The importance of Pranayama

Prana means breath, respiration, life, vitality, wind or energy.  Ayama means length, expansion, stretching or restraint.  So, combining these together connotes the control or extension of breath or life.  The yogini or yogi must master both asana and pranayama, as both are as important as each other.  Practicing pranayama drives away the impurities of the body and the mind, and is said to specifically strengthen the respiratory system, soothe the nervous system and reduce cravings.  Oh, and they have some really cool names too – there’s skull-shining breath, breath of fire and victory breath, just to name a few.  We’ll talk about each of these another day.  The importance of pranayama is embodied in this quote from B.K.S. Iyengar’s book, Light on Yoga.  Iyengar says “The yogi’s life is not measured by the number of his days but by the number of his breaths”.  Inhale, exhale…

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