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April 27, 2015
Yes, as Paulji says the cultivation of prana is what we know as pranayama. Prana is pure power. Proper acts of breathing are ways of harnessing that power. It gives control of breathing processes and control of vital force. Even though, in breathing, fresh air from outside the body enters the body and foul air leaves, mystical pranayama conceives appropriation of power as a bringing to conscious manifestation an omnipresent cosmic power which exists already latent within oneself as a particular expression of cosmic being.
When a person attains a feeling of oneness with the rest of the universe, his anxiety tends to disappear. When the in-flowing breath is neutralized or joined with the out-flowing breath, then perfect relaxation and balance of body activities are realized. In yoga, we are concerned with balancing the flows of vital forces, then directing them inward to the chakra system and upward to the crown chakra or a lotus of one thousand petals (sahasara). When one acquires an intuitive apprehension of ultimate power and of his own identity with it, he loses his fear of external powers and develops a trust which is conducive to confident living.
Whatever happens in the mind influences the breath; the breath becomes quicker when we are excited and deeper and quieter when we relax. In order to influence our prana we must be able to influence the mind. Our actions often disturb the mind, causing prana to exude from the body. Through daily pranayama practice we reverse this process, as a change in the breathing pattern influences the mind.
The idea of prana existing within or beyond the body can be understood as a symbol for our state of mind. When the mind is as clear as transparent glass there is nothing that could disturb the body; there is no rubbish lying about. On the other hand, if we notice hesitancy, discontent, fear of doing something because it might be inappropriate, and so forth, we can assume that there are blockages in the system. These blockages do not just occur in the physical body; they exist even more in the mind, in consciousness. Every kind of rubbish we find in ourselves was originally produced by incorrect knowledge.
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