ARTICLE BY SAMA FABIAN
The word pranayama refers to a practice involving the action of two forces: prana and consciousness.
Prana is the kinetic vital power that moves within the breath and consciousness is the principle that knows and effects. The science of pranayama is the intentional regulation and arrest of the vital currents of energy in the body.
In affecting prana, we affect consciousness and vice-versa.
Of the five vayus, prana and apana are directly related to breath and the most accessible to our intentionality. In the Upanishads they are respectively referred to as inhalation, moving inwards and producing an upward surge from the navel to the throat and exhalation, moving outwards and triggering a downward release from navel to anus.
Where there is breath there is rhythm and polarity, of left and right, above and below, expansion and release, internal and external, moon and sun, , full and empty, individual consciousness and cosmic consciousness.
When integrating our pranayama practice we come to a silent stillness where those polarities meet in equilibrium, a still point.
This regulation of the breath is effected through a variety of procedures, which range from simple observation to highly refined graduations in ratio, rhythm and volume.
Some practices are cooling and pacifying while others are energizing or heating. Some awaken vitality while others tame excessive vital surges.
All can be performed at different levels of intensity, and if practiced with discernment can effectively transform unconscious negative patterns, restore homeostasis at an organic level, and also help with mental and emotional disturbances.
Pranayama is a delicate art and although the exercises themselves can easily be understood conceptually, if not practiced with integrity, that understanding serves no purpose but to feed the current all too common greed for more information and more techniques. The practice requires an undivided commitment under the discriminative guidance of an experienced teacher. Prana Shakti is a highly refined jewel that can cast the careless practitioner into the darker recesses of a disturbed energy body or reveal to the sincere Sadhaka the vibrant luminosity of a higher and broader consciousness.