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Encyclopedia > Pranayama
This article contains Indic text.
Without rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes or other symbols instead of Indic characters; or irregular vowel positioning and a lack of conjuncts.

Pranayama (Sanskrit: prāṇāyāma) is a Sanskrit word often translated as control of the life force (prana).[1][2][3][4] When used as a technical term in yoga, it is often translated more specifically as "breath control".[5][6][7] Literal translations include A. A. Macdonell's "suspension of breath"[8] and I. K. Taimni's "regulation of breath".[9] Image File history File links Example. ... The Brahmic family is a family of abugidas (writing systems) used in South Asia, Southeast Asia, Tibet, Mongolia, Manchuria. ... The Sanskrit language ( , for short ) is a classical language of India, a liturgical language of Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism, and one of the 23 official languages of India. ... Prana (, IAST: ) is a Sanskrit word meaning breath and refers to a vital, life-sustaining force of living beings and vital energy in natural processes of the universe. ... Statue of Shiva performing Yogic meditation Yoga (Devanagari: योग) is a group of ancient spiritual practices originating in India. ...

Raja Yoga
Title : Yoga Sutras
Author : Pathanjali

The Eight limbs: Raja Yoga (lit. ... This is an article about the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. ... Patañjali as an incarnation of Adi Sesha Patañjali (Devanāgarī पतञ्जलि) is the compiler of the Yoga Sutra, a major work containing aphorisms on the philosophical aspects of mind and consciousness, and also the author of a major commentary on Paninis Ashtadhyayi, although many scholars do not consider...


1. Yama
Code of conduct
2. Niyama
Observances of practices
3. Asana
Yoga postures
4. Pranayama
Breathing exercises
5. Pratyahara
abstraction of the senses
6. Dharana
Concentration
7. Dhyana
Meditation
8. Samadhi
Superconscious state Ten Traditional Yamas or Codes of Conduct The Yamas are codified as the restraints in numerous scriptures including the Shandilya and Varuha Upanishads, Hatha Yoga Pradipika by Gorakshanatha, the Tirumantiram of Tirumular and the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. ... The Niyamas are codified as the observances in numerous scriptures including the Shandilya and Varuha Upanishads, Hatha Yoga Pradipika by Gorakshanatha, the Tirumantiram of Tirumular and the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. ... Eka-Pada-Rajakapotasana or Single Legged Pidgeon Asana is Sanskrit for seat. It is no accident that this word be chosen to describe the posture of Yoga. ... Pratyahara is the fifth among the Eight steps of Patanjalis Ashtanga Yoga. ... Dharana (Pronounced Dhaaranaa, with a voiced, aspirated dh) is the sixth of the eight steps of Patanjalis Ashtanga Yoga. ... According to the Hindu Yoga Sutra dhyana is one of the eight methods of Yoga, (the other seven methods are Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, and Samadhi). ... Samadhi (Sanskrit, lit. ...


See also:
Surya Namaskara
Mudra, Kriya Sūrya namaskāra (Salute to the Sun), also commonly called Surya Namaskar, is a vitalising exercise, commonly used as a warm up to more demanding activity. ... A mudrā (Sanskrit, मुद्रा, literally seal) is a symbolic gesture usually made with the hand or fingers. ... A kriya (from the Sanskrit, deed, operation, effort) is a technique or practice within a yoga discipline, or more generally any practice with the goal of attaining higher knowledge. ...

Contents

Etymology

Pranayama (Devanagari: प्राणायाम, prāṇāyāma) is a Sanskrit compound. Rigveda manuscript in Devanagari (early 19th century) DevanāgarÄ« (देवनागरी — in English pronounced ) (ISCII – IS13194:1991) [1] is an abugida alphabet used to write several Indian languages, including Sanskrit, Hindi, Marathi, Kashmiri, Sindhi, Bihari, Bhili, Konkani, Bhojpuri and Nepali from Nepal. ...


V. S. Apte provides fourteen different meanings for the word prana (Devanagari: प्राण, prāṇa) including these:[10] Rigveda manuscript in Devanagari (early 19th century) DevanāgarÄ« (देवनागरी — in English pronounced ) (ISCII – IS13194:1991) [1] is an abugida alphabet used to write several Indian languages, including Sanskrit, Hindi, Marathi, Kashmiri, Sindhi, Bihari, Bhili, Konkani, Bhojpuri and Nepali from Nepal. ...

  • Breath, respiration
  • The breath of life, vital air, principle of life (usually plural in this sense, there being five such vital airs generally assumed, but three, six, seven, nine, and even ten are also spoke of)[11]
  • Energy, vigor
  • The spirit or soul

Of these meanings, the concept of "vital air" is used by Bhattacharyya to describe the concept as used in Sanskrit texts dealing with pranayama.[12] Thomas McEvilley translates "prana" as "spirit-energy".[13]


Monier-Williams defines the compound prāṇāyāma as (m., also pl.) "N. of the three 'breath-exercises' performed during Saṃdhyā (See pūraka, recaka, kumbhaka"[14][15] This technical definition refers to a particular system of breath control with three processes as explained by Bhattacharyya: pūraka (to take the breath inside), kumbhaka (to retain it), and recaka (to discharge it).[16] There are also other processes of pranayama in addition to this three-step model.[17]


Macdonell gives the etymology as prāṇa + āyāma and defines it as "m. suspension of breath (sts. pl.)".[18]


Apte's definition of āyāmaḥ derives it from ā + yām and provides several variant meanings for it when used in compounds. The first three meanings have to do with "length", "expansion, extension", and "stretching, extending", but in the specific case of use in the compound prāṇāyāma he defines āyāmaḥ as meaning "restrain, control, stopping".[19]


An alternative etymology for the compound is cited by Ramamurti Mishra, who says that:

"Expansion of individual energy into cosmic energy is called prāṇāyāma (prāṇa, energy + ayām, expansion)."[20]

The word "yama" (Devanagari: याम, yāma) means "cessation"[21][22] or more generally "control" or "restraint".[23][24]


Bhagavad Gita

Pranayama is mentioned in verse 4.29 of the Bhagavad Gita.[25] Bhagavad Gīta भगवद्गीता, composed ca the fifth - second centuries BC, is part of the epic poem Mahabharata, located in the Bhisma-Parva chapters 23–40. ...


Quotes

"Prana is a subtle invisible force. It is the life-force that pervades the body. It is the factor that connects the body and the mind, because it is connected on one side with the body and on the other side with the mind. It is the connecting link between the body and the mind. The body and the mind have no direct connection. They are connected through Prana only and this Prana is different from the breathing you have in your physical body." — Swami Chidananda Saraswati[26] Swami Chidananda Saraswati (b. ...

"Yoga works primarily with the energy in the body, through the science of pranayama, or energy-control. Prana means also ‘breath.’ Yoga teaches how, through breath-control, to still the mind and attain higher states of awareness. The higher teachings of yoga take one beyond techniques, and show the yogi, or yoga practitioner, how to direct his concentration in such a way as not only to harmonize human with divine consciousness, but to merge his consciousness in the Infinite." — Paramahansa Yogananda[27] Paramahansa Yogananda (Bengali: পরমহংস যোগানন্দ Pôromôhongsho Joganondo, Hindi: परमहंस योगानन्‍द; January 5, 1893–March 7, 1952), was an Indian yogi and guru. ...

Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

Pranayama is the fourth 'limb' of the eight limbs of Raja Yoga mentioned in verse 2.29 in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.[28][29] Patanjali discusses his specific approach to pranayama in verses 2.49 through 2.51, and devotes verses 2.52 and 2.53 to explaining the benefits of the practice.[30] Patanjali refers to pranayama as the control of life force that comes as a result of practicing the various breathing techniques, rather than the numerous breathing exercises themselves.[31][27] Raja Yoga (lit. ... This is an article about the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. ...


Many yoga teachers advise that pranayama should be part of an overall practice that includes the other limbs of Patanjali's Raja Yoga teachings, especially Yama, Niyama, and Asana.[32] Eka-Pada-Rajakapotasana or Single Legged Pidgeon Asana is Sanskrit for seat. It is no accident that this word be chosen to describe the posture of Yoga. ...


Medical claims

Several researchers have reported that pranayama techniques are beneficial in treating a range of stress related disorders,[33] improving autonomic functions,[34] relieving symptoms of asthma,[35][36] and reducing signs of oxidative stress.[37][38] Practitioners report that the practice of pranayama develops a steady mind, strong will-power, and sound judgement,[32] and also claim that sustained pranayama practice extends life and enhances perception.[39]


Cautions & contraindications

Many yoga teachers recommend that pranayama techniques be practiced with care, and that advanced pranayama techniques should be practiced under the guidance of a teacher. These cautions are also made in traditional Hindu literature.Pranayama should be practices only on an empty stomach. It should not be practiced just before having a bath, or after doing streneous excersise. One can do pranayama and hbathe only after half an hour, as the body takes time to adjust. Pranayama is best done in the morning after visiting the bathroom. It should be practiced on a mat.[40][41] [42]


See also

A drawing of a girl in lotus pose Students taking a yoga class A woman in the Lotus position A yoga instructor performing an asana Asana is a Sanskrit word that literally means a seat but in the practise of yoga refers to a pose or posture. ... Statue of Shiva performing Yogic meditation Yoga (Devanagari: योग) is a group of ancient spiritual practices originating in India. ... Raja Yoga (lit. ...

Notes

  1. ^ "Regulation of breath or the control of Prana" — Sivananda, Swami, The Science of Pranayama. Divine Life Society, (1971). Available online as: The Science of Pranayama by Sri Swami Sivananda
  2. ^ "pranayama (control of prana, subtle life currents)" — Yogananda, Paramahansa, Autobiography of a Yogi, 2005, ISBN 978-1565892125
  3. ^ "Pranayama, then, means energy control." — Kriyananda, Swami, Art and Science of Raja Yoga. Crystal Clarity Publishers (2002) ISBN: 978-1565891661
  4. ^ "Pranayama, or controlling the vital forces of the body" — Vivekenanada, Swami, Raja Yoga. Bharatiya Kala Prakashan,India (2004) ISBN 978-8180900365.
  5. ^ For "breath control" see: Feurstein, p. 309.
  6. ^ For "breath control" see: Bhattacharyya, p. 429.
  7. ^ For "breath-control" see: Flood (1996) pp. 95, 97.)
  8. ^ Macdonell, p. 185.
  9. ^ Taimni, p. 205.
  10. ^ Apte, p. 679.
  11. ^ For the vital airs as generally assumed to be five, with other numbers given, see: Macdonell, p. 185.
  12. ^ Bhattacharyya, p. 311.
  13. ^ McEvilley, Thomas. "The Spinal Serpent", in: Harper and Brown, p. 94.
  14. ^ For Monier-Williams references to original Sanskrit sources for this tripartite practice, see: http://students.washington.edu/prem/mw/p.html
  15. ^ Monier-Williams, p. 706, left column. [1]
  16. ^ Bhattacharyya, p. 429.
  17. ^ Bhattacharyya, p. 429.
  18. ^ Macdonell, p.185, main entry prāṇāghāta
  19. ^ See main article आयामः (āyāmaḥ) in: Apte, p. 224. Passages cited by Apte for this usage are Bhagavadgita 4.29 and Manusmriti 2.83.
  20. ^ Mishra, p. 216.
  21. ^ Macdonell, p. 244.
  22. ^ Monier-Williams, p. 851. [2]
  23. ^ Apte, p. 785.
  24. ^ Monier-Williams, p. 851.[3]
  25. ^ Gambhirananda, pp. 217-218.
  26. ^ Chidananda, Sri Swami, The Philosophy, Psychology, and Practice of Yoga, Divine Life Society, 1984
  27. ^ a b Yogananda, Paramhansa, The Essence of Self-Realization, ISBN 0-916124-29-0
  28. ^ Flood (1996), p. 97.
  29. ^ Taimni, p. 205.
  30. ^ Taimni, pp. 258-268.
  31. ^ Kriyananda, Swami. The Art and Science of Raja Yoga, ISBN 81-208-1876-8
  32. ^ a b Light on Pranayama, Sixth Edition, Crossroad Publishing Co.
  33. ^ Brown & Gerbarg (2005)
  34. ^ Pat et al (2004)
  35. ^ Cooper et al (2003)
  36. ^ Vedanthan et al (1998)
  37. ^ Bhattacharya et al (2002)
  38. ^ Jerath et al (2006)
  39. ^ Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha, 2002.
  40. ^ Visakhapatanam, Bharat, Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Master E.K, Kulapathi Book Trust, ISBN 81-85943-05-2
  41. ^ Prescriptions for Pranayama, Claudia Cummins
  42. ^ Breathing Lessons, Tony Briggs

References

  • Bhattacharyya, N. N. History of the Tantric Religion. Second Revised Edition. (Manohar: New Delhi, 1999) p. 174. ISBN 81-7304-025-7
  • Chidananda, Sri Swami (1991). Path to Blessedness, 2nd Ed. The Divine Life Society. World Wide Web (WWW) Edition ISBN 978-817052086-3.
  • Feuerstein, Georg (1998). Tantra: The Path of Ecstacy. Boston: Shambhala Publications. ISBN 1-57062-304-X. 
  • Flood, Gavin (1996). An Introduction to Hinduism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-43878-0. 
  • Gambhirananda, Swami (1997). Bhagavadgītā: With the commentary of Śaṅkarācārya. Calcutta: Advaita Ashrama Publication Department. ISBN 81-7505-041-1.  Fourth Reprint edition.
  • Harper, Katherine Anne; Brown, Robert L. (2002). The Roots of Tantra. Albany, New York: State University of New York Press. ISBN 0-7914-5306-5. 
  • Iyengar, B. K. Sundara Raja (1985). The Light On Pranayama: The Yogic Art of Breathing. ISBN 0-8245-0686-3
  • Macdonell, Arthur Anthony (1996). A Practical Sanskrit Dictionary. New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt. Ltd.. ISBN 81-215-0715-4.  Reprint edition.
  • Mishra, Ramamurti S. (1963). The Textbook of Yoga Psychology. Monroe, New York: Baba Bhagavandas Publication Trust. ISBN 1-890964-27-1.  Reprint edition, 1997.
  • Saraswati, Swami Niranjanananda (1994). Prana Pranayama Prana Vidya. ISBN 81-85787-84-0
  • Shaw, Scott. The Little Book of Yoga Breathing: Pranayama Made Easy. ISBN 1-57863-301-X
  • Taimni, I. K. (1996). The Science of Yoga. Adyar, Madras: The Theosophical Publishing House. ISBN 81-7059-212-7.  Eight reprint edition.

  Results from FactBites:
 
Pranayama :: pranayama :: Yoga Breathing (701 words)
Pranayama is a scientific method of controlling the breath, leading to better health for both mind and body.
Pranayama is the fourth part of the Astang Yoga (eight limbs) described by Patanjali in the Yogasutra, this is the most authoritative book on yoga.
Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi.
Pranayama and Bandhas - yoga (0 words)
Pranayama definition: In prana, the root word "pra," meaning "to fill," is added to the root word, "an," ("to breathe" or "to live") creating the new meaning "the life that fills with the breath." In other words the life principle in action:
Some are engaged in the practice of Pranayama called Kumbhaka, by impeding the outward passage of air, through the nostrils and the mouth, and by impeding the inward passage of the air, in the opposite direction.
Kapalabhati is an invigorating, energizing, and purifying pranayama and purification technique(of the nasal passage and lungs).
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