Science of Pranayama

For the first time, I am going to share the science of Pranayama in the second module of Mothers Love Kids Yoga Teachers Training next month. The content is not confined to what I have learned in my yoga teachers training but I will also be transmitting the experiences in my muscle memory and bio memory from the initiation I received from my Guru, Bhagawan Sri Nithyananda Paramashivam (fondly known as Swamiji).  

What is pranayama?

The word pranayama comprises of two roots: prana plus ayama. ‘Prana’ means ‘vital energy’ or ‘life force’. ‘Ayama’is defined as ‘extension’ or ‘expansion’. Therefore, the word ‘Pranayama’ means ‘extension and expansion of prana’.

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Body vs. Soul


The question is – body or soul, which path should a practitioner focus initially?

A few months ago, one of my students who is a Tibetan Buddhist, was puzzled about the large number of Tibetan Buddhist teachers who are suffering from stomach cancer. This raised some fundamental questions such as – Isn’t the meditation on a daily basis supposed to bring health and free one from diseases? Why particularly the stomach cancer, not other forms of cancer? What are they missing in the spiritual practice?

To answer these questions, let us go back to the beginning of Yoga. You may have read that Hatha Yoga is a system conceived as a traditional holistic path in the Vedic Tradition which includes asanas (postures), mudras (hand gestures), pranayama (controlled breathing) and dhyana (meditation) as instruments to balance the body-mind system.  A good level of health and psychological integration must be attained before delving into deeper aspects of yoga – Raja Yoga which primarily concerns with the mind i.e. the more subtle dimension of our existence.

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