Prana and Pranayama

‘Prana’ means ‘life force’ and ‘pranayama’ is the practice of regulating the life-force energy of the body by using yogic breathing techniques. Prana is the substance of life, the substance which the soul is made up of; when a person dies, it is their ‘prana’ which leaves the body.

Yogananda described in his book, Autobiography of a Yogi, how prana can be regulated in order to facilitate divine union and optimum health. He calls this process ‘Kriya Yoga’ and it is still practised today. However, one must obtain ‘initiation’ from an established yogi in order to become a member of the Kriya Yoga Foundation.

Yogananda’s is not the only technique to put emphasis on prana. Virtually every type of yoga focuses on prana in one way or another. The most common yogic practices are:
1) Aulom Vilom
2) Kalabhati
3) Bhastrika
4) Sithali and Sitkari