Using colour for pranayama, relaxation and visualisation.

I’m not very good at visualisation.  If you told me to imagine myself by a lake bathed in moonlight while a gentle breeze plays through the reeds at the edge etc. etc. – my mind would probably wander off to the supermarket (lists, planning, judgements – as usual).  I really don’t see things in my mind’s eye at all.

However, dipping into ‘Sure Ways to Self-Realization’ by Swami Satyananda Saraswati (Yoga Publications Trust 1983), I came across two chapters:  One –  Meditating with Colour and Light, and the other – Meditation for Children. These interested me because I can occasionally visualise a colour, especially when practicing pranayama, and there’s a whole section on Colour Pranayama.

The Swami recommends either Ujjayi pranayama or Nadi Shodana.  If you want to try this with Nadi Shodana, he recommends visualising your chosen colour for a couple of minutes before beginning your pranayama.  If you choose red, orange or yellow, imagine the colour coming to you from the earth.  If you choose green, inhale the colour in a horizontal direction. Colours on the blue spectrum (including indigo and violet), are inhaled from above.  Inhale your colour and hold the breath in for a moment or two.  Imagine your colour spreading through your entire being.  As you exhale notice if there is any change in the colour.  (Sometimes colours change on the out-breath because impurities are being expelled).

Now you are ready to practice Nadi Shodana as usual, but imagining your chosen colour entering and leaving the nostrils with the breath.

It is also possible to practice mental Nadi Shodana while lying in Savasana.  In this case, the Swami invites you to breathe  blue breaths through the left nostril and red breaths through the right.

In the chapter on Meditation for Children, there is a delightful ‘Simple prana vidya’.  You begin in a comfortable sitting or lying position and imagine breathing in from your navel centre and tracking the breath up to the space between the eyebrows.  When you exhale, see your breath travelling to every part of your body.  Continue to breathe in this way, but now see the breath as light – it can be any colour you choose.  Breathe the light in at the navel centre and send it up to the third eye.  Breathe out and see your whole body filled with light. Now imagine your friends and loved ones sitting together in a circle.  They are all holding hands with one another. Going from one person to another, fill them with light and prana  from your eyebrow centre.  Once you have visited each person, you can watch the light-prana travel by itself in a clockwise direction around the circle.  Allow it to travel round the circle three times.  On an in-breath, recall your light-prana to the eyebrow centre and as you breathe out, return it to your navel centre and store it there.

If you try any of the above, I hope you enjoy them.



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