Prana ( _sa. प्राण, IAST1|prāṇa) is the Sanskrit for "breath" (from the root "IAST|prā" "to fill", cognate to Latin "plenus" "full").It is one of the five organs of vitality or sensation, viz. "prana" "breath", "vac" "speech", "caksus" "sight", "shrotra" "hearing", and "manas" "thought" (nose, mouth, eyes, ears and mind; ChUp. 2.7.1).

In Vedantic philosophy, it is the notion of a vital, life-sustaining force of living beings and vital energy, comparable to the Chinese notion of Qi. Prana is a central concept in Ayurveda and Yoga where it is believed to flow through a network of fine subtle channels called nadis. The "Pranamaya-kosha" is one of the five Koshas or "sheaths" of the Atman Prana was first expounded in the Upanishads, where it is part of the worldly, physical realm, sustaining the body and the mother of thought and thus also of the mind. Prana suffuses all living form but is not itself the Atma or individual soul. In the Ayurveda, the Sun and sunshine are held to be a source of Prana.


In Yoga, the three main channels of prana are the Ida, the Pingala and the Sushumna. Ida relates to the left side of the body, terminating at the left nostril and pingala to the right side of the body, terminating at the right nostril. In some practices, alternate nostril breathing balances the prana that flows within the body. When prana enters a period of uplifted, intensified activity, the Yogic tradition refers to it as Pranotthana. [Sovatsky, Stuart (1998) "Words from the Soul: Time, East/West Spirituality, and Psychotherapeutic Narrative". Suny Series in Transpersonal and Humanistic Psychology, New York: State University of New York Press.]

The Five Pranas

In Ayurveda, the Prana is further classified into subcategories, referred to as "pranas". According to Hindu philosophy these are the vital principles of basic energy and subtle faculties of an individual that sustain physiological processes. There are five pranas or "vital currents" in the Hindu system: [Rammurti S. Mishra "Yoga Sutras : The Textbook of Yoga Psychology"]

#Prana : Responsible for the beating of the heart and breathing. Prana enters the body through the breath and is sent to every cell through the circulatory system.
#Apana : Responsible for the elimination of waste products from the body through the lungs and excretory systems.
#Udana : Responsible for producing sounds through the vocal apparatus, as in speaking, singing, laughing, and crying. Also it represents the conscious energy required to produce the vocal sounds corresponding to the intent of the being. Hence Samyama on udana gives the higher centers total control over the body.
#Samana : Responsible for the digestion of food and cell metabolism (ie. the repair and manufacture of new cells and growth). Samana also includes the heat regulating processes of the body. Auras are projections of this current. By meditational practices one can see auras of light around every being. Yogis who do special practise on samana can produce a blazing aura at will.
#Vyana : Responsible for the expansion and contraction processes of the body, eg. the voluntary muscular system.


Pranayama is the practice in which the control of prana is achieved (initially) from the control of one's breathing. According to Yogic philosophy the breath, or air, is merely a gateway to the world of prana and its manifestation in the body. In yoga, pranayama techniques are used to control the movement of these vital energies within the body, which is said to lead to an increase in vitality in the practitioner. The practice of these techniques is not trivial, and Kason (2000) [Kason, Yvonne (2000) "Farther Shores: Exploring How Near-Death, Kundalini and Mystical Experiences Can Transform Ordinary Lives". Toronto: HarperCollins Publishers; Revised edition.] mentions circumstances where pranayama techniques might disrupt the balance of a person's life.

ee also

*Energy (esotericism)
*Yoga Sutra


External links

* [ Prana - overview]
* [ Pranayama]
* [ Prana and Chakrams]

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  • Prana — Prāṇa (devanāgarī: प्राण ) est un terme sanskrit. La signification de ce nom composé est complexe car elle intègre simultanément les notions de souffle et de principe vital du souffle et de sa manifestation organique dans la respiration. Qui… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Prâna — Prana Selon les Upanishad, écritures anciennes de l Inde, le prāna (sanskrit प्राण) est une énergie vitale universelle qui imprègne tout, et que les êtres vivants absorberaient par l air qu ils respirent. Prāna est parfois traduit par souffle… …   Wikipédia en Français

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  • Prana — (Sanskrit, m., प्राण, prāṇa, Lebensatem, Lebenshauch) bedeutet im Hinduismus Leben, Lebenskraft oder Lebensenergie. Prana ist vergleichbar mit Qi im alten China und Ki in Japan bzw. dem tibetischen Lung. Prana im Yoga und im Hinduismus Eine… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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  • prana — /prah neuh/, n. 1. Yoga, Jainism. the vital principle. 2. Yoga. one of five vital breaths moving in the body. [1820 30; < Skt prana breath] * * * ▪ Indian philosophy Sanskrit  Prāṇa        (“breath”), in Indian philosophy, the body s vital… …   Universalium

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  • Prana — Mana; Lebenskraft; Chi; Orgon; Od; Odem * * * Prana   [Sanskrit »Atem«, »Hauch«] der, , indische Bezeichnung für den Atem als Lebenskraft. Der Prana gilt als die den Kosmos durchdringende feinstoffliche …   Universal-Lexikon

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