retain the breath for a minute or more, but you'll have to ■periment to find out for yourself. You may notice some unusual physical phenomena such as bodily rigidity, perspiration, and feeling lighter an air as a result of using this tool. If you arc left-handed, you may erse these instructions as you see fit.

1. Sit down in a place where your spine can remain comfortably straight and erect.

2. Enter the altered state using your meditation anchor (see page 132).

3. With your right hand, curl your index and middle fingers down to your palm, so your thumb, ring, and pinky fingers remain outstretched. Bring your right hand up to your nose.

4. Breathe in through your left nostril, closing your right nostril with your thumb as you count from 1 to 4.

5. Hold your breath for a count of 16, closing both nostrils with your thumb and fingers.

6. Breathe out through the right nostril, closing your left with your ring and pinky fingers, counting to 8.

7. Breathe in through your right nostril, continuing co close your left nostril with your ring and pinky fingers as you count from I to 4.

8. Hold your breach for a count of 16, closing both nostrils with your thumb and fingers.

9. Breathe out through the left nostril, closing your right with your thumb, counting to 8.

10. Repeat this sequence between five and twenty times.

11. Return to normal awareness,

Pranayama 4—Clearing Blocks in the Energy System of the Chakras With this tool, you will explore the seven chakras through breathing into diem and working with your inner teacher to remove any blocks that may be there. With this tool, you will physically learn the location of each of your chakras, begin to explore the feelings associated with each, and start to clear blocks in your energy system to allow the free flow off kunclalini through your system.

By regularly stimulating your chakras with this and the next tool, you will increase your overall inner energy level, evolve more rapidly, and get more joy and bliss out of life. Your inner teacher can help you to understand and to clear any blocks that you may find in your chakras.

To "breathe energy into'4 your chakras, simply imagine that, as you are breathing, you are pulling breach vibrations. You can use imaginary hands to open your chakras while you arc in the altered state. Imagine you are pulling open two flaps of skin or the petals of a flower at the site of your chakra. Try to feel this without censing your muscles. Figure 35 (opposite) illustrates the process.

1. Sic clown in a place where your spine can remain comfortably straight and erect.

2. F.ntcr che altered scace by using your meditation anchor (sec page 132). You may contact your inner teacher at any time if you need help.

3. Breathe relaxing energy up from your feet co your base chakra, your mulbadbara, which means "root support." This centcr is at the base of your spine. Feel for a sensation in this area, until you discover some internal kinesthetic experience. Visualize a set of imaginary hands, and use them to pull open this area. Feel a sensation as if you are opening an orifice. Feel any emotions that are in this area, be with them non-judgmcntally; and let them flow. Ask your inner teacher to help you understand and remove any blocks that you may experience. Pull energy up from your feet and fill the chakra.

4. Breathe energy up through from your feet, through the base chakra, and on up to the sex chakra, svadisthana, which means "her special abode." This center is at che base of your genitals. Feel for a sensacion in this area, until you discover

SAHASRARA *cio\vn' ivnK-i

AJNA

ANAHATA

"llCJfl" iCIIICI

MANII'L'KA "Iwlly" center

'ncui.iI" icncci

MUt HADHAKA "nine" tcnici

Figure 35. The seven chakrns.

ilini.i:' ccntcr

ANAHATA

"llCJfl" iCIIICI

MANII'L'KA "Iwlly" center

'ncui.iI" icncci

MUt HADHAKA "nine" tcnici

SAHASRARA *cio\vn' ivnK-i

AJNA

Figure 35. The seven chakrns.

some internal kinesthetic experience. Visualize a set of imagi nary hands, and use them to pull open this area. Feel a sensation as if you are opening an orifice. Feel any emotions that are in this area, be with them non-judgmentally, and lei them flow. Ask your inner teacher to help you understand and remove any blocks that you may experience. Pull energy up from your feel and fill the chakra.

5. Breathe energy up from your feet, through the base and sex chakras and on up to the solar plexus chakra, the manipurn, which means "city of the shining jewel." This center is somewhere in the area between the bottom of your navel and the top of your solar plexus. Feel for a sensation in this area, until you discover some internal kinesthetic experience. Visualize a set of imaginary hands, and use them to pull open this area. Feel a sensation as if you are opening an orifice. Feel any emotions that are in this area, be with them non-judgmentally, and let them flow. Ask your inner teacher to help you understand and remove any blocks that you may experience. Pull energy up from your feet and fill the chakra.

6. Breathe energy up from your feet, through the base, sex, and solar plexus chakras and on up to the heart chakra, your dnahata, which means "not struck." This center is in the area of your heart. Feel for a sensation in this area, until you discover some internal kinesthetic experience. Visualize a set of imaginary hands, and use them to pull open this area. Feel a sensation as if you are opening an orifice. Feel any emotions that are in this area, be with them non-judgmentally, and let them flow. Ask your inner teacher to help you understand and remove any blocks that you may experience. Pull energy up from your feet and fill the chakra.

7. Breathe energy up from your feet, through the base, sex, solar plexus, and heart chakras to the throat chakra, visbtul-dhti, which means "purified." This center is somewhere at the front of your throat. Feel for a sensation in this area, until you discover some internal kinesthetic experience. Visualize a set of imaginary hands, and use them to pull open this area. Feel a sensation as if you are opening an orifice. Feel any emotions that are in (his area, he with them non-judgmcntally, and let them flow. Ask your inner teacher to help you understand and remove any blocks chat you may experience. Pull energy up from your feet and fill the chakra.

8. Breathe energy up from your feet, through the base, sex, solar plexus, heart, and throat chakras to the brow chakra, third eye, or ajna, which means "command." This center is between your two eyes. Peel for a sensation in this area, until you discover some internal kinescheric experience. Visualize a set of imaginary hands, and use them co pull open this area. Feel a sensation as if you are opening an orifice. Feel any emotions chat are in this area, be with them non-judgmcntally, and let them flow. Ask your inner teacher to help you understand and remove any blocks that you may experience. Pull energy up from your feet and fill the chakra.

9. Draw energy up, as in the previous steps, co the crown chakra, the sahasrara, which means "thousand-petaled." This center is at the very top of your head. Feel for a sensation in this area, until you discover some internal kinesthetic experience. Visualize a set of imaginary hands, and use them to pull open this area. Feel a sensation as if you are opening an orifice. Feci any emotions that are in this area, be with them non-judgmentally, and let them flow. Ask your inner teacher to help you understand and remove any blocks that you may experience. Pull energy up from your feet and fill the chakra.

10. At this point, just be with the flow of energy through you, feeling the energy flowing naturally and freely.

11. Then close each of the chakras with your imaginary hands and return to normal consciousness.

Pranayama 5—Charging Chakras with Seed Mantras and Circulating Energy ith this tool, you will begin to charge your chakras with the resonant erg)' of specific "seed" sounds that the ancient yogis discovered as they editated. By intoning these sounds, you will be helping your chakras vibrate at their most effective natural frequencies {see figure 36, page

143). This may or may not be literally true, but it seems to have a salu tary effect either way.

You will also visualize a color of the rainbow in each of your chakras. This is a modern New Age addition to working with the chakras, but ii does seem to have a valuable and transformative effect on your inner visualization of the chakras and the flow of kundalini energy. This tool may seem a little complicated at first, but it is really quite simple onc e you get used to it.

1. Sit down in a place where your spine can remain comfortably straight and erect.

2. Enter the altered state using your meditation anchor (see page 132).

3. Move your attention to your base, or mtdhadhara, chakra. Open this area with imaginary hands. Exhale completely, then slowly fill your lungs to a count of four, imagining that the breath is filling this chakra, and mentally saying, "Lam. Lam, Lam, Lam." (This is the seed mantra for the mtdhad-hara chakra, as the following are the seed sounds for the rest.) As you are breathing in, and intoning "Lam," visualize and feel this area being filled with a bright red energy. Retain your breath for sixteen counts, mentally saying "Lam" with each count, visualizing and feeling the energy brightening and vibrating. Exhale, verbally saying "Lam" for eight counts. Repeat this process four times.

4. Move your attention to your sex, or svadisthana, chakra. Open this area with imaginary hands. Exhale completely, then slowly fill your lungs to a count of four, imagining that the breath is filling this chakra, and mentally saying "Vam, Vam, Vam, Vam." As you breathe in and intone "Vam," visualize and feel this area being filled with a bright orange energy. Retain your breath for sixteen counts, mentally saying "Vam" with each count, visualizing and feeling the energy brightening and vibrating. Exhale, verbally saying "Vam" for eight counts. Repeat this process four times.

5. Move your attention to your belly, or mantpura, chakra. Open this area with imaginary hands. Exhale completely, then slowly fill your lungs to a count of four, imagining that the breath is filling this chakra, and mentally saying "Ram, Ram, Ram, Ram." As vou breathe in and intone "Ram," visualize and feel this area being filled with a bright yellow energy. Retain your breath for sixteen counts, mentally saying "Ram" with each count, visualizing and feeling the energy brightening and vibrating. Exhale, verbally saying "Ram" for eight counts. Repeat this process four times. Move your attention to your heart, or anahata, chakra. Open this area with imaginary hands. Exhale completely, then slowly fill your lungs to a count of four, imagining that the breath is filling this chakra, and mentally saying ' Yam, Yam, Yam, Yam." As you breathe in and intone "Yam," visualize and feel this area being filled with a bright green energy. Retain your breath for sixteen counts, mentally saying "Yam" with each count, visualizing and feeling the energy brightening and vibrating. Exhale, verbally saying "Yam" for eight counts. Repeat this process four times.

Figure 36. The seed sounds of the seven chakras.

7. Move your attention to your throat, or visbuddbu, chakra. Open this area with imaginary hands. Exhale completely, then slowly fill your lungs to a count of four, imagining thai the breath is filling this chakra, and mentally saying "Ham, Ham, Ham, Ham." As you breathe in and intone "Ham," visualize and feel this area being filled with a bright blue energy. Retain your breath for sixteen counts, mentally saving "I lam" with each count, visualizing and feeling the energy brightening and vibrating. Exhale, verbally saying "Ham" for eight counts. Repeat this process four times. Move your attention to your third eye, or ajna, chakra. Open this area with imaginary hands. Exhale completely, then slowh fill your lungs to a count of four, imagining that the breath is filling this chakra, and mentally saying "Aum, Aum, Aum, Aum." As you breathe in and intone "Aum," visualize and feel this area filled with a bright indigo energy. Retain your breath for sixteen counts, mentally saying "Aum" with each count, visualizing and feeling the energy brightening and vibrating. Exhale, verbally saying "Aum" for eight counts. Repeat this process four times.

9. Move your attention to your crown, or sahttsrara, chakra. Open this area with imaginary hands. Exhale completely, then slowly fill your lungs to a count of four, imagining that the breath is filling this chakra, and mentally being silent in the space between sounds. As you breathe in and intone silence, visualize and feel this area being filled with a bright violet energy. Retain your breath silently for sixteen counts, visualizing and feeling the energy brightening and vibrating. Exhale for eight counts. Repeat this process four times.

10. Now that your energy channel is open, on an inhalation, visualize and feel that cosmic energy is flowing in from above through you crown chakra and moving down into your heart chakra. As you exhale, visualize and feel that this energy is flowing through you down deep into the earth.

1 1. As you inhale, visualize and feel earth energy flowing up through your base chakra into your heart chakra, and as you exhale, visualize and feel the earth energy flowing up through your crown chakra and out into the cosmos.

12. Inhale, visualizing and feeling cosmic and earth energy flowing from above and below through your chakras to your heart chakra. As you exhale, radiate this energy out in all directions, Ailing the universe.

13. Repeat steps 10 through 12 as many times as you like.

14. Return to normal consciousness.

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