PRANA- Universal life energy, Chi, Ki, The subtle force that permeates all matter and gives form to Chaos or in the words of the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas ‘The force that through the green fuse drives the flower’
YAMA- Control, Extension,Increase.
The breath is the primary vehicle of Prana. In Yoga breath holds are performed not in order to dive or spear-fish, but as a means of controlling and increasing the flow of subtle energy in the body. Though some of the practices in Apnea training may appear similar to some forms of Pranayama, the awareness is very different and the effects are a world apart. The effects of some of the advanced forms are powerful and should be approached with extreme caution and with the guidance of a responsible teacher.
Advanced free-divers capable of long breath holds should consider Pranayama a separate discipline and begin their training from scratch, starting with preparatory exercises and work their way gradually to breath hold Pranayamas. If not practiced carefully or with adequate preparation the results can be disastrous, resulting in mood swings, psycho-somatic illness and other problems.
If practiced correctly the effects can be extraordinary and over time the results can border on the miraculous. Advanced Yogis have even been shown in laboratory tests to have developed perfect control over unconcious physiological processes, even temporarily stopping the heart beat.