Rhythms of Breath Calm the Mind

 Patanjali Yoga Sutra Knowledge Sheet 32

Contd. from knowledge sheet 31

"Prachchardana vidharanabhyam va pranasya''

prachchardana = by splitting (expulsion); vidharanabhyam = by retention; va = optionally; pranasya = of breath
"By splitting and retention of breath in a special manner."
- Patanjali Yoga Sutra #34

Prachchardana prāṇasya - breaking the rhythms of the breath, the natural rhythms of the breath and holding the breath, sustaining the breath in different rhythms. If someone asks you where has Patanjali talked about (Sudarshan) kriya, Patanjali has not mentioned Sudarshan Kriya directly. But in this one sentence there is a clue. You can have the trace of our practices to this one sūtra. We are doing the same thing, the rhythms. We are not breathing just however the breath goes, but we are bringing it consciously in a definite, particular rhythm. That is prachchardana, splitting. Whatever rhythm the breath is coming through, splitting it and holding it on to different rhythms.

That is what we are doing. Prachchardana vidāraṇābhyam va prāṇasya. In a special manner, modulating the prāna and the breath. By this also, your mind also becomes calm and one pointed, one focused.
Now, another sutra.

"Vishayavati va pravruttirutpanna manasaha sthithinibandhini''

vishayavati = objects of senses; va = or; pravruttihi = activity; utpanna = appearing; manasaha = of the mind; sthithi = steadiness; nibandhini = causing
"By that very activity in the mind, through that very objects of senses, the mind can be made steady, brought to a standstill."
- Patanjali Yoga Sutra #35

Suppose this does not work. This does work but if you feel that there still a little incompletion, then vishayavati means, through any one object of senses, the mind can be stilled. After singing bhajans, when we sit quiet. Then what is happening? Your mind is not running here and there at that time. Then you sit with your eyes closed and the mind is completely settled. Meditation. Mind has come to that stand still, hasn't it?

Pravruttirutpanna manasaha, some activities are in your mind, through that very activity through that very sense, it can be brought to a standstill.

Next week: Do you have the habit of being happy or unhappy?

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(This is part of a series of knowledge sheets based on Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's commentaries on Patanjali Yoga Sutras.)