No one disputes the simplicity of the techniques for practicing the different pranayam which Swami Ramdev Ji Maharaj has evolved and has been teaching to the common man in India. One finds the methods taught by Swami ji very simple because any lay man can pick up and follow. It is the simplicity in the technique that is making Pranayam a part of life to common people.
Pranayam were there in Text Books for long time but, the common man in India had access to it because the techniques for practicing them were very complex. There were also some words of caution attached to such instructions, as “any deviation from the practicing technique would cause immense harm to a person”. This gave birth to an idea that Pranayam should never be attempted or to be practiced individually and should only be practiced in the guidance and vigil of a trained Yog Teacher.
Such rigid rules, complexity in practicing techniques and above all the caution that, any deviation in the practicing techniques would cause immense harm to the person, took Pranayam far away from common man and was finally lost and buried. No one dared to practice such an art which would cause harm to them if there is even a slightest deviation in the technique.
Swami ji has done a tremendous job in breaking this concept of fear in common people about the harm caused by Pranayam. He has devised simple techniques for practicing the Pranayam which are very easily picked up by any common man just by watching the T.V. Swami ji has also assured the common people that Pranayam can never cause harm to any person attempting to practice individually.
Swami ji has exhumed the Indian ancestral science of Pranayam from the grave of darkness, fear and monopoly of a few and presented it in its simplest form for the welfare of the mankind.
Swami ji has removed the veil of darkness and the mystery of Pranayam is unfolding itself to the common man in India. People have suffered a lot from various diseases and some had also embraced death although this magic science of Pranayam existed in India which was confined only to some Text Books and it’s techniques and best known to their authors. They never targeted the welfare of common people.
The Pranayam as taught by Swami Ramdevji Maharaj consists of the following seven breathing exercises in sequence.
1. Bhastrika Pranayam
2. Kapalbhati Pranayam
3. Bahaya Pranayam
4. Anulom Vilom Pranayam
5. Bhramri Pranayam
6. Udgeeth Pranayam
7. Concentration on Breathing (Meditation)
In addition, he also advises Agnisaar after Kapalbhati Pranayam to all particularly those who are incapable of performing Bhahaya Pranayam because of several reasons including poor health.
How Pranayam Works?
Pran is the creation of Brahma (God), the supreme being. The inherent quality of Pran is “Motion”. This quality of Pran is felt and experienced in Vayu (Air), which is always in motion. The human body is composed five elements 1. Akasha (space of vacuity) 2. Vaya (air), 3. Agni (fire), 4. Jala (water) and 5. Prithvi (earth). From amongst these five elements, Vaya or Air is said to be the essential element, which keeps the body alive and maintains it. This air, when inspired in the body by the process of breathing is called pran.
Pran enters the body through the nostrils. Respiration maintains life and is the basis of Pranayam. According to Yogdarshan:
tasmin sati shvasaprashvasa yorgatirvicchedah pranayamah
It has been said that when you sit in one of the convenient posture (Asan) and regulate the act of respiration, it is Pranayam. The act of inhaling air in the body so as to reach the lungs, is called inspiration and the act of throwing the air out of the body, is called expiration. When we inhale, it is not only the air or oxygen that enters our body, but alongwith the air also enters a divine energy which keeps the body alive.
Doing Pranayam does not mean Only taking the air in the body (inhalation) and throwing it out (exhalation), but alongwith oxygen, we also take in our body the Vital Energy. This Vital Energy permeates the entire Universe and what we inhale and exhale is the fragment of it.
As Manu Maharaj is of the opinion that Pranayam clears in the entire body (internal and external including, veins and arbitrates) providing it with essential food, energy, oxygen and gentle massage. Not only that the veins collect the dross elements from the body, take them to heart and then to the lungs, which throws the useless material like carbon-dioxide and other fatal toxins out of the body through the act of exhalation.
Medically speaking, our body is fallen victim to various diseases because of stress hormones and lack of secretion of good hormones. Practice of Pranayam in the modern time entails a body mechanism to secrete optimum good hormones and check the secretion of stress hormones which in turn succeed to cure lethal diseases like Diabetes, H.B.P., angina, blockages in arteries, obesity, asthma, bronchitis, leucoderma, depression, parkinson, insomnia, migraine, thyroid, arthritis, cervical spondylitis, hepatitis, chronic renal failure, cancer, cirrhosis of liver, gas, constipation, acidity etc.
Spiritually speaking, with the support of respiration that the mind peers into the inner world and enables the Sadhak (Practitioner) to experience divinity. Saints and sages of ancient times formulated different methods of Pranayam.
The question that arises is what is the spiritual benefit that can be derived from practice of Pranayam. Maharishi Patanjali says:
tatah kshiyate prakashavaran
– Yogdarshan 2.52
That on acquiring proficiency in the Pranayam, Chitta becomes free from ignorance, mind is covered by radiant-light of knowledge of ultimate reality.