Pranayama and Meditation
Pranayama is a system of techniques used to harness and manipulate universal energy known as prana. It is an integral aspect of yoga, often incorporated into asana practice or used as a preliminary step for meditation. The term is derived from several Sanskrit roots; prana meaning “vital life force,” yama meaning “control” and ayama meaning “extension” or “expansion.” The breath is symbolic of prana, and pranayama can be understood as methods to extend and expand vital life force energy through the deliberate control of respiration.
Meditation is a contemplative practice, engaged in across various religious and spiritual traditions as a means of quieting, focussing and transforming the mind. Meditation cultivates self-awareness, and provides the optimum conditions for practicing the skill of mindfulness. Generally, the goal of meditation is to intensify personal and spiritual growth, in addition to calming the mind and body.