Prana. It is used in every yoga practice, sometimes without even being mentioned by name. But when we do hear the word “prana” often times we think exclusively of the breath. While prana is deeply connected to the breath, it is much more than that. Prana is the life force energy. When used in practice we are stretching and extending this vitality, becoming closer and closer to consciousness. Understanding prana, what it is and how to use it, can change a personal practice tremendously. The very basis of our practice begins with the connection between the breath and the mind. The more consciously we work with the breath, bettering the quality of our breath, the better the quality of our mind becomes. Prana flows through us continuously, it is the single force that keeps us alive. The more or less prana we have within the body greatly effects us both mentally and physically. For example, the more positive we feel the more prana we are holding within us. In the same way the more disturbed we are equates to less prana, meaning it has dissipated. The breath is directly related to prana, as well as it is directly related to the mind. This is why pranayama techniques can so greatly influence our own wellbeing. Prana is what is behind the inhale as well as the exhale, so when working with pranayama techniques we are directly orchestrating and manipulating prana, initially just becoming aware of the breath, then learning how to continue that awareness, maintaining consciousness of each and every inhale and exhale. The more awareness we place on the breath, focusing less on any chatter in the mind or outside distractions the more clear we become. The clarity we are creating in the mind through the breath is consequently peeling back the layers of ourselves and finding the truth that lies within. Using pranayama can be one of the best parts of a yoga practice. With consistency your practice will grow rapidly and purposefully. Learning to breathe, to be aware of how we breathe and how to control the breath will influence everything that is happening in our mind and body. It will lead to stress relief, clearness and simplicity. Pranayama can not only bring one of the most tremendous changes to your yoga practice but it can change your whole way of being.