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Pranayama is the gateway to deeper relaxation and meditation. The regulation of breath is the essence of Pranayama. 

Pranayama, according to yogic scriptures, is the gateway to deeper relaxation and meditation. The Sanskrit word ’prana’ means breath or life force, while ‘ayama’ means regulation or control. Pranayama is a scientific method of controlling the breath, leading to better health for both mind and body. According to Patanjali, the sage who formulated the yogic principles, the practice of pranayama develops the power of concentration and clarity of thought. It also increases the mental and physical powers of endurance. 

By controlling the prana, one can control all the forces of the universe such as gravity, magnetism, electricity and nerve currents. Thus prana refers to energy as the basis of all life. 

During Pranayama, inhalation (puraka) stimulates the system, enlarges the chest cavity and fills the lungs with fresh air. Retention (kumbhaka) plays an important role in the absorption of oxygen. Exhalation (rechaka) returns the diaphragm to its original position and forces out the air, which is full of toxins and impurities. 

Pranayama systematically massages the abdominal muscles and tones up the working of the organs of the body. This results in the proper flow of vital energy to all parts of the body. It is important that the ratio should be maintained between puraka, kumbhaka and rechaka and that this ratio should be increased gradually. 

Also see Pranic Healing

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