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The Use of the Muscular Contractions in Conjunction with Breath Control

Breath control should never be attempted without the muscular contractions (bandhas), for, without them, breath control cannot succeed and may even be harmful and injure the lungs.

The following muscular contractions are used in the ordinary practice of breath control: during in- and out-breathing, the Root contraction and Flying contraction; during holding of the breath, Root contraction and the Net-holding contraction. It will be thus seen that the Root contraction is held throughout.

It must be stressed that, in all breathing exercises, one must be very careful never to expel the air from the same nostril that breathes it in. If breathing in is done through both nostrils, then breathing out may be done either through both nostrils or through either one alternately. Except when otherwise specified, never breathe in and out through the mouth; breathing out through the mouth is particularly bad because it causes loss of strength.

After breath-control exercises, it is necessary to lie down for a while, taking the Corpse posture and listening to the "inner sound" (nada anusandhana); then bathe in tepid water. After the practice, only milk, first warmed, then cooled, may be taken. No food should be taken at night.

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