Skip to main content

Natural Awakenings Atlanta

Pranayama: An Addendum

Apr 01, 2024 06:00AM ● By Staff
Over the last three months, this magazine has published a three-part series on pranayama, and we consider it our most important content pertaining to conscious evolution. Within the context of the “eight limbs” of yoga, pranayama is an essential step on the road to samadhi, the state of enlightenment. 

In all three articles, the authors characterize pranayama as “control” of breath, largely based on its translation from Sanskrit. One article states, for example: “The practice of pranayama—yogic practices involving conscious control of the breath …” 

Several articles from third-party sources reveal the same definition, describing pranayama as “control of breath.” However, after we published the series, we discovered a subtle yet significant difference in meaning we found in the introduction to Alistair Shearer’s translation of The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Essentially, he says the meaning of “pranayama” is “expansion and increase of the life-energy.” 

Indeed, in our interview with Swami Kaivalyananda of the Center for Spiritual Awareness, he stated something similar. “Pranayama does not mean life force control,” he said. “That’s a misnomer. Originally, the word meant ‘life force extension.’” 

“Prana has an intelligence to it,” he continued. “It’s intelligent energy. We create an environment for it to return to its source. Practitioners are not trying to force something to happen but encouraging the flow of prana in a certain direction. Prana is … quantumly entangled; one particle knows what all other particles experience. It doesn’t recognize being forced. It is always returning to the source when allowed. We set up the environment with the right intention and right breath, allowing it to go up the spine to higher brain centers. This [kriya yoga] technique encourages the flow in a specific way.”

Sometimes a subtle change of perspective can make a big difference in results, and we wanted to share this perspective with you through this Addendum. However, if you haven’t yet immersed yourself in our series on pranayama, check it out at ❧
Mailing List

Subscribe To Our Newsletter!

* indicates required