Yoga Sutras: Yoga Sutra 1.34:
Regulating breath to stabilize and clear the mind
Yoga Sutra 1.34: The mind is also calmed by regulating the breath,
particularly attending to exhalation and the natural
stilling of breath that comes from such practice.
(prachchhardana vidharanabhyam va pranayama)
PRACHCHHARDANA = gentle exhalation through the nostrils
VIDHARANABHYAM = expansion or regulation, control
VA = or (or other practices in 1.34-1.39)
PRANASYA = of prana
AWARENESS OF BREATH: One of the finest methods there is to stabilize
and calm the mind is breath awareness. First, be aware of the
transitions between the breaths, and allow them to be smooth, without
an abrupt transition, and without pausing between breaths.
Consciously practice seeing how delicately smooth you can make the
transitions. Allow the breath to be quiet, and to have no jerkiness.
ELONGATION OF EXHALATION: Second, after establishing sound and steady
awareness of the breath, allow the exhalation to gradually elongate,
such that the amount of time spent exhaling is longer than the amount
of time inhaling. The air will move outward more slowly with
exhalation than with inhalation. Gradually allow the ratio to be two
to one, where the exhalation is approximately twice as long as the
inhalation. Pranayama is often translated as breath control. The root
ayama actually means lengthening. Thus, pranayama more specifically
means lengthening the life force.
NOT RECHAKA, PURAKA, AND KUMBHAKA: There are other breathing
practices that include rechaka (exhalation), puraka (inhalation) and
kumbhaka (intentional holding of the breath). These practices are not
the intent here in this sutra, particularly not the practice of
breath retention. Though these may be useful practices at some stage
of practice, they are not the subject of this sutra in relation to
stabilizing the mind and making it tranquil.
SEE ALSO THESE ARTICLES:
Sutras 2.49-2.53 on breathing and pranayama:
Soham Mantra online:
Breathing Practices and Pranayama: