Prana can be translated from Sanskrit as “Breath of life “, “vital energy”, “spiritual energy” or “vital principle”.
This term is used in yogic teachings as a general reference to the manifest energy of the entire universe. This original creative force is constantly flowing around us and within us.
Breathing is considered the most subtle form of Prana in our body and is therefore most often described in yoga breathing exercises.
Also, Prana forms the energy of our consciousness, but it is also responsible for regulating all the physical functions of our body.
Prana is the source of all movements of the body. It regulates all of our conscious and unconscious bodily functions, such as respiration, digestion, blood flow, excretion, as well as cell growth and healing.
The flow of prana distributes its energy throughout the body based on the quality and capacity of the nadis energy channels and the energy centers of the chakras. Prana also invigorates and influences the quality of our thoughts, emotions, and consciousness.
Our health and well-being in general depend directly on the amount and circulation of Prana in our body.
Why is Prana important?
There are several reasons why a yoga practitioner should work to understand his life energy and develop a sensitivity for it.
As many of the yoga practices create or change the energy in our body, it is important to have a feedback system to know how and when these practices need to be adjusted or changed.
There are many reasons to practice. Some of them are listed below:
- Provides information on physical alignment and more subtle adjustments to yoga postures.
- Participating in yoga asanas and other yoga practices creates vitality and strength, both physically and mentally.
- Provides information on the effects of a sequence of poses and can guide our choice of poses.
- Creates the capacity for healing and well-being.
- It is the basis of the pranayama breathing exercises and gives feedback on the effectiveness of these techniques.
- Helps anchor our consciousness in the present moment.
The quality and quantity of Prana in our body has a great influence on our ability to concentrate. Yogic philosophy describes a connection between fluctuations in thoughts (Chitta Vritti) and fluctuations in energy.
When our mental energy is still and calm, so is our experience of our mind. So when one has mastered the control of Prana, he can master the control of the thoughts of the mind and practice meditation.
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The Five Pranas
Apana Prana affects the lower body from the navel to the soles of the feet. This Prana regulates the elimination process. Diseases that affect the lower abdomen, intestines, kidneys, urinary tract, legs, etc. they are the result of an alteration of Apana Prana.
The Nauli, Agnisara Kriya, Ashvini Mudra and Mula Bandha techniques serve to strengthen and purify Apana Prana.
Samana is a very important Prana that connects two main chakras, the anahata and manipura chakras.
Samana Prana distributes the energy of food throughout the human body. We are aware that food not only affects our physical body, but it also affects our psyche and consciousness.
The quality of our prana (all types of prana) is directly related to the quality of our food. Pure, sattvic and vegetarian food and the practice of Pranayama guarantee a healthy and balanced body for life.
Samana Prana influences the Manipura Chakra, whose corresponding element is fire. When yogis can control Samana Prana, there is a pure flame within them.
Those in whom Samana Prana is perfectly pure are surrounded by a radiant aura that is perceived even by those who do not have the ability to see auras.
This Prana is strengthened by the practice of Agnisara Kriya and Nauli.
The practice of these two Kriyas prevents digestive problems and diabetes. It also improves resistance to infectious diseases and cancer by awakening the digestive fire throughout the body that cleanses and purifies.
The most effective technique to awaken Samana Prana is Kriya Yoga.
Kriya Yoga practice warms the whole body. This is due to the ascension of Samana Prana. A very conscious person can see a Kriya practitioner’s aura grow brighter and stronger with each round of practice.
Prana is the special function of Cosmic Prana, which supplies the human body with essential oxygen.
Its energy flows from the nostrils to the level of the heart. Clean air is vital to health, but air alone is not critical to good health.
Some people are susceptible to disease although they are often found outdoors. On the other hand, people who live in rooms or suburbs with relatively low air quality stay healthy. Our health is not only influenced by external factors.
Health is also determined by our inner state, by the power of resistance and inner will, the inner vitality Atmabala.
When Atmabala is strong within, external forces can hardly harm us.
The practice of “Yoga in daily life” strengthens our vitality. Certain techniques activate Prana Shakti in particular, these are Bhastrika, Nadi Shodhana and Ujjayi Pranayama.
Vyana Prana flows through the nerve channels of the human body. It acts on the whole body and especially on the nadis.
Circulatory disorders, impaired nerve stimulation, and nervous breakdowns are the result of a lack of Vyana Prana.
Vyana Prana is activated and strengthened in the practice of Kumbhaka (holding the breath).
With each natural, relaxed breath there is an automatic pause between inhalation and exhalation. In pranayama practice, this pause is deliberately prolonged. When we hold our breath, we retain energy in the body, which leads to a build-up of pressure. This pressure has the effect of releasing energy blocks.
Kumbhaka stimulates the nervous system.
Anyone who has combined the techniques of Kumbhaka and Maha Bandha knows the subsequent pleasant feeling of calm that flows through the body.
This is the reason why you can meditate well after doing this exercise. The sensation is created by the increased flow of Vyana Prana throughout the body.
Udana Prana is the ascending energy that flows from the heart to the head and the brain.
Udana Prana accompanies the awakening of Kundalini Shakti. With the help of Udana Prana, the astral body is separated from the physical body.
A strong Udana Prana facilitates the death phase.
With the control of Udana Prana, the body becomes very light, and one can acquire the ability to levitate.
When Udana Prana is under our control, we are no longer hindered by external obstacles such as water, earth, or stones.
Intensive practice of yoga breathing exercises also offers the opportunity to walk on water or even float in the air. Fakirs who sit or lie on a bed of nails have the ability to control their Udana Prana.
Yogis who live in the forest and are not affected by heat, cold, thorns, insects, etc., are protected by the control of Udana Prana.
Udana Prana is activated by the prolonged practice of Bhramari Pranayama, Ujjayi Pranayama, as well as Viparitakarani Mudra.
How does Prana flow through your body?
Prana reaches the body through the food we eat, the air we breathe, and the ingestion of energies from earth and sky.
Prana travels through thousands of tiny channels called nadis to every cell in the body.
The three main Nadis of the body are Ida, Pingala, and Sushumna, all of which start at the base of the spine and travel to the head.
The Ida and Pingala Nadis intersect as they spiral upward and connect with opposing nostrils as the Sushumna travels directly up the spine to the top of the head.
The chakras are where Ida and Pingala intersect and intersect with Sushumna.
The chakras connect with thousands of tiny Nadis and are responsible for the distribution and circulation of Prana throughout the body.
Usually, the blocks in each chakra prevent the Prana from flowing through the Sushumna. The main purpose of these blocks is to prevent Kundalini activation and flow from entering the Sushumna and ascending to the Crown Chakra.
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