PRANA AND PRANAYAMA
May 25, 2013 Comments Off on PRANA AND PRANAYAMA
Breath is external manifestation of prana, the vital force. Breath, like electricity, is gross prana. Breath is sthula (gross) and prana is suksma (subtle). By exercising control over this breathing you can control the subtle prana inside. Control of prana means control of mind. Mind cannot operate without the help of prana.
The vibrations of prana produce thought in the mind. It is prana that moves the mind. It is prana that sets the mind in motion. It is the suksma prana or psychic prana that is intimately connected with the mind.
Breath represents the important flywheel of an engine. Just as other wheels stop when the driver stops the flywheel, all other organs stop working when the yogi stops the breath. If you can control the flywheel you can easily control the other wheels.
Likewise, if you can control the breath, the external breath, then you can easily control the inner vital force, the prana. The process by which the prana is controlled, by the regulation of external breath, is termed pranayama.
Just as the goldsmith removes the impurities from gold, by heating it in the hot furnace and by strongly blowing the blow-pipe, so also the yogic method removes the impurities of the body and the indriyas (senses), by blowing the lungs – that is, by practising pranayama.
The chief aim of pranayama is to unite the prana with the apana and to take the united pranapana slowly towards the head. The effects, or fruit, of pranayama is the awakening of the sleeping kundalini.
“He who knows prana knows the veda,” is the important declaration of the srutis. In the Vedanta Sutras you will find: “For the same reason, breath is Brahman.” Prana is the sum total of all energy that is manifest in the universe. It is the sum total of all the forces in nature.
Prana is the sum total of all latent forces and powers which are hidden in men and which lie everywhere around us. Heat, light, electricity and magnetism are all manifestations of prana. All forces, all powers, and prana, spring from the fountain or common source – the Atman. – Swami Sivananda