The story of Pranayama
An ancient family fable
According to renowned author, MD, psychotherapist and founder of Bioenergetics, Alexander Lowen, the breath holds the secret to the highest bliss in all Oriental and mystic philosophies, which explains why breathing – pranayama – is the dominant factor in the practice of yoga. The story of PRANAYAMA began thousands of years ago in a small town in western India, by the Arabian Sea, with two humble families: the Radhavs and the Kumars. The families lived side by side in the town, where the Radhavs were dedicated to taking care of their four cows; they would sell the milk they obtained from them to make a living. Meanwhile, the Kumar family were tailors.
The relationship between the two families was excellent – they were so close it was as if they were only one family. As luck, and life would have it, both wives coincidentally fell pregnant at the same time. Nine months later, the Radhavs gave birth to a baby boy who they named PRANA. Just one day later, the Kumars were blessed with a little girl, who was given the name YAMA. From the very first day they were introduced to one another, nothing could separate the two newborns – they grew up together, went to the same school, played together, and shared their most intimate secrets.
PRANA was a child of pure energy, tireless in his way of being. YAMA was a girl who liked to have everything under control, very tidy and organised. Together, they made a very well-blended couple, complementing one other perfectly. The years went by and as they grew into young adults, their union continued to grow stronger. Eventually, they fell madly in love and when they turned 17, PRANA and YAMA decided to get married.
Their wedding day was a big event for the entire town – all the neighbours came together for the celebration, and there was plenty of food for everyone, along with music and dancing. The wedding took place over three unforgettable days for the young couple, and when it was over, they went to start their new life together in a small house on the outskirts of their hometown, gifted to them by YAMA‘s father.
A few months later, YAMA became pregnant with the couple’s first child, whom they named UJJAYI (the victorious one) at birth. From an early age, UJJAYI loved to sit by the sea, listening to the sound of the waves breaking on the shore and learning to imitate that unmistakeable sound with his breath. He grew into a very applied character, very optimistic, always propelling his brothers and friends forward. UJJAYI always loved to give hugs to all the neighbours in the town, providing calm and warmth when with them.
Just nine months after the birth of UJJAYI, the couple were blessed with a set of twins – two beautiful girls they called NADI SODHANA and ANULOMA VILOMA. NADI SODHANA was a conciliatory child, always looking for balance in everything she did in her life. She was always the one who solved problems at home with her diplomatic attitude – NADI SODHANA showed no preferences for anything or anyone, everyone was equal to her. ANULOMA VILOMA much like her twin sister, although somewhat introverted. She found it difficult to express her feelings, and kept many things inside, but as her sister sought for balance in their house, with their friends, and with their things, their lives were counter-balanced.
From YAMA’s third pregnancy, BHRAMARI was born. A somewhat restless child, from a young age, he fell in love with the work that his neighbour, a beekeeper did. In the afternoons after school, BHRAMARI visited to the land where his neighbour kept the beehives and sat in front of them, closely watching the work that the bees performed. He closed his eyes and covered his ears with his fingers to imitate the sound of the buzzing of bees, and he was amused by the vibration that occurred in his body when doing so.
YAMA‘s fourth pregnancy again yielded the couple a set of twins, although this time the newborns were males, named KAPALABHATI and BHASTRIKA. Although KAPALABHATI was a very good boy, he was also very abrupt in the way he behaved, always expressing himself in a very high tone of voice. He was a very clean boy and loved to help his mother clean the humble family home. He would even take his homemade broom of branches outside, to sweep the entire street. BHASTRIKA was a good twin to his brother, although he possessed a lazier disposition. He always found it hard to get out of bed to go to school, and the family had to strongly encourage him to do activities, and ultimately, he learned the profession of a blacksmith from another neighbour.