Prana is the universal life force and is everywhere in the universe. At the human level it provides the energy to perform all mental and physiological actions.
There is nothing without prana. Prana gets into the human body through the breath and within the body it takes different directions. The brain needs prana for thinking and the body needs prana to perform its different functions.
Pranayama is the science of breath control to control and normalize the flow of prana, the underlying energy within the breath. Many health problems today are related to excessive stress, which lowers the immunity. Prana needs to be balanced and flow harmmoniously or else it creates emotional imbalance, dysfuntion of the organs, and pains and ailments can occur. By establishing a harmonious flow of energy within, the mind and body can perform their functions in a healthy way.
Through the practice of pranayama, tension in the mind and body is released. By lowering the stress levels, the immunity can be raised and health standards can improve. Anyone can practice pranayama, regardless of one's physical condition.
Negative emotions deplete and alter the flow of prana in the body and create mental, emotional, and physical blocks. This creates dysfunction in both the body and mind. By the practice of pranayama, the blocks are released and one achieves a calm state of mind, a balanced personality, and a radiant body full of energy and health.
Beyond its mental and physical benefits, pranayama is of tremendous value to balance and control the mind and emotions, enabling the seeker to enter into meditation and higher levels of consciousness in order to reach the ultimate goal of Self-realization.