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Pranayama as per The Hatha Yoga Pradipika

The Hatha Yoga Pradipika written by Svami Svatmarama, a disciple of Svami Gorakhnath in the 15th Century CE is the earliest text on Hatha Yoga.Here is also the earliest and undiluted or unmodified version of the Pranayama, the yogic exercise practised by millions all over the world. This masterpiece work gives one a glimpse into what the original pranayama was like.

Hatha Yoga Pradipika,pranayama translated by Pancham Sinh
Posture becoming established, a Yogî, master of himself, eating salutary and moderate food, should practise Prânâyâma, as instructed by his guru1.

Respiration being disturbed, the mind becomes disturbed. By restraining respiration, the Yogî gets steadiness of mind 2.

So long as the (breathing) air stays in the body, it is called life. Death consists in the passing out of the (breathing) air. It is, therefore, necessary to restrain the breath. 3.

The breath does not pass through the middle channel (susmnâ), owing to the impurities of the nâdîs. How can then success be attained, and how can there be the unmanî avasthâ. 4.

When the whole system of nâdîs which is full of impurities, is cleaned, then the Yogî becomes able to control the Prâna. 5.

Therefore, Prânâyâma should be performed daily with sâtwika buddhi (intellect free from raja and tama or activity and sloth), in order to drive out the impurities of the susmnâ. 6.

Method of performing Prânâyâma.Sitting in the Padmâsana posture the Yogî should fill in the air through the left nostril (closing the right one); and, keeping it confined according to one's ability, it should be expelled slowly through the sûrya (right nostril). Then, drawing in the air through the sûrya (right nostril) slowly, the belly should be filled, and after performing Kumbhaka as before, it should be expelled slowly through the chandra (left nostril). 7 and 8.

Inhaling thus through the one, through which it was expelled, and having restrained it there, till possible, it should be exhaled through the other, slowly and not forcibly. 9.

If the air be inhaled through the left nostril, it should be expelled again through the other, and filling it through the right nostril, confining it there, it should be expelled through the left nostril. By practising in this way, through the right and the left nostrils alternately, the whole of the collection of the nâdîs of the yamîs (practisers) becomes clean, i.e., free from impurities, after 3 months and over. 10.

Kumbhakas should be performed gradually 4 times during day and night, i.e., (morning, noon, evening and midnight), till the number of Kumbhakas for one time is 80 and for day and night together it is 320. 11.

In the beginning there is perspiration, in the middle stage there is quivering, and in the last or the 3rd stage one obtains steadiness; and then the breath should be made steady or motionless. 12.

The perspiration exuding from exertion of practice should be rubbed into the body (and not wiped), as by so doing the body becomes strong. 13.

During the first stage of practice the food consisting of milk and ghee is wholesome. When the practice becomes established, no such restriction is necessary. 14.

Just as lions, elephants and tigers are controlled by and by, so the breath is controlled by slow degrees, otherwise (i.e., by being hasty or using too much force) it kills the practiser himself. 15.

When Prâṇayama, etc., are performed properly, they eradicate all diseases; but an improper practice generates diseases. 16.

Hiccough, asthma, cough, pain in the head, the ears, and the eyes; these and other various kinds of diseases are generated by the disturbance of the breath. 17.

The air should be expelled with proper tact and should be filled in skilfully; and when it has been kept confined properly it brings success. 18.

NḄ.—The above caution is necessary to warn the aspirants against omitting any instruction; and, in their zeal to gain success or siddhis early, to begin the practice, either by using too much force in filling in, confining and expelling the air, or by omitting any instructions, it may cause unnecessary pressure on their ears, eyes, &c„ and cause pain. Every word in the instructions is full of meaning and is necessarily used in the slokas, and should be followed very carefully and with due attention. Thus there will be nothing to fear whatsoever. We are inhaling and exhaling the air throughout our lives without any sort of danger, and Prâṇayama being only a regular form of it, there should be no cause to fear.

When the nâdîs become free from impurities, and there appear the outward signs of success, such as lean body and glowing colour, then one should feel certain of success. 19.

By removing the impurities, the air can be restrained, according to one's wish and the appetite is increased, the divine sound is awakened, and the body becomes healthy. 20.

If there be excess of fat or phlegm in the body, the six kinds of kriyâs (duties) should be performed first. But others, not suffering from the excess of these, should not perform them. 21.

The six kinds of duties are: Dhauti, Basti, Neti, Trâtaka, Nauti and Kapâla Bhâti. These are called the six actions वटूकमि 22.

These six kinds of actions which cleanse the body should be kept secret. They produce extraordinary attributes and are performed with earnestness by the best of Yogîs. 23.

The Dhauti (धौति)A strip of cloth, about 3 inches wide and 15 cubits long, is pushed in (swallowed), when moist with warm water, through the passage shown by the guru, and is taken out again. This is called Dhauti Karma. 24.

NḄ.—The strip should be moistened with a little warm water, and the end should be held with the teeth. It is swallowed slowly, little by little; thus, first day 1 cubit, 2nd day 2 cubits, 3rd day 3 cubits, and so on. After swallowing it the stomach should be given a good, round motion from left to right, and then it should be taken out slowly and gently.

There is no doubt, that cough, asthma, enlargement of the spleen, leprosy, and 20 kinds of diseases born of phlegm, disappear by the practice of Dhauti Karma. 25.

The Basti (बस्तिकर्म)
Squatting in navel-deep water, and introducing a six inches long, smooth piece of ½ an inch diameter pipe, open at both ends, half inside the anus; it (anus) should he drawn up (contracted) and then expelled. This washing is called the Basti Karma. 26.

By practising this Basti Karma, colic, enlarged spleen, and dropsy, arising from the disorders of Vâta (air), pitta (bile) and kapha (phlegm), are all cured. 27.

By practising Basti with water, the Dhâtâs, the Indriyas and the mind become calm. It gives glow and tone to the body and increases the appetite. All the disorders disappear. 28.

The Neti (नेति).A cord made of threads and about six inches long, should be passed through the passage of the nose and the end taken out in the mouth. This is called by adepts the Neti Karma. 29.

The Neti is the cleaner of the brain and giver of divine sight. It soon destroys all the diseases of the cervical and scapular regions. 30.

The Trâtaka (तराटक).Being calm, one should gaze steadily at a small mark, till eyes are filled with tears. This is called Trataka by âchâryas. 31.

Trâtaka destroys the eye diseases and removes sloth, etc. It should be kept secret very carefully, like a box of jewellery. 32.

The Nauli (नौलि).
Sitting on the toes with heels raised above the ground, and the palms resting on the ground, and in this bent posture the belly is moved forcibly from left to right just, as in vomiting. This is called by adepts the Nauli Karma. 33.

It removes dyspepsia, increases appetite and digestion, and is like the goddess of creation, and causes happiness. It dries up all the disorders. This Nauli is an excellent exercise in Hatha Yoga. 34.

The Kapâla Bhâti कपाल भाति.When inhalation and exhalation are performed very quickly, like a pair of bellows of a blacksmith, it dries up all the disorders from the excess of phlegm, and is known as Kapâla Bhâti. 35.

When Prâṇâyâma is performed after getting rid of obesity born of the defects phlegm, by the performance of the six duties, it easily brings success 36.

Some âchâryâs (teachers) do not advocate any other practice, being of opinion that all the impurities are dried up by the practice of Prânâyâma. 37.

Gaja Karaṇi (गजकरणी)By carrying the Apâna Vâyû up to the throat, the food, etc., in the stomach are vomited. By degrees, the system of Nâdîs (Śankhinî) becomes known. This is called in Haṭha as Gaja Karai. 38.

Brahmâ, and other Devas were always engaged in the exercise of Prâṇâyâma, and, by means of it, got rid of the fear of death. Therefore, one should practise prâṇâyâma regularly. 39.

So long as the breath is restrained in the body, so long as the mind is undisturbed, and so long as the gaze is fixed between the eyebrows, there is no fear from Death. 40.

When the system of Nâdis becomes clear of the impurities by properly controlling the prâṇa, then the air, piercing the entrance of the Suśumṇâ, enters it easily. 41.

Manomanî. (मनोन्मनी)Steadiness of mind comes when the air moves Freely in the middle. That is the manonmanî (मनोन्मनी) condition, which is attained when the mind becomes calm. 42.

To accomplish it, various Kumbhakas are performed by those who are expert in the methods; for, by the practice of different Kumbhakas, wonderful success is attained. 43

Different kinds of Kumbhakas.
Kumbhakas are of eight kinds, viz., Sûrya Bhedan, Ujjâyî, Sîtkarî, Sîtalî, Bhastrikâ, Bhrâmarî, Mûrchhâ, and Plâvinî. 44

At the end of Pûraka, Jâlandhara Bandha should be performed, and at the end of Kumbhaka, and at the beginning of Rechaka, Uddiyâna Bandha should be performed. 45

NḄ.—Pûraka is filling in of the air from outside.

Kumbhaka is the keeping the air confined inside. Rechaka is expelling the confined air. The instructions for Puraka, Kumbhaka and Rechaka will be found at their proper place and should he carefully followed.

By drawing up from below (Mûla Bandha) and contracting the throat (Jâlandhara Bandha) and by pulling back the middle of the front portion of the body (i.e., belly), the Prâṇa goes to the Brahma Nâdî (Suṣumnâ). 46

The middle hole, through the vertebral column, through which the spinal cord passes, is called the Suṣumnâ Nâdî of the Yogîs. The two other sympathetic cords, one on each aide of the spinal cord, are called the Idâ and the Pingalâ Nâdîs. These will be described later on.

By pulling up the Apâna Vâyu and by forcing the Prâṇa Vâyu down the throat, the Yogî, liberated from old age, becomes young, as it were 16 years old. 47

Note.— The seat of the Prâṇa is the heart; of the Apâna anus; of the Samâna the region about the navel; of the Udâna the throat; while the Vyâna moves throughout the body.

Sûrya Bhedana (सूर्य भेदन).Taking any comfortable posture and performing the âsana, the Yogî should draw in the air slowly, through the right nostril. 48

Then it should be confined within, so that it fills from the nails to the tips of the hair, and then let out through the left nostril slowly. 49

Note.—This is to be done alternately with both the nostrils, drawing in through the one, expelling through the other, and vice versa.

This excellent Sûrya Bhedana cleanses the forehead (frontal sinuses), destroys the disorders of Vâta, and removes the worms, and, therefore, it should be performed again and again. 50

Note.—Translation: I am going to describe the procedure of the practice of Yoga, in order that Yogîs may succeed. A wise man should leave his bed in the Uṣâ Kâla (i.e., at the peep of dawn or 4 o'clock) in the morning. 1.

Remembering his guru over his head, and his desired deity in his heart, after answering the calls of nature, and cleaning his mouth, he should apply Bhaṣma (ashes). 2.

In a clean spot, clean room and charming ground, he should spread a soft âsana (cloth for sitting on). Having seated on it and remembering, in his mind his guru and his God. 3.

Having extolled the place and the time and taking up the vow thus: 'To day by the grace of God, I will perform Prâṇâyâmas with âsanas for gaining samâdhi (trance) and its fruits.' He should salute the infinite Deva, Lord of the Nâgas, to ensure success in the âsanas (postures). 4.

Salutation to the Lord of the Nâgas, who is adorned with thousands of heads, set with brilliant jewels (maṇis), and who has sustained the whole universe, nourishes it, and is infinite. After this he should begin his exercise of âsanas and when fatigued, he should practise Śava âsana. Should there be no fatigue, he should not practise it. 5.

Before Kumbhaka, he should perform Viparîta Karṇî mudrâ, in order that he may be able to perform Jâlandhar bandha comfortably. 6.

Sipping a little water, he should begin the exercise of Prâṇâyâma, after saluting Yogindras, as described in the Karma Parana, in the words of Śiva. 7.

Such as "Saluting Yogindras and their disciples and gurû Vinâyaka, the Yogî should unite with me with composed mind." 8.

While practising, he should sit with Siddhâsana, and having performed bandha and Kumbhaka, should begin with 10 Prâṇâyâmas the first day, and go on increasing 5 daily. 9.

With composed mind 80 Kumbhakas should be performed at a time; beginning first with the chandra (the left nostril) and then sûrya (the right nostril). 10.

This has been spoken of by wise men as Aṇuloma and Viloma. Having practised Sûrya Bhedan, with Bandhas, the wise rust) should practise Ujjâyî and then Sîtkârî Śîtalî, and Bhastrikâ, he may practice others or not. 11-12.

He should practise mudrâs properly, as instructed by his guru. Then sitting with Padmâsana, he should hear anâhata nâda attentively. 13.

He should resign the fruits of all his practice reverently to God, and, on rising on the completion of the practice, a warm bath should be taken. 14.

The bath should bring all the daily duties briefly to an end. At noon also a little rest should be taken at the end of the exercise, and then food should be taken. 15.

Yogîs should always take wholesome food and never anything unwholesome. After dinner he should eat Ilâchî or lavanga. 16.

Some like camphor, and betel leaf. To the Yogîs, practising Prâṇâyâma, betel leaf without powders, i, e., lime, nuts and kâtha, is beneficial. 17.

After taking food he should read books treating of salvation, or hear Purâṇas and repeat the name of God. 18.

In the evening the exercise should be begun after finishing sandyhâ, as before, beginning the practice 3 ghatikâ or one hour before the sun sets. 19.

Evening sandhyâ should always be performed after practice, and Hatha Yoga should be practised at midnight. 20.

Viparîta Karṇi is to be practised in the evening and at midnight, and not just after eating, as it does no good at this time. 21.

Ujjâyî (उज्जायी)Having closed the opening of the Nâdî(Larynx), the air should be drawn in such a way that it goes touching from the throat to the chest, and making noise while passing. 51.

It should be restrained, as before, and then let out through Idâ (the left nostril). This removes ślesmâ (phlegm) in the throat and increases the appetite. 52.

It destroys the defects of the nâdîs, dropsy and disorders of Dhâtu (humours). Ujjâyî should be performed in all conditions of life, even while walking or sitting. 53.

Sîtkârî (सीत्कारी)
Sîtkârî is performed by drawing in the air through the mouth, keeping the tongue between the lips. The air thus drawn in should not be expelled through the mouth. By practising in this way, one becomes next to the God of Love in beauty. 54.

He is regarded adorable by the Yoginîs and becomes the destroyer of the cycle of creation, He is not afflicted with hunger, thirst, sleep or lassitude. 55.

The Satwa of his body becomes free from all the disturbances. In truth, he becomes the lord of the Yogîs in this world. 56.

Śîtalî (शीतली)
As in the above (Sîtkári), the tongue to be protruded a little out of the lips, when the air is drawn in. It is kept confined, as before, and then expelled slowly through the nostrils. 57.

This Śîtalî kumbhikâ cures colic, (enlarged) spleen, fever, disorders of bile, hunger, thirst, and counteracts poisons. 58.

The Bhastrikâ (भस्त्रिका)
The Padma Âsana consists in crossing the feet and placing them on both the thighs; it is the destroyer of all sins. 59.

Binding the Padma-Âsana and keeping the body straight, closing the mouth carefully, let the air be expelled through the nose. 60.

It should be filled up to the lotus of the heart, by drawing it in with force, making noise and touching the throat, the chest and the head. 61.

It should he expelled again and filled again and again as before, just as a pair of bellows of the blacksmith is worked. 62.

In the same way, the air of the body should be moved intelligently, filling it through Sûrya when fatigue is experienced. 63.

The air should be drawn in through the right nostril by pressing the thumb against the left side of the nose, so as to close the left nostril; and when filled to the full, it should be closed with the fourth finger (the one next to the little finger) and kept confined. 64.

Having confined it properly, it should be expelled through the Idâ (left nostril). This destroys Vâta, pitta (bile) and phlegm and increases the digestive power (the gastric fire). 65.

It quickly awakens the Kundalinî, purifies the system, gives pleasure, and is beneficial. It destroys phlegm and the impurities accumulated at the entrance of the Brahma Nâdî. 66.

This Bhastrikâ should be performed plentifully, for it breaks the three knots: Brahma granthi (in the chest), Visnu granthi (in the throat), and Rudra granthi (between the eyebrows) of the body. 67.

The Bhrâmari (भरामरी)
By filling the air with force, making noise like Bhringi (wasp), and expelling it slowly, making noise in the same way; this practice causes a sort of ecstacy in the minds of Yogîndras. 68.

The Mûrchhâ (मूर्छा).Closing the passages with Jâlandhar Bandha firmly at the end of Pûraka, and expelling the air slowly, is called Mûrchhâ, from its causing the mind to swoon and giving comfort. 69.

The Plâvinî (पलाविनी).When the belly is filled with air and the inside of the body is filled to its utmost with air, the body floats on the deepest water, like the leaf of a lotus. 70.

Considering Pûraka (Filling), Rechaka (expelling) and Kumbhaka (confining), Prâṇâyâma is of three kinds, but considering it accompanied by Pûraka and Rechaka, and without these, it is of two kinds only, i.e., Sahita (with) and Kevala (alone). 71.

Exercise in Sahita should be continued till success in Kevala is gained. This latter is simply confining the air with ease, without Rechaka and Pûraka. 72.

In the practice of Kevala Prâṇâyâma when it can be performed successfully without Rechaka and Pûraka, then it is called Kevala Kumbhaka.

There is nothing in the three worlds which may be difficult to obtain for him who is able to keep the air confined according to pleasure, by means of Kevala Kumbhaka. 74.

He obtains the position of Râja Yoga undoubtedly. Kundalinî awakens by Kumbhaka, and by its awakening, Suṣumnâ becomes free from impurities. 75.

No success in Râja Yoga without Hatha Yoga, and no success in Hatha Yoga without Râja Yoga. One should, therefore, practise both of these well, till complete success is gained. 76.

On the completion of Kumbhaka, the mind should be given rest. By practising in this way one is raised to the position of (succeeds in getting) Râja Yoga. 77.

Indications of success in the practice of Hatha Yoga.When the body becomes lean, the face glows with delight, Anâhatanâda manifests, and eyes are clear, body is healthy, bindu under control, and appetite increases, then one should know that the Nâdîs are purified and success in Hatha Yoga is approaching. 78.
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