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Pranayama: Breathing From The Heart

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Chapter Summary

On a visit to the pilgrimage town of Rishikesh, overlooking the Ganges in the foothills of the Himalayas, the author took classes with a wise teacher: a Hatha yogi called Ashish Das. Before sharing his vast learning on the Vedic heart, Ashish proposed the author takes lessons in Pranayama or yoga breathing. The authors first class on the Vedas began with special breathing exercises of concentration and restraint. Ashish almost chanted the six verses, raising up the Katha Upanishad in both hands as though it were a votive offering. And as he sang aloud the breath of his living person was like a medium in temporary possession by some other, some third, some departed person or thing, some timeless spirit writing and reading and speaking itself through him. The first mention of the guha, explained Ashish earnestly, occurs in a stanza where the Katha Upanishad broaches the question of self-discovery.

Keywords: Ashish Das; Katha Upanishad; Pranayama; Vedic heart



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