Last week we saw that Prana is the life-force that flows through your body. An adequate amount and healthy circulation are necessary for good health and having the energy to work towards your goals.
Prana is referred to as the Breath of Life. Pranayama is a practice that involves regulation of one’s breathing. It begins with equality of inhalation and exhalation and extends to diverse rhythmic regulations of inhalation, holding and exhalation.
While Asanas work more on the material aspect of the physical body, Pranayama deals with subtler aspects, beginning with one’s nervous system. Practicing Pranayama purifies one’s nervous system, so that the life-energy circulates freely, without obstruction, disorder or irregularity. One slowly acquires control over the functioning of his or her own body. The body’s inherent nature to tend towards inertia can be overcome, making it a better instrument for one’s innermost being or soul. Even those functions which are involuntary at the beginning can be brought under the control of one’s will-power.
One also begins to become aware of subtler aspects of one’s life-energy such as the flow of it around the body and certain invisible organs or chakras through which Prana flows.
Thus Pranayama facilitates a mastery over the body and the life-energy, paving the way for higher faculties.