(Source: The Science of Psychic Healing by Yogi Ramacharaka, 1906, Chapter VIII)
PRANIC Breathing plays a very important part in Pranic Healing. It is the means or method whereby the supply of Prana is increased, and whereby it may be distributed to the affected parts.
Pranic breathing is based upon the unceasing vibration which is always in evidence throughout all nature. Everything is in constant vibration. There is no rest in the Universe. From planet to atom, everything is in motion and vibration. If even a tiny atom would cease to vibrate the balance of Nature would be disturbed. In and through incessant vibration the work of the Universe is performed. Force of Energy is constantly playing upon Matter, and producing the phenomena of life.
The atoms of the human body are in a state of constant vibration. Vibration and motion is everywhere in evidence in the human economy. The cells of the body are constantly to be destroyed, replaced, and changed. Change, change everywhere and always.
Rhythm pervades the universe. Everything from the greatest sum to the tiniest atom is in vibration, and has its own particular rate of vibration. The circling of the planets around the sun; and rise and fall of the sea; the beating of the heart; he ebb and flow of the tide; all follow rhythmic laws. All growth and change is in evidence of this law.
Our bodies are subject to this law, as well as are all other forms of matter. And upon an understanding of this law of rhythm depends largely the Yogi theory of Breath, and Pranic Healing. By falling in with the rhythm of the atoms of which the body is composed, the Yogi manages to absorb a great amount of Prana, which he disposes of to bring about the results desired by him.
The body which you occupy is like a small inlet running into the land from the sea. Although apparently subject only to its own laws, it is really subject to the ebb and flow of the tides of the ocean. The great sea of life swelling and receding, rising and falling, and we are responding to its vibrations and rhythm. In a normal condition we receive the vibration and rhythm of the great ocean of life, and respond to it, but at times the mouth of the inlet seems choked up with debris, and we fail to receive the impulse from Mother Ocean, and inharmony manifests within us.
You have heard how a note on a violin, if sounded repeatedly and in rhythm, will start into motion vibrations which will in time destroy a bridge. The same result is true when a regiment of soldiers crosses a bridge, the order being always given to “break step” on such an occasion, lest the vibration bring down both bridge and regiment. These manifestations of the effect of rhythmic motion will give you an idea of the effect on the body of rhythmic breathing. The whole system catches the vibration and becomes in harmony with the will, which causes the rhythmic motion of the lungs, and while in such complete harmony will respond readily to orders from the will. With the body thus attuned, the Yogi finds no difficulty in increasing the circulation in any part of the body by an order from the will, and in the same way he can direct an increased current of nerve force to any part or organ, strengthening and stimulating it.
In the same way the Yogi by rhythmic breathing “catches the swing,” as it were, and is able to absorb and control a greatly increased amount of Prana, which is then at the disposal of his will. He can and does use it as a vehicle for sending forth Prana to others. Rhythmic breathing will increase the value of mental healing, magnetic healing, etc., several hundred per cent.
In rhythmic breathing the main thing to be acquired is the mental idea of rhythm. To those who know anything of music, the idea of measured counting is familiar. To others, the rhythmic steps of the soldier: “Left, right; left, right; left, right; one, two, three, four, one, two, three, four,” will convey the idea.
The Yogi bases his rhythmic time upon a unit corresponding with the best of his heart. The heart beat varies in different persons, but the heart beat unit of each person is the proper rhythmic standard for that particular individual is his rhythmic breathing. Ascertain your normal heart beat by placing your fingers over your pulse, and then count: “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6; 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,” etc., until the rhythm becomes firmly fixed in your mind. A little practice will fix the rhythm, so that you will be able to easily reproduce it. The beginner usually inhales in about six pulse units, but he will able to greatly increase this by practice.
The Yogi rule for rhythmic breathing is that the units of inhalation and exhalation should be the same, while the units for retention and between breaths should be one-half the number of those of inhalation and exhalation.
The following exercises in Rhythmic Breathing should be thoroughly mastered, as it forms the basis of numerous other exercises, to which reference will be made later.
(1) Sit or stand, in an easy posture, being sure to hold the chest, neck and head as nearly in a straight line as possible, with shoulders slightly thrown back and hands resting easily on the lap. In this position the weight of the body is largely supported by the ribs and the position may be easily maintained. The Yogi has found that one cannot get the best effect of rhythmic breathing with the chest drawn. in and the abdomen protruding.
(2) Inhale slowly a deep breath, counting six pulse units.
(3) Retain, counting three pulse units.
(4) Exhale slowly through the nostrils, counting six pulse units.
(5) Count three pulse beats between breaths.
(6) Repeat a number of times, but avoid fatiguing yourself at the start.
(7) When you are ready to close the exercise, practise the cleansing breath, which will rest you and cleanse the lungs.
After a little practice you will be able to increase the duration of the inhalations and exhalations, until about fifteen pulse units are consumed. In this increase, remember that the units for retention and between breaths is one-half the units for inhalation and exhalation.
Do not overdo yourself in your effort to increase the duration of the breath, but pay as much attention as possible to acquiring the “rhythm,” as that is more important than the length of the breath. Practise and try until you get the measured “swing” of the movement, and until you can almost “feel” the rhythm of the vibratory motion throughout your whole body. It will require a little practice and perseverance, but your pleasure at your improvement will make the task an easy one. The Yogis are most patient and persevering men, and their great attainments are due largely to the possession of these qualities.