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 Discussions on AYP Pranayama, Mudras and Bandhas
 Alternate breathing and the third eye
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Annademiel

Germany
24 Posts

Posted - Dec 27 2021 :  3:24:32 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Message
Hello everyone and happy new year.
I have been drawn to alternate breathing pranayama for some time and would like to know more about how it works. In particular, I would be interested to know how or if it also leads the prana to the 3rd eye like spinal breathing. One of the great advantages of spinal breathing seems to me to be that it allows energy to develop between the 1st and 6th chakras in a targeted way, so that a problem with the crown is excluded as far as possible.

I realise that alternate breathing moves worlds less energy than spinal breathing - which is fine with me at the moment. But does it also perform the alignment of energy to the 3rd eye? I have read that Ida and Pingala should lead through the 6th chakra and theoretically this should be so - but what are your practical experiences with it? Is it suitable to define this channel for a beginner? It seems logical that the prana of someone who has been doing spinal breathing on the 3rd eye for a long time also follows this path when alternating breathing - but I am mainly interested in the effect on the nervous system that has not yet been worked on.


Regards

Annademiel

Christi

United Kingdom
4387 Posts

Posted - Dec 28 2021 :  01:30:04 AM  Show Profile  Visit Christi's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Annademiel,

Alternate nostril breathing works by activating the two side channels: Ida and Pingala. These both run from the root chakra to the third eye but along different pathways from the sushumna nadi. So, alternate nostril breathing will activate the first six chakras, leaving the crown until later just as spinal breathing does. And as you say, it is more gentle than spinal breathing. This is one of the reasons that it is taught in many beginner yoga classes. But it is suitable for everyone. Even advanced students can benefit from this practice.

It works because the two side channels pass very close to the two nostrils. As we inhale through one nostril we are drawing air into the lungs, but we are also drawing prana in with the air. And some of the prana will enter the side channel closest to it. Then we repeat on the other side. If you bring your attention to the nostrils during each inhalation, this will increase the effectiveness of the practice, as prana follows attention.

And yes, it will work in the same way, regardless of whether someone has done other forms of pranayama previously or not.

It is described in detail in this lesson addition, including the various ways it can be incorporated into the AYP practice:

Addition 41.1 - Nadi Shodana Pranayama (Video: Alternate Nostril Breathing)


Christi
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lightandlove

Germany
85 Posts

Posted - Dec 28 2021 :  10:11:03 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Annademiel,

I've come across two variations of Nadi Shodana which seem to adress the topic. I have only practiced the first variation for an extended period of time myself and still enjoy it.

The first is to do spinal breathing while doing Nadi Shodana. So when you breathe in you go up the spine and when you breathe out you go down the spine during alternate nostril breathing.

The second is to breathe in a kind of triangle between your nose and third eye. So breathing in from the left you mentally go from your left nostril up to your third eye. Breathing out through your right nostril, you go down from the third eye to the right nostril and then the same right in and left out for one round.

The first technique seems like a combination of spinal breathing and Nadi Shodana and the movement of prana in the spine during the practice goes very well.
The second technique seems to be a very specific practice for this upper region, so I would not recommend it to everyone but may be useful at times. I did practice it a bit and the movement of prana in this way felt very natural to me.

Both techniques are not in the AYP books, but regarding your specific question, it might be interesting to be mentioned here.
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Annademiel

Germany
24 Posts

Posted - Dec 28 2021 :  3:03:25 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Thank you both, that was exactly what I wanted to know. Interestingly, I've always tended to focus on the airflow in the nostril or the third eye anyway, even though it wasn't in the instructions I had, but you have to put your attention somewhere anyway. I love the idea of doing it systematically as a triangle, thank you.

At least once I noticed an activation in the lower part of the body, I guess it's a bit like Sambhavi Mudra, when the third eye and its channels are activated, it works all the way down.

At the moment I am planning to do alternate breathing instead of spinal breathing as it is too big a step for me to go straight to the spine for energy flow.

I came to yoga through the exercises known as the 5 Tibetans and that got something moving for me before I even came to AYP. I don't think I'm oversensitive in that sense, but because energy was already flowing before I started meditation, I prefer a weaker and more balancing exercise at the moment.

Annademiel
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Christi

United Kingdom
4387 Posts

Posted - Dec 28 2021 :  3:27:43 PM  Show Profile  Visit Christi's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Annademiel,

Alternate Nostril Breathing is offered as an alternative to Spinal Breathing in AYP for people who are sensitive to practices.

See lesson addition 367.1 for more on this

Addition 367.1 - Using Nadi Shodana when Sensitive to Spinal Breathing

There are other things that can be done if you do begin to feel that you are sensitive to the practices. These are outlined in lesson 367

Lesson 367 - Suggestions for Over-Sensitive Meditators

The most common one used, is replacing the object of meditation with the breath for a period of time. The timings of practices can also be reduced, without any limits on the levels of reduction. So, AYP can be scaled right down if necessary, and can also be scaled right up as well. And for many practitioners, this process can happen quite naturally over the years, going both ways, as the process of purification unfolds.


Christi
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