of three parts-recaka or breathing out, puraka or breathing in and kumbhaka or holding the
breath. In the
simplest type of Pranayama one of the nostrils, say the right, is closed, and after a
preliminary breathing out, air is slowly drawn in through the left nostril, then both the
nostrils are closed and the breath is held in for a few seconds, and then
the right nostril
is opened and the air slowly breathed out. Then the air is again slowly drawn in through
the right nostril, both the nostrils are again closed for a few seconds, and the air again
slowly breathed out through the left nostril.
again air is drawn in through the left nostril, retained for a short time and breathed out
through the right nostril. This process is repeated a number of times each day and the
number is slowly increased from week to week and from month to month. But these exercises
have to be done under the proper guidance of a Guru who is an expert in Pranayama. Else
they may do much harm. If Pranayama is properly practiced, it will in a short time produce
that serenity of mind, which is essential to contemplation.
Along with Pranayama one should practice
withdrawing the senses from their respective outward objects. In other words, the mind has
to be shut against all impress from the outside world. If this is done, it ceases to be
affected by external influences. By these practices the sadhaka qualifies him self for
contemplation. He has brought his body, his senses and his mind thoroughly under control.
He is now fit to enter on the higher phase called Raja-yoga comprising the last three acts
of discipline-dharana, dhyana and samadhi.