"Refining" means to cleanse, a process to separate pure gold from the other impurities. Impurities are the obstacles to extracting pure gold.
The main obstacles for our evolution are the emotional granthis or knots which have formed in the astral body. The astral body is a body of fine energies or pranas which have the quality of emotions and that is why negative emotions can create blocks. These granthis have been formed by the collection of negative emotions and their memory patterns over very long periods of time (not only this life, but birth after birth after birth). Granthi means a deeply embedded negative pattern which keeps on repeating in our actions. Just as a block in the physical body leads to blockage in the circulation of blood.
To remove emotional debris from the granthis within the organism and to tone up the nerves, improve circulation of blood, ease tension etc., the following six simple breathing exercises are recommended to be done daily. They are designed to work towards clearing the residue of undigested experiences from within the system.
These six refining exercises tone up the nerves, correct respiration and speech, give strength and energy, improve circulation and digestion, remove tensions and reduce joint pains. In short, they help in preventing bodily disability and mental inertia, which are the primary obstacles to soul cognition. Later on, an increase in their intensity will effect regeneration of the vagus. These practices are not normal, ordinary physical exercises, though as a by-product they give benefits that almost all other physical exercises do not. What is required here, and in the practices to follow, is total involvement. These practices are designed for a higher purpose. If that purpose is not kept in mind or drawn in before one's eyes, the real benefits- internal purification- will not accrue, just as mechanical prayers, however often indulged in daily, yield nothing.
Ideally, the exercises are to be performed soundlessly and with minimal movement of head, torso and knees; it is breath which drives the muscles and organs, not vice versa. Correct performance ensures awareness and control of breath all through inhalation and exhalation.
Each exercise is done with a particular area of the physical body and this area in turn is connected to the granthis and plexuses (chakras) at the astral level. So when the granthi and the emotional debris are cleared at a particular area, only then the emotional energies relevant to that area get upgraded.