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Yoga Sutra 1.34: Breath for stabilizing the mind

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  • Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati
    Yoga Sutra 1.34: Breath for stabilizing the mind http://www.swamij.com/yoga-sutras/yoga-sutras-13339.htm#1.34 Yoga Sutras 1.34-1.38 describe five specific
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 26, 2004
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      Yoga Sutra 1.34: Breath for stabilizing the mind
      http://www.swamij.com/yoga-sutras/yoga-sutras-13339.htm#1.34

      Yoga Sutras 1.34-1.38 describe five specific means for stabilizing
      and purifying the mind in preparation for the subtler aspects of
      meditation. Sutra 1.34 involves regulation of breath.

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      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.
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      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.

      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 sutras 2.49-2.53 on breathing and pranayama.
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