What is Pranayama?
Standard Yoga practice will traditionally include breathing practices into a physical practice. These breathing practices are referred to as Pranayama. This isn’t all of what pranayama is though. It is much more, and it is a practice for off the mat as well as on. Prana means life force energy, and Yama means discipline. Pranayama is the practice of awareness and use of Life Force Energy. When we learn to expand our limited definitions of things, we start to see the bigger picture. Everything is prana. Thoughts, emotions, words, sounds, food, relationships all have energy exchange and all are considered prana. The practice of pranayama is not just learning how to control your breathing, but learning how to control energy exchange. We have the power to enhance our own Life Force Energy by practicing this discipline. We are able to practice reverence, awareness, and discernment of all exchanges. We have the choice to decide whether we want to exchange positive energy or negative energy in all of these forms. This is pranayama. This is Yoga.