3 Most Powerful Yoga Pranayamas and Kriyas – Golden Nugget Yoga Pranayama – Part 2
In part 1 of the 3 Most Powerful Yoga Pranayamas and Kriyas Part 1 we discussed the Mother of all Pranayamas, the Kundalini Yoga pranayama, Sodarshan Chakra Kriya and detailed its impressive reputation for transforming the ordinary into the supreme. In this second part of the series we will study a yoga pranayama exercise of equal worth, but not quite as celebrated or famous. It is the little know gem called the Golden Nugget Yoga Pranayama. It is less involved that Sodarshan Chakra Kriya and also far less demanding from the point of view of time, but don’t be deceived by its simplicity. Golden Nugget Yoga Pranayama, in impact, is second to none and bestows heaps of blessings upon those who practice and master it.
All the guidelines for practicing pranayama presented in part 1, apply to the practice of this pranayama as well and you should read those first before attempting to practice Golden Nugget Yoga Pranayama. In addition there are some more prerequisites before practicing the advanced version of Golden Nugget Yoga Pranayama and those should be met first as well. As with Sodarshan Chakra Kriya, there are modified versions of Golden Nugget Yoga Pranayama and I will provide those also and explain how the progression should go.
Golden Nugget Yoga Pranayama:
Background: Golden Nugget Yoga Pranayama traces its roots back to the Yoga Sutras of Mahayogi Pantanjali. It is actually the 7th exercise of a master pranayama set for refining awareness and purifying the energetic body. The first 6 pranayamas are presented in Brain Development and Enlightenment – Part II – Vitalize Energy (Kundalini). From what I have researched, this pranayama seems to have been revived by the modern yoga master S. N. Tavaria, who learned it from his Guru, Swami Rama. It is an integral part of his program for building awareness, in order to establish a path of communication between the individual and his Divine Nature that resides within. You can get more information on his work at www.3srb.org.
Benefits of Golden Nugget Yoga Pranayama: This pranayama is designed to purify the energetic body by dissolving blockages (granthis) caused by emotional debris and toxin buildup in the psychic channels (nadis). It tones and cleanses all the digestive organs and markedly improves the entire digestive system. The pranayama also works on the respiratory system and nervous system. It builds core strength and power, but most importantly it’s goal is to burn up unresolved emotions stored in the subconscious mind. Steady and sincere practice of Golden Nugget Yoga Pranayama, results in a significant refinement of awareness and a calm, peaceful, silent mind capable of connecting with the Divinity that lies within.
Beginners Golden Nugget Yoga Pranayama: Sit up in Sukh Asana (any variation of cross legged – you can get more information on Sukh Asana in Silent Mind Meditation Program: Basic Meditations Ch 7). Apply modified Jalandhara Bandha by bringing your neck back slightly and chin slightly in like a soldier at attention. Now inhale deeply then exhale. After complete exhalation, hold your breath out and do a false inhalation. Meaning, simulate the process of inhalation without actually inhaling. This will result in your abdominal muscles being pulled up and in under the rib cage. Pull these muscles in firmly but do not strain excessively. This is called Uddiyana Bandha (abdominal lock). Hold for a few seconds (2 – 5) then gently release the locks. Repeat inhaling, exhaling and applying Uddiyana Bandha and Jalandhara Bandha 2 more times for a total of 3 times. Build up to 5 repetitions per day.
Intermeditate Golden Nugget Yoga Pranayama: Follow all the directions above, except once you apply Uddiyana Bandha and modified Jaladhara Bandha hold the locks for 10 seconds, increasing by 5 seconds over time, till you finally are able to hold the locks with your breath held out for 40 seconds. You are only to do 1 repetition a day. This is the first requirement before moving ahead to the advanced version. The second requirement is that you have been regularly practicing the Pranayama Set for Vitalizing Kundalini given in Brain Development and Enlightenment Part II – Vitalize Energy (Kundalini) for at least 6 months at the full 3 minutes / exercise. Only then should you attempt to do the advanced version of Golden Nugget Yoga Pranayama.
Advanced Golden Nugget Yoga Pranayama: As indicated earlier this is the 7th exercise of the series Pranayama Set for Vitalizing Kundalini. So you should do the 6 exercises as described and then do Golden Nugget Yoga Pranayama immediately after. In the advanced version you will follow the description given above for the intermediate level and then after 40 seconds of breath held out, with Uddiyana Bandha and Jalandhara Bandha still in place, you should start modified Breath of Fire. Breath of Fire is very fast shallow breathing through the nose like fast sniffing and in this case you should try to restrict the breath to just the upper chest area. The duration for holding Uddiyana Bandha and Jalandhara Bandha together with doing Breath of Fire is 2 minutes and 20 seconds. So the total time for this pranayama will be 3 minutes – 40 seconds of Uddiyana Bandha and Jalandhara Bandha with breath held out, followed by 2 minutes and 20 seconds of Uddiyana Bandha and Jalandhara Bandha with restricted Breath of Fire. It is only to be done 1 time daily.
Design of Golden Nugget Yoga Pranayama: Here is an analysis of the various components of this pranayama and their affects.
- Uddiyana Bandha massages all the digestive organs and forces them to expel toxins and waste matter into the elimination pathways of the body. Uddiyana Bandha also builds your abdominal muscles giving you core strength and power. This bandha activates the 3rd Chakra, called the Manipura or Nabhi Chakra, which is responsible for the wellbeing of your digestive organs and for the traits of willpower and character. Thus, this Bandha helps develop these attributes. It is also great for building six pack abs ;-).
- Holding your breath out, causes the nervous system to contract, but then when you breathe in, it expands past the point it was at when you started. Thus, this aspect of the pranayama, helps your nervous system grow in strength and capacity.
- The Breath of Fire, done in conjunction with Uddiyana Bandha, burns up toxins as they are released, thus cleansing and clearing the system and pathways of debris. This debris is a reflection of unresolved emotional garbage and freeing your system of it clears the blockages (grathis) in the psychic channels (nadis) that prevent the flow or vital air (prana) and vital energy (Kundalini Shakti). Once cleared, greater amounts of prana can be absorbed by the energetic (chakra) body and greater amounts of Kundalini Shakti can flow though your system leading to higher levels of being and consciousness.
In the next part, of the 3 Most Powerful Yoga Pranayamas and Kriyas Series, we will discuss a yoga pranayama emerging from the world renowned Yoga school of Swami Satyananda Saraswati.