What is ‘Pran’ in Pranayama?

What is ‘Pran’ in Pranayama?


Everyone talking and speaking about pranayama. People want to do pranayama, but they are not digging the ground and try to know what is exactly pranayam? And what is ‘pran’ in pranayam ? I strongly believe  that If you wish to adopt anything in your life then you should at least try to get information about that before blindly adopt it. 

Here, I am bringing some good information about Pran in Pranayam. Let us know Pran first then Pranayam. I will write another article on Pranayam as well. 

So, Pranayam is made of two words, Pran + ayam.

‘Ayam’ means control, hence,  pranayama means control of prana.

Sanskrit word जीवन is derived from जीव = प्राण धारण. 

Hence, Jivan = adoption of prana 

and death = release of prana.

What is Prana? 

Pran is made of two words,

प्राण = प्र + अन

अन =  जीवन शक्ति = movement .

Hence, Pran is constant  flow of supreme energy.

All matter (including dark matter) and energy  are made from this prana. According to shad darshan of India,  There are only two elements 1) akash – ether 2) prana . These two elements makes all visible and invisible worlds. 

Prana helps akash to form all four  fundamental forces like electromagnetism, gravity, weak force and strong force. Prana’s will all these four forces are created. 

All matter, forces and energy including living beings are going to become and dissolve  in its original state or formation then remaining part is called prana. 

Prana is the sum total of all the energy that is created in the universe. It is the sum total of all dormant powers  and forces which are hidden in humans and which lie everywhere around us.

When there was ‘nothing’ in this universe event no presence of  light and hence darkness, matter and even energy then Prana was there!  

According to kath upnishad,

यदिदं किं च जगत्सर्व प्राण एजाती नि : श्रुतं।

It means the whole universe, whatever visible and invisible, governed by Prana.


So, what is prana? 

  • Prana is vital force of the universe. 
  • Prana is universal energy.
  • Prana is responsible for your first breath.
  • Prana does manifestation of universe.
  • Prana is subtle energy.
  • Prana is root of energy.
  • Prana is chi/qi/ki

This prana divides in 10 sub prana vayus and governed our body.  Let us see each one of them

  • Prana : We are all one! We are all connected. Pran vayu is a vital cosmic energy  This cosmic energy placed in our body. It is vital energy of life, it is subtle energy in breath and oxygen, It is almost a life force energy, without breathe we can’t survive for even 5 minutes and Prana controls and functions our breathing. It is situated in heart to head. It is governing our breathing, inspiration, forward movement and etc.
  • Udan: It is located in throat. Udan governs our growth, speech, will power, expression and confidence. Udan vayu gives us vocal power and strength and ability to perceive this world.  It maintains our pool of will power. Thyroid is controlled by udan vayu and we all know thyroid is controlling our hormones. 
  • Saman: Saman vayu is controlling our digestion power. Saman vayu is responsible for our hunger. Saman digest all things whether it is food, breath, emotions, thoughts, experiences, sound. It governs the navel center and digestive tract. 
  • Apan:  Apan is controlling our waste management. It throws all waste from our body and mind. It controls all organ that related to waste of our body especially in lower abdomen and pelvis. Apan vayu has downward movement. 
  • Vyan:  Vyan is covering the entire body. Vyan is responsible for the circulation. Vyan is distributing our all energy to entire body organs. Vyan vayu governs naids, lymph organs, blood vessels, etc. 

  • Nag: Nag vayu controls all upward wind movement from your stomach like burping. 
  • Devdutt: Devdutt vayu controls the yawning movements and sleeping. 
  • Krukal: Krukal vayu controls sneezing.
  • Dhananjay: Dhananjay is responsible for decaying of body after death. 
  • Kurm: Kruma controls blinking of eyes. 

What happens if you control your Prana? 


Whatever moves or has life is manifestation of Prana, Akash or ether also is a manifestation of prana. Prana is a force behind the systolic and diastolic action of the heart, when it pumps the blood into arteries in the action of inspiration and expiration during the course of breathing. Prana is helping  the digestion of food. Pran is behind the functioning of liver and kidney and hence the excretion of urine and faecal matter. Prana is helping in the manufacture of chyle, chyme, gastric juice, bile, intestinal juice, saliva.  So in closing and opening of the eyes, walking, playing, running, talking, thinking, reasoning, feeling and willing. Prana is the link between the physical and astral body! 

So your entire existence is governed by prana!  In our life we are seeing many influential and successful people around us, what is the secret of their success? You might read many self-improvement books on how to be successful and they present many theories but have you think about  energy level of successful people? How they gain such energy level? Prana is the driving force behind their high energy level. 

If you learn how to control your prana then you will control your life and you will succeed. I already mentioned that  Pranayam means control of prana! So hurry up! What are you waiting for, Learn pranayama!


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