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Yoga Immersion
Module 2 | Prana Yoga

With Your Bhakta & Yoga Guide Stuart Rice

Copyright © 2008 Stuart Rice •bhakTi™ Yoga Teacher Training

All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced mechanically,

electronically, or by any other means, including photocopying without written
permission of the publisher. The original purchaser is authorized to make one
printed copy for personal use.

Book design by Calyx Design

Welcome to Bhakti Warrior Yoga! 1

Jai Hanuman! 3

Inspirations 3

Key Points 5

Understanding the Energetic Warrior 6

Components of Pranic Anatomy 7

Inspirations 7

Key Points 10

Nadis, Chakras, Vayus 10

The Anatomy of the Breath 13

The Components of Breath  13

The Components of a Breath  17

Fundamentals of Pranayama 20

Inspirations 20

Key Points 28
The Practice of Pranayama 29

The Integrated Warrior Model 32

Inspirations 32

Key Points 32

Introduction to the Kosha Model 33

Root Work: Kosha Awareness 36

The Body of Prana (Pranamayakosha) 37

Inspirations 37

Key Points 38

The Role of the Energetic Body in Yoga 38

The Practice of Vinyasa 43

Inspirations 43

Key Points 43

Foundational Vinyasa Concepts 44

Foundations of Multi-Dimensional Vinyasa 50

Root Work: Constructing a One Dimension Sequence 53

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 1

Welcome to Bhakti Warrior Yoga!

Namaste and welcome to Bhakti Warrior Yoga!
Yoga is a system of conscious liberation. As a system, it provides
distinct processes for identifying the way in which we interact with
the world; the way in which those interactions affect us; and the
ways to consciously control how we absorb the outcomes of those
Bhakti Warrior Yoga is a distinct and practical interpretation of
classical raja yoga with a cross-cultural and cross-discipline focus.
It focuses on helping individuals and teachers create a map to
their best selves by balancing the five layers (pancamayakosa) of
the human system. These five layers consist of the physical, energy,
sensory, wisdom, and bliss bodies. The four levels of training that
make up the Bhakti Warrior system introduce the tools needs to
effectively work with each of these layers.
The key to all yoga is freedom, but we cannot cultivate freedom
without first taking complete responsibility for all aspect of our
lives. Once we have created a discipline and foundation based on
tending to all four aspect of ourselves, we spontaneously arrived
at freedom—freedom from disease in the body, freedom from deep
swings in our emotions, freedom from attachments to unhelpful
mental structures and addictions.
All spiritual traditions teach us that suffering is inevitable as the
outcome of choices that do not elevate us. It is my supreme wish
for all people in these workshops and in our classes that this infor-
mation creates a spaciousness in which a better and more positive
image of ourselves and our lives can be nurtured and grown. Thank Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 2

you for your willingness to come on this journey of self-discovery,

and then share your wisdom with others.
Many blessings on your path!
Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 3

Jai Hanuman!
The Ramayana

The Ramayana (V.1)

Thus Hanuman resolved to trace
Sita to her hiding-place
Through airy pathways overhead
Which heavenly minstrels visited.
With straining nerve and eager brows,
Like some strong husband of the cows,
In ready might he stood prepared
For the bold task his soul has dared.
O’er gem-like grass that flashed and glowed
The Vánar like a lion strode.
Roused by the thunder of his tread,
The beasts to shady coverts fled.
Tall trees he crushed or hurled aside,
And every bird was terrified.
Around him loveliest lilies grew, Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 4

Pale pink, and red, and white, and blue,

And tints of many a metal lent
The light of varied ornament.
Gandharvas, changing forms at will.
And Yakshas roamed the lovely hill,
And countless Serpent-Gods were seen
Where flowers and grass were fresh and green.
As some resplendent serpent takes
His pastime in the best of lakes,
So on the mountain’s woody height
The Vánar wandered with delight.
Then, standing on thr flowery sod,
He paid his vows to saint and God.
Swayambhu and the Sun he prayed,
And the swift Wind to lend him aid,
And Indra, sovereign of the skies,
To bless his hardy enterprise.
Then once again the chief addressed
The Vánars from the mountain crest:
“Swift as a shaft from Ráma’s bow
To Rávan’s city will I go,
And if she be not there will fly
And seek the lady in the sky;
Or, if in heaven she be not found, Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 5

Will hither bring the giant bound.”

He ceased; and mustering his might
Sprang downward from the mountain height,
While, shattered by each mighty limb,
The trees unrooted followed him.
The shadow on the ocean cast
By his vast form, as on he passed,
Flew like a ship before the gale
When the strong breeze has tilled the sail,
And where his course the Vánar held
The sea beneath him raged and swelled.
Then Gods and all the heavenly train
Poured flowerets down in gentle rain;
Their voices glad Gandharvas raised,
And saints in heaven the Vánar praised.

Key Points
TT Hanuman’s leap in the Ramayana represents the movement of
prana from the root to the crown, reuniting the masculine and the
TT The practice of pranayama is central to the yogins ability to achieve
deeper stages of practice, particularly meditation. Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 6

Understanding the Energetic Warrior

The monkey warrior Hanuman is a key figure to many yogins and
Hindus alike. Pictured on the front of every bhakTi teacher training
manual, Hanuman represents the consumnate bhakta, or devotee.
In the epic Ramayana, Hanuman becomes a follower of the ben-
eficient and wise King Rama, an incarnation of Vishnu appear-
ing in the world to rebalance the energies of light and darkness.
Through his love of Rama, he accomplishes many impossible feats,
including leaping the ocean from India to present-day Sri Lanka,
carrying an entire mountain from one part of the world to another,
and wrestling and subduing the demon king Ravana. For these
reasons, he is worshipped and put in a position of high esteem
among the Gods and Goddesses in Vedic tradition.
However, Hanuman is also a metaphor for prana. While most
Westerners have heard the word prana, and many yogins use it
in various contexts and ways, the exact nature or description of
prana remains somewhat elusive. Prana is not just a description
of the air we breathe, or the live-giving oxygen content of air. It
is the electromagnetic pulse, the vibrational quality deriving from
the movement of electrons at the atomic level. It is also a bridge
between the instinctual qualities and aspects of human existence,
and the more elevated qualities of compassion, magnanimity, and
love. Through the central channel of the spine, prana awakens at
the base of the spine in the form of kundalini shakti.
As we study the essence of the Energetic Warrior, we will return to
the image and story of the Son of the Wind.
Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 7

Components of Pranic Anatomy

The Goraksha-Paddhati

The Goraksha Paddhati (I.13 - 40)

1. How can those yogins succeed who do not know the six cen-
ters, the sixteen props, the 300,000 channels, and the five
ethers/space in their own body?
2. How can those yogins who do not know their own body as a
single-columned dwelling with nine openings and five divinities
(adhidaivata) be successful?
3. The prop—muladhara chakra—has four petals. The svadhishta-
na has six petals. At the navel is a ten-petaled lotus, and at
the heart is a twelve-petaled lotus.
4. At the throat is a sixteen-petaled lotus and between the eye-
brows is a two-petaled lotus. At the crown of the head, at the
great path, there is a lotus called “thousand-petaled.”
5. The prop is the first center; svadhishtana is the second. Be-
tween them is the perineum named kama-rupa.
6. The four-petaled lotus is at the place of the anus. In the
middle of it is said to be the “womb” praised by adepts under
the name of desire. Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 8

7. In the middle of the “womb” stands the great phallus facing

backward. He who knows the disk, which is like a brightly shin-
ing jewel, in its head is a knower of yoga.
8. Situated below the penis is the triangular city of fire, flashing
forth like lightening bolts and resembling molten gold.
9. When in the great Yoga, in ecstasy, the yogin sees the supreme,
infinite, omnipresent Light, he no longer experiences the great
cycle of reincarnation.
10. The life force arises with the sound sva. The resting place of
this is the svadhishthana. Thus the penis is named after this
place as svadhishthana.
11. Where the “bulb” is strung on the sushumna like a jewel on a
thread, that region is called the manipuraka chakra.
12. So long as the psyche roams at the great twelve-spoked heart
center, which is free from merit and demerit, it cannot find
13. Below the navel and above the penis is the kanda, the womb,
which is like a bird’s egg. In it the 72,000 channels originate.
14. Among these thousands of channels, seventy-two are de-
scribed. Again, of these carriers of life force ten are mentioned
as primary.
15. Ida and pingala, and sushumna as the third, as well as gand-
hari, hasti-jihva, pusha, yashasvini,
16. alambusha, kuhu, and shankhini as the tenth are mentioned.
Yogins should always understand this network (chakra) com-
posed of channels.
17. Ida is located on the left side; pingala is located on the right.
Sushumna is in the central place, while the gandhari is in the
left eye. Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 9

18. Hasti-jihva is on the right, and pusha is in the right ear, while
yashasvini is in the left ear and alambhusha is in the mouth.
19. Kuhu is at the place of the penis and the shankhini at the
place of the anus. Thus there are ten channels, each of which
is connected with an opening.
20. Ida, pingala, and sushumna are connected to the path of life
force. The three are always carriers of the life force, and are
associated with moon, sun, and fire.
21. Prana, apana, samana, udana, as well as vyana are the princi-
pal winds. Naga, kurma, krikala, deva-datta, and dhanam-jaya
are the secondary winds.
22. Prana dwells at the heart; apana is always in the region of the
anus; samana is at the location of the navel; udana is in the
middle of the throat;
23. vyana pervades the body. These are the five principal vayus.
The five beginning with prana and the other five vayus begin-
ning with naga are well known.
24. Naga is said to be present in belching; kurma is said to rest in
the opening of the eyes; kri-kara is the wind of sneezing; and
yawning is deva-datta.
25. Dhanama-jaya is all-pervasive and does not even quit a corpse.
These 10 winds roam in all the channels in the form of the
26. As a ball struck with a curved staff flies up, so the psyche,
when struck by prana and apana, does not stand still.
27. Under the force of prana and apana the psyche moves up and
down along the left and right pathways, it cannot be seen
because of its mobility. Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 10

28. Like a falcon tied with a string can be pulled back when it has
taken off, so the psyche, tied by the gunas of nature can be
pulled back by means of controlled prana and apana.
29. Apana pulls prana, and prana pulls apana. These two vayus
are situated above and below the navel. The knower of Yoga
joins both to awaken the serpent power.

Key Points
TT The pranic or energetic body is central to the practice of tantric
TT It is composed of the nadis, the chakras, and energetic winds that
flow within them.
TT Controland cleansing of these elements is the primary goal of

Nadis, Chakras, Vayus

The nadis, chakras, and the 10 vayus comprise the pranic or en-
ergetic body according to Tantric philosophy. They represent an
esoteric approach to the understanding of the nervous, endocrine,
and psychoemotional aspects of the body and human psyche. The
flow through this system and its level of purity or clarity reflects our
mood, the efficiency of our physical processes, and the subtle and
intangible aspects of our “energy.”

The word nadi in Sanskrit can mean “flowing water” or a “tube.”
In Ayurveda, nadi can refer to veins and arteries, or organ that is
tube-like in nature. In energetic anatomy, the primary nadis are
associated with the solar and lunar flows of energy in the body,
as well as the central spinal channel through which the psycho-
spiritual energy known as kundalini shakti rises. Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 11

The nadis are said to origi-

nate from the zone of the pel-
vic chakra, svadhishtana. They
spread outwards from this zone,
and originate in what is called
the kanda, or bulb. This zone
does not correspond to any
particular place in the physical
structure, although it may relate
to the enteric (gastrointestinal)
nervous system.

The Chakras
No other aspects of the energetic
system are as well known as the chakras. While there are many
elaborations of the chakra systems by various authors and tradi-
tions, the fundamentals of the chakras from the tantric tradition
are fairly clear. There are seven chakras, represented by lotuses
with various different petal counts. They function as indicators
of spiritual progress, representing the various effects of kundalini
shakti rising through the central channel of the spine.
In other areas of the manual, we will look at particular interpreta-
tions of the chakras as a way to decode and understand the emo-
tional landscape of the human psyche.

The Vayus
In both yogic and ayurvedic texts, all action in the body is associat-
ed with the element of air, since it the most mobile of the tradition-
al five elements. Thus, a key aspect of the energetic body is the 10
winds that govern the major functions of the body. These 10 winds
include the 5 primary winds and 5 secondary winds; the secondary
winds affect blinking, belching, sneezing, and yawning. The last
wind destroys the corpse at the physical death of the corpse. Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 12

Through the use of pranayama, the yogin learns to control all of

the energetic winds. By controlling the vayus, the yogin extends
his or her life, and prevents the decay of the physical body. Control
of the vayus are also essential to releasing the habits of the mind.
Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 13

The Anatomy of the Breath

Breathing is primarily associated with the lungs, but the physical
action of drawing in a breath requires very little effort on their
part. A fascinating chain of events occurs in the brain and in the
muscles of the ribcage and diaphragm to create an inhalation and
an exhalation. We will look at the anatomy of a breath to better
understand this process.

The Components of Breath

The act of breathing, or respiration, involves the following struc-
tures of the body:
1. Nose
2. Lungs
3. Ribcage
4. Muscles

The Nose
In Yoga, we generally breathe in through the nose. This is due to
the nose’s extensive role in moisturizing, purifying, and warming
the air prior to its entry into the lungs. Deep breathing through the
nose creates the optimal humidity and cleanliness of airs before it
travels into the lungs.
The nose consists of two nostrils. The nasal passage have a mu-
cous membrane that keeps the nose moist. The nasolacrymal duct,
which also provides tears to the eyes, helps provide the fluid that Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 14

assists in moistening the membrane. The nose is rich with blood

Ear, Nose vessels
& Throatthat help to heat the air Anatomical
to body temperature. The hair
Line Drawings

inside the nose as well as the sinuses

Sinuses - Anterior & Sagittal View provide a trap for dirt and
Click here to print line drawing

other airborne particles.

As air is drawn into the nose, pollutants are caught in the nasal
hairs and sinus. The air is warmed and heated as it travels through
the nose, down into the pharynx, and then into trachea, leading
to the lungs.

The Lungs
The human body generally contains 2 lungs, located under the rib
cage. The function of the lungs is to provide a place for oxygen
to move into the body the bloodstream, and for carbon dioxide
to leave the bloodstream and exit the body. We experience this
function every time we breath. On the inhale, we draw in oxygen
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visit us at
rich air into the body. On the exhale, we release a combination of
oxygen and carbon dioxide rich air.
Each lung receives air through a structure known as the bronchus
(pl. bronchi). The bronchus branches off from the trachea (com-
monly called the “wind pipe”). From here the bronchi begin to
branch into secondary and tertiary bronchi. At the base of the ter-
tiary bronchi are bronchioles. This continuous branching creates a
tree-like structure in the lungs. At the end of each branch are alveo- Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 15

lar, where we find the alveoli. This is where the work of breathing
really begins to take place. Respiratory Anatomical Line Drawings

Bronchi - Anterior View Click Here. . .to print line drawing

Click here to print line drawing

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visit us at

When we breath in, air rushes into the trachea because of the low-
er pressure in the lungs. From here, it moves into the bronchioles,
and down into the alveoli. Blood vessels wrap around the alveoli,
allowing them to exchange gases. As blood passes over the alveoli,
the oxygen from the lungs moves into the blood, and blood cells
release carbon dioxide into the alveoli. We then breathe out, expel-
ling this carbon dioxide. There are over 300 million alveoli in the
lungs, and the surface area of the lungs would be 753 square feet
if laid out!

The Ribcage
The ribcage is literally that: a protective sheath of ribs coming
off of the thoracic spine and wrapping into the front of the body.
When we eat “ribs” of any kind of meat, we are eating the meat off
the bones of the ribcage of an animal. The ribcage also provides a
bony structure in which the muscles of respiration can work.
The ribs are long, thin bones that are shaped in a semicircle. They
start at the each vertebrae of the thoracic spine. There are 12 ribs,
one for each vertebrae. The first seven are called true ribs, because
they connect into the sternum through their cartilage. The eighth,
ninth, and tenth ribs are called false ribs, because they do not
Click here t Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 16

connect directly to the sternum. The eleventh and twelfth ribs are
called floating ribs, and do not connect to the sternum at all.

The ribs do not have a large range of movement individually. How-

ever, they do move apart and together to a degree due to the ac-
tion of the intercostals. Their connection to the thoracic vertebrae
has an important impact to they way in which we can move the

The Muscles
There are three primary muscles involved in respiration: the dia-
phragm, intercostals, and transverse abdominis. Working together,
these muscles create movement in the lungs, mobilizes the ribs,
and helps to compress the lungs during exhale.
The diaphragm is one of the most fascinating muscles in the body.
It is shaped like the body of the jellyfish. Above the diaphragm are
the lungs. When the diaphragm contracts, it pulls down on the
tissue surrounding the lungs and creates greater room inside the
thoracic cavity. This causes the lungs to fill with air. The muscle
connects to the ribcage on both sides, the breastbone at the front,
and lumbar vertebrae in the back. When the diaphragm relaxes,
the lungs deflate and push out air. Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 17

The intercostals are the muscles between the ribs. They are small,
slender, and form two layers: the external intercostals and the in-
ternal intercostals. The external intercostals help to expand the
ribs, assisting on inhale; the internal intercostals help to compress
the rib cage, assisting on the exhale. The intercostals also help to
protect the lungs by providing a layer of muscle over the ribs.
The transverse abdominis is lowest layer of the abdominals. It
wraps around the front and back of the lower trunk like a corset.
When contracted, the transverse abdominis compresses the entire
abdominal contents. This includes the lungs during strong exhala-
tion. We use the transverse abdominis during poses to help sta-
bilize the spine. When the transverse abdominis is not activated
in abdominal work, the walls of the abdominals push forward. A
strong exhalation often helps to draw the entire abdominal group
down, increasing strength and stability.

The Components of a Breath

We know that breathing involves inhalation and exhalation, with
the lungs as the primary receptacle for oxygen and carbon dioxide,
respectively. The air that we breathe consists primarily of nitrogen,
an inert gas that has no role in breathing. Oxygen, the second
major component, is a highly flammable gas that the body uses in
respiration. The combination of nitrogen and oxygen means that
our air provides enough oxygen for breathing, but will not be flam-
mable when exposed to open flame. There are also trace amount
of other gases, such as carbon dioxide, in the air that we breathe.
When we breathe, we can breathe to different degrees of “depth:”
we can take deep breaths or shallow breaths. There is also the
ability to breathe in more air after a regular inhale; and the ability
to exhale further after what feels like a complete exhale. Each of
these aspects of a breath represents a different component of the
breath. This is visually demonstrated in the graph below. When we breathe, we can breathe to different degrees ofBhakti“depth:” we can Program
Warrior Immersion take | 18
deep breaths or shallow breaths. There is also the ability to breathe in more
air after a regular inhale; and the ability to exhale further after what feels like
a complete exhale. Each of these aspects of a breath represents a different
component of the breath. This is visually demonstrated in the graph below.

A Tidal Volume

Lung Volume
4 B Inspiratory Reserve
C Expiratory Reserve
D Vital Capacity
D E Residual Volume
A Normal Breathing
2 Deeper Breathing


The Tidal Volume

take a normal inhale and exhale, the amount of air that we move into
and out of our lungs is called the tidal volume. The practice of Yoga tends to
When we
increase our take a normal
tidal volume overinhale
time. and exhale, the amount of air that
we move into and out of our lungs is called the tidal volume. The
practice of Yoga tends to increase our tidal volume over time.

Inspiratory Reserve
After a normal inhale, we usually can inhale slightly more air. This
is known as the inspiratory reserve. As the graph indicates, the
inspiratory reserve can be fairly large for most of us. Practicing our
yoga breathing can help reduce the inspiratory reserve by having
each inhale use more of the tidal volume.

Expiratory Reserve
After a normal exhale, we can usually exhale slight more air. This
is known as the expiratory reserve. The expiratory reserve on the
graph is smaller than the inspiratory reserve. This is because we
usually have a more complete exhale than inhale. Practicing our
yoga breathing allows us to exhaust the expiratory reserve during
our first exhale.

Vital Capacity
The vital capacity is the combination of the tidal volume, inspira-
tory reserve, and expiratory reserve. It represents the total capacity
for inhalation and exhalation. During daily breathing, we rarely Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 19

use the entire vital capacity, and even during yoga practice, we ap-
proach but do not reach it. During breath specific practices in Yoga,
we may come close to or reach our vital capacity.

Residual Volume
It is never possible to completely exhale all possible gases from
the lungs. This part that remains is known as the residual volume.
Residual volume is relatively constant, and a small portion of the
overall volume of the lungs.
These 5 components of the breath are what we work with physi-
cally in our practice of pranayama. Depending on the breath work,
we may work to increase or decrease any one or more of the dimen-
sions of the vital capacity.
Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 20

Fundamentals of Pranayama
The Hatha Yoga Pradipika (of Svatmarama)

II. Pranayama
1. Posture becoming established, a Yogi, master of himself, eating
salutary and moderate food, should practice pranayama, as
instructed by his guru.
2. Respiration being disturbed, the mind becomes disturbed. By
restraining respiration, the Yogi gets steadiness of mind.
3. So long as the (breathing) air stays in the body, it is called life.
Death consists in the passing out of the (breathing) air. It is,
therefore, necessary to restrain the breath.
4. The breath does not pass through the middle channel (susum-
na), owing to the impurities of the nadis. How can then success
be attained, and how can there be the unmani avastha.
5. When the whole system of the nadis which is full of impurities,
is cleaned, then the Yogi becomes able to control the Prana.
6. Therefore, Pranayama should be performed daily with satwika
buddhi (intellect free from raja and tama or activity and sloth),
in order to drive out the impurities of the susumna.
7. Sitting in the Padmasana posture the Yogi should fill in the air
through the left nostril (closing the right one); and, keeping it Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 21

confined according to one’s ability, it should be expelled slowly

through the surya (right nostril).
8. Then, drawing in the air through the surya slowly, the belly
should be filled, and after performing Kumbhaka as before, it
should be expelled slowly through the chandra (left nostril).
9. Inhaling thus through the one, through which it was expelled,
and having restrained it there, till possible, it should be exhaled
through the other, slowly and not forcibly.
10. If the air be inhaled through the left nostril, it should be ex-
pelled again through the other, and filling it through the right
nostril, confining it there, it should be expelled through the left
nostril. By practicing in this way, through the right and the left
nostrils alternately, the whole of the collection of the nadis of
the yamis (practisers) becomes clean, i.e., free from impurities,
after 3 months and over.
11. Kumbhakas should be performed gradually four times during
day and night (i.e., morning, noon, evening and midnight), till
the number of Kumbhakas for one time is 80 and for day and
night together it is 320.
12. In the beginning there is perspiration, in the middle stage there
is quivering, and in the last or third stage, one obtains steadi-
ness; and then the breath should be made steady or motion-
13. The perspiration exuding from exertion of practice should be
rubbed into the body (and not wiped), as by so doing the body
becomes strong.
14. During the first stage of practice the food consisting of milk
and ghee is wholesome. When the practice becomes estab-
lished, no such restriction is necessary.
15. Just as lions, elephants and tigers are controlled by and by,
so the breath is controlled by slow degrees, otherwise (i.e., by Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 22

being hasty or using too much force) it kills the practitioner

16. When Pranayama, etc., are performed properly, they eradicate
all diseases; but an improper practice generates diseases.
17. Hiccough, asthma, cough, pain in the head, the ears, and the
eyes; these and other various kinds of diseases are generated
by the disturbance of the breath.
18. The air should be expelled with proper tact and should be filled
in skillfully; and when it has been kept confined properly it
brings success.
19. When the nadis become free from impurities, and there appear
the outward signs of success, such as lean body and glowing
color, then one should feel certain of success.
20. By removing the impurities, the air can be restrained, according
to one’s wish and the appetite is increased, the divine sound is
awakened, and the body becomes healthy.
21. If there be excess of fat or phlegm in the body, the six kinds of
kriyas (duties) should be performed first. But others, not suffer-
ing from the excess of these, should not perform them.
22. The six kinds of duties are: Dhauti, Basti, Neti, Trataka, Nauti
and Kapala Bhati. These are called the six actions.
23. These six kinds of actions which cleanse the body should be
kept secret. They produce extraordinary attributes and are per-
formed with earnestness by the best Yogis.
24. A strip of cloth, about 3 inches wide and 15 cubits long, is
pushed in (swallowed), when moist with warm water, through
the passage shown by the guru, and is taken out again. This is
called Dhauti Karma. Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 23

25. There is no doubt, that cough, asthma, enlargement of the

spleen, leprosy, and 20 kinds of diseases born of phlegm, disap-
pear by the practice of Dhauti Karma.
26. Squatting in navel deep water, and intoducing a six inches
long, smooth piece of 1/2 an inch diameter pipe, open at both
ends, half inside the anus; it (anus) should be drawn up (con-
tracted) and then expelled. This washing is called Basti Karma.
27. By practicing this Basti Karma, colic, enlarged spleen, and
dropsy, arising from the disorders of Vata (air), pitta (bile) and
kapha (phlegm), are all cured.
28. By practicing Basti with water, the Dhatus, the Indriyas and
the mind become calm. It gives glow and tone to the body and
increases the appetite. All the disorders disappear.
29. A cord made of threads and about six inches long, should be
passed through the passage of the nose and the end taken out
in the mouth. This is called by adepts the Neti Karma.
30. The Neti is the cleaner of the brain and giver of divine sight.
It soon destroys all the diseases of the cervical and scapular
31. Being calm, one should gaze steadily at a small mark, till eyes
are filled with tears. This is called Tratika by acharyas.
32. Tratika destroys the eye diseases and removes sloth, etc. It
should be kept secret very carefully, like a box of jewelry.
33. Sitting on the toes with heels raised above the ground, and the
palms resting on the ground, and in this bent posture the belly
is moved forcibly from left to right, just as in vomiting. This is
called by adepts the Nauli Karma.
34. It removes dyspepsia, increases appetite and digestion, and is
like the goddess of creation, and causes all happiness. It dries
up all the disorders. This is an excellent exercise in Hatha Yoga. Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 24

35. When inhalation and exhalation are performed very quickly,

like a pair of bellows of a blacksmith, it dries up all the disor-
ders from the excess of phlegm, and is known as Kapala Bhati.
36. When Pranayama is performed after getting rid of obesity born
of the defects of phlegm, by the performance of the six duties,
it easily brings success.
37. Some acharyas (teachers) do not advocate any other practice,
being of opinion that all the impurities are dried up by the
practice of Pranayama.
38. By carrying the Apana Vayu up to the throat, the food, etc.,
in the stomach are vomited, By degrees, the system of Nadis
(Sankhini) becomes known. This is called in Hatha as Gaja
39. Brahna and other Devas were always engaged in the exercise
of Pranayama, and, by means of it, got rid of the fear of death.
Therefore, one should practice pranayama regularly.
40. So long as the breath is restrained in the body, so long as the
mind is undisturbed, and so long as the gaze is fixed between
the eyebrows, there is no fear from Death.
41. When the system of Nadis becomes clear of the impurities by
properly controlling the prana, then the air, piercing the en-
trance of the Susumna, enters it easily.
42. Steadiness of mind comes when the air moves freely in the
middle. That is the manonmani condition, which is attained
when the mind becomes calm.
43. To accomplish it, various Kumbhakas are performed by those
who are expert in the methods; for, by the practice of different
Kumbhakas, wonderful success is attained.
44. Kumbhakas are of eight kinds, viz., Surya Bhedan, Ujjayi, Sit-
kari, Sitali, Bhastrika, Bhramari, Murchha, and Plavini. Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 25

45. At the end of Puraka, Jalandhara Bandha should be performed,

and at the end of Kumbhaka, and at the beginning of Rechaka,
Uddiyana Bandhas should not be performed.
46. Kumbhaka is the keeping the air confined inside. Rechaka is
expelling the confined air. The instructions for Puraka, Kumb-
haka and Rechaka will be found at the proper place and it
should be carefully followed. By drawing up from below (Mula
Bandha) and contracting the throat (Jalanddhara Bandha) and
by pulling back the middle of the front portion of the body (i.e.,
belly), the Prana goes to the Brahma Nadi (Susumna).
47. By pulling up the Apana Vayu and by forcing the Prana Vayu
down the throat, the yogi, liberated from old age, becomes
young, as it were 16 years old.
48. Taking any comfortable posture and performing the âsana, the
Yogi should draw in air slowly, through the right nostril.
49. Then it should be confined within, so that it fills from the nails
to the tips of the hair, and let it out through the left nostril
50. This excellent Surya Bhedana cleanses the forehead (frontal si-
nuses), destroys the disorders of Vata, and removes the worms,
and, therefore, it should be performed again and again.
51. Having closed the opening of the Nadi (larynx), the air should
be drawn in such a way that it goes touching from the throat
to the chest, and making noise while passing.
52. It should be restrained, as before, and then let out through
the Ida (the left nostril). This removes slesma (phlegm) in the
throat and increases the appetite.
53. It destroys the defects of the nadis, dropsy and disorders of
Dhatu (humors). Ujjayi should be performed in all conditions of
life, even while walking or sitting. Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 26

54. Sitkari is performed by drawing in the air through the mouth,

keeping the tongue between the lips. The air thus drawn in
should not be expelled through the mouth. By practicing in this
way, one becomes next to the God of love and beauty.
55. He is regarded adorable by the Yoginis and becomes the de-
stroyer of the cycle of creation. He is not afflicted with hunger,
thirst, sleep or lassitude.
56. The Satwa of his body becomes free from all disturbances. In
truth, he becomes the lord of the Yogis in this world.
57. As in the above (Sitkari), the tongue to be protruded a little
out of the lips, when the air is drawn in. It is kept confined, as
before, and then expelled slowly through the nostrils.
58. This Sitali Kumbhaka cures colic, (enlarged) spleen, fever, disor-
ders of bile, hunger, thirst, and counteracts poisons.
59. The Padma âsana consists in crossing the feet and placing
them on both the thighs; it is the destroyer of all sins.
60. Binding the Padma-âsana and keeping the body straight,
closing the mouth carefully, let the air be expelled through the
61. It should be filled up to the lotus of the heart, by drawing it
in with force, making noise and touching the throat, the chest
and the head.
62. It should be expelled again and filled again and again as be-
fore, just as a pair of bellows of the blacksmith is worked.
63. In the same way, the air of the body should be moved intelli-
gently, filling it through Suyra when fatigue is experienced.
64. The air should be drawn in through the right nostril by pressing
the thumb against the left side of the nose, so as to close the
left nostril; and when filled to the full, it should be closed with Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 27

the fourth finger (the one next to the little finger) and kept
65. Having confined it properly, it should be expelled through the
Ida (left nostril). This destroys Vata, pitta (bile) and phlegm
and increases the digestive power ( the gastric fire).
66. It quickly awakens the Kundalini, purifies the system, gives
pleasure, and is beneficial. It destroys phlegm and the impuri-
ties accumulated at the entrance of the Brahma Nadi.
67. This Bhastrika should be performed plentifully, for it breaks the
three knots: Brahma granthi (in the chest), Visnu granthi (in the
throat), and Rudra granthi (between the eyebrows) of the body.
68. By filling the air with force, making noise like Bhringi (wasp),
and expelling it slowly, making noise in the same way; this
practice causes a sort of ecstasy in the minds of Yogindras.
69. Closing the passages with Jalandhar Bandha firmly at the end
of Puraka, and expelling the air slowly, is called Murchha, from
its causing the mind to swoon and give comfort.
70. When the belly is filled with air and the inside of the body is
filled to its utmost with air, the body floats on the deepest
water, like a leaf of a lotus.
71. Considering Puraka (Filling), Rechaka (expelling) and Kumhaka
(confining), Pranayama is of three kinds, but considering it ac-
companied by Puraka and Rechaka, and without these, it is of
two kinds only, i.e., Sabita (with) and Kevala (alone).
72. Exercise in Sahita should be continued till success in Kevala is
gained. This latter is simply confining the air with ease, without
Rechaka and Puraka.
73. In the practice of Kevala Pranayama when it can be performed
successfully without Rechaka and Puraka, then it is called
Kevala Kumbhaka. Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 28

74. There is nothing in the three worlds which may be difficult to

obtain for him who is able to keep the air confined according
to pleasure, by means of Kevala Kumbhaka.
75. He obtains the position of Raja Yoga undoubtedly. Kundalini
awakens by Kumbhaka, and by its awakening, Susumna be-
comes free from impurities.
76. No success in Raja Yoga without Hatha Yoga, and no success in
Hatha Yoga without Raja Yoga. One should, therefore, practice
both of these well, till complete success is gained.
77. On the completion of Kumbhaka, the mind should be given
rest. By practicing in this way one is raised to the position of
(succeeds in getting) Raja Yoga.
78. When the body becomes lean, the face glows with delight,
Anahata-nada manifests, and eyes are clear, the body is
healthy, bindu under control, and appetite increases, then one
should know that the Nadis are purified and success in Hatha
Yoga is approaching.

Key Points
TT Asstated in both the Yoga Sutras and the Hatha Yoga Pradipika,
pranayama is practiced after creating balance and purity in the
body through diet and exercise (asana).
TT The primary tools of pranayama are the inhale, exhale, suspension,
retention, nostril control, amplitude of the breath, and rhythm of
the breath.
TT The kriyas are used as supplemental tools for deeper cleansing
after asana has been perfected.
TT Controlof the breath is connected to the control of the mind and
the nervous. Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 29

The Practice of Pranayama

The practice of breath lengthening, or pranayama, is the technique
the bridges the gap between external (bahiranga) and internal
(antaranga) practice (sadhana). The yamas, niyamas, and asana
constitute the external practice. Pratyahara, dharana, and dhyana
constitute the internal practice. Pranayama is the intermediate
stage between the two.
Pranayama practice begins once a practitioner can sustain the
comfort and attention in the seated asanas. Classically, the practi-
tioner would conduct the pranayama practice separately from any
physical exercises. In modern classes, pranayama can be incorpo-
rated into the main flow of the class, such that different somapsy-
choenergetic effects arise during the practice. For beginners, the
independent practice of pranayama from asana is best, since it al-
lows greater focus on appropriateness of technique and awareness
of the subtle shifts in consciousness.

Ujjayi Pranayama
Finding a comfortable posture. Starting by noticing the current
flow of the breath. Letting the belly expand first, then the middle
of the lungs, and the top of the lungs, feeling the ribcage expand.
Exhaling, drawing the navel towards the spine, and letting the rib-
cage draw back without collapsing the chest and rolling in the
shoulders. Continuing to breathe without strain.
When comfortable, drawing your awareness to your throat. On an
exhale, breathing out through the mouth as if trying to fog a mirror
(a gentle “ha” sound). After a few exhalations, continuing to create
the sound but keeping the mouth closed. You will feel a slight con-
traction in the throat on both the inhale and exhale. Continuing
with your ujjayi breath. Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 30

Samavritti Pranayama
When comfortable, counting the length of the inhale as “1, Breath;
2, Breath; 3, Breath” and so on. At the top of the inhale, exhal-
ing on the same count. Letting the exhale remain smooth as you
equalize your breath. Continuing with samavritti as long as it is

Bhastrika Pranayama
Visualize the working of a bellows: the drawing in of air as the han-
dles are separated, and the strong press of air out as the handles
are drawn together. Seeing the accordion-like sac, and drawing a
connection between this image and our own breathing, ribcage,
pelvis, and lungs. The lungs are the sac; the bottom part of the ribs,
the top handle; the pelvis, the lower handle.
Begin Bellow’s Breath slowly. On your next inhale, allowing your
lowest rib and your pelvis to separate from each other maximally,
slightly arching the spine. On the exhale, drawing the low ribs and
the pelvis closer together, abs drawing inwards, forcing out our
air. Lifting and separating, inhaling; drawing together and inward,

Kapalabhati Pranayama
When comfortable with Bellow’s Breath (Bhastrika Pranayama),
move into Breath of Fire. In Breath of Fire, you will “tap” the abdo-
men to forcibly expel the exhale, and release the abdomen to pas-
sively inhale. Each breath will feel like a “sniff” of air; however, we
want to focus our attention and energy to the navel, as opposed
to the upper chest.
You’ll begin with your hands on your belly. In a samavritti pattern,
you’ll feel the drawing of the navel towards the spine on the out-
breath. Once you have that awareness of the belly moving in on
the out-breath, and belly out on the in, begin Breath of Fire. Taking Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 31

a deep breath in, begin to tap the navel to the spine in rapid suc-
cession. Beginning slowly, ensure that you actively tap the navel
back towards the spine on each breath. Speed up the breath as you
are ready to.
Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 32

The Integrated Warrior Model

Taittiriya Upanishad

Taittiriya Upanishad II.1.3

From that very Atman (Self), which has been referred to as Brah-
man, ether came into existence; from ether, air; from air, fire; from
fire, water; from water, earth; from the earth, herbs; from herbs,
food; and from food was born man. II.1.3

Key Points
TT The pancamayakosha are the five-fold (panca) sheaths (mayako-
sha). Conceptually, they are the five aspects of human beings en-
veloping the atman, from gross to subtle: our body, breath/energy,
mind, the Witness Consciousness, and the connection to the source
TT In Bhakti Warrior Yoga, the pancamayakosha is the foundation for
creating an integrated practice of yoga using the full spectrum of
technologies available to the yoga practitioner. Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 33

Introduction to the Kosha Model

In the vedic conception of life, the soul, or atman, is a component
of the imperishable brahman, or all pervading reality. When we
come into being—incarnate—the soul is wrapped in five koshas.
The word kosha in Sanskrit means, among other things, a “case or
covering.” These five casings obscure the soul and separate our
awareness from our true nature.

Physical Body

Energy Body

Sensory Body

Wisdom Body

Bliss Body

The Kosha Model and Raja Yoga

The five casings are defined in Tattiriya Upanishad as follows:
1. Annamayakosha, the body of food (anna). Annamayakosha is
the physical structure of the body, arising from and sustained
by food. It is connected to the five physical elements: earth,
water, fire, air, and ether.
2. Pranamayakosha, the body of energy (prana). Pranamayako-
sha is the energetic structure of the body, arising from and sus-
tained by the breath. It is connected to the five movements of
prana: inward, downward, upwards, expanding, and circulating.
3. Manomayakosha, the body of the mind (manas). Manomaya-
kosha is the mental structure of the body, and specifically, the
mental body responsible for sensing and receiving input about Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 34

the world. It is connected to the five senses: touch, smell, sight,

sound, and taste; and the five actions: voice, hand, feet, elimi-
nation, and reproduction.
4. Vijnanamayakosha, the body of wisdom (vijnana). Vijnana-
mayakosha is the wisdom structure of the body, and forms the
conscience of the individual. It is associated with the five types
of intelligence: ignorant, distracted, scattered, closely attentive,
and controlled.
5. Anandamayakosha, the body of bliss (ananda). Anandamaya-
kosha is the bliss body, the link to the ultimate soul reality of
brahman (but not brahman itself). It is associated with the five
types of samadhi: gross, gross without identification, subtle,
bliss, and undistinguished.
Each layer, or kosha, can be strengthened or purified through par-
ticular actions and practices. The purification of each kosha allows
for greater ease in the layer itself, and also in the more subtle ko-
shas. We have already seen this concept at work in the Yoga Sutras
and, indeed, there is a connection between the limbs of raja yoga
and each of the koshas. If we look more closely we will see that:
1. Annamayakosha is purified by asana.
2. Pranamayakosha is purified by pranayama.
3. Manomayakosha is purified by pratyahara.
4. Vijnanamayakosha is purified by dharana.
5. Anandamayakosha is purified by dhyana.
We can continue the analogy by aligning the koshas with each of
yamas and niyamas:
1. Annamayakosha is cleansed through non-violence and through
cleanliness. Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 35

2. Pranamayakosha is cleansed through truthfulness and through

3. Manomayakosha is cleansed through non-stealing and through
4. Vijnanamayakosha is cleansed through brahmacharya and self-
5. Anandamayakosha is cleansed through non-possessiveness and
Fundamentally, the practice of yoga is intended to address all lev-
els of the body, and to reduce and remove the suffering in each
aspect of the human condition. We clearly see from even this short
discussion how thoroughly the vedic wisdom teachers conceived
and laid out the dimensions of human existence.

Defining the Integrated Warrior Model

The pancamayakosha model is the basis for the Integrated Warrior
Model (IWM). The IWM is an open-ended structure that allows the
Bhakti Warrior practitioner to identify gross and subtle imbalances
in the body and apply appropriate tools and technologies to ad-
dress them. As with the five koshas, the five elements of IWM are
physical, energetic, mental, wisdom, and bliss. These five elements
of the IWM are covered in each of the Bhakti Warrior immersion
The IWM, in keeping with the spirit of the Bhakti Warrior system,
is not a proscriptive model; it does not dictate how the practitioner
should work on each layer, or what constitutes the “outer limits”
of the practitioner’s growth. Instead, the model encourages self-
exploration and experimentation with each layer. The model can
also be extended to the design of group yoga classes, and indi-
vidual sessions with students. When fully understood and applied
in a way consistent with your teaching potential, the model can Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 36

also be used to guide others along an evolutionary path of growth

and self-improvement.

Root Work: Kosha Awareness

The koshas exist both as a conceptual model and as a realized
aspect of the human existence. In order to build our awareness
of the koshas, we can begin with the annamayakosha, the least
subtle and most accessible layer of the body. This root work exer-
cise with also be fairly pleasurable to do. It involves eating!
TT Choose a food you crave—an indulgent food rich in sensory value.

TT First,there is a hard part first. Prepare or purchase your favorite

food and sit with it near your body. It is likely that you will begin to
react in physical way. Notice your physical reaction to the presence
of your craved food.
TT Now, slowly eat a bite of the food. Notice your reactions to the
food on a physical level. Try to extend your awareness into your
body by paying attention to things like the surface of your skin.
What has physically changed now that you’ve eaten this food?
This is a challenging exercise because you will need to separate
your mental satisfaction and sensory input (smell, taste, etc.) from
the actual impact on your body. Even though the annamayakosha
is the least subtle layer, it is amazing how little awareness most
people have about their physical body. Continue to work on this
exercise and see how aware you can become of the impact of this
food on your body.
Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 37

The Body of Prana (Pranamayakosha)

Tattiriya Upanishad

Kundalini: Yoga for the West

Book of Genesis

Tattiriya Upanishad II.2.2-3

Verily, besides this, which is made of the essence of food, there is
the other inner Self, comprised of vital air with which this Self is
filled. Really, this Self is exactly like the form of a person. That
earlier Self, having taken the form of a person, accordingly this self
is also the shape of a person. Of this, prana, indeed is the head,
vyana is the right side, apana is the left side, space is the Self and
earth is the support and foundation. There is the following verse
about it.
Whatsoever gods, men or animals exist, all depend on prana for
their lives. Really, prana is the vital force of all creatures; therefore,
it is regarded as the universal life. Those who worship prana as
Brahman surely attain the full span of life. Prana is the life of all
living beings; therefore, it is called the life of all. The embodied
Self of the earlier one is this one, indeed.

Kundalini: Yoga for the West p. 293

While each chakra promises the faithful and persistant aspirant
certain powers, they must first be understood from one’s present Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 38

position. It must also be recognized that it is not possible to de-

velop just one chakra, in the same way that one cannot develop
just one of the five senses. The senses develop together; if one
develops faster or at the cost of the others, the ensuing imbalances
results in many problems.

Book of Genesis 2:7

And the Lord God formed man [of] the dust of the ground, and
breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a
living soul.

Key Points
TT The breath is the fundamental unit of life, and has been revered as
such in almost all cultures.
TT The first principle of sustaining the energetic body is the applica-
tion of appropriate breathing, which is the basis of this kosha.
TT The second principle of sustaining the energetic body is the ap-
plication of appropriate emotional action, which helps to maintain
the energetic structure and clarity of breath and body.

The Role of the Energetic Body in Yoga

In the view of the Yoga tradition, the human body is more than
simply flesh and bone. A subtle energy pervades the entire mac-
rocosm, and therefore the entire microcosm of the human body.
While we can expand the physical capacities of the human struc-
ture, it is ultimately limiting. The physical form, in spite of our
increasing ability to achieve greater and greater feats within in, is
ultimately subject to injury, decay, and disease.
The energetic body is equally subject to injury, decay, and disease,
but is not as limited as the physical form. Just as energy in the uni- Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 39

verse as infinite potential, so does the energy in the human body.

With this energy, we can conduct potentially superhuman feats.

The Tantric Embrace of the Energetic: Kundalini Shakti

The tantric system of yoga visualizes the cosmic power as a serpent
coiled at the base of the spine. This is known as the kundalini
shakti. It is considered a representation of the cosmic energy force
known as mahaprana. Upon conception, the cosmic conscious-
ness is converted into kundalini energy, and provides the energetic
foundation for the human body.
Throughout daily life, a portion of the kundalini shakti flows throw
the solar and lunar channels, pingala and ida nadi. Through the
practice of specific techniques, the full force of kundalini shakti is
channeled up the central space of the spine, sushumna nadi. As
kundalini shakti rises through sushumna nadi it arrives as vortexes
of prana known as the chakras. These vortexes act as both a re-
ceptacle for the rising kundalini shakti and a barrier. As the energy
enters into the vortex, it activates the full potential of the area.
Like a dam, however, the chakra can also store the kundalini shakti.
If the force of it is not great enough to move through the block, the
kundalini shakti ebbs and flows in this space. If it is great enough,
it flows to the next point.
The practice of becoming more aware of this energy is central to
success in yoga. Although pranayama is the practice of lengthen-
ing the breath, the science of working with the various aspects of
the kundalini shakti is better known as prana vidya: knowledge of

Tending to the Pranic Body: Ayurveda

While Ayurveda is perhaps best known for its focus on the physical,
it does not ignore the other aspects of the human body. Ayurveda
also deals equally with the mind, which is one of key sources of
either health or disease. Ayurveda also acknowledges the 10 vital Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 40

breaths (i.e. the 10 vayus). However, Ayurveda does not deal ex-
plicitly with the kundalini shakti or the aspects of pranayama, as
these are specifically addressed by Yoga.
For Ayurveda, the pranic body is connected to vata dosha. Repre-
senting the wind element and the concept of mobility, the 5 pranas
are referenced as responsible for specific bodily functions. These
are summarized below:
1. Udana Vata. For speech, self expression, effort, enthusiasm,
strength and vitality. Located in the naval, lungs and throat.
2. Samana Vata. For the peristaltic movement of the digestive
system. Located in the stomach and small intestines.
3. Prana Vata. For inhalation, perception through the senses and
governs the mind. Located in the brain, head, throat, heart,
respiratory organs.
4. Apana Vata. For all downward impulses (urination, elimina-
tion, menstruation, sexual discharges etc.) Located between the
naval and the anus.
5. Vyana Vata. For circulation, heart rhythm, locomotion. Centred
in the heart and permeates through the whole body.

Western Energetic Medicine: Biofield Energy

One of the key areas of science that is beginning to resonate with
Eastern perspectives on the body is physics, which is just coming
to understand the aspects of vibrational quality of the universe.
The following text comes from a scientific review of the concept of
biofield energy:
It is possible that there are subtle bodies of the human being be-
yond the physical body that involve realms of mind, soul, and spirit
as espoused by Eastern philosophies. A full scientific model of the
human being may indeed require elements that go beyond space-
time, matter-energy, and require multidimensional geometry or Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 41

other novel concepts. However, this paper takes only a first step in
proposing a biofield hypothesis based on known scientific concepts
from bioelectromagnetics and biophysical systems theory. The bio-
field is defined here as the endogenous, complex dynamic electro-
magnetic (EM) field resulting from the superposition of component
EM fields of the organism that is proposed to be involved in self-
organization and bioregulation of the organism. The components
of the biofield are the EM fields contributed by each individual
oscillator or electrically charged, moving particle or ensemble of
particles of the organism (ion, molecule, cell, tissue, etc.), accord-
ing to principles of conventional physics. The resulting biofield may
be conceived of as a very complex dynamic standing wave (Rubik,
1997b; Zhang, 1995, 1996). It has a broad spectral bandwidth,
being composed of many different EM frequencies, analogous to a
musical symphony with many harmonics that change over time.
The biofield hypothesis offers a unifying hypothesis to explain the
interaction of objects or fields with an organism, such as are used
in certain CAM interventions. All objects radiate an EM field sig-
nature of resonant frequencies. If an object (such as a nutritional
supplement, homeopathic, or drug) or externally applied EM field
(such as that produced by a therapeutic electromagnetic device)
is brought near to or inside the body of an organism, the frequen-
cies radiated by the object (or applied EM field) would, in theory,
interact with the organism’s biofield. For example, it could modify,
reinforce, destabilize, or otherwise interact with the biofield, by the
principle of superposition of waves in the behavior of chaotic non-
linear dynamical systems. This would be the first step in mediating
a biologic response.

Pranayamakosha in the IWM

The pranamayakosha is second layer that most practitioners want
to harmonize. To harmonize this kosha, a practitioner will need to
identify the following elements: Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 42

TT Breathing
practices, including the identification of appropriate
pranayama practices to harmonize the breath.
TT Identification
of emotional imbalances, including areas of over-
and under-development, and the appropriate application of chakra
balancing techniques.
TT Cultivation of an awareness of the emotional anatomy of the body,
and adopting mental and physical attitudes to shift this.
Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 43

The Practice of Vinyasa

The Complete Book of Vinyasa Yoga

The Complete Book of Vinyasa Yoga pg. xvii

Vinyasa krama yoga is an ancient practice of physical and spiritual
development. It is a systematic method to study, practice, teach,
and adapt yoga. [Through t]his vinyasa krama (movement and
sequence methodology)...a practitioner will experience the real joy
of yoga practice.

Key Points
TT BhaktiWarrior Yoga asana classes use a blueprint that combines
a functional training approach with the pratikriyasana concept of
Krishnamacharya to create balanced sequences.
TT Multi-dimensionalvinyasa begins with the concept that the body
can be moved in space in multiple ways, and that use of all these
dimensions is essential in a balanced yoga class.
TT More than one mat, a specially designed round mat, or no mat may
be used to accommodate the multi-dimensional vinyasa flows. Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 44

Foundational Vinyasa Concepts

The word vinyasa means “to place in special way” and krama is
defined as “a course of action” or “in the proper order.” While we
typically hear the word vinyasa applied to asana classes, vinyasa
krama encompasses a much larger perspective. The natural flow
of any system, from the macrocosmic universe to the microcosmic
innerverse of the human body, is governed by specific inherent
rhythms and processes that proceed in dynamic relationship to
changes and fluctuations. We see these rhythms most profoundly
expressed in nature, where plants and animals exist in a continu-
ous and harmonious cycle of mutual influence. As Lao Tzu writes
in the Tao Te Ching regarding this natural order:
Tao gives life to all beings.
Nature nourishes them.
Fellow creatures shape them.
Circumstances complete them.

Everything in existence respects Tao

and honors nature—
not by decree, but spontaneously.

Observing and being in harmony with this natural rhythm is the

deepest expression of vinyasa krama. As is obvious from our own
experience, however, human beings have the rare ability to con-
sciously choose behaviors. This freedom of choice means that we
must work to achieve a modicum of integration within ourselves,
our communities, and our environment.
When we apply the philosophy of vinyasa krama to our physical
practice, the qualities of our internal and external environment
dictate the nature of our activity. Many or most people perform
the same physical movements for exercise regardless of the time of
day, the season, the physical condition of the body, to name only
a few factors. At the initial level of practice, utilizing the same Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 45

practice makes it easy for students to integrate the elements of the

practice. However, once a practitioner has mastered an extensive
vocabulary of exercise and understands how to form them into a
coherent sequence, practice is ideally a spontaneous response to
the condition of the body. Realistically, this level of awareness
does not arise for most practitioners unless they have been taught
to choose their practices out of a deep awareness of their bodies
and its inherent needs.

Conceptual Models for Designing Physical Practices

There are many conceptual models and rules to describe how one
should design a physical practice. To ignite our thinking regarding
this topic, the following is a list of concepts with short descrip-
1. Preset Practices. As discussed above, the simplest form of vin-
yasa practices are those that are preset. A classic example of
this is the Ashtanga Vinyasa system of Pattabhi Jois. Ashtanga
yoga consists of six sequences of increasing complexity that are
taught in a fixed manner. All Asthanga classes begin with a
series of sun salutation variations, followed by a series of warm-
up poses, and ending with standard sequence of backbends,
inversions, and lotus pose variations. In between these is the
main sequence, identified as First Series, Second Series, Third
Series, and so on. Traditionally, the practice is not changed or
adapted for the individual, based on the mindset that the stu-
dent practices what they can, and pauses in a certain posture
before moving on to the next.
2. Pratikriyasana. Prati means “in opposition to” and kriya means
“action.” Pratikriyasana, which is the basis of Krishnamacha-
rya later method of physical practice, involves a balancing of
physical actions of asanas. At its simplest level, this means
that each pose in the sequence must have a pose that creates
the opposite effect (e.g. a backbend followed by forward fold). Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 46

At a higher level of complexity, the concept of pratikriyasana is

applied to the entire arc of a sequence, implying that there is
an overall balance. This requires more awareness on the part
of the teacher and the practitioner.
3. Rasa Vinyasas. Rasa means “juice” and also refers to the taste
in food and human emotional states. Developed by Shiva Rea,
rasa vinyasa provides a framework for choosing poses based on
the overall physical quality of the practice. For example, “hero”
practices (vira rasa) have a number of arm balances, standing
poses, and other asanas that build strength and endurance in
the body. “Peace” practices (shanti rasa) cultivate relaxation
and internal tranquility through forward bend, hip openers,
and other “meditative” asanas. In her practices, Rea combines
her self-developed style with Krishnamachrya’s pratikriyasana
4. Functional Classification. Andrey Lappa proposes a functional
classification for asanas and by extension vinyasa. Instead
of the commonly used categories such as “forward bends” or
“standing poses,” Lappa proposes categories that relate to
the function of the poses. His categories include: stretching
asana, strengthening asanas, asana for coordination, asanas
for balance, and exercise for reaction. Based on this model,
the overall design of a class can be thought of in terms of this
functional focus. For example, a vinyasa practice focused on
strengthening would incorporate many poses for strength de-
velopment, while less of the poses in other categories. Lappa
further adds the ideas of dynamic and static to each category.
For example, strength may be developed statically (by holding
plank position) or dynamically (performing push-ups). This
model is highly useful for Western students, as it can connect
an asana practice to specific goals of the practitioner.
5. Spontaneous. In the spontaneous model, the practitioner
responds dynamically to the signals of his or her body. In this Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 47

advanced level of practice, there is no pre-planning. This form

is highly useful in personal practice, but practically impossible
in group classes.

The General Arc of a Bhakti Warrior Vinyasa Class

Bhakti Warrior vinyasa classes embrace the functional training
model with the conscious application of pratikriyasana for overall
structural balancing. The goal of every vinyasa class is to touch on
all components of physical development, with or without a specific
focus in the individual vinyasa class.
A general Bhakti Warrior vinyasa class follow a general template
in order to provide the student and the teacher with a consistent
approach to achieving the goals of the class. The overall elements
1. Tuning-in. During tuning-in, the instructor encourages the
students to connect with their bodies. Techniques and focuses
such as body scanning, following the flow of the breath, notic-
ing where the body feels steady or in need, etc. are ways to
guide the student into the initial stage of physical awareness.
2. Breath activation through OM. All Bhakti Warrior Vinyasa
classes include the invocation of Om as a unifying experi-
ence for the class. Since chanting or singing also represents a
spontaneous and powerful form of pranayama, it also helps to
activate the breath and increase breath awareness.
3. Self-massage. Ayurveda recommends self-massage as a power-
ful tool for self-awareness and healing. Students can be en-
couraged to either do self-massage of the limbs, surface of the
chest, and belly using a squeezing or milking action with the
hand, or by tapping the limbs. Tapping involves an open hand
slap moving from the proximal to distal end of a limb and back
again. Tapping is a more invigorating and energizing practice,
and should be used as such. Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 48

4. Dynamic kriya. After the grounding exercises, students then

are taken through a series of dynamic kriyas to awaken the
body. Unlike asanas, kriyas are typically more free-form and do
not have a fixed or “correct” alignment. Even though they are
dynamic, these kriyas help the student to identify imbalances
and sensations throughout the whole body. This information is
then used as input to the rest of the practice. Several different
types of dynamic kriya are possible, and many of the Bhakti
Warrior kriyas are drawn from various movement systems from
around the world.
5. Grounding namaskars. Once students have achieved full-body
awakening and embodiment from the kriyas, this energy is
infused in the body through a series of grounding namaskars,
or honoring sequences. Surya Namaskar, the Sun Salute, is
perhaps the most well-known namaskar, but any consistent
sequence of poses or movements that cultivates a specific
awareness and honors an aspect of the world or life experience
can be considered a namaskar. These namaskars are rhythmic
in approach, but should focus on steadying the practitioner.
6. Core cultivation. Consciously developing the musculature of
trunk is a key component of Western yoga, and creates psycho-
spiritual benefits as well. After grounding namaskars, students
are taken through a series of exercises the strengthen and open
the abdominal muscles, the lower back, chest, and upper back.
Traditional sit-ups and other Western physical culture exercises
can be used here in addition to, or as a substitute for, asanas
and specific pranayamas and kriyas.
7. Multi-dimensional vinyasa sequences. In this segment, the
instructor leads students through the main focus on the class.
This may consist of one or more sequences developed by the
instructor in advance or spontaneously. This sequence uses the
specific functional and pratikriyasana focus described above. Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 49

8. Pranayama. After the completion of the main vinyasa se-

quences, time is taken to cultivate one or more pranayamas.
At the beginning level, the basic pranayamas of nadi shod-
hana (alternate nostril breathing), bhastrika (bellows breath),
or kapalabhati (skull-cleaning breath, “breath of fire”) should
be taught and practiced. As students become better able to
perform these basic pranayamas, instructors can introduce
advanced pranayamas involving combinations or more chal-
lenging techniques.
9. Dharana/Shavasana. Following pranayama, students will
cultivate either a practice of dharana or recline into sha-
vasana. During this period, students should be encouraged to
completely release both physical and mental strain and learn
to rest in the body as it is. This may go on for only a few to
several minutes depending on the class. As stated above, this
is the most important segment of class, and must always be
incorporated. When bringing students out of shavasana, the
transition should be gradual and should not disturb the quality
of mind and body.
10. Closing. Students who are on their backs should be brought
back to seated, preferably without rolling onto their sides.
Once the entire class has come to seated, the class as a whole
intones a final Om, connecting the beginning and end of the
class. After this, the students and instructor salute each other
with a bow and the word namaste.
All Bhakti Warrior instructors should follow this general class blue-
print. There is complete freedom in how the instructor conducts
each segment; however, each segment should be included in every
class. Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 50

This class format evolved overall several years of practice and

study of multiple styles of yoga. In designing the blueprint, I
wanted to ensure that I included asana, pranayama, chanting,
and meditation. I also wanted to consistently and consciously
include dynamic, free-form movement. In my time teaching, I
have found that many students have lost a sense of joy in be-
ing in their own bodies and trusting their movement instincts.
The dynamic kriyas are intended to bring people back into this
awareness, and encourage them to experience joy within them-
selves. The kriyas and free-form movement are particularly valu-
able for students who become frustrated by difficulty in getting
into the asanas. One of my students who became a teacher told
me she always includes dancing in her classes, and she notices
that the less fit and capable students find it incredibly freeing
and rewarding.

Foundations of Multi-Dimensional Vinyasa

The yoga mat has come to define the limits of a traditional yoga
practice. The standard yoga mat measures about three feet wide
and can be between five and seven feet long. Most vinyasa prac-
tices begin “at the top of the mat,” meaning that most of the mat
is behind the student. From here, the student usually steps forward
and back into various positions, as instructed by the teacher. Cer-
tain advanced practitioners may incorporate gymnastic transitions
(such as rolling from the back into Downward Facing Dog, a com-
mon movement in Ashtanga Yoga). However, it rarely occurs to
most practitioners to question the space restriction that the mat
The term “multi-dimensional vinyasa” has many layers of meaning.
The first meaning and the one on which we will focus for the time
being is that asanas and their associated vinyasas occur in three-
dimensional space. For sake of ease, we can define these three
dimensions as: Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 51

1. Forward-and-back. Characterized by moving from the “front” of

the mat to the back of the mat and forward again. An exam-
ple of this sequence would be stepping back from uttanasana
into adho mukha svanasana and back again. This is the most
common movement pattern in vinyasa classes.
2. Side-to-Side. Characterized by moving laterally on the mat.
Because of limitations of the standard mat formation, most
students come in to side-to-side movements by stepping back,
rotating to face the “long edge” of the mat, then moving later-
ally. However, this can also be achieved by stepping or jump-
ing wide “off the mat” and coming into the same movement.
3. Up-and-down. Characterized by moving vertically up-or-down.
This occurs in most vinyasa classes by coming from a head
down to a head up position (e.g. uttanasana to tadasana).
However, advanced practitioners can also achieve this through
somersaults (forward or back) or using inverted positions (such
as Handstand) to transit directly into head up positions.
To these three dimensions, we need to add the concept of rotation
or spin. In three dimensional space, all objects can spin along its
axis, or central point. As we all know, the earth rotates around its
axis creating, among other things, day and night. For the human
body, the central axis is the spine and our center of gravity, the
imaginary line of force that keeps us fixed to earth and is integral
to our sense of balance.

One Dimension Practice: Basic Concept

These four elements—the three dimensions and rota-
tion—are the conceptual foundation for a multi-dimen-
sional practice. In order to both simplify the concept
and give it a practical focus, we can speak of one, two,
or three-dimension vinyasa flows. At this time, we will
focus on the idea of a one dimension vinyasa flow. Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 52

In one dimension vinyasa flow, we use one yoga mat. Within the
structural limit of the mat, we have one dimension of movement—
forward-and-back—with rotation. The simplest example of a one
dimension vinyasa is the Sun Salutation, in which we start and end
at the front of the mat, and use steps forward and back to transi-
tion between the two points.
In addition to forward and back steps, we can also use rotation to
change the orientation of the class. The following is a sequence
that uses rotation to transition from one side in an asana sequence
to another:
1. Tadasana
2. Uttanasana
3. Anjaneyasana (left foot back)
4. Prasarita Padottanasana (90° degree rotation to the left)
5. Anjaneyasana (90° degree rotation to the left)
6. Parvritta Jagghika Prasarita Padottanasana (90° degree rota-
tion to the left) [literally, twisted legs spread out foot pose,
where the thighs are crossed and feet are wide, hands come to
the floor]
This is a simplistic sequence that utilizes 90° degree rotations to
come to each pose. It is also possible to use 180° rotations from
lunges to change sides in a pose. For example, in virabhadrasana
II/B we can start the pose with left foot back, right foot at front; to
change sides, we can simply rotate to face the back of the mat.

One Dimension Practice: Asana Selection

In all levels of practice, the instructor selects asana based on the
functional outcome of the practice. In a one dimension practice,
asana selection is also governed by the relative ease of transit from
one pose to another. The general rule in this matter is that poses
that share the same base can be linked together. For example, the Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 53

base in utthita trikonasana is the feet with the legs in a spread

position. Poses with a similar base include virabhadrasana I and II,
utthita parsvakonasana, parsva virabhadrasana II, among others.
All of these poses could be possibilities for the next pose following
uttihita trikonasana.
In performing the asanas within a one dimension vinyasa practice,
the only additional recommendation for new instructors is to en-
sure that the sequence is balanced between the right and left sides
of the body.

Root Work: Constructing a One Dimension Sequence

As a practical exercise, you will create a one dimension vinyasa
sequence using a minimum of 10 asanas. You may begin the se-
quence from any starting point. As you construct the sequence,
remember to select a particular focus (strengthening, stretching,
balance, etc.) so that the sequence of poses has internal consis-
tency and resonance.