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Pranayama and Meditation


PRANA (The Energy of Life)
Prana is the vital force which pervades the whole cosmos. Prana literally means ‘breath’ and ‘air’ as well as ‘energy’ and is the exact equivalent to the term ‘chee’ in Chinese Tao. Though closely related to the air we breathe, it is not exactly the same thing. Prana is more subtle then air and can be defined as the energy essence that is within everything in the universe.
Traditionally, the prana (energy) in the body is divided into five elementary parts which are collectively known as the pancha pranas (five pranas). They consist of Prana, Apana, Samana, Udana and Vyana.
Pranayama is an important part of yoga practices and as such is mentioned in almost all traditional texts on yoga.

This refers to the original burst of pure energy that occurs at conception and breathes life into the fetus in the womb. Prana may be compared to the potential energy stored in a battery. It begins to dissipate from the moment of birth, and the rate of dissipation determines one’s lifespan. One reason that children are so much more active and energetic then adults is that they have not yet polluted and dissipated their original primordial energy to the degree that adults have. That’s also why children don’t show as severe symptoms of poor diet and breathing as adults do: they are still protected by strong primordial batteries. But by drawing on these batteries to compensate for poor diet and other bad habits they accelerate the rate of energy dissipation and sow the seeds of chronic debility in adulthood. Prana may be tonified and enhanced through diet, herbs, proper Pranayama, regulated asana (yoga pose) and other Yoga disciplines aimed at recharging primordial batteries, retarding the rate of dissipation and thereby prolonging life.

Let us refer to the authoritative ‘Hatha Yoga Pradipika’, an ancient classic on practical yoga. This is clearly stated as follows:
“When there is prana in the body it is called life; when it leaves the body it results in death”.

While controlling the breath in pranayama practices there are four important activities. These are:
1-Pooraka (inhalation)
2-Rechaka (exhalation)
3-Antar or antaranga kumbhaka (retention of breath after inhalation; i.e. with lungs full of air)
4-Bahir or bahiranga kumbhaka  (retention of breath after exhalation; i.e. with lungs emptied as much as possible).

This is exactly what modern scientists have clearly stated- that organic objects are pervaded by bioplasmic energy (which the ancients deemed to call prana) and when this energy leaves the body organism death will occur. That ancient yogis could know about prana without the aid of sophisticated instruments says a lot for their awareness of life and existence.
“When prana fluctuates then the chitta (mind) also fluctuates; when the prana becomes steady then the chitta also becomes steady”. (ch.  2:2)
“ Pranayama can   remove  all  diseases if it is done   correctly; if  it   is   done  incorrectly   then it  can actually  cause illness”.  (ch.2:16)                                             
“ If Pranayama is practiced correctly then the entire pranic body will be well-integrated and the prana will flow easily through the sushumna (the most important nadi in the whole body), for Pranayama will remove all blockages which tend to impede free flow of prana. This will give rise to steadiness of the mind.”  (ch.  2:41/42)



Kinds of Pranayama


Nari shodhana

Ujjayi Pranayama

Sheetali Pranayama

Sheetkari Pranayama

Kaki Mudra

Surya Bheda Pranayama

Bhastrika Pranayama

Bhramari Pranayama

Agnisar Kriya

Jalandhar bandha

Uddiyana bandha

Moola bandha






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