What is Yoga?


Meaning of Prana

Now we come to the seat of it all, the seed and source of all human efforts and strength both mental and physical. In scriptures there is mention of the most subtle yet most superior element which makes our life possible, the element has been named PRANA, a name quite well known to Indians from long as it is synonymous to the very life itself. PRANA has been termed as “ lifeforce” within all beings living and non-living both. While the nonliving world comprises of almost anything where there are flow and sustenance be it the radiating sun or the flowing rivers the most important manifestation of PRANA is within living beings as it is essentially at the center of all life processes and makes life as a whole possible.

PRANA has also been termed as FLOW, hence movement, motion, push happening anywhere and anytime within the living systems are due to PRANA. The most simple example of PRANA is the breath that we take and also the breath that we exhale, this has also been referred to as PRANVAAYU( air of life), we know how essential it is since it comprises the life-giving oxygen while during exhalation expelling carbon dioxide as toxin or waste from the body. PRANA has further been classified into 5 more forms which are:

PRANA: the flow of air which the human body takes in through the lungs.
APANA : the flow of air which the human body moves out.
VYAAN : the flow of air which exists throughout the body ( nervous system).
SAMAAN : the flow of air which exists for digestion and absorption within the body.
UDAAN : the flow of air which exists for speech and growth in the throat.

Here the air is not the physical air rather the sum total of movement or motion which is taking place. This way we can understand that almost each and every bit of our body is possibly showing life due to PRANA and its five sub divisions. Any scientific mind can comprehend how it even explains the movements and processes within the minutest cell and tiniest end within our body. The concept of PRANA is central to both yogic practices as well as Indian medicine Ayurveda. It is believed that any block or obstruction to the flow of PRANA creates disorder or disease in that part and in yogic tradition the various asanas ( postures) are key in correcting and hence removing that blockage so that PRANA is once again smooth and health is restored. PRANAYAM is the primary yogic technique which enhances and taps into the true potential of PRANA and due to which a yogic practitioner (YOGI) achieves various levels of strength and vigor.

Written By: Yogi Kunwar Vikramaditya Singh Ji