With every inhalation, the universe fills us will love, healing,
wisdom and bliss. This is retained and sent to every cell in our body.
The universe then receives it back with an exhalation, along with
impurities that we needed to get rid of. This cycle is repeated and
repeated until the need to replace the vehicle arrives. There is
little danger in being aware of this process, and doing what we can to
allow its unblocked flow. There is a far greater danger in being
unaware of this life-long cycling. Raja yoga lets us become aware of
the things that impede the process mentally, Hatha yoga lets us
understand this physically. Bhakti yoga lets us awaken to it
emotionally. Karma yoga brings awareness actively. And Jhana yoga
dissolves all restrictions through enquiry. It is often said that only
Raja and Hatha yoga use pranayama techniques, and in a specific way,
that is so. But in reality all yogis, all people, including those who
make no so-called spiritual efforts at all, do pranayama every moment.
And as pranayama takes place in the moment, and we go from the shore
of birth to the shore of death, virtually no other practice positions
one more perfectly to be the Witness to one's life as it takes place.
The practice of pranayama is a question of awareness, attention, and
intention far more than questions and mental chatter about benefits or
dangers, or teachers, or right or wrong ways to do it. Ignoring the
Jhana/Vedanta/Advaita/etc-like reality/concept that there is no
"me/you/others/doing/etc", and to refer back to the analogy of life
being a going from one shore to the other; when you are in a boat, it
is far better to look where you are, and where you are going, if you
want to get to your destination without running into a hazard while at
sea. And pranayama is an ancient and proven methodology to help this
trip go well.
Peace and blessings,