Wednesday, October 26, 2011

What is Pranayam?

Pranayam has been derived from two words “prāṇ” and “āyām.” Prāṇ meaning the vital energy and āyām means to expand it. In simple terms, it means to expand the prāṇic (vital) energy of the body.

Generally, it is recognized as a respiration technique of inhalation and exhalation to increase the oxygen intake in our body. This is not wrong but to confine Pranayam merely to oxygen is an incomplete understanding. Since along with oxygen, we also take in vital prāṇic energy into our body. This prāṇic energy pervades the whole cosmos, and the breathe we take in is only a part of it.

According to the Yog Darshan, as you sit in any convenient asan and regulate the act of breathing, it is regarded as pranayam. The process of taking in air into the lungs is known as inspiration, and the process of taking out the same air is known as expiration. In typical terms, inhaling air into the body means pūrak, whereas exhaling air from the body means rechak.

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