Prana is a word you may have heard around, especially if you practice yoga. In this article, I’m going to discuss what Prana means, how you can notice it and what you can do to increase prana in your mind and body.
Prana exists in many cultures. The Chinese call it “chi” or “qi” (like qi-gong), while the Japanese call it “ki.” The Maori in Australia call it “mana” and the Greeks called it “pneuma.” Even the Bible had a word for Prana, “holy spirit.” These are all different terms for the same thing: energy.
Prana cannot be seen and measured, but only felt. The Sanskrit word “prana” can actually be split in two: ‘pra’ means ‘to exist before’, and ‘ana’ means ‘an atom.’ Therefore “prana” is “that which exists before an atom.” Interesting how in Ayurveda they were already writing about atoms thousands of years before modern science ever discovered it with microscopes.
Though we may not be aware of it consciously, we all perceive energies. Have you ever just had a bad feeling about someone or picked up on someone’s aura? That’s energy.
If you’ve ever been to a yoga class, you have sat in the presence of the chanting of “Om.” You probably felt subtle vibrations, in your throat, hands, body and even around the room. That vibration is Prana.
We are always picking up on energy with our “subtle body” which is our energetic field. Our subtle body is the surrounding area of our physical body. This field is also called our aura. If you’ve ever been to a psychic, they may have told you something about your aura which may or may not have been true. But you don’t have to be a psychic to see auras because it’s just a visual form of the same Prana that we all feel.
Prana is the vibration between atoms. This vibration is our aura.
We all vibrate at different frequencies. Low vibrating people are stuck in fear, jealousy or anger. High vibrating people are led by love, peace and unity. The phrase “high vibe” stems from this energetic field.
Places can also be high or low vibrating. If you’ve ever walked into a casino or strip club, you may have noticed a dark, negative feeling that exists in the place. It’s not something you can point out but rather something you just feel.
If you’ve been in pristine nature or a temple, you may have felt an innate sense of calm and wellbeing. That is you picking up on the positive frequency of the place. Sound therapy also works on such frequencies, literally shifting the energetic field with high vibrational sound.
Prana is most felt through deep-breathing. Pranayama, the practice of breath control, works exactly on this. Just through deeply breathing, we can heal our bodies, shift our consciousness and raise our vibration.
Prana flows through our bodies, passing through thousands of channels, which Ayurveda calls Nadis. These are similar to the Chinese concept of “meridians.” If one of our channels is blocked, we will experience discomfort. In order to have proper health, we must have clear channels for Prana to flow.
These channels run through seven energy points in our body, called Chakras. Each chakra regulates certain physical and emotional attributes. For example, if you often have a sore throat, you may have a block in your throat chakra from not speaking your truth. Similarly, if you often have stomaches, you may have an issue in your solar plexus chakra that needs to be addressed. I’ll explain more about Chakras and how to balance them in another blog post.
So now we know:
- What Prana is
- How other cultures perceive it
- How to sense it
- Prana and vibrations
- Low and high vibrating people/places
- Prana flowing through our Nadis/Meridiens
- The Chakra energy centers
And now it’s time to discuss how to increase Prana in your own mind and body for optimal health.
Here are my five tips to increase Prana:
- Surround yourself only with high-vibeing people. Avoid jealous, angry or negative people because we take on the energy of everyone we are surrounded with and unless we’ve really built up our energetic walls to shield us, we will similarly become jealous, angry and negative.
- Practice deep belly breathing. Make sure your breaths come from your stomach, not your chest. Try doing a guided pranayama or meditation to help you learn how.
- Spend time outdoors everyday, even for 10 minutes. Try to make it to nature at least once a week.
- Make sure your Doshas stay balanced. If your Vata is too high, you may experience anxiety, if Pittas too high you may experience anger and if Kapha is too high you may experience depression.
- Exercise everyday. A stagnant body is a stagnant mind. Move and stretch your body to keep your Prana flowing.
I hope that helped you understand what Prana really is and you use these tips to enhance yours!