The term 'Pranayam' has its roots in Sanskrit language where, 'prana' refers to the vital energy that our body needs to stay alive and 'ayam' means control. Hence pranayam is the art of controlling the rhythms of pranic energy through breathing, leading to a healthier body and mind. Many of us are unable to distinguish between prana and breath. Breath is nothing but the physical manifestation of prana which is the energy responsible for life force. It is imperative to understand the importance of prana to be able to understand and practice pranayam. Prana is the universal life force which flows in our body through thousands of energy channels called 'nadis' and energy centers called 'chakras'. One's state of mind can be gauged by the quantity and quality of prana and the way it flows through the nadis and the chakras.
Pranayam builds a perfectly harmonious relationship between the body, mind and soul by releasing the flow of energy, positivity and enthusiasm in one's body. It enhances the quality and quantity of prana by clearing the blocked nadis and chakras in the body. On the basis of the speed of breathing, pranayam can be categorised into slow breathing, deep breathing and fast breathing. Pranayam not only makes one physically strong, mentally peaceful and spiritually enlightened but also boosts one's self confidence and levels of calmness and happiness.