What is Prana? & How to Access It
We hear it all the time, stay balanced in mind, body, and spirit.
But how do we actually go about doing that?
The first step is understanding what links those three components together and then how to take care of each of them with different, time tested techniques. Undoubtedly, one of the most accessible means of keeping our mind, body, and spirit balanced for optimal well-being is through yoga.
Like other holistic modalities, yoga works to keep you balanced and even helps prevent disease in the body by addressing the physical and energetic parts of you.
For those of us trying to live a balanced life, understanding energy on a more practical level can help us do just that. Today we will introduce you to the concept of prana energy, how to access it, and how to use it in our daily life.
What is Prana?
When it comes to self-empowerment and self-transformation, prana is likely the most important ingredient to the recipe of your awakening and wellbeing.
Understanding prana involves not just an intellectual analysis but also an experience of the concept as well. The true prana meaning can be interchanged with words like qi and life force.
If you were to ask a yoga teacher what prana was, they would explain that it is the life force energy that enters your body with your breath. In Sanskrit, prana means “primary energy.”
Achieving prana is different than what we consider achieving enlightenment because enlightenment is a state while prana is the energy or fuel to get us there. Prana is a force that we all have different levels of at different times. It enables you to have increased energy, and losing prana can make you feel depleted.
How Prana Works
Prana runs along the body’s energy pathways, which can be flowing or stuck at any given point. These energetic pathways are the meeting points between your mind and body, energy, and physical form.
The practice of acupuncture maps these energy pathways and explores how they affect our organs.
Similarly, Chinese medicine works with the knowledge of this energy using certain plants to balance the energy and find homeostasis of mind, body, spirit.
There are different types of prana in different healing modalities.
For example, yin and yang are polarized energies used to describe different energies in Chinese medicine. Prana and Apana, or Ida and Pingala, are similarly the words used to describe energy types in the yogic system, which breaks down prana into more nuanced categories.
You might also want to check out: Everything You Need to Know About Auras
How Prana Relates to the Mind, Body, & Soul
Interestingly, throughout ancient healing modalities and spiritual systems, there always seems to be a holy trinity of energies depicted in their iconography and approach to finding harmony and wellbeing.
For instance, the medical establishment is symbolized by the caduceus, which has three types of energy, two (snakes), which wrap around the third (the sword), representing the combination of the two energies. This allows us to reach enlightenment as energy raises the spine so the wings of our mind can expand.
This energy that keeps us alive is also considered to have its own innate intelligence because it comes from one unifying forcefield. Bringing more prana into the body increases our own innate intelligence and ability to comprehend the Universe.
We bring in prana through our breath, which charges our chakras and aura. The chakras wouldn’t function without prana, just as an electrical circuit wouldn’t turn on the lights without electricity.
We also consume prana in raw foods because prana exists in nature as well.
Why is Prana Beneficial?
Harmony in mind, body, and soul allows you to have more energy, clarity, positivity, and confidence to face the day.
Here are some very practical ways prana benefits your life:
- Prana helps your body have the energy to digest and think clearly.
- Prana gives you the ability to access higher states of consciousness to see the beauty and the potential for human evolution.
- Prana allows you to release lower vibration emotions like sadness and anger to feel content and blissful.
- Prana keeps your heart beating and keeps you alive, allowing you to engage with the world and experience connection with other humans.
- Prana expands your aura, helping you feel confident, and activate the law of attraction.
- Prana allows you to expand your intelligence, connect to your Third Eye chakra, and be creative.
- Prana helps you handle and cope with stress because it replenishes the nervous system.
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How to Sense & Use Prana in Yoga or Meditation
Prana is brought into the body with different breathwork types, such as the ujjayi breathing used in Hatha and vinyasa yoga. This will give you a “yoga high” by the end of class as it helps clear negative energy and charge your aura.
The best way to start to sense prana is to take a yoga class and listen to the breathing cues, so you really experience the shift from “bringing in” more prana.
You can also sense prana when you receive or give Reiki because the energy is being concentrated and creates pressure, heat, and muscle twitches. Other types of breathing techniques, called pranayama, can bring either energizing or calming energy to the body.
Breath of fire, alternative nostril breathing, breath retention, and other methods of breathing allows you to access prana as well. Understanding the locks, or bandhas, and using visualization in meditation, allows you to direct prana with the anatomy and the mind.
The next time you engage in breathing, whether in a yoga class, meditation, or simply just as you’re doing something simple such as cooking, focus on inviting prana in. Be conscious of your breath and where you are directing it.
Regular alternative nostril breathing is the simplest way you can keep your prana in balance and encourage positive energy.
Learn more about breathwork to access prana: Why You Need to Practice the Breath of Fire Daily