Chapter 2: Shatkarma and Pranayama
1. Posture becoming established, a Yogi, master of himself, eating salutary and moderate food, should practice pranayama, as instructed by his guru.
2. Respiration being disturbed, the mind becomes disturbed. By restraining respiration, the Yogi gets steadiness of mind.
3. So long as the (breathing) air stays in the body, it is called life. Death consists in the passing out of the (breathing) air. It is, therefore, necessary to restrain the breath.
4. The breath does not pass through the middle channel (susumna), owing to the impurities of the nadis. How can then success be attained, and how can there be the unmani avastha.
5. When the whole system of the nadis which is full of impurities, is cleaned, then the Yogi becomes able to control the Prana.
6. Therefore, Pranayama should be performed daily with satwika buddhi (intellect free from raja and tama or activity and sloth), in order to drive out the impurities of the susumna.
METHODS OF PERFORMING PRANAYAMA
7. Sitting in the Padmasana posture the Yogi should fill in the air through the left nostril (closing the right one); and, keeping it confined according to one’s ability, it should be expelled slowly through the surya (right nostril).
8. Then, drawing in the air through the surya slowly, the belly should be filled, and after performing Kumbhaka as before, it should be expelled slowly through the chandra (left nostril).
9. Inhaling thus through the one, through which it was expelled, and having restrained it there, till possible, it should be exhaled through the other, slowly and not forcibly.
10. If the air be inhaled through the left nostril, it should be expelled again through the other, and filling it through the right nostril, confining it there, it should be expelled through the left nostril. By practicing in this way, through the right and the left nostrils alternately, the whole of the collection of the nadis of the yamis (practisers) becomes clean, i.e., free from impurities, after 3 months and over.
11. Kumbhakas should be performed gradually four times during day and night (i.e., morning, noon, evening and midnight), till the number of Kumbhakas for one time is 80 and for day and night together it is 320.
12. In the beginning there is perspiration, in the middle stage there is quivering, and in the last or third stage, one obtains steadiness; and then the breath should be made steady or motionless.
13. The perspiration exuding from exertion of practice should be rubbed into the body (and not wiped), as by so doing the body becomes strong.
14. During the first stage of practice the food consisting of milk and ghee is wholesome. When the practice becomes established, no such restriction is necessary.
15. Just as lions, elephants and tigers are controlled by and by, so the breath is controlled by slow degrees, otherwise (i.e., by being hasty or using too much force) it kills the practitioner himself.
16. When Pranayama, etc., are performed properly, they eradicate all diseases; but an improper practice generates diseases.
17. Hiccough, asthma, cough, pain in the head, the ears, and the eyes; these and other various kinds of diseases are generated by the disturbance of the breath.
18. The air should be expelled with proper tact and should be filled in skillfully; and when it has been kept confined properly it brings success.
N.B.–The above caution is necessary to warn the aspirants against omitting any instruction; and in their zeal to gain success or siddhis early, to begin the practice, either by using too much force in filling in, confining and expelling the air, or by omitting any instructions, it may cause unnecessary pressure on their ears, eyes, &c., and cause pain. Every word in the instructions is full of meaning and is necessarily used in the slokas, and should be followed very carefully and with due attention. Thus there will be nothing to fear whatsoever. We are inhaling and exhaling the air throughout our lives without any sort of danger, and Pranayama being only a regular form of it, there should be no cause to fear.)
19. When the nadis become free from impurities, and there appear the outward signs of success, such as lean body and glowing color, then one should feel certain of success.
20. By removing the impurities, the air can be restrained, according to one’s wish and the appetite is increased, the divine sound is awakened, and the body becomes healthy.
21. If there be excess of fat or phlegm in the body, the six kinds of kriyas (duties) should be performed first. But others, not suffering from the excess of these, should not perform them.
22. The six kinds of duties are: Dhauti, Basti, Neti, Trataka, Nauti and Kapala Bhati. These are called the six actions.
23. These six kinds of actions which cleanse the body should be kept secret. They produce extraordinary attributes and are performed with earnestness by the best Yogis.
24. A strip of cloth, about 3 inches wide and 15 cubits long, is pushed in (swallowed), when moist with warm water, through the passage shown by the guru, and is taken out again. This is called Dhauti Karma.
N.B.– The strip should be moistened with a little warm water, and the end should be held with the teeth. It is swallowed slowly, little by little: thus, first day 1 cubit, 2nd day 2 cubits, 3rd day 3 cubits, and so on. After swallowing it the stomach should be given a good, round motion from left to right, and then it should be taken out slowly and gently.)
25. There is no doubt, that cough, asthma, enlargement of the spleen, leprosy, and 20 kinds of diseases born of phlegm, disappear by the practice of Dhauti Karma.
26. Squatting in navel deep water, and intoducing a six inches long, smooth piece of 1/2 an inch diameter pipe, open at both ends, half inside the anus; it (anus) should be drawn up (contracted) and then expelled. This washing is called Basti Karma.
27. By practicing this Basti Karma, colic, enlarged spleen, and dropsy, arising from the disorders of Vata (air), pitta (bile) and kapha (phlegm), are all cured.
28. By practicing Basti with water, the Dhatus, the Indriyas and the mind become calm. It gives glow and tone to the body and increases the appetite. All the disorders disappear.
29. A cord made of threads and about six inches long, should be passed through the passage of the nose and the end taken out in the mouth. This is called by adepts the Neti Karma.
30. The Neti is the cleaner of the brain and giver of divine sight. It soon destroys all the diseases of the cervical and scapular regions.
31. Being calm, one should gaze steadily at a small mark, till eyes are filled with tears. This is called Tratika by acharyas.
32. Tratika destroys the eye diseases and removes sloth, etc. It should be kept secret very carefully, like a box of jewelry.
33. Sitting on the toes with heels raised above the ground, and the palms resting on the ground, and in this bent posture the belly is moved forcibly from left to right, just as in vomiting. This is called by adepts the Nauli Karma.
34. It removes dyspepsia, increases appetite and digestion, and is like the goddess of creation, and causes all happiness. It dries up all the disorders. This is an excellent exercise in Hatha Yoga.
35. When inhalation and exhalation are performed very quickly, like a pair of bellows of a blacksmith, it dries up all the disorders from the excess of phlegm, and is known as Kapala Bhati.
36. When Pranayama is performed after getting rid of obesity born of the defects of phlegm, by the performance of the six duties, it easily brings success.
37. Some acharyas (teachers) do not advocate any other practice, being of opinion that all the impurities are dried up by the practice of Pranayama.
38. By carrying the Apana Vayu up to the throat, the food, etc., in the stomach are vomited, By degrees, the system of Nadis (Sankhini) becomes known. This is called in Hatha as Gaja Karani.
39. Brahna and other Devas were always engaged in the exercise of Pranayama, and, by means of it, got rid of the fear of death. Therefore, one should practice pranayama regularly.
40. So long as the breath is restrained in the body, so long as the mind is undisturbed, and so long as the gaze is fixed between the eyebrows, there is no fear from Death.
41. When the system of Nadis becomes clear of the impurities by properly controlling the prana, then the air, piercing the entrance of the Susumna, enters it easily.
42. Steadiness of mind comes when the air moves freely in the middle. That is the manonmani condition, which is attained when the mind becomes calm.
43. To accomplish it, various Kumbhakas are performed by those who are expert in the methods; for, by the practice of different Kumbhakas, wonderful success is attained.
DIFFERENT KINDS OF KUMBHAKAS
44. Kumbhakas are of eight kinds, viz., Surya Bhedan, Ujjayi, Sitkari, Sitali, Bhastrika, Bhramari, Murchha, and Plavini.
45. At the end of Puraka, Jalandhara Bandha should be performed, and at the end of Kumbhaka, and at the beginning of Rechaka, Uddiyana Bandhas should not be performed.
(N.B.–Puraka is filling in of the air from the outside.)
46. Kumbhaka is the keeping the air confined inside. Rechaka is expelling the confined air. The instructions for Puraka, Kumbhaka and Rechaka will be found at the proper place and it should be carefully followed. By drawing up from below (Mula Bandha) and contracting the throat (Jalanddhara Bandha) and by pulling back the middle of the front portion of the body (i.e., belly), the Prana goes to the Brahma Nadi (Susumna).
(N.B.– The middle hole, through the vertebral column, through which the spinal cord passes, is called the Susumna Nadi of the Yogis. The two other sympathetic cords, one on each side of the spinal cord, are called the Ida and the Pingala Nadis. These will be described later on.)
47. By pulling up the Apana Vayu and by forcing the Prana Vayu down the throat, the yogi, liberated from old age, becomes young, as it were 16 years old.
(Note.–The seat of the Prana is the heart; of the Apana anus; of the Samana the region about the navel; of Udana the throat; while the Vyana moves throughout the body.)
48. Taking any comfortable posture and performing the asana, the Yogi should draw in air slowly, through the right nostril.
49. Then it should be confined within, so that it fills from the nails to the tips of the hair, and let it out through the left nostril slowly.
(Note.– This is to be done alternately with both the nostrils, drawing in through one, expelling through the other, and vice versa.)
50. This excellent Surya Bhedana cleanses the forehead (frontal sinuses), destroys the disorders of Vata, and removes the worms, and, therefore, it should be performed again and again.
51. Having closed the opening of the Nadi (larynx), the air should be drawn in such a way that it goes touching from the throat to the chest, and making noise while passing.
52. It should be restrained, as before, and then let out through the Ida (the left nostril). This removes slesma (phlegm) in the throat and increases the appetite.
53. It destroys the defects of the nadis, dropsy and disorders of Dhatu (humors). Ujjayi should be performed in all conditions of life, even while walking or sitting.
54. Sitkari is performed by drawing in the air through the mouth, keeping the tongue between the lips. The air thus drawn in should not be expelled through the mouth. By practicing in this way, one becomes next to the God of love and beauty.
55. He is regarded adorable by the Yoginis and becomes the destroyer of the cycle of creation. He is not afflicted with hunger, thirst, sleep or lassitude.
56. The Satwa of his body becomes free from all disturbances. In truth, he becomes the lord of the Yogis in this world.
57. As in the above (Sitkari), the tongue to be protruded a little out of the lips, when the air is drawn in. It is kept confined, as before, and then expelled slowly through the nostrils.
58. This Sitali Kumbhaka cures colic, (enlarged) spleen, fever, disorders of bile, hunger, thirst, and counteracts poisons.
59. The Padma asana consists in crossing the feet and placing them on both the thighs; it is the destroyer of all sins.
60. Binding the Padma-asana and keeping the body straight, closing the mouth carefully, let the air be expelled through the nose.
61. It should be filled up to the lotus of the heart, by drawing it in with force, making noise and touching the throat, the chest and the head.
62. It should be expelled again and filled again and again as before, just as a pair of bellows of the blacksmith is worked.
63. In the same way, the air of the body should be moved intelligently, filling it through Suyra when fatigue is experienced.
64. The air should be drawn in through the right nostril by pressing the thumb against the left side of the nose, so as to close the left nostril; and when filled to the full, it should be closed with the fourth finger (the one next to the little finger) and kept confined.
65. Having confined it properly, it should be expelled through the Ida (left nostril). This destroys Vata, pitta (bile) and phlegm and increases the digestive power (the gastric fire).
66. It quickly awakens the Kundalini, purifies the system, gives pleasure, and is beneficial. It destroys phlegm and the impurities accumulated at the entrance of the Brahma Nadi.
67. This Bhastrika should be performed plentifully, for it breaks the three knots: Brahma granthi (in the chest), Visnu granthi (in the throat), and Rudra granthi (between the eyebrows) of the body.
68. By filling the air with force, making noise like Bhringi (wasp), and expelling it slowly, making noise in the same way; this practice causes a sort of ecstasy in the minds of Yogindras.
69. Closing the passages with Jalandhar Bandha firmly at the end of Puraka, and expelling the air slowly, is called Murchha, from its causing the mind to swoon and give comfort.
70. When the belly is filled with air and the inside of the body is filled to its utmost with air, the body floats on the deepest water, like a leaf of a lotus.
71. Considering Puraka (Filling), Rechaka (expelling) and Kumhaka (confining), Pranayama is of three kinds, but considering it accompanied by Puraka and Rechaka, and without these, it is of two kinds only, i.e., Sabita (with) and Kevala (alone).
72. Exercise in Sahita should be continued till success in Kevala is gained. This latter is simply confining the air with ease, without Rechaka and Puraka.
73. In the practice of Kevala Pranayama when it can be performed successfully without Rechaka and Puraka, then it is called Kevala Kumbhaka.
74. There is nothing in the three worlds which may be difficult to obtain for him who is able to keep the air confined according to pleasure, by means of Kevala Kumbhaka.
75. He obtains the position of Raja Yoga undoubtedly. Kundalini awakens by Kumbhaka, and by its awakening, Susumna becomes free from impurities.
76. No success in Raja Yoga without Hatha Yoga, and no success in Hatha Yoga without Raja Yoga. One should, therefore, practice both of these well, till complete success is gained.
77. On the completion of Kumbhaka, the mind should be given rest. By practicing in this way one is raised to the position of (succeeds in getting) Raja Yoga.
INDICATIONS OF SUCCESS IN PRACTICING HATHA YOGA
78. When the body becomes lean, the face glows with delight, Anahata-nada manifests, and eyes are clear, the body is healthy, bindu under control, and appetite increases, then one should know that the Nadis are purified and success in Hatha Yoga is approaching.