Pranayama & Tantra texts


Q - I have been studying the Tantric texts and came across in the Vijnana Bhairava, that the word prana is used in three senses. But one that perplexed me was that it is used for breath that is EXHALED. Apana, it says is used for the breath that is inhaled.

Classically, in my experience this information was the reverse. (Adhya/Adi) Prana flows into the body on the inhale and apana leaves it on the exhale. Prana descends to the agni center, while apana moves towards prana at navel/agni center.

Do you feel like thinking about this with me?

Glad to hear all is well in life and love. I am happy for you and looking forward to seeing you soon. All is well here.

     A - Nice to hear you found the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra (VBT) it is wonderful, I like the renditions by Daniel Odier in his Yoga Spanda Karikas and VBT of the Bihar School of Yoga is nice too. The Tantras are 1000 years after Vedas and Yoga Sutras so they have differences.  It is only a name but one must understand in what context we are speaking.  It is the motion of the prana that is important not what we call it.  The goal of pranayama is spoken of by Patanjali to still the prana to know the true Self (II, 49).  Healing and other objectives are different techniques as cited in II, 50.  Such movements are more than likely imbalanced.  Seeking sattva in the prana is the main objective in terms of its motions. Sattva means luminosity according to Iyengar?s Light on the Yoga Sutras.  It is insightful comment.  I am teaching on these topics soon at Kripalu in a Yoga Secrets workshop.