Swar means the the tone, sound, voice, air breathed through the nostrils, 7, etc. ‘Swar yog’, means the conscious power of the vital energy/pran that you are pulling in with your breath. Your pran is your best friend. Now if you are able to use this power consciously you will not only progress on your spiritual path but also live a happier, healthier physical life.
Spiritual growth is everyone’s right. There are several paths which suit people of different temperaments but the destination remains the same. Broadly the paths are of two types Tantra and Yog. Yog is to wilfully avoid the physical experience and focus only on the core inner practice. Tantra is to experience everything with awareness, thus remain immersed but yet apart, ultimately transcending it all. Both require complete control over the mind and the body.Swar yog is analysing the quality of your breathing and recognising the rhythm of the pran that you are pulling in. You adapt your behaviour/actions as per the power of the pran. It is different from Pranayam. Pranayam is controlling pran and then using it.
There are 3 swar, and they flow through the Ida, Pingala and Sushumna in a rhythmic pattern.
For perfect health, Ida and Pingala must alternate approx every hour or 1.15 hrs. Both should be open for equal durations. And during the point when they change, the Sushumna should active for 2-3 minutes. i.e. one nostril will feel alternately blocked and then for 2-3 minutes both will feel open. If this is rhythmic then it means that the brain is being utilised equally. If this is not happening in regular rhythm, the body/mind will fall ill, i.e. one part of the brain is over-stressed. If the Left nostril/Ida is open for more time it means a problem which has its source in the mental processes. If the Pingala/right nostril works more than is should there is an imbalance in the flow of vital energy/pran in the physical body and you will fall seriously ill within the next 6 months. You can time your Ida/Pingala durations and if there is a problem address it by consciously shifting the swar (refer post here). Eg. Digestive problems, respiratory problems, impotency, ‘cold’ linked problems are linked to excessive Ida flow. Pingala over-active means problems related to heat, ulcers, acidity, muscle pains, high blood pressure etc. (This post on nature of medical problems)
When you sleep at night, try sleeping on your left side, this will keep the body warm and resolve digestive/respiratory problems. If you are feeling cold, or suffering from ‘cold’ related ailments, sleep more on your right side till the ailments sort out. Sleeping on the back for extended periods is not advisable.
The flow of Swar is linked to weather too. If the weather is hot dry, Pingala flows more. In cold rainy weather Ida is more dominant. The Indian season/Rutu ‘Sharad’ is the best as the Swar cycle is best balanced during these two months. When the Sun is in the odd signs, Pingala tends to dominate. And when the Sun is the even rashis, Ida tends to work more. There is a very intimate link between Jyotish and Swar. Especially when you get clients for Prashna kundali, you are required to be aware of your personal swar movement. A lot of your answers can be given from this itself.
For women in the reproductive age group, the swar cycle is unbalanced for the first 3 days of the monthly cycle. Sushumna works more or a combination of Sushumna/Ida overpowers Pingala. The body gets tired and you simply droop. So take rest during these days. From the 4th day of the cycle the swar rhythm somewhat regularises. Always remember if your Swar cycle is disrupted for more than 3 days be alert as you might fall ill soon.
For simple illnesses you can try this simple technique. e.g you have a sudden headache, check which nostril is active and immediately change it to the other one. You will feel relief. If you are getting feverish, close down the Pingala nadi and activate the Ida, your fever will go down. It always works.
Now, you can easily check which nostril is active, one will feel ‘open’ and the other ‘blocked’. You can also blow on a mirror. Have you ever checked how your exhaled breath looks like? So take a mirror, keep it 2 cms away from your nose and exhale normally. Look at the shape formed on the mirror. If your Ida is active, left side of the exhaled moisture will be larger, if Pingala is active then the right side will be larger and if the Sushumna is active both halves will be equal. If you keep track of the shape of the exhaled air over time, things can get more interesting.
The five-elements, the Pancha-Bhoot, are also active in the body in a particular rhythm and their activity is reflected in the shape of your exhaled air! If you are already doing some spiritual practice you will be able to instantly see these shapes. Spiritual practice controls the mind so the flow is smoother, so the shapes are more defined. Else you will have to practice something and then observe the shapes and study them for a couple of months. The five cycle in a fixed manner through the Swar cycles. Some practical uses,
Akash tattva in the Swar – small scattered dots. Happens only for 4 minutes so you might not see this pattern in your study. Its significance is limited to spiritual practice. Relax, take a few deep breaths, enjoy the inner nothingness. If you attempt any physical/mental activity during this period, you will be unable to focus. If by a rare chance Akash occurs when Sushumna is active (max 30 secs). You can bless/curse, do any spiritual practice, read any chart, intuition/power is extraordinarily high.
Vayu tattva in the Swar – oval shaped exhalation, for 8mins. Agitated situations so if you act without thinking you will get unexpected results. But if you act with balance and self-focus, this will work.
Tej tattva in the Swar – a triangular shaped exhalation. Occurs for 12 mins. This period gives mental agitation. Keep your opinions to yourself do not get into arguments. Keep away from sharp objects, you might hurt yourself.
Prithvi tattva in the Swar – The mirror is covered by the exhaled moisture as large amount of moisture is created. This continues for about 20mins, so you will see this pattern most commonly. Do some material type of work during this period, plan, think about something permanent physical thing. If you want to work on your health, take medicines or self-healing this is the perfect time.
Aap tattva in the Swar – this exhalation is seen as a half-moon shape. Occurs for 16mins. Things done during this period give immediate but changeable results. So do some actions which require movement.
So use your Swar. Sanatan Dharm/Hinduism is about practice and studying the self. You have to be aware of yourself. There is no pill which will do this for you, you have to do it for yourself.
Here is the easiest thing you can do. Be aware of the physical inhaling/exhaling. Whenever you get even one minute free at home or at your work, do this. Mentally recite ‘So’ as you breathe in and mentally recite ‘hum’ as you breathe out. You might think to be very silly and childish. But this simplest thing has the power of the Ultimate. Doing this you will remain aware of your breath. This is the first step which leads on to control of the mind. Ever seen a monkey’s behaviour? The mind is just like that monkey, always looking around, always agitated, picking up objects discarding them, jumping around for no reason, aimless but oh so very busy. This simple 1 minute So-hum is reining in your mind, one minute at a time. Do this for 21days and see the difference in yourself.
Modern ‘biorhythms’ are nothing but a crude version of Swar yog. Take care of your mind/body is these are the vehicles through which you exist on this earth. Being aware of the flow of the Ida/Pingala/Sushumna, the Swar is the first step to permanent health.