The word Pranayam is made by uniting two words - Pran and Ayam. Pran roughly means life or age and ayam means length. Therefore, the yogic practice which increases the span of life is called Pranayam. The definition of Pranayam according to yogic terminology is to control the pran. Therefore, before knowing about Pranayam one must know what is Pran in the body.
What is Pran?
That power of consciousness which is pervading in the entire universe is also present in this body. That is known as pran. It is because of this pran that mind and all the senses do work. This is the subtle form of pran.
Air enters the body through nostrils. There are five pran air:
Three sequences of each Pran:
- Rechak: To expel breath
- Purak: To breath in
- Kumbhak: to hold the breath.
Kumbhak is also divided in three categories:
- Antah Kumbhaka: Breath in and hold
- Bahya Kumbhaka: Breath out and hold
- Kaivalya Kumbhaka: Hold breath wherever it may be
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