Answering ‘What is Prana’ can be difficult for the logical, scientific mind, as one cannot see, smell, hear or even taste the Prana. But it is present anywhere and everywhere.
Prana (a sanskrit word) is a vital life force present in all beings. Prana Energy is the universal principle of energy or the sum total of all energy that is manifested in the universe . Whatever you witness in this intellect-world, whatever moves or works or has life is an expression or manifestation of Prana. The five senses are closely related to Prana, Our eyes shines due to Prana. It is due to Prana that we are able to hear through our ears, perceive things through our eyes, sense through skin, taste through tongue, smell through nose and the brain perform its tasks. The smile of a person, the melody in the music, the power in the vigorous words of a speech-maker, the charm in the speech of loved ones are all due to Prana.
Prana is the link between the astral and physical body. When the thread link of Prana is cut, the astral body separates from the physical body, death takes place. That is the Prana that was working in the physical body is withdrawn into the astral body.
The Prana Energy is known as Chi Energy in China and Ki Energy in Japan. So along with your question on what is Prana, this article also addresses the questions ‘what is Chi Energy?’ and ‘what is Ki Energy?’.
Flow of Prana and how use it
Now that we know what is Prana, lets also understand how the Prana flows and how we make use of this Prana Energy.
Prana flows through the subtle energy channels called nadi’s and through energy centers called chakras in our body. The quantity and quality of prana and the way it flows through the nadis and chakaras determines the state of mind of a person.
If the Prana level is high and its flow is constant, even and balanced, the mind remains peaceful, optimistic and enthusiastic. However, due to lack of knowledge and attention to one’s breath, the nadis and chakras in the average person may be partially or fully blocked leading to the broken flow of Prana. As a result one experiences increased fears, anxiety, insecurity, pressures, fight and other negative qualities.
Prana is consumed by all our actions like thinking, acting, moving, writing and talking. A healthy person has an abundance of Prana within. Energy is supplied by the food we eat, water we drink, air that we breathe and through solar energy. When this pivotal energy is channeled or transformed it supplies an abundance of Prana to the system. This excess of Prana is stored in the brain in the form of spiritual energy.
The yogi stores unlimited amount of Prana through the regular practice of pranayama, just as the storage battery stores electricity. That yogi who has deposited a large supply of Prana emits strength and liveliness all around. Prana can also flow like a steady current from a developed yogi towards weak persons. This can be released by the yogi who has developed his inner yogic vision.
Control of Prana Energy
By controlling the act of breathing called Pranayama breathing or Pranayama techniques one can efficiently control all the various motions in the body and the different nerve-currents that are running throughout the body. You can easily and quickly control and develop body, mind and soul through breath-control or the control of Prana Energy. That way through Pranayama you can gain control over your situations and character and can consciously harmonise the individual life with the cosmic life.
The yogi who becomes proficient in the knowledge of Prana and control of Prana Energy, will have no fear of any power, because he has mastered over all the manifestations of powers in the universe. The power of personality is the natural capacity of a person to exert his Prana. Some persons are more successful in life, more influential and fascinating than others. It is all due to the power of their Prana.
The yogi’s uses this Prana Energy consciously by the command of his own will. A yogi can withdraw Prana from any area of the body. That area gets benumbed, and will have no sensation. A yogi can also send Prana to any other part of the body area and make it oversensitive, for example he can see distant objects by sending Prana to eyes, one can send it to the nose and experience divine fragrances, send Prana Energy to the tongue and experience super-sensuous taste.
By control of Prana the yogi can also control the universal manifesting power out of which all energies take their origin, whether concerning magnetism, electricity, gravity, solidity, nerve currents, vital forces or thought vibrations.In fact, the total forces of the universe, physical and mental. A complete knowledge of Prana and its function is absolutely necessary for effective pranayama.
Ways to Expand Prana in Body, Mind and Soul
Prana Food: What you feed into your body has a direct result not only on your body but also on your mind and soul and how you lead your life. If you eat Prana food, food that is full of Prana or life force, it will give you the ability to live your life to your fullest potential. Prana is stored in healthy, fresh foods. Taking this fresh cooked Prana food each day will naturally increase your vital Prana. Alternatively, if we are eating processed foods or stale food, it will reduce our intake, block our channels and create toxins in the system, which will deplete our Prana.
Regular Yoga: Yoga is a powerful way to remove blockade from the body, promoting free-flowing Prana energy throughout. This practice should leave you with sustained energy and a balanced mind. Some great postures that are extra amazing for Prana enhancement are sarvangasana, back twists, chest expansion, hip openers and surya namaskar .
Pranayama: What better way to increase the Pranic force than some Pranayama! Start your day with 10-15 deep belly breathes while sitting in a comfortable seat, or Nadi Shodhana can also be done, 5-10 rounds each morning. Pranayama is essential for increasing the Oxygen levels of the body, it increases circulation, removes obstruction and reduces stress and tension, relaxes mind, all of which in turn will help towards healthy Prana Energy.
Meditation: Meditation can be very useful in terms of dealing with our thoughts and emotions, and in turn increasing our Awareness levels. These are essential in obtaining happy and healthy Prana Energy. Long extended practices are not needed to make positive changes. Doing 5-15 minutes meditation each morning and before bed is all you need. It is better to keep a dedicated time for meditation and one has to be as consistent as possible with this practice.
Through regular practice of Yoga, Pranayama and Meditation, the five functions of Prana (Prana vayu, apana vayu, samana vayu and vyana vayu) helps in governing different areas of the body for different physical and subtle activities. With the free Prana flowing they function harmoniously, and assure health and vitality of the body and mind, allowing us to enjoy our exceptional talents and live life with full meaning and determination.