What are the health benefits of meditation and yoga? How do they help in relieving stress in today’s world? Chat with Expert on meditation and yoga, Swami Ram Swarup, conducted at at 2 pm (IST) on August 14, 2003

sitara> Swamiji which is the right time and way to do Pranayam? What are the benefits that one gets from doing pranayam?
Swami Ram Swarup: Pranayam clears all the clots of the veins and resists the senses which go out and come i.e. control on all the senses and perceptions to enable us to get us salvation. Meditation afterwards too gives us final liberation. Meditation is the seventh stage of Astang Yoga whereas Pranayam is fourth. The best time of doing Pranayam is 4 am in the morning and after 7 pm in the evening. But it must be regular and asanas must be done before doing Pranayam. Pranayam gives us mental as well as physical strength and final liberation too with a long happy life.

akshay> Which asanas do you recommend we do before doing meditation and for how long?
Swami Ram Swarup: At least 8 to 10 asana must be done before doing Pranayam i.e. Sidh, Padam, Uttang, Tiddi, Sarp, Ardhmatasyandra, Bhujang, Hal, Sarvang and Gupt asanas. Each asana must be done for at least 2 minutes.

bawa> Do you honestly think that any one who takes full breath through stomach and laughs with open heart needs yoga/dhanya? Why go technical then, instead tell them the basics?
Swami Ram Swarup: Definitely yes. Because full breath and laugh is emotional action but Pranayam is a yoga philosophy, which gives us long happy life with salvation. Whereas full breath and laugh is not worship like yoga.

marc> I have read many of your answers before in which you advised that yogasans should be done at a specific time in order to give a good result. However, due to my bad schedule, I am not able to do them at a specific time. I have not missed a single day of asanas and pranayams in almost last one year but I have not done at a specific time. Is it ok to do them like this or they should only be done at a specific time?
Swami Ram Swarup: But specific time will give you the good result only. However, you please continue because you will be attaining something for sure. God has made morning and evening time, as mentioned in SamVeda: “Dosha Vasthah Dive Dive”. That is, morning and evening, and daily.

reena> How long should one meditate everyday? If I am not able to concentrate one day should I do the entire stipulated duration or should I give a break then and try later?
Swami Ram Swarup: In this connection, no break is required because it is spiritualism. Like we cannot take break in our daily food-taking. Morning one and a half hour, and evening the same time daily is required in family life. And for sanyasi it is more.

rimmee> If someone wants to learn from you swamiji, where should they get in touch with you? Do you take shishya’s also? What is the duration of the course and the charges?
Swami Ram Swarup: Yes, please. You can contact me on http://www.vedmandir.com. And before coming, you can make telephonic conversation, and first duration of learning yoga takes at least 15 days. No charges please. If you want, you can give a donation.

veena> Swamiji is it possible to break free from the karmic cycle? What should one do to achieve this?
Swami Ram Swarup: Yes, it is 100 percent possible by worship, yajna and more astang yoga. Otherwise, there will be no use of human life. Ravan, Diryodhan, etc. could not worship and could not manage to free from karmas. Whereas, rishis, munis, and disciples were out of their karmic cycle due to the true spiritual path adopted by them. The philosophy of karmas is very vast and must be learned through an experienced spiritual yogi who knows four vedas and yoga philosophy (in experience).

Signoff Message> So one success is harmful, that is materialistic, or spiritual. Both success and knowledge is required for maintaining international brotherhood, social services, and making a strong nation.