Why to wake up early in the morning? – 2

We will now explore this question with our breath (Prana), its location and the time of the day pattern. The breath changes its location-based on time of the day as shown below. It is important here to note that time of the day being given in ancient scripture the start time always corresponds with sunrise. Since Sunrise may vary from location to location, the breath location and its time would also vary accordingly. The start of the day is Sunrise is ancient calendars and not midnight like we have in the Gregorian calendar. This is more aligned with nature since the start of the day signifies a change in the nature (such as sunrise). Please consider 6 am as the sunrise time in the chart below.

Prana and Chakra Timetable

If we add all the breath counts, it will add up to 21600 for the entire day. The breath stays at Ajna and Sahasrara from 3.47am to 6.00am. Ajna and Sahasrara are the center for meditation and are chakras which control higher consciousness in an individual. These centers are energized and the Prana is seated in these chakras between 4am to 6am. This is why Brahma Muhurtam is the right time for meditative practices. One more thing note here is the start of New Year like Uttarayan (Jan 15th) or start of every season (there are 6 seasons in a year as per Indian calendar) or time of the day or day of the week everything is special because of its effect on our breath and nothing else. These are just a remainders set about ancient forefathers to make us more aware.

As very famously put by this saying “Vinasakaale Vibhareetha Buddhi”, which means bad times start for an individual with a spoilt mind. Nature has an uncanny way of influencing our mind based on our Karma so that we do either good or bad things led by our mind. The effect of nature / macrocosm on us is actually on our Buddhi (Intellectual Mind) is very difficult to detect and control but the external signal for the state of our mind is the breath.

Breath within us is both an input ingredient and also an output indicator. When we control the breath as an input ingredient then we can control our mind and hence our health and life. At the same time when our mind is very emotional then breathe which is erratic, heavy and non-rhythmic is an output indicator. Hence by understanding the right way of breath management we can control our fate. This is a secret in ancient yogic system which is not understood by many. In Tamil there is a saying called “விதிைய மதியால் ெவல்லலாம்”. This is wrongly interpreted as “We can win over our fate by using our mind”. But the word மதி means Mind and also Moon. The secret meaning of this saying is if we control the lunar breath then we can win over our death / fate. Hope we all are now more aware about our breath and why we need wake up early in the morning.

Reference

Know thy Nature by Raguram Gopalan, http://ragsgopalan.blogspot.com

Why to wake up early in the morning? -1

In our early ages our parents asked to wake up early saying its good time for studies. In every school of yoga or meditation they say that the idle time for doing mediation is early morning 4am to 6am. But why? First lets explore some of the more common and logical reasons…

Our elders used to give vague answers saying it is “Brahma Muhurtam” or we are fresh after a sleep and the world around us is peaceful and calm. While everything would have its own merit but if we create a very calm, noiseless environment and if we are fresh, can we do meditation all the time with equal efficiency? The answer to this question is NO, we cannot do mediation with equal efficiency at all the time. But can someone answer why? The other question which needs to be answered is why “Brahma Muhurtam” so special that it is the most recommended time slot for meditative practices.

Early morning is called Brahma Muhurtham (Time of Divine), referring to the fact that it has sacred energies for the worship of the Brahman inside you. Brahman here refers to the God-immanent in every being. Muhurtam is a unit of measurement for time in the Indian calendar. A Muhurtam equals 2 Ghadiyas or 48 minutes. Thirty Muhurtams constitute a day and night. Brahma Muhurtham starts 96 minutes before sunrise. It lasts for 48 minutes. Brahma Muhurtam ends 48 minutes before sunrise.

Meditation is a coherent flow of energy and is disturbed by the external atmosphere and other people’s vibrations and thought forms. These things do not affect the meditator during Brahma Muhurtham. At that time, all the people are in deep sleep and nobody will disturb you. The atmosphere is sacred because the vibrations of mind involved in world matters are not emitted from the people since they are in deep sleep. Mind is also a form of energy. Mind disappears in deep sleep. The atmosphere is not polluted by the radiations of worldly feelings. At that time devotees awake and pray God. Their pure mental rays pervade all over the world and make the time sacred. Thus it becomes congenial and encouraging atmosphere.

After sunrise people awake and the materialistic mental radiations are emitted through their physical senses. The atmosphere is polluted. People will disturb you dragging you to materialistic discussions. Even by seeing face, you will be effected. If you see a devotee, you become sacred. The mind and body are inter-related. Since mind is energy and energy is matter, even if you see the body, the mind in that body is emitted out effecting you. Therefore, avoid even the vision of materialistic people, not to say about their touch, conversation and co-living.

After sunrise when we worship God or meditate on the Divine in us, close our eyes to avoid others. But, their mental radiations spread all over the cosmos and are inevitable. It is better to walk in the morning while singing devotional songs. Morning walk is good for health. Apart from this, the mind desires dynamic condition of the body. The body was in static condition all over the night. Mind is always for a change. Satisfy the mind and you should not unnecessarily control the mind when it is not necessary. We will more reasons relevant to our breath tomorrow.

Reference

1. http://www.indiadivine.org/audarya/hinduism-forum/427082-brahma-muhurtham.html
2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muhurt
3. Know thy Nature by Raguram Gopalan, http://ragsgopalan.blogspot.com

Know your rhythm? – 3

Now let’s see what is the use of knowing this rhythm?

When one is diseased then we can notice that this breathing pattern has out of rhythm. Typically the lunar breath would be active during times of illness.

Some yoga schools also recommend some of the following practices for health and wealth…

  • Wake up at 4 am in the morning and for 2 hours ensure that the breath is on the right nostril as per the chart. Remember in our earlier article we saw how to switch the breath from one nostril to another.
  • On every full moon (Pournami) – this is when the new month breaks as per Indian calendar continuously for 48 or 72 hours ensure that your breath is solar and never lunar. They teach us some ways to maintain this too. This helps us to live longer and wealthier.
  • On specific days of the year like 1st of the Aadi (Mid July – Mid August) month, ensure that the entire day your breath is solar and never lunar.

Now we are not going to deep dive on them, but only see a high level view of some of the techniques and tools we still have and can be learnt from the right gurus.

Ensure that your breath is solar for any worldly activity. Even if you are walking you can switch to a solar breath just by holding something like an umbrella or a news paper under your left armpit. These are just few basics listed here to invoke your interest into self learning and you should approach an expert and take guidance before you practice.

But the important points note here are…

  • Breath management is one of the fundamental concepts which we should be aware of.
  • Our traditional way of life is very rich and offers secrets about us and the nature around us, let us be passionate to learn about them and be rational in accepting them.
  • Every being – living or non-living confirms to a rhythm and order. Let’s always be conscious to learn and understand this rhythm and order.

Reference

Know thy Nature by Raguram Gopalan, http://ragsgopalan.blogspot.com

Know your rhythm? – 2

Lunar Cycle (moon’s cycle) alters every 15 days as we know – new moon to full moon and vice versa. The 2 hours rhythm between right and left nostril based on the time of day and day of the week and lunar cycle is given in this chart below. This breathing rhythm is universal and we can check just by placing our back of the palms under the nose and breathe little forcefully.

Breathing Rhythm Table

Breathing Rhythm (Waxing phase, Waning phase of Moon)

Monday, Wednesday and Friday – between 4 am to 6 am the breath is on the left side and it alternates for every 2 hours. Sunday, Tuesday and Saturday – between 4 am to 6 am the breath is on the right side and it alternates for every 2 hours. On Shukla / Waxing Thursday, the breath starts on the left side at 4 am and on the Krishna / Waning Thursday it’s on the right side.

You may not need the chart as it is very simple to find out which nostril is active. Please note that as per the yoga system only one nostril is active any time and not both (most of the times). To add a word of caution that there is a school of thought which states that the breath alternates every one hour and not two as mentioned above and the reference point is 6am and not 4 am (considering it as the sunrise

Following are the suggestions…

  • Please ignore the exact timings for the time being since it is more important to understand that there is a rhythm. Both the schools of thought don’t deny this and agree very much that there is a rhythm. Also the cut over from one nostril to another is not smooth. To know your breath now just blow a little forcefully on the back of your palm.
  • Go with what your yoga guru tells you or listen to what the ultimate Guru in your heart tells you.
  • We shall see the importance of 4 am to 6 am time slot in detail later.

The basic of pranayama is all about symmetric breathing pattern and restore the imbalance if any. The beauty about our system of knowledge is that we always saw a rhythm / order governing every aspect of nature and this was linked to the primordial rhythm.

Reference

Know thy Nature by Raguram Gopalan, http://ragsgopalan.blogspot.com

Know your rhythm? – 1

Everything in this universe is subject to a rhythm. This rhythm in every being is linked to the primordial rhythm of the universe. When the universe is formed it is told there are five things which are linked to primordial rhythm.

  • Vibration of the Space (விண்ணும்)
  • Vibration of the Earth (மண்ணும்)
  • Vibration of the Letters (Music) (பண்ணும்)
  • Vibration of the Eyes (Eyelids) (கண்ணும்)
  • Vibration of the Mind (Thoughts) (எண்ணம்)

It is also told that whoever can control any one of these, can control over the elements. Since the first two are beyond the control of an individual it is always told that if you control the vibration of Letters (Words, Music, Mantras – Sound) or the vibration of Eyes (Eyelids – Light) or the vibration of the Mind (Thoughts), then you can gain control over the elements. Most of the meditative techniques revolve around these aspects.

Vibration of mind can be controlled through the breath control techniques and the vibration of eyelid is controlled through meditation on light. Let’s understand that if we want to control our breath then we should know its rhythm. So lets explore more about our breathing rhythm now. So far we have seen that breath has an overall count, it has a periodicity and there are 2 important types of breathe viz. Solar and Lunar.

Let us understand how a rhythm is established in nature between the 2 types of breath and the time of the day and more importantly with the positions of the sun and moon. Most of us are not aware that our breath has a very rhythmic pattern unless it is disturbed by a physical activity or emotion and management of this rhythm has been linked to physical well-being, mental health, wealth, long life, spirituality etc.

The breathing rhythm within us is as follows…

  • This right and left breath alternates every 2 hours between the nostrils depending on the time of the day and day of the week and linked closely to the Sun and moon cycles. This is the rhythm we need to be aware of.
  • Lunar Cycle (moon’s cycle) alters every 15 days as we know – new moon to full moon and vice versa. The period when the moon is growing / waxing / between new moon to full moon is called as Shukla Paksha (in Indian Calendar). Shukla means white. Obviously the other 15 days is called as Krishna Paksha which means black / dark.
  • The 2 hours rhythm between right and left nostril based on the time of day and day of the week and lunar cycle is given in this chart below. This breathing rhythm is universal and we can check just by placing our back of the palms under the nose and breathe little forcefully. We will see more details on this tomorrow.

Reference

Know thy Nature by Raguram Gopalan, http://ragsgopalan.blogspot.com

Solar (Right) and Lunar (Left) Breath – 4

Balanced breathe are of 2 types…

First category is when the breath flows balanced in both the nostrils. This typically happens during dawn and dusk which is when the consciousness switches over based on daily rhythm. Elders prohibit us from doing any worldly activities when the breath flows equally through both the nostrils, this spells disaster. We notice some gurus tell people to balance the breath in both nostrils throughout the day which not right.

The second category of balanced breath is there is no noticeable breathe at all because of deep meditative state. Now breathe is stationed in Ajna chakra or the eyebrow point. During this stage the sub-conscious mind is active and any thought / act during this stage becomes energized and powerful. It is recommended to maintain this state during our worldly life too which is easier said than done.

As per Sage Agasthiyar in his “Saranool Sastram” he says the following activities can be done when the left breath is active:

  • Wear new clothes, Jewels, giving employment, construction of wells and ponds, marriage, buy houses or take possession / occupy new house.
  • Selling things, interface with government officials, meditation, learn arts etc.
  • If you are travelling South or west direction then a lunar breath is good.

As per Sage Agasthiyar in his “Saranool Sastram”, he says the following activities can be done when the right breath is active:

  • Teaching, fighting, agriculture, any heavy work, taking medication, sleeping, taking bath etc.
  • If you are travelling East or North direction then a solar breath is good.

In short as per our understanding, all physical activities in worldly life should be performed when the right nostril is active. If you have poor appetite, feeling very cold because of weather try switching over to right nostril. A male’s magnetism increases with right nostril breathing and the female’s magnetism increases with her left nostril breathing. Equal breath through both nostrils and left nostril based breathing is recommended only for meditative purposes. Please note some who do Pranayamam during Sandyavandanam, do only left nostril based breathing. This is a very special breathing technique.

When you sleep in the night it is preferable to sleep turning to your left. Though we don’t have any control after we slept, but consciously training ourselves helps us with healthy life.This not only helps digestion but also is the best breath management possible while sleeping.

So to sum up, we saw that we are endowed with a natural breath count and also we have seen 2 important types of breath in our 3 nadis. It is told that the right side / solar breathing is very critical for healthy and long life and we have many examples of yogis and rishis living for many many years using these techniques. The choice is left to us if we want to accept and benefit from these techniques or not. Next week, we will look at what is the breathing rhythm which nature has endowed us and how should we manage this.

Reference

Know thy Nature by Raguram Gopalan, http://ragsgopalan.blogspot.com

Solar (Right) and Lunar (Left) Breath – 3

Now look at the picture of Lord Shiva as the Supreme Yogi depicting to be holding a staff as a support to his left hand. Not just Shiva any yogi doing meditation or not would always have his staff supporting his left hand and not right hand. Can you answer why?

Shiva with Staff on Left

Lord Siva

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[Lord Shiva in a meditative pose with a supporting staff in the left hand]

Let’s see the answer for this question. When you want to breathe for long and healthy life you should breathe through your right nostril. The easiest way to breathe through your right nostril is to close the left nostril or more easily press the left side of the body slightly. This can be done by leaning to the left even while sitting in a chair or by pressing the left hand on to a staff. This is what is depicted in the image of Shiva.

Any yogi would be leaning to his left or supporting his left hand with a staff or standing on his left leg highlights that he is doing effective breath management to live longer.This staff used by the yogis is called as “Vaasi Dhand”, Vaa+si means a combination of Air and Fire which is our breath. This staff is pressed against specific points in hand or armpits.

Swamiji

[Cuddapah Swami Sachidananda Yogeeswar]

  • The quickest way to change the breathing from one right to left nostril is to sit like the Swamiji as shown above. If you want to switch from left to right then change the pose to left side with the left hand pressed on the ground.
  • If you or your kids have a blockage of any nostril say right nostril is blocked, please turn to your left and sleep and you would notice that the blockage is cleared within seconds. There is no need for medication like saline and nasal drops.

Simple Do’s and Dont’s

  • If you are diseased (even headaches, running low on energy) you may want to note that you may be breathing through your left nostril and not right. Try switching the breath over for a doctor-less, self-administered relief. Please note that this is not cure since the root cause is not addressed for a disease.
  • Right side breathing increases the overall heat in the body and hence requires some bodily thermodynamics. It’s very important that you take the advice of a qualified yoga guru / Siddha doctor.

Reference

Know thy Nature by Raguram Gopalan, http://ragsgopalan.blogspot.com