PRANAYAMA. This fourth principle comprises of the control of the vital air sheath of the body . Oxygen intake reaches every cell of our bodies and causes them to perform vital functions. Prana activates all organs of action and has 5 .major functions.
1) (Prana) lends the power of perception to the sense organs.
2) ( Apana) the expelling of waste material from the body: urine , perspiration, spit,excreta, seeds.etc.
3) ( Samana) Digestion and distribution of food.
4) ( Vyana) Carrying the nourishment of food to various parts of the body.
5) (Udana) That which activates thoughts and makes the intellect judge, discriminate and formulate ideas. The control of inhalation and exhalation is called Pranayama. Pranayama is a set of scientifically researched breathing exercises by yogic masters over centuries. These are various techniques for quietening and purifying the mind by deep, regular and steady breathing, making it meditation worthy. Pranayama is known to cure many ailments of the lungs and increase the vitality and energy of the body. It sharpens concentration and facilitates sense control. However, Pranayama should be learned correctly from a skilled teacher.
PRATYAHARA . The quality and the quantity of food intake must be wisely regulated. Food , in scriptural parlance , is not only what you intake through the mouth but also through sense organs including the mind. A yogi who can control the wild horses of his thoughts soon brings all his senses under his command. A discriminative intake by the senses and the mind is Pratyahara. If one allows the senses to graze unchecked among the sense objects, one soon enslaves himself to a life of misery. All intake should pass a strict scrutiny by the Yogi.
Prarthna Saran, President Chinmaya Mission Delhi,
Email: prarthnasaran@ gmail.com