“The word ‘yoga’ means ‘union.’ Union means you begin to experience the universality of who you are. For example, today, modern science proves to you beyond any doubt that the whole existence is just one energy manifesting itself in various forms. If this scientific fact becomes a living reality for you – that you begin to experience everything as one – then you are in yoga. When you are in yoga, you experience everything as a part of yourself. That is liberation, that is mukti, that is ultimate freedom.” -Sadhguru
Initially, yoga was imparted by the Adiyogi (the first yogi), Shiva, over 15,000 years ago. It was Adiyogi who introduced to humanity the idea that one can evolve beyond one’s present level of existence. He poured his knowing into the legendary Sapta Rishis, or seven sages, who took the tremendous possibility offered by the yogic science to various parts of the world, including Asia, ancient Persia, northern Africa, and South America. It is this fundamental yet sophisticated science of elevating human consciousness that is the source of the world’s spiritual traditions, predating religion by many thousands of years.
What is Yoga?
What is yoga, exactly? Is it just an exercise form? Is it a religion, a philosophy, an ideology? Or is it something else entirely? The word "yoga" literally means "union". In this article, Sadhguru offers the following yoga definition; essentially, "that which brings you to reality."
The moment you attach the word “yoga,” it indicates it is a complete path by itself.
The word “yoga” essentially means, “that which brings you to reality.”
"Pranayama is control of Breath". "Prana" is Breath or vital energy in the body. On subtle levels prana represents the pranic energy responsible for life or life force, and "ayama" means control. So Pranayama is "Control of Breath".
One can control the rhythms of pranic energy with pranayama and achieve healthy body and mind. Patanjali in his text of Yoga Sutras mentioned pranayama as means of attaining higher states of awareness, he mentions the holding of breath as important practice of reaching Samadhi. Hatha Yoga also talks about 8 types of pranayama which will make the body and mind healthy.
Five types of prana are responsible for various pranic activities in the body, they are Prana, Apana, Vyan, Udana & Samana. Out of these Prana and Apana are most important. Prana is upward flowing and Apana is downward flowing. Practice of Pranayama achieves the balance in the activities of these pranas, which results in healthy body and mind.