I was going to go through theory, but you guys can search it up when you need to. It’s just way too long and I know you want to get to the practices.
Back to the eight rungs now.
The first two of the eight, Yama and Niyama, are to be observed through daily life as to “cleanse the body and mind of certain thoughts.”
The third rung is to be mastered. It is Asana. The asana is the posture which you sit in on the ground while meditating. Depending on the asana, it can promote wellness and comfort.
There are three asanas you might want to work with:
- Savasana (Corpse pose): This pose is done laying the body down on the ground as if your body is dead. It is quite a comfortable pose. Use it only when you’re just too tired.
- Siddhasana (The perfect pose): This is a great posture to use especially when doing pranayama. They also say that this is the posture you use to get into Samadhi.
- Padmasana (The Lotus Pose) Great to use if you’re not as flexible.
There are many more asanas you may use, but these three cover the basic, intermediate and advanced postures. The main goal of the third rung is to master your pose. After you are able to sit in the pose without distraction, getting up or anything for three hours, you have attained mastery over that asana.
Pranayama is the mastery of prana. Control over prana means control over mind and body. Pranayama has many benefits to health you probably didn’t know was possible just by breathing in and out. It has been known to cure many diseases. The goal of pranayama is to be able to float above the ground as well as make ida and pingala enter the sushumna channel where you can attain pratyahara (one pointed mind) I will discuss more about ida and pingala in an exclusive post about pranayama.
Your body is composed of around 72,000 nadis (energy channels). When you cannot feel energy coursing through your body, it means the channels need to be cleared. Once they are cleared, one is able to truly start working on pranayama.
A great practice for this is called Sukha purvaka. The technique goes like this:
Take your right hand and close the right nostril with the thumb and close the left nostril with the ring and pinky finger.
Take your ring and pinky off the left nostril and breathe in for 1 second.
Hold your breath for 4 seconds
Breathe out of the right nostril for two seconds then repeat the process with the right nostril breathing in and the left breathing out in the 1:4:2 ratio.
Once you have done both nostrils and ended with breathing out through the left nostril, you have completed one round. At the beginning, do 7 rounds and increase by 3 rounds every 3 days.
To further enhance the effect, visualize your solar system (Manipura chakra(Solar Plexus)) clearing out the nadis with fire.
As you get used to the 1:4:2 ratio (breathe in:hold:breathe out) then you can move on to 2:8:4, 5:20:10 and up to 20:80:40 is the max for the time being.
Also during the practices, you will tend to become very sweaty. This is a good sign. You should wipe it away as it is all the impurities in your body.
Another sign at later practices is the feeling of pain or choking (not to be misinterpreted by the first signs when you are just starting). These come in at around two months of daily training. At that time, you may rub back in your sweat as now it will make you stronger.
The final sign is the feeling of lightness. At that point, it is possible that you may also partially levitate.
Sukha Purvaka has to be done 2 times a day for someone who is very busy in life. You will reach Nadi Sodhana (purification of the nadis) within a year and a half, and four times a day for someone who has a lot of time. You should reach Nadi sodhana within 6 months and possibly even three months as long as you keep increasing the ratio.
That’s all for today. Sometime this week, I will talk more about the other three higher rungs and the infamous Samyama.