Pranayama: the art of breathing

Regulate the breathing, and thereby control the mind. Because where the mind goes, the energy flows. -B.K.S. Iyengar

“Pranayama is control of Breath”. “Prana” is Breath or vital energy in the body. On subtle levels prana represents the pranic energy responsible for life or life force, and “ayama” means control. So Pranayama is “Control of Breath”.

Christ and Buddha said: “Lead a good life and your mind will be controlled”. Then how is it that so many compassionate, pure-minded and charitable people cannot sit quietly, still the mind and meditate? That’s because their breathing is not under control, and thus the mind is acting like a drunk monkey bitten by a scorpio.

Prana and mind are intricately linked. Fluctuation of one means fluctuation of the other. When either the mind or prana becomes balanced the other is steadied. Control the prana and the mind is automatically controlled. The breathing process is directly connected to the brain and central nervous system and it is one of the most vital processes in the body system. It also has some connection with the hypothalamus, the brain centre which controls emotional responses. Erratic breathing sends erratic impulses to this centre and thus creates disturbed reponses.

By becoming aware of the nature of the breath and by controlling it, the whole system becomes controlled and the wave brain patterns are harmonized.

Thus, pranayama is so important because through the involuntary process of breathing we are able to control our mind and ultimately our energy.   


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