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Title Towards Clear Action and Clear Reflection – Embrace Praanayam in Daily Life
Category Fitness Health --> Yoga
Meta Keywords ayurveda, yoga, exercise,
Owner SantulanAyurveda02
Yoga and pranayam have now become a part of many peoples lives and daily routines all over the world. The number of individuals earnestly practicing pranayam has increased by leaps and bounds in the last few years with promotions, like the introduction of International Yoga Day by our Hon. PM Modi ji. However, it is interesting to note that most people may not know what praan actually is! Praan is life force, in Yoga and the ancient sciences.

To explain praan, many books on Yoga use the simile that pranic energy is a bird and the body is a cage, in which this bird is trapped. When a cage is left open, one can see the bird escaping. However, to see pranic energy when it leaves the body at the time of death is impossible. Scientists have tried to conduct experiments to discover or capture pranic energy. In one such famous experiment someone even tried to keep a person in a glass box at the time of death to try and catch the praan that escapes, but without success.


Praanayam is a technique to guide or coax praan in specific beneficial ways. It helps to hold or concentrate pranic energy to achieve a particular work-output at maximum, but with minimum effort. It serves to attract pranic energy in a specific direction. Basically, it is the art of disciplining ones praan. Many people think that since they practise pranayam they have understood pran, while, in fact, they have only learned to regulate their breathing. Praan is a very subtle energy. It is life energy. The presence of praan indicates life and its lack, or its departure from the body, leads to cessation of life.

Shree Krishna, in explaining Karma Yoga in the Geeta declares, Karmana gahano gati. This means, the theory of action-reaction in life is very complex and beyond our abilities to understand or perceive. The essence of Karma Yoga, or Right Action, is to perform actions in such a manner that they do not lead to karmic blocks. How does one achieve this in the practical world? The Geeta describes various techniques, of which, one of the important ones is pranayam.
अपाने जुह्वति प्राणं प्राणेऽपानं तथापरे ।
प्राणापानगती रुद्ध्वा प्राणायामपरायणाः ॥४-२९॥

‘Apaane juhvati praanam praanepaanam tatho-pare I
Praanaapaan gati rudhwaa praanaayaam-paraayanaahaa II
The Shrimad Bhagawad Geeta (4-21)

This verse explains that the act or ability of being able to discipline the speed of inhalation and exhalation at all times, or continuously, is the act of pranayam. This helps transformation of energy into subtler levels.

We can connect this to Ayurveda too, as all the ancient sciences and techniques for self improvement and realization have the same principles at their foundation. Ayurveda proposes that the air and space elements influence the working of the mind. The agitated mind has numerous chitta-vrutti, or waves of thought, and Yoga is the method to calm these fluctuations. When breath is brought into discipline, it leads to calming of these agitations, offering steadiness in mind as well as body.

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