People still look confused in class sometimes when I use yoga terminology. That’s why I started English Yoga terminology Tuesday. I guess I could always just use plain English in order to avoid these confusing moments, but as a person who enjoys looking up the etymology of words, how their meanings have evolved from what their original meanings were, and how words between different languages overlap- I would find it a shame not to introduce one of the oldest languages in the world in our classes (Sanskrit). So in this blog I would like to try and explain the meaning of one of the most common words used in my Berlin yoga classes. What is Pranayama?
Pranayama – Prana means vital energy. People often confuse vital energy to mean spirit, or soul, or just the energy within a specific person. That is not the case. Vital energy is the energy you find in all living things. It’s the energy that gives life. This is found in humans, animals, plants, and some people even believe it’s found in stones. Everyone and everything alive has prana. Yama means “control”. So pranayama is the “control of vital energy”. In yoga we learn how to control and manage our energy through breathing. So Pranayama is a series of breathing techniques that we practice in order to learn how to control, manage, direct or increase our vital energy.