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Definition | Aims | Practice 

| Mechanism | Technique



The Pranayama (Prana = Breath + Ayam = Pause) is concerned with:
  • The controlled breathing exercises and in a broader sense the control of the vital force i.e. Prana. 

  • Basically Pranayama consists of three phases, namely
               Puraka (inhalation), 
               Kumbhaka (pause or breath holding), and
               Rechaka (exhalation). 

  • The best proportion of time allotted to Pranayama is ordinarily related with the practice of breath control. Pranayama is concerned with the expansion of the vital energy i.e. Prana.

  • The word Pranayama (Prana + ayama) means ayama (expansion) of Prana (vital energy).

  • Some scholars also interpret it as ayama (pause) of Prana (breathing).

The preventive and social aspect of Pranayama

Pranayama is ordinarily related with the practice of breath control.
In Pranayama, there is a correlation between our mind and breathing, a Pranic activity. We often experience that thought processes also stop for a couple of seconds when the mind is engaged and well concentrated. It is our common experience that when we become angry or emotionally upset, our breathing experiences a sharp change in its rate, depth, etc.
If we try to manipulate our breathing voluntarily, we tackle the life force which is deeply connected with the mind (nervous activity) and therefore, with the emotions. Thus by controlling the mind, we would be able to control different emotions and as a result, the temperament, moods, desires and natural instincts of mind are also controlled automatically. Emotional disturbance and behavioural patterns influence and modify our breathing pattern. 
During Pranayama, the breathing is consciously made even, deep and rhythmic. This will bring about noticeable relaxation, tranquility, balance and sense of well-being to the mind. In this situation, one's ego - consciousness, which is the seat of the instincts and desires, cannot interfere with the mind as usual. When ego is controlled, the behavioural pattern can also change. Thus, the practice of Pranayama contributes in transforming the total personality.



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