The negative thoughts and mental confusion can be eradicated by Pranayama.
Pranayama is the regulation of Life Energy.
It is present in all Life.
It is more than just breath,it is the Life Force.
It can be controlled at the level of Breath.
The whole Tantra and Yoga is an attempt to Reach out the Consciousness in Man and tune it in consonance with the Reality,which is Being,Consciousness and Bliss.
There are four ways of reaching out this Consciousness.
This Consciousness can be reached through the two components that make up humans,Emotion and Reason.
While the emotion is used to raise the level of Consciousness through Bhakti Yoga,the process of surrendering oneself to God,the Reason is used to reach out Consciousness by practicing Karma Yoga,the Path of Action and by Gnana Yoga,Path of Discrimination.
The purpose is to reach Consciousness through the available tools,Emotion and Reason.
But again as Human Beings have different dispositions/Nature,one must choose what is best for him/ her.
There are three basic categories of Natural Dispositions.
Rajas,the Dynamic,driven by ambition and Emotions and
No single disposition is present in an individual in its full measure.
The Dispositions present in Individuals is an admixture of all the three dispositions.
And these Dispositions in an individual changes at different times.
So to choose the correct method to practice Yoga,one needs an Objective assessment of the Dispositions present in an individual.
As it is difficult for one to analyse oneself objectively,one requires A Guru,Mentor ,who can identify the Disposition and suggest the best method to raise Consciousness,Bhakti,Karma or Gnana Yoga.
Once the path is chosen, one has to practice it.
The Yoga aspect of raising Consciousness is,in general,recommended for people of Rajasic Disposition,the Dynamic,who are more involved in day to day activities with passion.
Most of us belong to this category.
Now to Swami Vivekananda on this.
य णवधायिाभ्यांवा प्रािस्य ॥ ३४॥
prachchhardanavidharanabhyan va prannasya
By throwing out and restraining the Breath.
The word used in Prana. Prana is not exactly breath. It is the
name for the energy that is in the universe. Whatever you
see in the universe, whatever moves or works, or has life, is a
manifestation of this Prana. the sum-total of the energy
displayed in the universe is called Prana. This Prana, before
a cycle begins, remains in an almost motionless state, and
when the cycle begins this Prana begins to manifest itself. It
is this Prana that is manifested as motion, as the nervous
motion in human beings or animals, and the same Prana is
manifesting as thought, and so on. The whole universe is a
combination of Prana and Akasa; so is the human body. Out
of Akasa you get the different materials that you feel, and
see, and out of Prana all the various forces. Now this
throwing out and restraining the Prana is what is called
Pranayama. Patanjali, the father of the Yoga Philosophy,
does not give many particular directions about Pranayama,
but later on other Yogis found out various things about this
Pranayama, and made of it a great science. With Patanjali ist
is one of the many ways, but he does not lay much stress on it.
He means that you simply throw the air out, and draw it in,
and hold it for some time, that is all, and by that, the mind will
become a little calmner. But, later on, you will find that out of
this is evolved a particular science called Pranayama. We
will hear a little of what thoese later Yogis have to say. Some
of this I have told you before, but a little repetition will serve
to fix it in your minds. First, you must remember that this
Prana is not the breath. But that which causes the motion of
the breath, that which is the vitality of the breath is the Prana.
Again, the word Prana is used of all the senses; they are all
called Prana, the mind is called Prana; and so we see that
Prana is the name of a certain force. And yet we cannot call
it force, because force is only the manifestation of it. It is that
which manifests itself as force and everything else in the way
of motion. The Chitta, the mind-stuff, is the engine which
draws in the Prana from the surroundings, and manufactures
out of this Prana the various vital forces. First of all the
forces that keep the body in preservation, and lastly thought,
will, and all other powers. By this process of breathing we can
control all the various motions in the body, and the various
nerve currents that are running through the body. First we
begin to recognise them, and then we slowly get control over
them. Now these later Yogis consider that there are three main
currents of this Prana in the human body. One they call Ida,
another Pingala, and the third Susumna. Pingala, according
to them, is on the right side of the spinal column, and the Ida
is on the left side, and in the middle of this spinal column is
the Susumna, a vacant channel. Ida and Pingala, according
to them, are the currents working in every man, and through
these currents, we are performing all the functions of life.
Susumna is present in all, as a possibility; but it works only in
the Yogi. You must remember that the Yogi changes his body;
as you go on practising your body changes; it is not the same
body that you had before the practice. That is very rational,
and can be explained, because every new thought that we
have must make, as it were, a new channel through the brain,
and that explains the tremendous conservatism of human
nature. Human nature likes to run through the ruts that are
already there, because it is easy. If we think, just for
example’s sake, that the mind is like a needle, and the brain
substance a soft lump before it, then each thought that we
have makes a street, as it were, in the brain, and this street
would close up, but that the grey matter comes and makes a
lining to keep it separate. If there were no grey matter there
would be no memory, because memory means going over
these old streets, retracing a thought as it were. Now perhaps
you have remarked that when I talk on subjects that in which I
take a few ideas that are familiar to everyone, and combine,
and recombine them, it is easy to follow, because these
channels are present in everyone’s brain, and it is only
necessary to recur to them. But whenever a new subject
comes new channels have to be made, so it is not understood
so readily. And that is why the brain (it is the brain, and not
the people themselves) refuses unconsciously to be acted
upon by new ideas. It resists. The Prana is trying to make
new channels, and the brain will not allow it. This is the secret
of conservatism. The less channels there have been in the
brain, and the less the needle of the Prana has made these
passages, the more conservative will be the brain, the more it
will struggle against new thoughts. The more thoughtful the
mane, the more complicated will be the streets in his brain,
and the more easily he will take to new ideas, and understand
them. So with every fresh idea; we make a new impression in
the brain, cut new channels though the brain-stuff, and that is
why we find that in the practice of Yoga (it being an entirely
new set of thoughts and motives) there is so much physical
resistance at first. That is why we find that the part of
religion which deals with the world side of nature can be so
widely accpeted, while the other part, the Philosophy, or the
Psychology, which deals with the inner nature of man, is so
frequently neglected. We must remember the definition of
this world of ours; it is only the Infinite Existence projected
into the plane of consciousness. A little of the Infinite is
projected into consciousness, and that we call our world. So
there is an Infinite beyond, and religion has to deal with both,
with th elittle lump we call our world, and with the Infinite
beyond. Any religion which deals alone with either one of
these two will be defective. It must deal with both. That part
of religion which deals with this part of the Infinite which has
come into this plane of consciousness, got itself caught, as it
were, in the plane of consciousness, in the case of time, space,
and causation, is quite familiar to us, because we are in that
already, and ideas about this world have been with us almost
from time immemorial. The part of religion which deals with
the Infinite beyond comes entirely new to us, and getting
ideas about it produces new channels in the brain, disturbing
the whole system, and that is why you find in the practice of
Yoga ordinary people are at first turned out of their groove. Inorder to lesson these disturbances as much as possible all these methods are devised by Patanjali, that we may practice any one of them best suited to us.