“The ancient postulate of perennial philosophy - the inseparability of value and reality - is psychologized into the demand that reality must satisfy us; the denial of the necessity of this demand is followed by the exclusion from philosophy of most of its traditional problems and the "raising to the dignity of philosophy many trivial and often foolish questions"”
Wilbur Marshall Urban

The Intelligible World: Metaphysics and Value

Pranayama Exposes Mind

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Over the past week a change has occurred in Pranayama practice.

My current Pranayama practice was something like:
10 – 0 – 15 – 0  x8
10 – 0 – 15 – 5  x8
10 – 5 – 15 – 5  x8
10 – 0 – 15 – 0  x8

When my nasal passages are open and free I practice Nadi Sodhana, at other times I use Anuloma Ujjayi. Usually in the morning my nasal passages are still partly blocked, so I use Anuloma Ujjayi, while in the evening I usually practice Nadi Sodhana. Though it does vary.

A few weeks ago I felt there was a space for me to take the practice one step forward and I tried adding 10 – 5 – 20 – 0  to the sequence. I was able to contain it rather well. Shortly after (a few days) I felt like my entire practice receded – I was unable to reach the 20 second exhale peacefully (I could do it more or less with force) and my nasal passages became more blocked and I lost access to Nadi Sodhana. So I took a step back and resumed the core practice with Anuloma Ujjayi.

Then a few days ago I again felt in my body an invitation to bring back 10 – 5 – 20 – 0 but my mind resisted – I thought I could not do it. When this happened again I began to wonder if my mind was trying to push me away from something which I could do. So I gave it a try. The practice confirmed my suspicions. For some reason I got it in my mind that I cannot perform a quality 20 second. Even as I reached the extended breathing ratio with a sense of calm and space in the body I had thoughts like “no, this won’t work”. I set those thoughts aside and had a steady and calm sequence of breaths. Even then, when I had actually done the practice, there were doubts in my mind. Amazing! Thoughts (of self doubt!) were preventing me from using the breathing capacity I had in me.

Over the next few practices I focused on this internal dialogue. I answered the “no I can’t” doubts with “of course I can” convictions. A part of my practice was to practice a new perception – one which would replace the inhibiting patterns.

This morning’s practice surprised me even further. As I was doing my practice I felt my body inviting me to take even another step forward (it usually takes months or weeks at best for Pranayama to evolve – this time it happened in days) and I added a 10 – 5 – 20 – 5 ratio (I also made a few other small changes in the overall practice to make room for this new formula). Again I was able to go through a steady and calm sequence – though at the end I felt I had exhausted my stamina.

My practice is now:
10 – 0 – 15 – 0  x4
10 – 0 – 15 – 5  x4
10 – 5 – 15 – 5  x8
10 – 5 – 20 – 0  x8
10 – 5 – 20 – 5  x8
10 – 0 – 15 – 0  x8

Note: A few days after writing this came this

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