Pranayama with Sri Swamiji

Rishi Nityabodhananda, Australia

In the three-year sannyasa course, we started with pranayama in the cooler months. We started on the roof, 4 am, bhastrika. Two hundred left, two hundred right, two hundred both. Internal kumbhaka, jalandhara bandha, moola bandha, then relax, then meditate for half a minute. Then again two hundred left, two hundred right, two hundred both, and again kumbhaka. Release. One minute meditation.

And again. And again, and again, and again. We were flying.

You know, two hundred is a lot of breath, but as soon as you’d think, ‘Oh, I’ll have a little rest’, Swamiji from the front, I can hear his voice even now, “Continue. Continue.” It was dark on the roof. He couldn’t see anything, but he knew. He knew. He had an intimate connection with each and every one of us, each of our troubles and each of our difficulties.

Then we went to nadi shodhana. It took us one whole month to do the four stages of nadi shodhana. You cannot believe for how long we inhaled through the left. Slow, slow, slow, slow up, then down, down, down, down. Hours and hours and hours. Finally we got to the finalstage with pooraka,

kumbhaka, bandhas, rechaka, kumbhaka, bandhas. Then he said to me, “You will do 12:48:48:48.” And I did. (applause) Don’t clap for me, clap for Swamiji. (bigger applause) I tried later on, I couldn’t. I never had it. I couldn’t, it was his power.

He was right with us in the pranayama.

—21 October 2018, Munger Yoga Symposium