Sivananda’s Pranayama

Technique: Sit comfortably on a chair, sofa or easy-chair. Draw in the air through both nostrils for as long as comfortable. Retain the breath for as long as comfortable and repeat your ishta mantra or Aum while retaining the breath. Then exhale for as long as comfortable. You need not observe any ratio between the inhalation, exhalation and retention, but let the inhalation and exhalation be deep and full.

Benefit: The benefits of this pranayama are incalculable. All the muscles are relaxed and the nerves are toned. Circulation is promoted. A rhythm and harmony is established in the entire being. Mind is calmed and an inexpressible feeling of peace and bliss will arise within you.

You can do it in the morning while lying in bed. Your mind will become alert for commencing japa and dhyana. You can do it when the mind is about to lose its balance on account of the setting in of lust, anger or other evil vrittis, whirlpools. The mind will be filled with a great power that will prevent the evil vrittis from disturbing it.

You can do it just before commencing your study, the mind will be concentrated easily and what you study will be indelibly impressed in your mind. You can do it during your office work; you will get new strength every time and you will never be tired. When you return home from the office you can practise this pranayama and you will be recharged with fresh energy.

The greatest advantage is that once you start doing it you will do it very often; and your mind can never find an excuse for not practising this ati-sukha-purvaka pranayama, this very easy and comfortable pranayama, which has all the advantages of pranayama, without its ‘rules and regulations’. Do it from now without fail.

Printed in YOGA, August 2009