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Re: About the so-called "dangers" of pranayama

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  • texasbg2000
    ... it ... 4. ... mental, ... The ... no ... attitude ... (such ... In ... medit8ionsociety ... breathing, ... keep ... I have been around this block for
    Message 1 of 11 , Jun 26, 2004
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      --- In meditationsocietyofamerica@yahoogroups.com, medit8ionsociety
      <no_reply@y...> wrote:
      > --- In meditationsocietyofamerica@yahoogroups.com, "Nina"
      > <murrkis@y...> wrote:
      > > Bob,
      > >
      > > What is 1-4-2?
      >
      > One inhales for 1 unit of time, holds the breath for 4 units and
      > exhales for 2. This is continued until the pattern is regular, then
      it
      > is doubled to inhale for 2 units of time, hold for 8 and exhale for
      4.
      > This goes on until a maximum of 16 inhalation, 64 held, and 32
      > exhaled. Often it can take before the practicioner moves on to the
      > first doubling. This has been one of the most basic pranayama
      > techniques for centuries, and is very well known by millions.
      > >
      > > I suspect the reason you have seen only one reaction
      > > across 4000 students is that the pranayama practiced
      > > is minimally interventive. Alternate nostril breathing,
      > > while interventive, is calming to the nervous system.
      > > Begin working with vilomas and breath retentions and
      > > the dynamics change.
      > >
      > > Reminds me of Eric Small telling us how he had been
      > > practicing breath retention (heat building) during the
      > > time just prior to being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis
      > > (exacerbated by heat).
      > >
      > > Reminds me of how, during the pranayama classes required
      > > for my training, we consistantly had at least 1 person
      > > (not the same person) with an emotional reaction to the
      > > exercises in each class. Some people had physical reactions,
      > > as well, though those were more difficult to detect in
      > > one's neighbor. However, physical and emotional reactions
      > > do not necessarily occur discretely... the two were often
      > > interconnected... and this is a piece of information that
      > > could potentially be of a lot of use for meditators (if
      > > they weren't so busy convincing themselves that physical
      > > discomfort was all in their imagination.)
      > >
      > > The breath is the bridge between the conscious and
      > > unconscious. Meditators are often well-versed in what
      > > this means for the mind, but it may also be noted that
      > > the body has corresponding conscious and unconscious
      > > controls, which may be influenced by pranayama beyond
      > > the most basic 'following the breath'. This is the root
      > > of the warnings, Bob, though some teachers may use
      > > those warnings to keep their classes full.
      > >
      > > Nina
      > >
      > Dear Nina,
      > When you say "we consistantly had at least 1 person(not the same
      > person) with an emotional reaction to the exercises in each class."
      > are you suggesting a "negative" emotional reaction? If so, perhaps
      > there may be a question about the skill level of the teacher. We
      > always had many students report wonderful emotional, physical,
      mental,
      > and spiritual results from what we shared. As a matter of fact, the
      > 1-4-2 technique is also referred to as the "How to get high without
      > drugs" technique, and afforded many with a higher high, greater
      > insights and inner sights than any drug had ever given them. There
      > also was a possible to label as problematical side effect to this.
      The
      > technique works so well that some would become bliss-seekers/ecstacy
      > junkies of a sort. But even if this problem is a problem worth
      > mentioning, I know of no evidence anywhere that practicing breath
      > retention will lead to MS, or any other such consequence. And I see
      no
      > need or benefit to using this kind of wild claim to discourage the
      > potential good results experienced by so many for so long of
      > practicing pranayama.
      > BTW, I question the statement that implies that meditators are "so
      > busy convincing themselves that physical discomfort was all in their
      > imagination". We have many oncologists, neurologists, cardiologists,
      > psychiatrists, GP's, etc attending and sending their patients to our
      > classes, so as to be better able to deal with their physical
      > discomforts. There is no 'bodily dis-ease is all in the mind'
      attitude
      > prevelant in any of our, or in most meditation classes I know of
      (such
      > as those given by the Integral Yoga org or the Sivananda ashrams).
      In
      > any event, I do value pranayama greatly, as I do visualization,
      > mantra, self-enquiry, Raja yoga, and all the other things that bring
      > peace to so many, and hope that what we do here on this group is
      > helping make these concepts and methods available to those who seek
      > this knowledge.
      >
      > Peace and blesings,
      > Bob
      > > --- In meditationsocietyofamerica@yahoogroups.com,
      medit8ionsociety
      > > <no_reply@y...> wrote:
      > > > --- In meditationsocietyofamerica@yahoogroups.com, "Nina"
      > > > <murrkis@y...> wrote:
      > > > > Bob,
      > > > >
      > > > > What form of pranayama was practiced?
      > > > >
      > > > > Nina
      > > >
      > > > We shared several techniques such as alternate nostril
      breathing,
      > > > Soham, 1-4-2, 108-An Easy, Hard Technique
      > > > http://www.meditationsociety.com/week30.html
      > > > and a few others. BTW, I love pranayama, and suggest everyone
      keep
      > > > breathing:-)
      > > > Peace and blessings,
      > > > Bob

      I have been around this block for awhile and have heard the
      warnings.
      My memories:
      Ramachraraka gave the technique for retention on the in breath and
      the outbreath in "Raja Yoga" around 1901. Vivekananda slammed him
      for giving a potentially harmful technique to the West.

      I can recall a comment by Sri Ramana that the one pefectly harmless
      way to practice retention of the breath was to do it only on the in
      breath.

      I think the point in these warnings is intended to the overly
      exuberant observer. That is, if one spends all one's time on the
      technique it can be harmful. The 20 minutes a day thing is nowhere
      near enough. An example is myself. I was pretty avid. Breath
      irregularities and sleep apnia began and I slacked off.
      Another example:
      In the biography of Omraam Mikhael Aivanhow by Georg Feuerstein,
      which he was paid to write by the estate of the Eastern European
      Mystic, a telling example of harm is described. He wrote of Omraam's
      immense focus on Ramacharaka's technique, which is about what Bob has
      delineated. He became seriously ill. But he was really into it.
      Doing it all the time. Georg makes it clear he did not approve of
      Ramacharaka' cavalier attitude either.

      Love
      Bobby G.
    • Nina
      ... There is no need to question the skill level of the teacher. These folks were senior level teachers, able to respond to the reactions and help their
      Message 2 of 11 , Jun 27, 2004
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        > Dear Nina,
        > When you say "we consistantly had at least 1 person(not the same
        > person) with an emotional reaction to the exercises in each class."
        > are you suggesting a "negative" emotional reaction? If so, perhaps
        > there may be a question about the skill level of the teacher.

        There is no need to question the skill level of the teacher. These
        folks were senior level teachers, able to respond to the reactions
        and help their students into right practice.

        While it is possible to view the reactions as
        'negative' (weeping, backache, breathlessness, muscle cramps)
        or 'positive' (buoyancy, clarity, relaxation, easeful tidal
        expansion), it is also possible to view these reactions as
        guideposts to fine-tuning a practice.

        > We always had many students report wonderful emotional, physical,
        mental,
        > and spiritual results from what we shared. As a matter of fact, the
        > 1-4-2 technique is also referred to as the "How to get high without
        > drugs" technique, and afforded many with a higher high, greater
        > insights and inner sights than any drug had ever given them. There
        > also was a possible to label as problematical side effect to this.
        The
        > technique works so well that some would become bliss-seekers/ecstacy
        > junkies of a sort. But even if this problem is a problem worth
        > mentioning, I know of no evidence anywhere that practicing breath
        > retention will lead to MS, or any other such consequence.

        I was not claiming that breath retention causes MS, and neither
        was Eric Small. I was saying that he was having
        reactions to using a breath technique that induced heat in his
        body, a body which was undiagnosed with MS and yet had been
        displaying the unrecognized symptoms of MS.

        > And I see no
        > need or benefit to using this kind of wild claim to discourage the
        > potential good results experienced by so many for so long of
        > practicing pranayama.

        These claims are no more wild than a claim that other than
        one woman (whose reaction could be dismissed because she
        was asthmatic and couldn't bear to follow her breath in any
        form), there have been no reactions in 4000 students.

        I am not arguing for or against. I am arguing for
        refinement.

        > BTW, I question the statement that implies that meditators are "so
        > busy convincing themselves that physical discomfort was all in their
        > imagination". We have many oncologists, neurologists, cardiologists,
        > psychiatrists, GP's, etc attending and sending their patients to our
        > classes, so as to be better able to deal with their physical
        > discomforts. There is no 'bodily dis-ease is all in the mind'
        attitude
        > prevelant in any of our, or in most meditation classes I know of


        There was in your posts.


        > (such as those given by the Integral Yoga org or the
        > Sivananda ashrams). In
        > any event, I do value pranayama greatly, as I do visualization,
        > mantra, self-enquiry, Raja yoga, and all the other things that bring
        > peace to so many, and hope that what we do here on this group is
        > helping make these concepts and methods available to those who seek
        > this knowledge.

        Good.

        Nina
      • medit8ionsociety
        ... Oh well, since they are senior teachers, I guess there was no lack of expertise, eh? But then again, maybe if they consistantly had negative reactions
        Message 3 of 11 , Jun 27, 2004
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          --- In meditationsocietyofamerica@yahoogroups.com, "Nina"
          <murrkis@y...> wrote:
          > > Dear Nina,
          > > When you say "we consistantly had at least 1 person(not the same
          > > person) with an emotional reaction to the exercises in each class."
          > > are you suggesting a "negative" emotional reaction? If so, perhaps
          > > there may be a question about the skill level of the teacher.
          >
          > There is no need to question the skill level of the teacher. These
          > folks were senior level teachers, able to respond to the reactions
          > and help their students into right practice.

          Oh well, since they are "senior" teachers, I guess there was no lack
          of expertise, eh? But then again, maybe if they consistantly had
          negative reactions every class, there should have been "Very senior"
          teachers giving the class!? (he said facetiously:-)
          >
          > While it is possible to view the reactions as
          > 'negative' (weeping, backache, breathlessness, muscle cramps)
          > or 'positive' (buoyancy, clarity, relaxation, easeful tidal
          > expansion), it is also possible to view these reactions as
          > guideposts to fine-tuning a practice.
          >
          > > We always had many students report wonderful emotional, physical,
          > mental,
          > > and spiritual results from what we shared. As a matter of fact, the
          > > 1-4-2 technique is also referred to as the "How to get high without
          > > drugs" technique, and afforded many with a higher high, greater
          > > insights and inner sights than any drug had ever given them. There
          > > also was a possible to label as problematical side effect to this.
          > The
          > > technique works so well that some would become bliss-seekers/ecstacy
          > > junkies of a sort. But even if this problem is a problem worth
          > > mentioning, I know of no evidence anywhere that practicing breath
          > > retention will lead to MS, or any other such consequence.
          >
          > I was not claiming that breath retention causes MS, and neither
          > was Eric Small. I was saying that he was having
          > reactions to using a breath technique that induced heat in his
          > body, a body which was undiagnosed with MS and yet had been
          > displaying the unrecognized symptoms of MS.
          >
          > > And I see no
          > > need or benefit to using this kind of wild claim to discourage the
          > > potential good results experienced by so many for so long of
          > > practicing pranayama.
          >
          > These claims are no more wild than a claim that other than
          > one woman (whose reaction could be dismissed because she
          > was asthmatic and couldn't bear to follow her breath in any
          > form), there have been no reactions in 4000 students.

          Uh, you're saying that our 4000 students didn't have reactions is a
          wild claim is not accurate. As I said, they reported very pleasant,
          beneficial and positive reactions. And that's not so wild, it's what
          is supposed to happen. And BTW, excuse the possible lack of humility,
          but these classes were all in public community sponsered adult
          education programs that were evaluated at the end of each semester by
          the students themselves, as well as by the various schools and
          colleges offering the classes, and our ratings of excellence were as
          good as or better than any of the other hundreds of courses offered by
          the various continuing education programs.

          > I am not arguing for or against. I am arguing for
          > refinement.
          >
          > > BTW, I question the statement that implies that meditators are "so
          > > busy convincing themselves that physical discomfort was all in their
          > > imagination". We have many oncologists, neurologists, cardiologists,
          > > psychiatrists, GP's, etc attending and sending their patients to our
          > > classes, so as to be better able to deal with their physical
          > > discomforts. There is no 'bodily dis-ease is all in the mind'
          > attitude
          > > prevelant in any of our, or in most meditation classes I know of
          >
          >
          > There was in your posts.

          If you read apples when we intended to offer oranges, so be it.

          >
          > > (such as those given by the Integral Yoga org or the
          > > Sivananda ashrams). In
          > > any event, I do value pranayama greatly, as I do visualization,
          > > mantra, self-enquiry, Raja yoga, and all the other things that bring
          > > peace to so many, and hope that what we do here on this group is
          > > helping make these concepts and methods available to those who seek
          > > this knowledge.
          >
          > Good.
          >
          > Nina

          Yes, the aim of selflessly and freely sharing things of consciousness
          evolving potential is "Good", and I know that's what you also intend.
          Peace and blessings,
          Bob
        • Nina
          ... same ... class. ... perhaps ... These ... reactions ... lack ... senior ... They are senior teachers because they have a certain level of expertise,
          Message 4 of 11 , Jun 27, 2004
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            --- In meditationsocietyofamerica@yahoogroups.com, medit8ionsociety
            <no_reply@y...> wrote:
            > --- In meditationsocietyofamerica@yahoogroups.com, "Nina"
            > <murrkis@y...> wrote:
            > > > Dear Nina,
            > > > When you say "we consistantly had at least 1 person(not the
            same
            > > > person) with an emotional reaction to the exercises in each
            class."
            > > > are you suggesting a "negative" emotional reaction? If so,
            perhaps
            > > > there may be a question about the skill level of the teacher.
            > >
            > > There is no need to question the skill level of the teacher.
            These
            > > folks were senior level teachers, able to respond to the
            reactions
            > > and help their students into right practice.
            >
            > Oh well, since they are "senior" teachers, I guess there was no
            lack
            > of expertise, eh? But then again, maybe if they consistantly had
            > negative reactions every class, there should have been "Very
            senior"
            > teachers giving the class!? (he said facetiously:-)

            They are senior teachers because they have a certain
            level of expertise, which encompasses the ability to teach
            various forms of pranayama to teacher trainees with a
            recognizable degree of skill.

            Reactions typically do not fall into binary slots, as in:
            good reaction/bad reaction, a reaction/no reaction. It can
            pretty much be assumed there will be a 'reaction' to any
            input into a system as responsive as a human physiology,
            *whether or not the human physiology consciously recognizes
            it*. These reactions will be qualitative, moreso than
            quantitative. The qualitative nature of these reactions
            are what allow adjustments to be made. Usually, it takes
            a bit of tinkering if you are 'going it alone' in new
            territory... expertise is usually recognized by the
            ability to 'hit the mark' with the adjustments.

            Keep in mind, that whether or not a student reports a
            reaction has as much to do with the environmental
            constraints/supports to this reportage as with the
            fact of a reaction. If a student doesn't share that
            she had a reaction, does this mean she had no reaction?

            > > While it is possible to view the reactions as
            > > 'negative' (weeping, backache, breathlessness, muscle cramps)
            > > or 'positive' (buoyancy, clarity, relaxation, easeful tidal
            > > expansion), it is also possible to view these reactions as
            > > guideposts to fine-tuning a practice.
            > >
            > > > We always had many students report wonderful emotional,
            physical,
            > > mental,
            > > > and spiritual results from what we shared. As a matter of
            fact, the
            > > > 1-4-2 technique is also referred to as the "How to get high
            without
            > > > drugs" technique, and afforded many with a higher high, greater
            > > > insights and inner sights than any drug had ever given them.
            There
            > > > also was a possible to label as problematical side effect to
            this.
            > > The
            > > > technique works so well that some would become bliss-
            seekers/ecstacy
            > > > junkies of a sort. But even if this problem is a problem worth
            > > > mentioning, I know of no evidence anywhere that practicing
            breath
            > > > retention will lead to MS, or any other such consequence.
            > >
            > > I was not claiming that breath retention causes MS, and neither
            > > was Eric Small. I was saying that he was having
            > > reactions to using a breath technique that induced heat in his
            > > body, a body which was undiagnosed with MS and yet had been
            > > displaying the unrecognized symptoms of MS.
            > >
            > > > And I see no
            > > > need or benefit to using this kind of wild claim to discourage
            the
            > > > potential good results experienced by so many for so long of
            > > > practicing pranayama.
            > >
            > > These claims are no more wild than a claim that other than
            > > one woman (whose reaction could be dismissed because she
            > > was asthmatic and couldn't bear to follow her breath in any
            > > form), there have been no reactions in 4000 students.
            >
            > Uh, you're saying that our 4000 students didn't have reactions is a
            > wild claim is not accurate. As I said, they reported very pleasant,
            > beneficial and positive reactions. And that's not so wild, it's
            > what is supposed to happen.

            I am saying that what I have to offer by the way
            of anecdote is no more wild than what you have shared. The
            only possible difference being that what I have observed is
            a greater array of reactions to more advanced forms (or, if you
            prefer, more interventive forms) of pranayama practice.
            This difference in degree of intervention in respiration
            may account for the differences in outcome, btw. Nonetheless,
            both perspectives are anecdotal, and therefore, pretty even
            in reliability as far as evidence goes.

            > And BTW, excuse the possible lack of humility,
            > but these classes were all in public community sponsered adult
            > education programs that were evaluated at the end of each semester
            > bythe students themselves, as well as by the various schools and
            > colleges offering the classes, and our ratings of excellence were
            as
            > good as or better than any of the other hundreds of courses
            offered by
            > the various continuing education programs.
            >
            > > I am not arguing for or against. I am arguing for
            > > refinement.
            > >
            > > > BTW, I question the statement that implies that meditators
            are "so
            > > > busy convincing themselves that physical discomfort was all in
            their
            > > > imagination". We have many oncologists, neurologists,
            cardiologists,
            > > > psychiatrists, GP's, etc attending and sending their patients
            to our
            > > > classes, so as to be better able to deal with their physical
            > > > discomforts. There is no 'bodily dis-ease is all in the mind'
            > > attitude
            > > > prevelant in any of our, or in most meditation classes I know
            of
            > >
            > >
            > > There was in your posts.
            >
            > If you read apples when we intended to offer oranges, so be it.

            If you intended oranges and wrote apples,
            should I accept responsibility for miscommunication?

            By the way, who is "we"?

            > > > (such as those given by the Integral Yoga org or the
            > > > Sivananda ashrams). In
            > > > any event, I do value pranayama greatly, as I do visualization,
            > > > mantra, self-enquiry, Raja yoga, and all the other things that
            bring
            > > > peace to so many, and hope that what we do here on this group
            is
            > > > helping make these concepts and methods available to those who
            seek
            > > > this knowledge.
            > >
            > > Good.
            > >
            > > Nina
            >
            > Yes, the aim of selflessly and freely sharing things of
            > consciousness evolving potential is "Good", and I know
            > that's what you also intend.

            Sure, as long as it is fitting.

            Nina
          • medit8ionsociety
            ... snip ... snip ... Nina, FYI, this was one of the much loved and recently departed Bob Eck s favorite sayings, IE: Hey, we re talking apples here, and
            Message 5 of 11 , Jun 27, 2004
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              --- In meditationsocietyofamerica@yahoogroups.com, "Nina"
              <murrkis@y...> wrote:
              >
              snip
              Bob wrote:
              > > > > BTW, I question the statement that implies that meditators
              > are "so
              > > > > busy convincing themselves that physical discomfort was all in
              > their
              > > > > imagination". We have many oncologists, neurologists,
              > cardiologists,
              > > > > psychiatrists, GP's, etc attending and sending their patients
              > to our
              > > > > classes, so as to be better able to deal with their physical
              > > > > discomforts. There is no 'bodily dis-ease is all in the mind'
              > > > attitude
              > > > > prevelant in any of our, or in most meditation classes I know
              > of
              > > >
              Nina:
              > > > There was in your posts.
              Bob:
              > > If you read apples when we intended to offer oranges, so be it.
              Nina:
              > If you intended oranges and wrote apples,
              > should I accept responsibility for miscommunication?
              >
              > By the way, who is "we"?
              >
              snip
              > > >
              > > > Nina

              Nina, FYI, this was one of the much loved and recently departed Bob
              Eck's favorite sayings, IE:
              "Hey, we're talking apples here, and you're hearing oranges!" Maybe
              this saying is just a Philly cliche, but unfortunatly, your
              defensiveness is universal.
              Peace and blessings,
              Bob
            • Nina
              ... LOL, you say defensive, I say dismissive, you say facetious, I say capricious, defensive, dismissive, facetious, capricious, let s call the whole thing
              Message 6 of 11 , Jun 27, 2004
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                > Nina, FYI, this was one of the much loved and recently departed Bob
                > Eck's favorite sayings, IE:
                > "Hey, we're talking apples here, and you're hearing oranges!" Maybe
                > this saying is just a Philly cliche, but unfortunatly, your
                > defensiveness is universal.
                > Peace and blessings,
                > Bob

                LOL, you say defensive, I say dismissive,
                you say facetious, I say capricious,
                defensive, dismissive,
                facetious, capricious,
                let's call the whole thing off!

                Or something like that. Maybe they were saying tomatoes
                instead of apples or oranges. It's still all fruit to me.

                well-versed in the art of name-calling,
                Nina
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