Even though Pranayama can be translated in many ways, it is most often described as a breathing technique, the means to control one’s breath. Breath is a medium of life force, every cell in your body lives thanks to this automatic process of air circulation. Without having a constant exchange of inhales and exhales our heart stops beating, and after just a few minutes cells start dying, which also means that we cease to exist.
Life energy is not a concept which developed in India only. Traditional Chinese Medicine uses the word Qi (also Chi) to describe vital life force. Even though there are subtle differences between the two, they both highlight the importance of constant and flawless energy flow to stay healthy physically and mentally.