What is Pranayama?
Pranayama is an integral part of yoga. The controlled breathing enables both the rhythm of performing yoga poses and relaxing the mind for meditation.
Pranayama is a practice of specific breathing techniques and exercises.
Pranayama is a practice relating to the control and regulation of the breath through specific breathing techniques and exercises. Pranayama exercises help us to clear physical and emotional blocks or obstacles in the body so that the breath, and prana, can flow freely.
Pranayama uses the breath to direct and expand the flow of prana through energy channels in our bodies called the nadis. While attention to the breath is a central part of any yoga practice, Pranayama involves specific breathing exercises that can either be practised on their own, or as part of a Hatha yoga (physical yoga) practice.
The Sanskrit word Pranayama comes from Prana (life energy) and Ayama. The practice of Pranayama dates back to ancient India and the origins of yoga, said to be around sixth and fifth centuries BCE. Pranayama is mentioned in early yoga texts such as the Bhagavad Gita, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and Hatha Yoga Pradipika.