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Internet Lessons with additions,
see the AYP
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Audiobooks and more, see AYP Plus.
Lesson 41 - Pranayama Spinal Breathing
Date: Thu Dec 11, 2003 8:15am
New Visitors: It is recommended you read from the beginning of the archive, as previous
lessons are prerequisite to this one. The first lesson is, "Why
We will now begin an advanced pranayama practice called spinal breathing. It has several
components to it, and is done right before our daily meditation sessions. The procedure of
meditation will not change in any way. First we do our pranayama. Then we do our
Sit comfortably with back support, and close your eyes just as you do when you meditate.
Now, keeping your mouth closed, breathe in and out slowly and deeply through your nose,
but not to the extreme. Be relaxed and easy about it, breathing as slowly and deeply as
possible without discomfort. There is no need to be heroic. Work your muscles so each
breath begins in your belly and fills you up through your chest to the top of your
collarbones, and then comes back down slowly. Next, with each rising inhalation of the
breath, allow your attention to travel upward inside a tiny thread, or tube, you visualize
beginning at your perineum, continuing up through the center of your spine, and up through
the stem of your brain to the center of your head. At the center of your head the tiny
nerve makes a turn forward to the point between your eyebrows. With one slow, deep
inhalation let your attention travel gradually inside the nerve from the perineum all the
way to the point between the eyebrows. As you exhale, retrace this path from the point
between the eyebrows all the way back down to the perineum. Then, come back up to the
point between the eyebrows with the next inhalation, and down to the perineum with the
next exhalation, and so on.
Begin by doing this spinal breathing practice for five minutes before your regular
meditations. We don't get up between pranayama and meditation. Just keep your seat, and
begin meditation when your pranayama time is up. Take a minute or so before effortlessly
beginning the mantra, just as originally instructed. Once you get comfortable in the
routine of doing pranayama and meditation, one after the other, increase the time of
pranayama to ten minutes. You will be doing ten minutes of pranayama and twenty minutes of
meditation twice each day. Continue with this practice.
In a week or so, or whenever you are feeling steady with the ten minutes of pranayama
before your meditation, add the following features: On the exhalations, allow your
epiglottis to close enough so that there is a small restriction of the air leaving your
lungs. The epiglottis is the door in your throat that automatically closes your windpipe
(trachea) when you hold your breath or swallow. By partially closing it as you exhale, a
fine hissing sound will occur in your throat. This is called "ujjayi." Be easy
about it. Don't strain. Keep the slow, deep rhythm of breathing you have become accustomed
to as you add this small restriction in the throat during exhalations. On the inhalations,
allow the throat to relax and open more than usual. Do not restrict the air coming in.
Rather, allow the deepest part of your throat to open wide, comfortably. Do not change the
slow, deep rhythm of breathing you have been doing. Keep your mouth closed during
pranayama. An exception would be if your nose is stopped up and you can't breath easily
through it. In that case, use your mouth.
While all of these mechanical actions may seem complicated at first, they will quickly
become habit as you practice. Once the mechanical habits are in place, all you will have
to do during pranayama is easily allow the attention to travel up and down inside the
spinal nerve with your automatic slow, deep breathing. When you realize that your
attention has slipped away from this easy up and down procedure of traveling inside the
nerve during spinal breathing, you will just easily come back to it. No forcing, and no
strain. We easily come back to the prescribed route of attention in pranayama, just as we
easily come back to the mantra in meditation.
This pranayama will quiet the nervous system, and provide a fertile ground for deep
meditation. With this beginning in spinal breathing, we are also laying the foundation for
additional practices that will greatly enhance the flow of prana in the body. Once we have
stabilized the practices we have learned so far, we will be ready to begin gently
awakening the huge storehouse of prana near the base of our spine.
Click here for lesson
additions on Chakras, Nadi Shodana Pranayama (alternate nostril breathing) in
relation to AYP Spinal Breathing Pranayama, and other key aspects of
The guru is in you.
See this complete instructional lesson
with additions, and all the expanded and interactive AYP Plus lessons at: http://www.aypsite.com/plus/41.html.
Note: For detailed instructions on spinal breathing, see the
AYP Spinal Breathing Pranayama book,
and AYP Plus.
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