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Yoga in Varanasi
The lotus position is used not only for meditating, but for many breathing exercises, called Pranayama, as well. Pranayama is done after practicing all the asana postures, and before starting meditation.
Here priest yogi Swami Shiva Nand Jee has filled up his chest with air and is holding is breath. Yogis can hold their breath for many minutes. They believe that by controlling their breathing, they control their heart and mind, thus leading to better meditation.
The lotus position is also used to practice the three bhandas.
Swami Shiva Nand Jee, Varanasi, India