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Home Yoga Info Pranayama

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Yoga Breathing (Pranayama) - Prana and the Body
Breath is life. It is one of our most vital functions. Yogis recognize this importance through the Pranayama or Breathing Exercises
which is one of the Five Principles of Yoga. They have formulated different Beginner and Advanced Breathing Techniques to help
you breathe easier and enjoy a healthier and purer life.

The word Pranayama consists of two parts: Prana and Ayama. Ayama means stretch, extension, expansion, length, breath,
regulation, prolongation, restraint and control, describing the action of Pranayama. Prana is energy, the self-energizing force
that embraces the body. Pranayama is when this self-energizing force embraces the body with extension, expansion and control.
Prana and the Body

Prana, the life force or vital energy, is the center of all Yoga Practices. Prana is in matter, but is
not in the matter. It is in the air, but it is not in oxygen. It is a subtle form of energy carried by the
air, food, water and sunlight, and animates all forms of matter. Through the practice of Asanas
and Pranayamas, more Prana is taken in and stored in the body bringing great vitality and strength. In addition, Yogis believes
that man is composed of two other bodies, the astral body and the causal body, aside from the physical body. Prana is the vital
link between the astral and physical bodies. It is mainly in the Nadis that it flows as shown in the image. It exists both as a
positive and negative energy when it is known as "Apana". Prana itself is in afferent impulse, whose nature is to move upward
while Apana is efferent and moves downward. When the two are united in the Muladhara Chakra, the Kundalini energy is
Kundalini and the Nadis

The Nadis are nerve channels or tubes in the astral body through which the Prana flows. Asanas and Pranayamas are designed to
purify the Nadis for the Prana to flow freely. If the Nadis are blocked, the Prana cannot flow easily and freely and results to poor
health. According to Ancient Yogis, there are about two thousand Nadis. Of all these Nadis, the most important is the Sushumna.
The function of the Sushumna can be compared to the functions of the Spinal Cord in the physical body. On either side of the
Sushumna are two other Nadis called the Ida and the Pingala which correspond to the sympathetic ganglia of the Spinal Cord as
shown in the cross-section of the spinal vertebra. Kundalini, which is a dormant or static energy and is depicted as a coiled
snake, is located at the base of the Sushumna in the Muladhara Chakra. This energy is awakened by the practice of Pranayama
and other Yogic Practices.

This article was contributed by: http://www.holistic-online.com/.
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