This is what Hatha Yoga Pradeepika says about Pranayama - On Pranayama Posture becoming established, a Yogi or Yogini , master of himself or herself, eating salutary and moderate food, should practice pranayama , as instructed by his or her guru. Respiration being disturbed, the mind becomes disturbed. By restraining respiration, the Yogi or Yogini gets steadiness of mind. So long as the (breathing) air stays in the body, it is called life. Death consists in the passing out of the (breathing) air. It is, therefore, necessary to restrain the breath. The breath does not pass through the middle channel ( susumna ), owing to the impurities of the nadis . How can then success be attained, and how can there be the unmani avastha . When the whole system of the nadis which is full of impurities, is cleaned, then the Yogi or Yogini becomes able to control the Prana . Therefore, Pranayama should be performed daily with satwika buddhi (intellect free from raja and tam
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Normally I like reading the original text, rather than the books written later-on on the subject. Now-a-days I am practicing Yoga and hence was looking for ancient literature on yoga. I found this URL useful for knowing about the original literature - Hatha Yoga Literature It tells about following five texts - 1. Hatha-Yoga-Pradipika - the monther of all texts on hatha yoga. 2. Goraksha-Shataka - probably the second most important text 3. Shiva-Samhita 4. Yoga-Sutra and Yoga-Bhasya - mostly deals with raja yoga; this is the text from where all hatha yoga text is drawn 5. Sat-Chakra-Nirupama - mostly deals with chakra awakening Please let me know in case I am missing some important text here.