Pranayama works as the basis for spiritual awakening in
yoga. Although this is the supreme aim, Pranayama brings
about tremendous benefits along the way such as increased
energy, increased perception and development of various
What is Pranayama?
To most, control of breath is Pranayama.
However, this is a result of wrong interpretation.
For a rightful interpretation, it must be
understood that 'prana' is an energy or life force that is
universal in nature - it is omnipresent. A portion of that
prana is also present in the human body. It flows at a
superficial level to maintain the body and its organs.
The goal of Pranayama is to increase the
quantum of this life force (Prana) so that it can reach out
to 'hidden' recesses of the brain. This helps in expanding
the human faculties and retarding degeneration.
How Prana operates?
All the life force or Prana lies as
dormant potential energy called the 'pranashakti' or 'kundalini'.
It resides at a center which is found just above the genital
area, called the 'mooladhara chakra'.
According to yoga, this prana flows from
the base 'mooladhara' center up along the right side of the
spinal column into the center which lies at the top of the
spinal column. This center is called the 'Ajna Chakra'. The
prana also gets distributed to the whole body through a
different set of nerve channels so that it reaches every
atom of the body.
This is how prana operates in the normal
body and the scope of Pranayama is to extend this influence
beyond the physical body.
Prana and the Brain
Modern science has divided the brain into
three parts: the new brain, the middle brain and the
primitive brain. According to yoga, the primitive brain
forms nine out of ten parts of the brain. These parts are
'silent' and unexplored. The next phase of evolution will
see the development of these parts and Pranayama helps
Pranayama helps create a greater quantum
of prana and also purifies the channels that will carry this
increased prana to these 'silent' areas of the brain. It is
very important that the channels be purified first to cope
up with the increased energy created by Pranayama.
When this fantastic amount of energy is
created it flows from the mooladhara through the right side
of the spinal column (pingala nadi) and up to the Ajna
Chakra. From here it flows into the silent areas of the
brain. These are the little known brain areas that house
'mysterious' faculties such as clairvoyance, intuition and