About the Book
It is an Art and Science is an essential part of yoga practice. It is the Science of cleansing, balancing life force- "Prana" in the Human system.
This book brings out the tradition Science, Research and safe practice methods of Pranayama based on the twenty years of practical and applied research.
A unique and useful book for all readers and yoga practitioners, to have scientific understanding of ancient tradition of Pranayama in the light of modern research.
From the Back of the Book
To be in tune with the spirit of inquiry of this age of science and technology many titles have been published on Yoga Research Foundation. As a Part of the entire Vivekananda Kendra Yoga Prakashana Trust of print and publish many more titles for dissemination and spread the wisdom of ancients. To make available the beneficial knowledge of the Seers, Rishis and Yogis our humble presentation of Prabayama- The Art and Science is now made available to the people in general and Sadhakas in particular Sarvajanahitaya and Sarvajana Sukhaya to reap the fruits of it.
Modern life beset with tensions and anxieties continues to crush the affected individuals with increasing number of deaths and deteriorating quality of life. In spite of man's understanding of the structure and dynamics of the physical universe, the inner world is yet to be discovered. Despite technological growth and enhanced material standards of living, the real standard of living in terms of love, happiness and peace has yet to find its roots. Yoga and the entire universe. Based on the wisdom, Yoga offers a unique new way of life to the modern man.
The mind-matter relationship has been the most intriguing challenge for the man from ages. This challenge has become most relevant to the scientist of today who has understood enough about the physical world around him and is now heading towards subtler dimensions of the universe. From the matter-based approach, the scientist is proceeding ahead to find something anew. In their quest of the unknown, seeking a major breakthrough in this worldly vision, many renowned scientists have started looking at the findings in the East for new insights.
The Vedas form the basis of this fresh thought for which India is known. Upanisads, the quintessence of the Vedas, talk about this basic mind-matter problem in depth, unraveled through experimentation called Tapas. It is found that the entity called Prana is the basic life principle which acts as a bridge between mind and matter. In Prasnopanisad, Prana is defined as that basic entity from which the whole universe is made. Matter is its grossest manifestation, whereas, mind is the subtle one and higher states of consciousness are the subtler manifestations of Prana.
In Prasnopanisad we find a detailed description or study of Varistha Prana and Panca Pranas. It is the Varishta Prana the eldest and the first born of Atman, that divides itself into five facets : Prana, Apana, Samana, Vyana and Udana and governs the different functions of the human body.
Pranayama as defined in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali is the science of cleansing, balancing and gaining control over the Prana in the human system.
Gaining control over any one of the five facets of Prana or more or all of them is Pranayama. Pranayama is the science of harnessing the breath for gaining control over the Prana and thereby, on the mind. Pranayama forms the fourth limb of Patanjali's eight-limbed 'Astanga Yoga'. This definition of Pranayama is a part of the comprehensive definition from Upanisads.
Presented in the booklet are those principles that throw more light on the concept of Prana as described in the Upanisads and texts on Yoga. The techniques of Pranayama described here are in no way exhaustive, but certainly give insights into the secrets of gaining control over Prana by harnessing one's breath.
Some of the main techniques are presented in different chapters of this book for cleansing the respiratory tract, normalizing the functions of the respiratory system, purifying the subtle channels of Prana bringing balance in the Pranamaya Kosa and gaining deeper and subtler insights for the control of Prana. The vital role of these techniques in harnessing our existence is aptly brought out. The benefits and limitations of these techniques are described with suitable precautions to be taken in their practices.
These practices have been tested for their safety and benefits over the past decade in the Yoga camps and non-residential programmes conducted throughout the country by trained teachers of the SVYASA. This book is meant essentially for those beginners who want to learn the techniques by carefully following the instructions and precautions suggested in the book.
The author thanks all those who have been helpful at various stages in the preparation and bringing out this new edition.
Suggestions of the enquiring readers are welcome.
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