Q: What part does breathing exercise — Pranayama — play in bringing about the higher consciousness?
It sets the Pranic vital-currents free and removes dullness of the brain so that the higher consciousness can come down. Pranayama — does not bring dullness in the brain. My own experience, on the contrary, is that brain becomes illumined. When I was practising Pranayama at Baroda, I used to do it for about five hours in the day,— three hours in the morning and two in the evening. I found that the mind began to work with great illumination and power. I used to write poetry in those days. Before the Pranayama practice, usually I wrote five to eight lines per day; and about two hundred lines in a month. After the practice I could write 200 lines within half an hour. That was not the only result. Formerly my memory was dull. But after this practice I found that when the inspiration came I could remember all the lines in their order and write them down correctly at any time. Along with this enhanced functioning I could see an electrical activity all round the brain, and I could feel that it was made up of a subtle substance. I could feel everything as the working of that substance.
– Sri Aurobindo