PRANA & PRANAYAMAPrana is found in all things having life. The whole body is controlled and regulated by the force of Prana. Prana is a universal energy Prana is not the air we breathe. It is extracted from the air we breathe. Prana is extracted from the water we drink and from the food we eat. Prana is ‘essence’, the vital part or the juicy part of the intake of food or water or air. The regulation of the harmonized breath is called Pranayama. By controlling the Prana mind is also controlled. It teaches control of life, disease and death and teaches the conquest of mind and matter. The body can be trained to a high state of efficiency. So mind can become a powerful instrument of supernatural forces. Breathing may be considered the most important function of the body. Indeed all the other functions depend upon it. Not only is man dependent upon breath for life but also dependent upon correct habits of breathing for continued vitality and freedom from disease. An intelligent control of our breathing power can extended our life on earth. Man or woman in their normal state have no need of instruction about breathing. Life is but a series of breaths. Absolutely “Breath is life” Pranayama is a “Yogic Science of Breath”. The regular practices of Pranayama strengthens and invigorates all the systems of the body and he or she attains control of the body, mind. By controlled breathing one may not only cure diseases in himself and others and can do away with fear, worry and all negativities. Pranayama is the regulation of prana and it distributes prana to the various levels of our being. Irregular breath usually means tension. In anxiety the respiration is shallow and rapid, in anger short and forceful, in grief arrhythmic and gasping, and in depression, sighing. Irregular breathing is also associated with Nerve diseases and disturbed mental state. In certain types of Nerve diseases exhalation is uneven and incomplete. Though breathing normally functions unconsciously, we also have the ability to take conscious control of it. Pranayama practice gives mastery over the senses. Pranayama has a remarkable place in the study of Yoga. Maharshi Pathanjali in his celebrated ‘Yoga Aphorisms’ defines Yoga as “suspension of the modification of the thinking principle, which is not practicable without controlling the Prana or breath which is intimately connected with breath.” When we are absorbed in deep thinking the process of breathing becomes slow. It has been said in the ‘Bagavad Gita’ that “the vehicle of mind is Prana’“, therefore mind functions, where ‘Prana’ moves. the great saint ‘Vasista’ in ‘Yogavasista’ has thus described the relation between the mind and the ‘Prana’ as the mechanism of the body – the vital breath of the body without which the body cannot function. The regulation of breath or Pranayama brings all happiness, material and spiritual. This helps us to achieve basic harmony, peace and beauty with the environmental world around us. In the act of inhalation the muscles expand the lungs so that a vacuum is created and the air rushes in accordance with the well known law physics. Everything depends upon the muscles concerned in the process of respirations. Without the aid of these muscles the lungs cannot expand the control of these muscles the “Science of Breath” largely depends. Yoga deals with the trichotomy of truth – Asanas, Pranayama and Meditation, Yoga integrates the philosophy of the East and the West in individual life as well as the social civilization. This helps us to achieve the basic harmony, Peace and Beauty with the environmental world surrounding us. Yoga leads us to a golden goal beyond the Ken of modern invention and knowledge of the ever-unfolding mysteries of nature and super nature. As the mysterious atom is the mother of all things, the ever more mysterious yoga is the mother of all beings. Even the stars and solar systems are yoked to yoga. The inner power of yoga becomes apparent when three approaches – Asana, Pranayama and Dhyana (Meditation) – are unified as one approach to self discovery or self mastery – the actualization of eternal value within you. Pranayama has three phases, exhalation, inhalation and retention. The practice of improved breathing is called pranayama. Pranayama conditions the astral body, meditation tunes the casual body. Asanas, mudras and pranayama are the best combination of exercise in the world of the physical body. Pranayama, madras and locks regulate vital flow and create balance and harmony in the control system of the body. Pranayama practice gives mastery over senses, brain, lungs and heart, whereby one’s longevity is increased. Pranayama itself is meditation. Pranayama improves metabolic efficiency. The combined practice of asanas and pranayama bestows nerve purification (nadi suddhi), rids muscle fatigue and brings clarity, purity, health, harmony, peace and radiant beauty in life. Yogic breathing is based on rhythm and rhythm is life. A right attitude of mind is needed of performing yogic breathing i.e. one of calmness, quietness and total listening. When the mind starts to travel with prana - slowly, slowly the mind dissolves in prana. Prana slowly dissolves in the Atma and many beautiful things happen!