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Date Posted: 07:21
Author: Chris - 2 June 2002
Subject: Prana and O2 Distribution
As it was written in previous posts, breath or oxygen is vital to the life of all creatures, even marine life. Not only oxygen, but all creatures also need food/water and sleep in order to function. Yet what is the vital force behind all of these activities by which the body is rejuvenated and sustained? That force is Prana.
Prana is the intelligent Force which pervades the universe, and is behind all motion and phenomenon. Food, water, and oxygen are gross manifestations of Prana. Is it really food in its gross form that keeps us alive? It is not. When we eat, the
body immediately begins to metabolize what we have ingested. When the body has, through the process of digestion, synthesized the components of food, what is ultimately utilized, is energy,
which is then distributed throughout the system so that the multitude of physiological processes (heart rate, brain function, etc.) can continue. What it does not need (waste, by-
products), is then filtered through the kidneys, and to the route of evacuation. So it is really Prana that sustains the body, and all life.
Again, cells need oxygen to live and function. In humans, at approximately age 25, the catabolic rate of cellular
degeneration (the rate at which cells die) gradually begins to exceed the anabolic rate (or the rate at which cells are able to regenerate). Through the practice of Kriya Pranayam, the yogi secures an additional supply of oxygen, which is then transmuted
into Prana. Thus, the rate of atrophy (or deterioration) in the body is greatly retarded. In cases of advanced Yogins, who have attained full control of Prana, this process can be halted altogether, their bodies in a state of immutability.
I have been speaking in the context of Kriya Yoga, as that is my background and path. However, Patanjali in his "Yoga Sutras," expounds the efficacy of pranayam without particular emphasis on the technique. That is to say, in the tradition of conventional
raja yoga practices, the benefits of inhaling, retaining the breath for a period (accompanied by meditation on void, sky, light, etc), and then slowly exhaling are clearly stated. He
describes the results of such practice as a feeling of blissful intoxication, well-being, and profound peace; all are the result of the practice of pranayam. Also, he mentions youthful
appearance, good health, and a beautiful voice as other benefits, which are always present in a yogi who is dedicated to such practices.
May all beings enjoy the peace and bliss of the Self through the
practice of yoga pranayam.
a fellow yogi
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