Pranayama: the fourth limb of Ashtanga yoga

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‘Tasmin sati åvâsa-praåvâsayor gati-vicchedaï prâñâyâmaï’ (YS 2.49)

‘The asana having been done, pranayama is the cessation of the movement of inhalation and exhalation”

The fourth limb of Ashtanga yoga is pranayama. Georg Feuerstein explains this sutra as following: “When the posture is mastered, the breath control can start. Breath controls is not mere rhythmic breathing: it’s proper focus on the pause between inhalation and exhalation.”

What does this mean for us as yoga practitioners? In our day-to-day lives our minds are often jumping around like monkeys and our emotional energy is often conflicting with our minds. We sometimes feel scattered, unable to see clearly the real nature of our mind. The function of pranayama is to clear away the internal obstacles caused by irregular movement of prana (life energy), reconnect to the moment and our calm and clear mind.

What is pranayama? What are proper breathing teachniques? Which types of breathing do exist? In the next blogs I’ll dive deep into these and other topics!



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