I will be teaching a short course in pranayama in March 2017, which will introduce you to the anatomy of respiration, the preparatory practices, and a few of the traditional breathing techniques. The course is based on the teachings of pranayama master O.P. Tiwari, director of the Kaivalyadham Yoga Institute in India, with significant input from Richard Freeman.

Some breathing techniques can be elusive; and it can take weeks or months of consistent practice to achieve proficiency. Consistency, patience, and maturity are therefore helpful when approaching the study of pranayama.

Liana RomuloComment

Please bring a mat and a water bottle, and wear comfortable clothing that won’t pinch or bind when you sit on the floor.

Course fee P2,500

Liana RomuloComment

Romulo Peace Center
Top floor, Century Plaza
120 Perea Street
Legaspi Village
Makati City

To reserve a spot in the next introductory course, please text 0921 315 2644 or email romulocenter@gmail.com. Parking information is at http://peacecenter.carlospromulo.org

Liana RomuloComment

PART ONE

Wednesday, Mar 1, 3:00pm to 4:45pm

If the above time slot is not convenient, Liana will teach the same class again on

Sunday, Mar 5, 9:00am to 10:45am

PART TWO *

Wednesday, Mar 8, 3:00pm to 4:45pm

If the above time slot is not convenient, Liana will teach the same class again on

Sunday, Mar 12, 9:00am to 10:45am

* Part Two is open only to those who have completed the first half of this course.

Romulo Peace Center

Top floor, Century Plaza
120 Perea Street
Legaspi Village
Makati City

To reserve a spot in the course, please text 0921 315 2644 or email romulocenter@gmail.com. Parking information is at http://peacecenter.carlospromulo.org/contact

Liana RomuloComment
 Tiwariji, Swami Digambarji, and Sri Page (left) during Kaivalyadham’s Golden Jubilee in 1974. Swami Digambarji was the first secretary of Kaivalyadham, from 1924 to 1942. He is remembered for his deep study of the spiritual aspects of yoga. His disciple and successor is Swami Maheshananda, the present chairman of Kaivalyadham. 
 Sri Page was a freedom fighter, social worker, and politician.

Tiwariji, Swami Digambarji, and Sri Page (left) during Kaivalyadham’s Golden Jubilee in 1974. Swami Digambarji was the first secretary of Kaivalyadham, from 1924 to 1942. He is remembered for his deep study of the spiritual aspects of yoga. His disciple and successor is Swami Maheshananda, the present chairman of Kaivalyadham.

Sri Page was a freedom fighter, social worker, and politician.
  With hands on thighs, Bettina demonstrates Uddiyana Bandha. She exhales, pushing the air out of the lungs, getting them as empty as she can. While the breath is held out, she presses against her thighs, and—while keeping the abdominal muscles completely soft and relaxed—she sucks in her stomach without allowing air into the lungs. Her neck and shoulders remain as relaxed as possible.  

  When she can no longer hold her breath out comfortably, she relaxes, allowing her abdomen to release and her ribs to lower. She lets air in slowly, inhaling as she comes to a full standing position.

With hands on thighs, Bettina demonstrates Uddiyana Bandha. She exhales, pushing the air out of the lungs, getting them as empty as she can. While the breath is held out, she presses against her thighs, and—while keeping the abdominal muscles completely soft and relaxed—she sucks in her stomach without allowing air into the lungs. Her neck and shoulders remain as relaxed as possible.

When she can no longer hold her breath out comfortably, she relaxes, allowing her abdomen to release and her ribs to lower. She lets air in slowly, inhaling as she comes to a full standing position.

The Two Uddiyanas

It is important to distinguish Bettina’s Uddiyana, which lifts the respiratory diaphragm way up into the ribcage, from the other Uddiyana, which is a miniature version of Bettina’s.

Bettina’s Uddiyana is sometimes referred to as Uddiyana Bandha Kriya. It is one of the six kriyas, and involves retracting the entire abdomen (lower and upper belly) while on an exhale retention. We do not do this Uddiyana with asana.

The mini version takes place entirely below the navel during the motion of inhaling and does not lift the diaphragm. More specifically, after exhaling and toning the pelvic floor, you inhale while slightly drawing back your abdomen just in front of the sacrum, immediately above the pelvic floor. Mini Uddiyana, which you would normally call into action with Mula Bandha, causes the psoas muscles to relax. (Mini Uddiyana is what we want during asana.)

Nābhigranthim merurpŗșthe śatavāram ca kārayet |
Udaryamāmayam tyaktvā jatharāgnim vivardhayeț ||

Gherand Samhita 1.19 Try touching the navel a hundred times to the spinal cord. This process is known as agnisara. This process eliminates diseases in the stomach and ignites the fire in the stomach.

Agni + Sara

In Sanskrit jathara means belly or abdomen, and agni means fire. Gastric juice might be considered the fire of the stomach. In the compound agnisara, the word jathara is dropped but is to be taken as understood. Sara means the essence or the very best part. Agnisara is said to optimize the potency of the gastric juices.

 Between the founding of Kaivalyadham in 1924 and India’s independence in 1947, Swami Kuvalyananda worked tirelessly to advance yogic studies. H is work quickly became recognized by India’s leaders.     In the late 1920s Mahatma Gandhi summoned Swamiji to treat him for certain ailments and to advise on exercise and diet. Swamiji spent several days near Bangalore with Gandhi, and afterward kept up a regular correspondence with him.  
  Jawaharlal Nehru came to visit (1958) with his daughter, Indira Gandhi.  Researchers in the United States and Eastern Europe also took notice early on.

Between the founding of Kaivalyadham in 1924 and India’s independence in 1947, Swami Kuvalyananda worked tirelessly to advance yogic studies. His work quickly became recognized by India’s leaders. In the late 1920s Mahatma Gandhi summoned Swamiji to treat him for certain ailments and to advise on exercise and diet. Swamiji spent several days near Bangalore with Gandhi, and afterward kept up a regular correspondence with him.

Jawaharlal Nehru came to visit (1958) with his daughter, Indira Gandhi. Researchers in the United States and Eastern Europe also took notice early on.

Just as a lion, an elephant, or a tiger is tamed by degrees, similarly respiration is to be brought under control gradually; otherwise it would harm the aspirant.
— Svatmarama’s Hathapradipika, Chapter 2.15

While maintaining Uddiyana and pressing his hands into his thighs, Yuha gives a downward and forward stroke to the rectus abdominis, just above the pubic bone. Contracting the recti and pushing them forward, he isolates the recti from the other muscles. This is Nauli-Madhyama or Middle Nauli.

If we could slow down this video, you’d be able to see that Yuha holds the middle position for a second, then he applies more pressure on the right thigh with the right hand, giving a greater bend to the right side of his body. At the same time, he relaxes the left side. This keeps the right rectus contracted, rolling it further to the right while left remains inactive.

He goes back to the middle position before pressing on the left thigh with the left hand while relaxing the right side of his body. The rectus rolls to the left. Repeating these actions quickly, right-middle-left, right-middle-left, over and over, gives the appearance of churning the abdominals.

After churning five times one way, he churns the other way, thus performing Nauli kriya.

Slowing down to a more controlled “churn” produces different effects. For me a nice slow nauli heightens the sensations in my abdominal viscera, activating my enteric brain and sharpening my intuitive skills. Try to observe your abdomen, and note how you feel before and after the practice.

  By the 1960s Kaivalyadham was well established as a premier center for yoga. With global renown, world leaders and high-ranking government officials sometimes came to visit, like the 14th Dalai Lama. While this photo is not dated, I’m guessing he visited sometime after he was exiled from Tibet (March 1959) and before Swami Kuvalyananda’s death (April 1966), as another photo shows Swamiji and the Dalai Lama together.  
   (Another tipoff: the John Lennon glasses.)

By the 1960s Kaivalyadham was well established as a premier center for yoga. With global renown, world leaders and high-ranking government officials sometimes came to visit, like the 14th Dalai Lama. While this photo is not dated, I’m guessing he visited sometime after he was exiled from Tibet (March 1959) and before Swami Kuvalyananda’s death (April 1966), as another photo shows Swamiji and the Dalai Lama together.

(Another tipoff: the John Lennon glasses.)

  Middle Nauli or Nauli-Madhyama in squatting position. After fully exhaling, Motoko presses down with her arms and draws up the abdominal muscles, completely sucking in her stomach. At the same time, she forces the rectus abdominis (nala) to stand out in isolation.  
 It has taken some years of practice, but Motoko’s rectus abdominis now appears quite narrow and thin. For beginners, this muscle will appear much thicker and wider if it even pops out at all. Just keep trying to push it out in isolation—and hold it in the out position for as long as possible. Try to do it standing up first, as squatting makes it much more challenging. Don’t be discouraged. It will happen one day! 
 We practice Middle Nauli in squatting position in order to “train” for Basti Kriya. The negative intra-abdominal pressure resulting from Middle Nauli creates a suction that draws in water during basti, the yogic enema.

Middle Nauli or Nauli-Madhyama in squatting position. After fully exhaling, Motoko presses down with her arms and draws up the abdominal muscles, completely sucking in her stomach. At the same time, she forces the rectus abdominis (nala) to stand out in isolation.

It has taken some years of practice, but Motoko’s rectus abdominis now appears quite narrow and thin. For beginners, this muscle will appear much thicker and wider if it even pops out at all. Just keep trying to push it out in isolation—and hold it in the out position for as long as possible. Try to do it standing up first, as squatting makes it much more challenging. Don’t be discouraged. It will happen one day!

We practice Middle Nauli in squatting position in order to “train” for Basti Kriya. The negative intra-abdominal pressure resulting from Middle Nauli creates a suction that draws in water during basti, the yogic enema.

 Swami Kuvalyananda (30 August 1883 - 18 April 1966), founder of Kaivalyadham, said to his student O.P. Tiwari some days before his death, “I have brought up this institution out if nothing, and if it goes to nothing, I don’t mind, but yoga should not be diluted.” 
  Swamiji was the first to subject yogic practices to thorough scientific investigation, and he   rejected anything that was disproved in the laboratory. “Do not claim that yoga can treat every disorder,” he told O.P. Tiwari in the same meeting at his Kuti. “Every therapy has limitations, and yoga too.”  From the souvenir program of Kaivalyadham’s 7th International Conference, December 2012, pp. 10-11.   
  “Through his continuous and missionary zeal in promoting research and  yoga  therapy, he built Kaivalyadham,” said Subodh Tiwari in 2000. Today, nearly a hundred years later, the institute continues to be a globally respected hub for learning and practicing yoga.

Swami Kuvalyananda (30 August 1883 - 18 April 1966), founder of Kaivalyadham, said to his student O.P. Tiwari some days before his death, “I have brought up this institution out if nothing, and if it goes to nothing, I don’t mind, but yoga should not be diluted.”

Swamiji was the first to subject yogic practices to thorough scientific investigation, and he rejected anything that was disproved in the laboratory. “Do not claim that yoga can treat every disorder,” he told O.P. Tiwari in the same meeting at his Kuti. “Every therapy has limitations, and yoga too.” From the souvenir program of Kaivalyadham’s 7th International Conference, December 2012, pp. 10-11.

“Through his continuous and missionary zeal in promoting research and yoga therapy, he built Kaivalyadham,” said Subodh Tiwari in 2000. Today, nearly a hundred years later, the institute continues to be a globally respected hub for learning and practicing yoga.

In Prana Resides Truth

Swami Kuvalyananda stated his primary objective thus: “The main effort of the Kaivalyadhama is in scientifically probing the human mind and to dig deeper and deeper in the inner space, till the effort to conquer the outer and inner spaces converge and ultimately meet to solve the riddle of the cosmos.”

Author Joseph S. Alter takes the idea a little further: “The more yoga is subject to science, and the closer one gets to discovering the nature of prana, the more powerful yoga becomes as a means by which to discover truth.”

From the third chapter of Alter’s book, Yoga in Modern India: The Body Between Science and Philosophy (Princeton University Press: 2004), p. 101.