What is pranayama

Pranayama is the pause in the movement of inhalation and exhalation when that is secured.


The term Pranayama is derived from Sanskrit roots;

prana meaning “vital life force,” yama meaning “control” and ayama meaning “extension” or “expansion.” Prana or the breath is the vital force that sustains not only in the body, but also in creation at every level. The word Pranayama would mean to extend and expand the breath by the deliberate control of our respiration.

Why is the Prana or breath so important?

Breath is the first thing we take when we are born. It is the last thing to go away in our life. Breath is the constant factor in our life. Without Breath there is no life. So, it is the most important aspect in our life.

Pranayama features as the fourth limb of Patanjali’s ashtanga system of yoga.  As per Patanjali, Pranayama is the preparatory practice before we move to the advanced techniques of Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi. The Pranayama science was developed by the yogis. They studied the flow of breath to access the pranic field. This helped to attain balance and control of body and mind. These breathing techniques can be practiced with ease and at any time of the day on an empty stomach:

Our breath or prana travels along paths called Nadis and Chakras. The human body has 72000 Nadis and 8 chakras. Nadis are the subtle energy channels in our body. The energy centers are called Chakras. These Nadis converge at the various chakras in our body. Our state of mind is determined by the quantity and quality of the Prana that flows through these Nadis and chakras. If the energy level is high and flow is smooth and steady, the mind remains calm and positive in any circumstance.

Energy obstacles are created in our body due to daily tension, physical habits and stress. Our breathing becomes shallow and irregular without our awareness. This can lead to restriction of smooth even flow of breath. Through Pranayama, we let the life energy flow throughout the system that energizes, relaxes and heals the body.

Benefits of the regular practice of pranayama.

  • Clears the blocked Nadis and Chakras.
  • Enhances the energy, aura within you.
  • Clears and calms the mind.
  • Improves the oxygen saturation in the lungs
  • Balances the nervous system.
  • It brings about harmony between the body and mind.

Physical health improves making one more energetic and enthusiastic.

To learn more about the Nadia, Prana and Pranayama, check out this 50-hour Pranayama Teacher Training with Sumit Manav