Pranayama is also formed by Pranava. Pranava consists of AUM sound. AUM is the first sound of Creation. Inhalation (Puraka), breath retention (Kumbhaka) and exhalation (Recaka) resonate with these three sounds “A”, “U”, “M” consequentially. “A” relates with conscious or waking state, “U” corresponds to subconscious state or dreaming, “M” sorts with unconscious or sleeping state, a deep dreamless sleep. We may try to combine “A”, “U”, “M” sounds with the counting to 16, 64 and 32 accordingly.
- Inhalation is Puraka: sound “A”, 16 counts
- Breath retention is Kumbhaka: sound “U”, 64 counts
- Exhalation is Rechaka: sound “M”, 32 counts
While you are inhaling slowly for 16 counts, bring to your mind sound “A” and repeat it mentally with the counting. With Kumbhaka or breath retention inside your abdomen contemplate on “U” and repeat it for 64 counts. When you are exhaling slowly repeat mentally “M” for 32 counts.
The ideal ratio which is given in Upanishads is 16:64:32. However, one should not stress oneself and proportion can be changed for one’s comfort like 4:16:8. The main thing is that the process of breathing in, breath retention and breathing out should go like a constant flow. When we have finished one half-set expelling the air through the right nostril, we start again breathing in with the right nostril (part 1). Performing Pranayama with Pranava we awake all three states (conscious, subconscious, and unconscious) alternately, while sliding smoothly from one to another. When the sound AUM vibrates through our states, it purifies us, whilst emancipating and uprooting the “seeds of karma” those are buried in the deepest layers of our consciousness.
In the very beginning of Pranayama concentrate on nose tip before your breath becomes slow and rhythmic. While breathing in you fill up your belly with the vital air and it becomes like a balloon. Concentrating at your navel center you may feel some inner pleasant warmth and may contemplate on fire element. When you slowly expel the air, you feel like your balloon is blowing off.
After assiduous Pranayama for 15-30 minutes per day one may feel rejuvenated like after a good sleep, and that is because one has been drinking prana (elixir of life) all this time along with the vital air. Fatigue and bad health are caused by impurities of our nadis that are also caused by low pranic energy.
While practicing Pranayama we even the breath flow in both nostrils, which regulates our Ida and Pingala nadis, and the right and left hemispheres of the brain also. Regular pranayama not only ward off an illness, it has a possibility to purify our mind and as Upanishads say “the inner light is established there”.