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Lesson 46 -
Which Way is Up in Spinal Breathing? (Audio)
Date: Mon Dec 15, 2003 2:17pm
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: Why do we go up the sushumna on inhalation and
down on exhalation? Can it work just as well the other way, down on
inhalation and up on exhalation?
A: In the beginning
stages, pranayama can work either way. With basic spinal breathing, a case
can be made for one approach or the other. However, later on, it becomes
clear that learning spinal breathing going up on inhalation and down on
exhalation is the preferred approach. It will become obvious when we get
into new advanced yoga practices that involve deliberate suspensions of the
breath when the lungs are full. At this time it is necessary for the
attention to be near the top at the sushumna for performing yoga procedures
in the upper part of the body. Also, there will come a time when the breath
suspends automatically with the lungs empty in connection with the internal
biology of prana being released from its vast storehouse near the base of
the spine. This will manifest as an emptying of the lungs and then a drawing
up from near the bottom of the spine. We will learn means to facilitate this
automatic drawing up process that occurs when the lungs are empty, so the
attention will be near the bottom of the spine then and not at the top.
These two types of suspension of breath are primary determinants on which
way we go in the sushumna with our attention during spinal breathing.
When our breathing stops, we know without a doubt
which way is up. Ultimately, the direction our breathing takes us in the
sushumna is not an arbitrary thing at all.
We will get into more
detail on suspension of breath (called "kumbaka") further down the road in
these lessons. By going up inside the sushumna with your attention during
inhalation and down during exhalation, know that you are laying the right
foundation for all that is to come.
The guru is in you.
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Note: For detailed instructions on spinal
breathing, see the
AYP Spinal Breathing Pranayama book,
and AYP Plus.
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