2.52 As a result, the inner light of awareness becomes brighter.
After presenting a definition of pranayama and its features, now you find the results. Following the incremental path of the limbs of yoga produces specific effects. Just like practicing asana delivers freedom from the play of opposites, practicing pranayama develops sensitivity to the flow of life energy and removes the veil that obscures the light of awareness. This sutra weaves the thread from Chapter One, when Patañjali offered ways to overcome the distractions listed in sutra 1.30 by practicing single pointed focus (1.32) with a relaxed mind and heart (1.33), attending to exhalations and breath retentions (1.34), feeling subtle sensations (1.35) and cultivating the inner light (1.36). It is not uncommon to feel fluctuations in the flow of your vital energy. Sometimes you feel more awake or more enthusiastic while other times you feel down, confused, or slower to react to what is happening around you. Does it ever happen that you feel very sharp and with great clarity and other times it seems like it is hard to focus?
Remember that at the very beginning of Chapter One, Patañjali already stated that regulating your ways of being – releasing your opinions and internal commentary – provides access to your true nature (1.3). The yogic process consists of removing the obstacles that lead you to misidentify with your internal stories and reactivity so that you can align with awareness. Pranayama practices act as bellows that remove inefficiencies and enhance your connection to your inner light, producing greater clarity and awareness. As usual, to find out if this is the case for you, you can establish your own baseline of current levels of awareness and clarity. Maybe each morning you can make note of how awake and clear your mind is. Try this for a few days. Then practice pranayama consistently for some time. If a qualified teacher is not available, you can try exploring some of the ideas in the comments to sutras 2.49, 2.50 and 2.51. Of course, be mindful and ensure that what you are doing does not generate any strain, struggle, or self-judgment, and notice if regular practice influences your mood, perception, and general outlook. It is quite possible that practicing conscious breathing consistently can help you find clarity about other factors influencing your current level of energy and awareness. As a side effect, just paying attention to these subtle processes may also sharpen your perception. If you practice conscious and easeful breathing every morning or every night, are you better able to tell how some of your activities and diet influence the quality of your breath?
Are you developing greater sensitivity to your own vital energy?
Is your consistent pranayama practice offering you a greater feeling of clarity or brightness?
As usual, one more way of exploring the meaning of this sutra is by chanting it.
You can choose to chant it in its traditional form with some of the words coming together:
2.52 tataḥ kṣīyate prakāśāvaraṇam
ततः क्षीयते प्रकाशावरणम् ॥५२॥
Another option is to chant each word in the sutra individually:
If you prefer, you may listen to the podcast: