Breathing is the most vital function of our system, which keeps our physical body alive. However, while oxygen is vital for our physical body, it is actually “prana”, which it contains, that gifts us with life.
“Prana” is an invisible life force energy, which pervades everything around us. It is called “Chi” in Chinese culture, “Mana” in Hawaiian and has been known to exist since ancient times.
Prana flows into our physical body through energetic pathways, called “nadis” in yoga and “meridians” in Chinese medicine. As the life force pervades everything in our universe (water, air, nature, the planets and etc.), we are able to absorb it through all our senses. Most of the life force is received through breath with oxygen but is also acquired with food we eat, water we drink, the sun we see and feel with our skin and even the sounds we hear.
Prana is not only vital to keep us alive but is also essential to be healthy, strong, energetic as well as attain longevity and vitality. Therefore, there are numerous yoga and tantra techniques, which bring awareness on this invisible life force energy within us and focus on absorbing and expanding it in our bodies.
All the yoga and tantra breath work techniques, also known as “Pranayama” work on this life force energy. However, each breathing method through breath manipulations uses this energy for different purposes. There are techniques, which are done to calm the mind, to address specific internal organ’s problems, rejuvenate the bodily system, unlock one’s sexual energy reservoir reaching enlightened states of consciousness and many others. Some of the main ones will be introduced in the following sections.