PRANA, PRANAS – A concept

Prana means “breath” or “life” and by extension could mean “energy” or “life force.” There was one hymn in the Atharvaveda in which Prana was personified as a deva (god). It was, however, as life force that prana appeared in Hindu mythology.
In the practice of yoga (especially hatha yoga) the five primary breaths (pra- nas or vayus) and the five secondary ones (upa prana) circulated in the vital path­ways (nadis). These breaths were controlled (in the practice called pranayama) to gain mastery over the senses. This mastery over the senses was central to practicing austerities (tapas) and thus accumulating merit (punya) so that one might receive a boon (vara). Many myths mention pranayama as the method being used by a demon or a sage in order to gain a boon from a god.

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