"In the beginning there was neither existence nor non-existence, this whole universe consisted of non-manifest energy... The One was breathing without air, only sustained by His own power. Nothing else was there"
′Hymn of Creation′, Rig Veda
"As the dross of metals is burnt away by the bellows working on the fire, even so all the impurities of the body are consumed and all defects rectified by the controlling and regulating of the breath in the proper ways. By Pranayama, executed in the right posture, on the right time, at the right place and in the right way one will surely cure all physical defects and diseases. The mind will become quiet and peacefull, subtle realms of our being will become accessable."
Prana is the vital or etheric force which pervades the whole cosmos. It is in all things, whether animate or inanimate; in mountains, rivers, trees and flowers, animals and human beings, in the clouds above us and in the earth below us. Pranic energy or Prana Shakti is closely related to the air we breathe, though it is not exactly the same. It is the essence of energy that is within everything in the universe.
Pranayama can be defined as a series of breathing techniques together with the performance of Mudras and Bandhas which stimulate and increase the vital energy, ultimately bringing about perfect control of the pranic flow within the body.
Pranayama is not to be understand as mere breathing exercises, although it strengthens the respiratory organs and increases the volume of the lungs it is first en for all a means to a deeper understanding of the mind and the subtle realms of our being.
To attend to these classes you need sufficient experience with the general Asana classes and the ability to sit quiet and fully concentrated in one of the meditation-postures for at least half an hour. As usual we will start these classes with 12 times Surya Namaskar. Solutation to the Sun. To open the breath and awaken the body.
We will continue with working on two Kriyas: Cleansing exercises preceding the actual Pranayama; Agni Sari Kriya, The Fire Breath, and Kapalabhati.
Then Bhastrika Pranayama, and Nadi Sodhana Pranayama. And some variations.
All the previous exercises of muscular and nerve control were but a preparation. The real technique of yoga begins with the control of the ten Vital Energies: The Pranas and their Rhythms, of which breathing is the most important.