Prana is the vital life force energy that pulses through the universe and sustains all life. It is a permeating energy that penetrates all spaces and is a natural birthright of all living creatures. It costs nothing and as it is inexhaustible, gives of “itself” freely. Prana is available to us through clean air, sun, water, healthy foods, movement, touch, companionship, community, energy of our ancestors and other energetic sources.
The natural world freely gives to us a never-ending supply of prana . . . however modern day situations may actually deplete this vital life force energy from us. Yoga practices of many different traditions through various techniques aim to enhance our awareness and capacity to cultivate and conserve prana.
In our modern society, stress is one of the most serious problems affecting health and wellness. Stress and its related symptoms can be attributed to a “system” that has fallen out of its natural balance and continues to expend rather than conserve and recycle its own prana. Stressful situations create mental and emotional incoherence, which create “holding patterns” in the body’s tissues. These are places where we shut down the natural movement of life and breath through the tissue and repetitively “store” the stress that we experience in our lives. The catch is that these “holding patterns” require immense amounts of prana to maintain . . . prana that could be utilized for living with more energy, freedom and fun.
Prana is harvested in the exchange of life’s polarities. The most natural and constant polarity in human life is respiration. The mutual exchange of the in- breath and the out-breath is the most immediate way that a human can access prana. It is said that prana “rides on the breath” and in fact, the yoga practice of pranayama amplifies the possibility for breath-energy to flow freely through the entire body, recharging the tissues with new energy for life. It is the very act of “constant change” that generates prana. Breath is the first and most potent nourishment in our lives. The first step towards cultivating a free flow of prana in your system is accepting life’s gift of breath completely.
A body in innovative movement cultivates more prana. Fluid and explorative movement and asana (hatha yoga positions) combined with the breath will help to liberate “imprisoned” prana being held in “holding patterns” in the body. Gentle, respectful and inquisitive explorations into your yoga movement will create more elasticity in the tissues, allowing the body’s fluids to infuse the cells and allowing for greater oxygenation and a prana recharge through the entire system.
The body too has its “seasons”. To enjoy a state of vitality and health, natural cyclical rhythms need to be acknowledged. Our modern society, with its industrial inclination campaigns promotes ever-increasing efficiency and production and consumption. Instead, if we observe the way that life and nature moves, we notice many different rhythms interwoven. We notice cycles of birth, growth and dissolution all happening simultaneously and harmoniously. One is not more important than the other. All parts of the cycle support the wellness of the “whole.” Our bodies are part of this natural world . . . we are not machines. Prana becomes freely available and conserved by honoring our more natural rhythms. Accessing the wealth of prana depends on our commitment to living WITH life itself . . . rather than manipulating life’s currents to fit our desires. It is literally . . . “going with the flow.” Being near nature will help to observe life’s natural cycles and through this slowing down and easing into a state of receptiveness, we can absorb more the abundant sources of prana all around us. We will also be able to understand inherently the best use for the prana that we are harvesting.
When prana is flowing freely through your system, you will naturally experience a balanced energetic vitality. Other indications of when prana is flowing freely through your bio-system: living life in a state of observation and discovery, having creative responses to surprising situations, adaptability, a positive outlook on life, undisturbed sleep and often vivid dreams, good digestion and assimilation, inclination towards eating healthy foods, clear vision and thinking, full and easeful respiration, healthy and natural expression of sexual energy and for women: regular and easeful me
The key to accessing prana is simply finding ways to open your system to accept more. Prana is not a resource that can be acquired, bottled and stored away “for a rainy day”. . . It thrives on movement, change and freedom in the flow of the channel. The more we free our systems from the ties that bind us, we can become living, breathing, playing open channels of prana . . . and that is when the fun really begins!