Prana is the breath of life of all beings in the universe
What is Prana and Where to Find It
Prana is one of the central concepts of the yoga tradition. Prana is described in many Hindu texts, including Upanishads and Vedas as life force, vitality, energy in various forms. Prana circulates through a healthy body via subtle channels that resemble meridians and that are called Nadis in Sanskrit. As it circulates, it animates the body and replenishes life, health and vitality.
Georg Feuerstein, one of the renowned teachers of yoga, defines prana with the origins of the word: pra—“on, forth” and an—“to breathe,” denoting “life, vital energy.”
Yoga has defined many different forms and directions of Prana, with 5 major forms of it being very well described and easy to discover within your own body. To learn more about the forms and directions of Prana, join us in Copenhagen this September. We have prepared a long weekend city retreat programme to introduce you to these concepts through experience.
Yoga is however not the only spiritual tradition to describe a concept of life force. In Asian, Polinesian and Greek spirituality we find Chi, Qi or Ki, Pleuma and Mana which possess similar qualities to Prana.
Most traditions agree that there is a reserve of Prana that we are born with and that we use in extreme situations when we need extra vitality like recovery from trauma or disease or challenging situations in life that compromise our well-being. Another idea they subscribe to is that there is also a container for Prana within us that we can fill from external sources in order to have a reserve of vital energy ready for everyday use to keep us healthy, strong, and resilient.
So, what are the sources of Prana?
Pranayama ・Breath ・Air
The main source of Prana is the vital breath. Just the act of breathing alone is already a powerful lifeline that helps us receive Prana every second. We can, however, take it to the next level, and learn about the yogic practices called pranayama - mastering the vital breath. This can enhance our ability to extract Prana from the air we breathe, and integrate it into the energetic current of the physical and subtle body. Another way to enhance the Prana factor when you breath or do your pranayama practices, is to be outside in the nature. How can you learn about it? Join me in one of the retreats as it is always a big part of the programme, or read an amazingly rich book that focuses specifically on that - "The Light on Pranayama" by B.K.S. Iyengar.
Food is an important source of Prana, however the Prana content varies greatly from dish to dish. Ayurveda has created a complex system that enables us to understand the needs of a specific body type or constitution for a specific type of food for the purpose of balancing and nurturing a human body and soul. How to learn more about it? Book an individual Skype or in-person session with me to find out what food is serving you and what isn't, and let yourself be guided. Or alternatively, explore a book called "Ayurveda: A Life of Balance: The Complete Guide to Ayurvedic Nutrition and Body Types with Recipes" by Maya Tiwari.
Water is a source of Prana, as long as it's alive. What do I mean by that? Many of us live in cities where we either consume water that comes from the tap and has lost most of its vitality while moving through the pipes and that has been chemically treated to be safe to drink, or bottled water that has been sitting in plastic and absorbing the low-density polyethylene (LDPE) which is far from healthy. So, how can we find water that is actually filled with Prana and alive? I would recommend finding a filtering system that resonates with you to ensure that at least the water is purified properly to begin with, and if possible, find a fresh clean spring in your area (easy to do in Switzerland!) where you can fill your bottles on a regular basis for daily consumption. To learn more about the properties of water that seem beyond our comprehension, look for scientific experiments by Masaru Emoto to discover water's consciousness.
Yoga Practice (Asana)
Asana practice is an excellent source of daily energy that has a potential to create a healthy, open, strong and balanced physical body, but which also affects the subtle layers of a human being, differently from other movement modalities. Asana practice is an infinitely adaptable practice, so you can always set it up in a way that matches the intensity you need wherever you are in life. It can be strengthening as much as it can be soft and nourishing. The possibilities are endless! How to learn more if you are new? I have created 5 classes with a variety of energetic effects on the body, merging yoga with Ayurvedic wisdom. You can check out the video classes here (Balanced, Renewed, Energized, Grounded and Open).
Sunshine is what most plants need to photosynthesise and survive, and yoga claims that humans need it to thrive too. If you have spent a part of your life far North like I did, you don't need any explanations why. Just remember to protect yourself from the harmful rays of the spectrum (UVA and UVB) when preparing to receive Prana from sunshine!
Sleep is one of the most essential functions that is critically important for health and well-being. Studies show that even short term sleep deprivation leads to a DNA damage and increases a risk of disease. So, how to sleep better? You can use these two resources (Ayurvedic Secrets and Yoga Poses) to get inspired and improve your sleep quality. I am also considering creating a guide to Ayurvedic nutrition for better sleep - should I do it?
Meditation and Yoga Nidra
Meditation is a way to not only load on Prana but also to let go of everything that gets in the way of calm and ease - worries, fears, anxiety. Meditation is a simple habit that can be cultivated, regardless of how new or inexperienced you are. It might be useful to start with guided meditations and then find your optimal way to meditate.
Yoga nidra meditation, or "yogic sleep" is another extraordinary way to charge your Prana. Studies show that 45 minutes of yoga nidra can offer the restorative effect of 3 hours of quality sleep, replenishing your vital energy. Try this free yoga nidra I have created, or download your own here.
Inner Work/ Activities that replenish us
We all know that there are activities that refill your inner resources, and activities that drain you. Becoming aware of how you are distributing your time between the two can help you cultivate a lifestyle where you can consciously create more balance. Inner work that resonates with you whether it's yoga, prayer, meditation or gratitude will help you create a life that's more fulfilled as you dedicate yourself to learning and enquiry. That surge of energy when you are doing things you love whether it's playing an instrument, creating a new dish, spending time outdoors, with your family or pet, is exactly what you are after if you are looking to add more Prana to your system. Creating a job that evolves around things you love, is the ultimate way to stop the "energy leaks" and focus on replenishing yourself while you are serving others.
So, here are some amazing sources of Prana to revitalise and replenish you. Enjoy the journey of incorporating practices that add Prana into your life, and we'll share a few of these next time we meet.
Ready to boost your Prana?