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Pranayama (Sanskrit: प्राणायाम prāṇāyāma) is a Sanskrit word meaning "extension of the prana or breath" or more accurately, "extension of the life force". The word is composed of two Sanskrit words, Prāna, life force, or vital energy, particularly, the breath, and "ayāma", to extend or draw out. (Not 'restrain, or control' as is often incorrectly translated from 'yama' instead of 'ayama').

Patanjali in his text of Yoga Sutras mentioned pranayama as means of attaining higher states of awareness, he mentions the holding of breath as important practice of reaching Samadhi. Hatha Yoga also talks about 8 types of pranayama which will make the body and mind healthy.

Five types of prana are responsible for various pranic activities in the body, they are Prana, Apana, Vyan, Udana & Samana. Out of these Prana and Apana are most important. Prana is upward flowing and Apana is downward flowing. Practice of Pranayama achieves the balance in the activities of these pranas, which results in healthy body and mind.

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Michael M Pranayama Tribe

Contributorbronze Michael M I have some familiarity to these concepts, but I'm looking to find out more indepth information as I'm incredibly interested! Any text or practice suggestions?

Runner 5 encouraged this.


Hi, the best text I know is the standard, it's brillant and explains pretty much everything for beginners, I learned so much fom it, the book is called ' Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha' by Swami Satyananda Saraswati.

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Susan S Pranayama Tribe

Susan S responded to the guide Bhramari Pranayam

Trouble is Sonu when your class looks upon Yoga as exercise it is tricky to introduce the word spiritual into any practice, they tend to think I am a bit crazy anyway for even thinking Yoga is a continual process let alone a spiritual practice

Susan S Pranayama Tribe

Susan S responded to the guide Bhramari Pranayam

I love this pranayam, even if you do feel a bit silly doing it for the first time. I tried it in one of the classes I teach but couldnt get them to make the sound, I think (English reserve being what it is) they all felt embarrassed and couldn't r...

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