Prayatna Sithila

Definition - What does Prayatna Sithila mean?

Prayatna sithila is a Sanskrit term, which can be taken to mean “smooth and long breathing.” Prayatna means “effort” and refers in this case to the effort required to breathe, which is in itself the effort to live. Sithila is an adjective which can be translated as “loose” or “yielding” and refers to the length and ease of the breath.

Prayatna sithila is an important concept in yoga, and one which Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras emphasize the need for. It is also one feature of yoga that sets it apart from other forms of exercise or physical practice.

Yogapedia explains Prayatna Sithila

It is said by some sources that the yogi's breathing and heart rate should not increase when practicing yoga, hence the need for prayatna sithila when practicing yoga asanas. For example, if the dynamic movements of Vinyasa yoga are slow, then the breathing rate for prayatna sithila should also be slow. According to some sources, the yogi should aim for no more than six breaths per minute.

To aid with prayatna sithila, many yogis will use ujjayi breathing, which facilitates gentle control of the breath without undue effort, when practicing asanas. They are also advised to take rest breaks whenever the breath becomes labored, forced or they lose prayatna sithila.

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