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Pranayama

From Academic Kids

Prana is the source of which energy evolves from. It is the infinite, omnipresent material of the universe. Pranayama is the knowledge and control of Prana.

Pranayama is the fourth limb of Raja Yoga expounded by Patanjali Maharshi. In a most scientific manner he proceeds from the external most sheath of man and slowly proceeds to the subtler and subtler sheaths. Breath and mind are closely interdependent and interpenetrating. Control of breath means the cessation of the outgoing and ingoing movements of breath. Breath is the gross representative of the subtle, vital force inside the body. Just as by catching hold of the key of a timepiece you do not allow it to move and the subtler cog wheels and finally the subtlest hair-spring come to a standstill, even so, by the control of that force which sets into motion the mind, the mind stops its motion. It is Prana that makes the mind move. If the Prana is stopped the mind cannot move and a state of stillness (Manonasha) comes. Therefore, stopping of the movement of Prana is Pranayama."

"Path to Blessedness"; Sri Swami Chidananda

"Pranayama is a way of expanding the Sukshma Prana within to which you have no direct access. Prana is a subtle invisible force. It is the life-force that pervades the body. It is the factor that connects the body and the mind, because it is connected on one side with the body and on the other side with the mind. It is the connecting link between the body and the mind. The body and the mind have no direct connection. They are connected through Prana only and this Prana is different from the breathing you have in your physical body. Prana is not Svasa. The respiratory breath that moves within your nostrils is not Prana. It is called Svasa Vayu. Svasa-Prasvasa, inhalation and exhalation, is of air. But then, why is the regulation of the inner breath and the outer breath of the nostrils given the name of Pranayama, when they do not constitute Prana, when they constitute only Svasa Vayu? The process of regulation of breath is given the name Pranayama, because this is the way to ultimately gain control over the subtle life-force that is present within as Prana."

"The Philosophy, Psychology, and Practice of Yoga"; Sri Swami Chidananda

"Simultaneously with the practice of Asanas, there should be effort towards the regulation of the Prana. So, Asana and Pranayama go together. There is an intimate relation between the activity of the physical body and that of the Prana. The Prana is the total energy which pervades the entire physical system and acts as a medium between the body and mind. The Prana is subtler than the body but grosser than the mind. The Prana can act but cannot think. The Prana is not merely the breath. The breathing process,-inhalation, exhalation and retention-does not constitute the Prana by itself, but is an indication that the Prana is working. We cannot see the Prana; it is not any physical object. But we can infer its existence by the processes of respiration. Air is taken in and thrown out by a particular action of the Prana. Some hold that there are many Pranas and others think it is one. The Prana is really a single energy, but appears to be diverse when viewed from the standpoints of its different functions. When we breathe out, the Prana operates in one of its functional forms. When we breathe in, the Apana functions. The ingoing breath is the effect of the activity of the Apana. The centre of the Prana is in the heart, that of the Apana in the anus.

There is a third kind of function called Samana, the equalising force. Its centre is the navel. It digests food by creating fire in the body and it also equalises the remaining functions in the system. The fourth function of the Prana is called Udana.. Its seat is in the throat. It prompts speech and, on death, separates the system of the Prana from the body. The fifth function is called Vyana, a force which pervades the whole body and maintains the continuity of the circulation of blood throughout the system.

This fivefold function of the Prana is its principal form. It has also many other functions such as belching, opening and closing of the eyelids, causing hunger, yawning and nourishing the body. When it does these five secondary functions, it goes by the names of Naga, Kurma, Krikara, Devadatta and Dhananjaya, respectively. The essence of the Prana is activity. It is the Prana that makes the heart beat, the lungs function and the stomach secrete juices. Hence, neither breathing nor lung-function ceases till death. The Prana never goes to sleep, just as the heart never stops beating. The Prana is regarded as the watchman of the body."

"The Yoga System"; Swami Krishnananda

"The real achievement of Pranayama is directly linked with the physical and mental activity of our, daily routine. Only when a perfect order is achieved in the routine of mundane life can we expect perfect mastery over breath and vital pulsations. It is always dangerous to attempt it - by beginning with the control of breath. Trying to control the breath without a control of our daily movements and reactions to others will produce dangerous turmoil in the constitution. Any experiment with the breath results in a stimulation of the energy centres on the etheric plane. When the physical and emotional stuff is not sufficiently purified beforehand then the turmoil causes stormy activity of the emotions. This results in great strain to the nerves and the vascular system. A total or partial wreck of the physical vehicle by paralysis, insanity or senility of mind may be the result of attempting Pranayama beginning with the control of breath before achieving the control of other activities.

A practical way of practising Pranayama should always be rightly discriminated, by the increase of ease and absence of discomfort at every step. For the various methods of Puraka, Kumbhaka and Rechaka described by various teachers and prescribed in the name of 'esoteric breaths' the present author is no way responsible."

"Yoga Sutras of Patanjali"; Master E.K, Kulapathi Book Trust, Visakhapatanam, Bharat, ISBN 81-85943-05-2

References

"Path to Blessedness"; Sri Swami Chidananda A DIVINE LIFE SOCIETY PUBLICATION 2nd Ed.: 1991 (3,000 copies) World Wide Web (WWW) Edition : 1999 WWW site: http://www.SivanandaDlshq.org/ This WWW reprint is for free distribution The Divine Life Trust Society ISBN 81-7052-086-1

"The Philosophy, Psychology, and Practice of Yoga"; Sri Swami Chidananda A DIVINE LIFE SOCIETY PUBLICATION 1st Ed.: 1984, 2nd Ed.: 1991 (3000 copies) World Wide Web (WWW) Edition : 1999 WWW site: http://www.SivanandaDlshq.org/ This WWW reprint is for free distribution The Divine Life Trust Society ISBN 81-7052-085-3

"The Yoga System"; Swami Krishnananda The Divine Life Society Sivananda Ashram, Rishikesh, India Download: http://www.swami-krishnananda.org/yoga_00.html (pdf and zip)

Technique of Pranayama Pranayama - purification technique, concluding in "pumping" an air light energy (prana) through the one's parts of body. http://www.religiousbook.net/Books/Online_books/Pr/Practices_32.html

External Links

it:Pranayama nl:Pranayama

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