Prana, in Sanskrit: प्राण means "life breath" and is the universal, rudimentary vital principle according to Ayurveda.
I see these words all the time, but what is prana?
We know that it is the most basic energy in existence that powers every aspect of our being. We see it described as life energy or vital force. The best way we can understand and explain it is to say that prana is the energy of formation. It is present in all beings; the essence of life and creativity.
When you look around and see anything from a person to a mountain to an apple tree, you are seeing matter that has coalesced into form. Prana is the essence of manifest life, and as such it provides fuel for growth and longevity.
According to Ayurveda
In Ayurveda, Prana is considered to be the connecting link between the material world, consciousness, and the mind.
Prana is the vital energy that pervades all living beings, as well as the surrounding atmosphere. While often referred to as a universal life force or breath, Prana is more accurately defined as the sum total of all cosmic energies.
These energies maintain the proper functioning of all living organisms by regulating their physiological processes such as breathing, digestion, and elimination. Prevailing health or disease within an organism is determined by the balance of these energies. With consistent practice, advanced yogis are able to control the flow of Prana within their bodies and use this ability for healing purposes or personal development.
If a person or a room has a healthy, harmonious vibration—we say: “There is good Prana here”. Illness disturbs or blocks the flow of Prana; with long and consistent practice of controlling Prana, we gain harmony and health of both body and mind. In addition to this expansion of consciousness can occur with consistent practice as well.
How to maintain the positive flow of Prana?
Aside from all our knowledge-seeking journey, we eventually realize that maintaining a positive flow of Prana to and throughout our body, is not only the best way to experience it, but is the key to bringing about optimum health, vitality, and overall well-being.
A few years down the road, after several experiments and almost an entire transition through a full spectrum of possible experiences caused by a lack of understanding of what Prana really is, how it works, how to use it, and most importantly — how to maintain its flow.
The flow of Prana (energy) through the body is imperative for the effective functioning of all the systems. If there is an irregular movement of Prana, we feel dull and mentally and physically inactive. To avoid such a situation, it is necessary to keep the flow of Prana continuous through certain exercises, called Asanas. These Yogic Kriyas are a 'must' for the healthy working of all systems in the body.
Here are some lifestyle practices we need to incorporate into our daily routine:
- Pranayama or breathing exercises
- Healthy Diet
- Ayurvedic/holistic treatment
- Establishing Ayurvedic dinacharya
There is no doubt that Prana plays an important role in our lives, conditioning the way thoughts and emotions affect us.
To balance our Prana, it's important to create and maintain positive lifestyle habits that are known to have a positive impact on both mental and physical health. Doing this will allow us to maximize the flow of vital energy within us.
Over centuries, the practice of Ayurvedic wellness has proven to result in a more rejuvenated body, mind and spirit, thus nurturing mindfulness and stronger immunity.
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This blog is written by Nadjerah Barua