What is yoga? Part 7: Pranayama - Harnessing the Energy of Life
Pranayama is yogic breathing work. The word "prana" is translated as "breath, breath, life, wind, energy." The root "ayama" means "duration, control, spread, containment." Thus, pranayama is the control of the breath, and if you look a little deeper, the control of vital energy and life itself. Observing and controlling the breath soothes the mind and prepares us for the next limbs of yoga. However, remember what the Hatha Yoga Pradipika says: “Just as lions, elephants, and tigers are controlled by and by, so the breath is controlled by slow degrees." That is why many yoga teachers advise not to rush into mastering complex breathing techniques.