Prana is the Sanskrit word for “life,” or “life force.” Also known as Chi by the Chinese, Qi by the Taoists, Mana by the Polynesians, and Orenda by the Native Americans. Recognized even by modern physics, it is an all-pervasive radiant energy field that interpenetrates all physical organisms.
Pranayama is the science of breath. Prana means breath, respiration, vitality, wind, energy, and strength. Ayama means length, expansion, stretching, or restraint. Pranayama is a practice of directing and regulating the breath, thus directly affecting your life force energy. Pranayama practices explore inhalation (puraka), exhalation (rechaka), and retention (kumbhaka). As you learn to steady, relax, and extend the breath, the respiratory system is strengthened and the nervous system soothed. With conscious breathing, we can choose to breathe in a way that communicates ease and comfort to our body, mind, and heart. As the breath becomes gentle and even, the body relaxes, the mind becomes peaceful, and we enter a state of abundant energy, peaceful aliveness, and harmonious well being.