Wednesday, June 1, 2011

IV: 29

Chapter 4, Verse 29

"Others, intent on control of their life-force,
Regulate inhalations and exhalations
And thus gain mastery.
The flow of their breath becomes peaceful."

Paramahansa Yogananda:

"All of creation is a manifestation of force. Everything that was, is, or shall be is nothing but the different modes of expression of this universal force. Universal Prana is the immanent energy or force which is derived from the infinite spirit and which permeates and sustains the universe.

In the human body, Prana utilizes mechanical force to pump blood, to move food along the digestive tract, to flex muscles, etc. It uses chemical force to digest food, to purify blood, to prepare bile, etc. There is a wonderful connection and cooperation among the cells in all parts of the body. Prana rules this organization. It is the superintending, coordinating, building and restorative power in the body.

There are two main currents in the human body. One flows from the head downwards to the base of the spine, where it distributes itself to the sensory and motor nerves. The other main current flows upwards from the base of the spine to the head. The nature of this life-current is peaceful. It withdraws inwardly the student's attention during sleep and in the waking state, and in meditation unites the soul with spirit. As the vibrancy of the cells, tissues and nerves get worn down by motor activity and sense-perceptive operations, the upward-flowing current recharges them and keeps them vitalized. The physiology of this exchange is intimately involved with the breath.

By the concentrated practice of breath-control (Pranayama), the Yogi recharges the blood and cells with life-energy that has been distilled from the breath and reinforced with the pure, spiritualizing life-force in the spine and head, quieting the breath and quickening conscious life-force mastery. The mystery of the breath holds the key to the secret of human existence.

Breath, lungs and heart slow down in sleep but are not completely stilled. By Pranayama, the breath is gradually quieted and movements in the lung and body stilled. When motion leaves the entire body, owing to the lack of agitation occasioned by complete physical and mental stillness, venous blood ceases to accumulate. Venous blood is ordinarily pumped by the heart into the lungs for purification. Freed from this constant work of blood purification, the heart and lungs quiet down. Breath ceases to go in and out of the lungs by the mechanical action of the diaphragm.

When the pulsating life of the heart-pump becomes quiet, owing to the non-pumping of the venous blood, exhalation and inhalation are no longer needed. The life-force, which was dissipated in cellular, nervous, respiratory and heart action, withdraws from the external senses and unites with the current in the spine. Life-force withdrawn from the senses becomes steadily concentrated within. Spirit and its cosmic light stand revealed."

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