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What is Prana?

Prana (, pra; the Sanskrit word for breath, “life force,” or “vital principle”) pervades reality on all levels, including inanimate objects, according to yoga, Indian medicine, and Indian martial arts. Pra is sometimes described in Hindu literature as emanating from the Sun and connecting the elements. In Hindu texts, five types of pra are described, collectively known as the five vyus (“winds”). Pra vyu is described as the basic vyu from which all other vyus arise in Ayurveda, tantra, and Tibetan medicine. Prana is classified into ten major functions: Prana, Apana, Udana, Vyana, and Samana are the five Pranas, and Naga, Kurma, Devadatta, Krikala, and Dhananjaya are the five Upa-Pranas. Pranayama, one of yoga’s eight limbs, is intended to expand prana.

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