Details about the Course on Pranayam and Kriyas
Pranayam simply means Breathing exercises. Kriya means process or technique. These techniques were developed in India in the Yoga tradition and are ancient. They have been tried, tested and perfected over centuries.
Basics about the course:
The course is designed for a minimum of 9-12 hours and is very effective when done for the entire period. Usually it is spread over 3-5 days. As the course progresses, some exercises are added each day and there is a change in certain breathing parameters that become effective and produce a result when one does the entire course. These exercises, in turn have an effect, which leads to a correction in the breathing process and to a more effective natural way of breathing. The breathing exercises are easy to practice; anybody can participate; they do not need any special prior preparation, and have almost no movement.
Though the techniques are simple yet they are quite different from other schools that teach Pranayam as the key instructions and the results that we seek are different. The program is designed to purify the mind and to make one feel the subtle energies for one’s overall as well as spiritual development.
The program from amongst other effects works well for individuals who are facing stress, emotional and/or psychological problems ranging from being depressed, emotionally upset, heartbroken, experiencing fear, inability to relax, lack of confidence, unusual aggression, and other similar conditions.
Usually some other Pranayam programs focus on quieting the mind or in some ways to deafen the sounds of the mind, to attain silence to promote meditation. Some schools teach techniques that may also leave people overwhelmed with the energy and somewhat disturbed energetically. Some programs also use Short breathing techniques that have the effect of violently shaking up the content of the mind.
In comparison, our program is very gentle being based on long breathing; it calms the mind and the techniques purify or clean the negative content of the mind. When one finishes the course, the person feels clear headed, lighter, calmer and in control. For the more spiritual people, the techniques we teach purify the mind and also deepen Meditation.
The effect and results of Pranayam and the Kriyas
The practices of Pranayam and the kriyas that are taught are not about the body, or the ability to turn, twist or bend the body, instead they are much deeper, about the mind and beyond. The focus is not on the body but instead on the mind, the Prana and beyond.
At the physical level: It is to correct the breathing, to learn to exhale and inhale more effectively to lead us to a better health. Incorrect breathing leads to certain health problems, as well as, certain health problems make us breathe incorrectly. A correction in the breathing affects a positive change in our health.
At the mental, emotional and psychosomatic level: This system helps to gain more insight into our mind, to purify it, to heal it, to make the mind—the feelings and emotions more calm and more under our control, to make the mind more complete. It reduces stress levels and makes the mind more energetic, positive and happy.
At the intellectual level: The mind is more effective as our tool, it is more effective at decision making, more efficient in giving us work output, at giving us deeper insights, better thinking process, clearer logic function and the mind works more efficiently to live and work in this world.
And yet deeper, at the spiritual level: It is actually about working with the prana or the subtle energies, to be able to control and direct these energies, to enable the mind to go into deeper states of meditation, to achieve lasting calm and peace.
The Results: Of the Pranayam and Kriyas depend upon the level at which the individual is. For those who are gifted or have previously practiced some spiritual system, the results are deep and at all the four levels, while for others, they will vary according to the degree of one’s sensitivity, readiness and acceptance.
Pranayam and the Kriyas—their Working:
The typical kriyas of hatha yog are difficult to perform and have many restrictions including dietary restrictions that are quite difficult to follow in the modern world. The kriyas that we teach are ancient but have been selected to fit into the modern lifestyle without causing excessive stress and change in food and other habits, but one does have to uphold the yogic yam’s and niyam’s as with all other systems of Pranayam and yogic techniques.
Originally, in ancient days, as well as in modern times, most masters or Gurus taught pranayam and kriyas often as one exercise or a few together, but never as a course. Based on my experience of practice, of conducting many courses and my understanding of Yog and Pranayam, these many exercises that I was taught by my Gurus, were formatted and designed into a specific course to achieve results. The kriyas were selected to help in making the mind subtle without much effort. In these kriyas, there are certain sounds or causal vibrations that are termed as mantras, such as Om and ham-som that are added to the kriyas to make them subtle, to enter deeper into the mind. All this happens relatively quite effortlessly. There are also a certain number of repetitions, a sequence to the kriyas, certain time parameters and certain breath parameters that help in achieving the desired objectives. All this is explained during the course.
Sitting cross legged
For those people who have difficulty in sitting cross legged, I will say that please do not worry, as the course is designed to help one in sitting in the pose easily. Initially, on the first day there is some pain, but the course is designed to clear that pain, to purify and heal the body, so on following days the pain is reduced and soon one is able to sit in the pose, without much difficulty by the end of the course. The exceptions maybe if one has any previous traumas or broken bones (previous fractures not set properly) or any special condition, then one may find some difficulty in sitting.