“You may go to temples and discharge all religious obligations as taught by your tradition, but that alone will not help you to unlock the secret chambers. However much you may sit for puja, please note that lack of concentration will render all your efforts futile. It is always best to aim first and then shoot. There is practically no use of shooting in the air.” – Swami Satyananda Saraswati
What does this mean? How do we learn to concentrate?
Our daily sadhana of breath awareness, pranayama, will guide us. What is breath awareness? It is the easiest practice. Close your eyes and become aware of your breath? Normal breathing, focus on the inhalation and exhalation. Once you are comfortable with your breath, start counting your breath. You will count backwards, and the counting is 27 I am breathing in, 27 I am breathing out, make no errors because if you do, you will start again.
Once you can do this, the next step is to practice visualization with respiration. Respiration is our normal way of breathing, but we overlook it and therefore do not benefit from it. Inhale and visualize the prana in your breath, going through your nostrils, and travelling to the lungs. Hold the breath and visualize the breath with prana going to each and every cell in your system. Now while exhaling, visualize the carbon dioxide and toxins being eliminated from each and every cell in your system. Pause after exhaling, you are in the state of no breathing. That is one round, please practice 54 rounds, and you will count backwards.
Awareness of prana
What is happening here is that you are aware of the prana in your breath, you are concentrating on the counting, and you are visualizing the prana. This is the normal respiration which has two parts, external and internal. Inhalation is the external part. You are inhaling and visualizing the prana in your breath. It travels to the lungs. Internal respiration is when there is a pause in the breath and the oxygenated blood with prana goes to each and every cell in your system. It is also called cellular breathing.
Then you exhale the carbon dioxide and toxins from the cells, which goes to the lungs and then is expelled through the nostrils. What is happening is that while you are counting, and visualizing there are no thoughts that you are engaged with. You are in a neutral state of mind, watching yourself and are aware of your breath with prana. You are concentrating on a neutral activity, and it is effortless as you are just breathing. You can increase the number of breaths you count, 108 is a great number. You are balancing your prana and yourself.
Now you are ready to join your hands in prayer.
Aim Hrim Klim