Note: For the Original
Internet Lessons with additions,
For the Expanded and Interactive Internet Lessons, AYP Online Books,
Audiobooks and more, see AYP Plus.
Lesson 42 - Pranayama Q&A Is this natural?
Date: Thu Dec 11, 2003 5:16pm
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
Q: I am struggling to incorporate all the pieces involved in the spinal breathing, and am
not getting much out of it so far. It seems contradictory to your repeated mention of how
"natural" these practices are supposed to be. It is certainly different from
meditation, which I find to be very easy and enjoyable. Is pranayama supposed to be easy
and enjoyable too?
A: Yes, pranayama will become easy. And enjoyable is an understatement. Ecstatic is a
better description for what pranayama becomes. It may take some time to get it together
though. Take your time building up to it. Give it a fair chance in your regular practice,
and you will not regret it. There will be help coming in the form of new elements of
practice that will make pranayama much more pleasurable to do. You will learn how to light
everything up from the inside. But first things first. Get the basic habits of practice in
place. Over time, it gets progressively easier and more enjoyable. Meditation is easy and
enjoyable from the start for most people. With pranayama, it might take a little longer.
Is pranayama natural? There is no doubt that pranayama, with all of its supplementary
pieces, is a complex practice, and it may not feel natural at the start. However, as with
meditation, pranayama is tapping a natural ability inherent in us. In the case of
meditation, it is the mind's natural ability to become quiet and experience pure bliss
consciousness. Just set up the proper condition in meditation and the mind becomes quiet
all by itself. In the case of pranayama, we are tapping the nervous system's natural
ability to refine and become ecstatically radiant from within. Setting up the initial
conditions takes more doing. But once we have taken the necessary steps through pranayama,
the condition of ecstatic radiance comes up naturally. Once it gets going, it is
completely automatic. It is then that you know without any doubt that your body was
designed to sustain divine ecstasy quite a revelation. Just as inner silent bliss
consciousness is our natural state brought up through meditation, so too is ecstatic
radiance our natural state brought up through pranayama. Once stimulated through
pranayama, ecstatic radiance deepens in meditation. Pranayama cultivates the soil of our
nervous system to the point where meditation is capable of yielding a dynamic flowering of
pure bliss consciousness. Pranayama enables the silent seed we are awakening in meditation
to grow into ecstatic radiance, and this overflows generously into our daily life.
The objective here is to structure the advanced yoga practices to be as easy as possible,
and be pleasurable and fun. Otherwise, not many will want to bother with it. Patient
persistence will sometimes be required during formative stages of practice. With your
ongoing commitment to daily practice, experiences will keep advancing. In time, you will
be rushing to get to your meditation seat, because the ecstasy coming up there will be so
great. Then, before you know it, the ecstasy will be everywhere. The whole world will be
transforming before your loving eyes.
The guru is in you.
Note: For detailed instructions on spinal
breathing, see the
AYP Spinal Breathing Pranayama book,
and AYP Plus.
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