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Advanced Yoga Study ( By Swami Dharmananda
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Chapter - 3

Hatha Yoga

The word ‘Hatha' is a combination of two syllables. ‘Ha' stands for right nostril breathing and energy flow in the Pingala nadi. ‘Tha' stands for the left nostril breathing and energy flow in the Ida nadi. Generally the flow of breath is free in one nostril and partially blocked in the other. After every one and a half hour the flow changes over and the nostril that is blocked becomes free and the free gets blocked. This change in the flow of the nostril is natural and should takes place every one and a half to two hours. If this change do not take place regularly because of congestion or blockages due to cold or any othe reason then ailments occur. Hatha Yoga maintains this balanced flow. When the left nostril is active that time mental work like reading ,writing should be done. When the right nostril is active that time physical labor is done more effectively. When the flow changes from one nostril to the other that time there is a period of four minutes when the breath flows equally through both the nostrils. That period is conducive to meditation.
Hatha Yoga is the science of equalizing, balancing, reducing and finally learning to stop the flow of breath in the nostrils for as long as possible. Equalizing the breath implies that the inhalation and the exhalation should be of equal duration. Balancing means the flow of breath must alternate correctly. We normally breath at the rate of 15 to 18 breaths per minute. By proper asanas and pranayamas this rate is reduced. When the breathing rate slows down then all the mental activities also slow down resulting in rest and relaxation to the mind which prepares the mind for deep meditation. During deep meditation or after intense pranayama exercise the breath stops for some time . It neither flows in nor flows out for some time. During this period the mind gets the greatest relaxation. By gradual practice this period should be extended. Breathlessness leads to thoughtlessness which in turn leads to higher awareness and higher states of consciousness.


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