“Thus being established in Asana and having control, taking a balanced diet; Pranayama should be practiced according to the instruction of the Guru.”
Hatha Yoga Pradipika (2:1)
Prana + Ayama. Prana means vital force or vital energy. It is the force which exists in all things, whether animate or inanimate. Ayama is defined as extension or expansion. Thus the word Pranayama means ‘extension or expansion of the dimension of Prana’. Therefore pranayama should not be considered as mere breathing exercises aimed at introducing extra oxygen into the lungs. Pranayama utilises breathing to influence the flow of prana in the nadis or energy channels of the ‘Pranayama Kosha’ or energy body.
The technique of Pranayama provide the method whereby the life force can be activated and regulated in order to go beyond one’s normal boundaries or limitations and attain a higher state of vibratory energy.
By Sw. Satyananda Saraswati (APMB)