By Dr. Rita Khanna
What is Prana Vidya?
Prana Vidya is a science and manipulation of energy. This physical body is a storehouse of Pranic energy, a dynamo, with infinite types of electrical currents passing throughout. We see this body as a combination of flesh, blood, and bones. For most people, Prana means breath, oxygen, ions, and so on; but the Prana of the body is more subtle than the nucleus of an atom. We have not yet been able to harness it. The great Yogis and scientists have seen a great force behind this physical body. Scientists are discovering the energy link between the physical and psychic bodies. They have arrived at the conclusion that energy, or Pranic force is convertible into material force, and material force is convertible into Pranic force.
You know the famous equation of Einstein: E = mc2 – that is, matter is energy in its potential state. There is a small scientific experiment, which we can use to illustrate this more clearly. If you look at a piece of bone with your naked eye, all you see is a bone. However, if you look at the same piece of bone under a super microscope, what do you see? First, you see molecules, then atoms, and later, the nucleus of the atom. Ultimately, you discover the fantastic behavior of energy.
The piece of bone, which appeared to be dead matter, was not really dead at all; only, our eyes were incapable of detecting the energy within it. Scientists, who have gone into the study of energy fields, maintain that the so-called “dead matter” is also permeated with Pranic energy. Therefore, Prana does not only mean life; it means existence, as well. The etymological meaning of Prana is ‘life in existence.’ Where there is mobility and stability combined, there is Prana. If an object is devoid of Prana, it will disintegrate.
How the Distribution of Energy Works
Each and every fiber of the body is connected with this Pranic current through a complex system of energy channels, or flows, known as Nadis. The Nadis have been researched, and their function can be compared to that of an electrical system. Energy is distributed in our physical body, in the same way as the electrical system distributes energy from the generating station to your room.
Mooladhara Chakra is the generating station. From here, the energy is distributed through three high tension wires – Ida, Pingala, and Sushumna Nadis, to the various Chakra points, or substations, situated along the spine. From the Chakra points, the energy is distributed through the main poles, or major Nadis, to the different organs and parts of the body. From the major Nadis, another distribution takes place through thousands of minor Nadis, which carry the energy to each and every cell of the body.
Where there is no electricity, there is no light; where there is no energy, there is no life. You know what happens when there is a short circuit in the electrical system – the lights go off for a minute. Sometimes, due to overload, the voltage falls very low and all the lights go dim. It is the same way in this physical body, also; the Prana Shakti sometimes undergoes a lot of alterations and depressions. From the different Chakras, Prana is distributed to all the major organs and parts of the body. At some stage, there is an excess of energy, and at other times, there is an energy drop. Everyone has experienced energy loss from time to time. Some people frequently enter into states of depression, in which their energy is so low, that everything appears miserable and clouded, and they do not like anything. Sometimes, although the major Nadis are conducting Prana, there is a failure in the minor Nadis. Then, the body does not work properly. Major disturbance, blockage, or imbalance in the energy channels, results in what is termed in medical language as a ‘nervous breakdown.’ So, all these conditions of depression, breakdown, energy blockage, excessive energy, etc., are due to the various states of Pranic energy.
Differences Between Psychosomatic and Somato-Psychic Approaches
Many people say that all diseases are created in the mind. This is correct, but not in the absolute sense. The origin of disease is not only in the mind, it is in the body, as well. Many diseases originate in the mind and travel into the body. They are known as psychosomatic diseases. When diseases originate in the body, and travel into the mind, they are known as somato-psychic diseases. Body is the base, and Prana is the force. We know that the body and mind cannot exist without Prana. Therefore, in Hatha Yoga, as well as in Tantra Yoga, we talk about somato-psychic illness; and when we supply Prana to the different parts of the body, we are treating this type of illness. I have seen people getting better by practicing Hatha Yoga, Pranayama, and other techniques.
The following are some of the examples:
Prana is the base of human health and illness. Even a psychological illness can be treated by supplying Prana. Therefore, in Yoga, the hypothesis is that all diseases are caused by improper distribution of Prana in the physical body. Even those diseases, which are regarded as psychological in nature, are actually caused by an imbalance in the Pranic distribution.
For example – Vishuddhi Chakra is one of the main distribution stations. It is situated at the junction in the neck, and the Pranas are distributed from Vishuddhi to different parts of that area- ears, eyes, nose, throat, thyroid, parathyroid, thymus, etc. If there is improper distribution of Prana to the thyroid, emotional diseases occur. So, many emotional complexes, which we are suffering from, are directly caused by hypothyroid or hyperthyroid, and this condition results from improper distribution of Prana from Vishuddhi Chakra. An emotional problem, arising from improper distribution of Prana in the thyroid complex, should be termed as somato-psychic, not psycho-somatic.
For a second example, let us consider Manipura Chakra, behind the navel. This is the main distributing centre for the digestive system and the adrenal glands. As you know, the adrenals produce the hormone adrenaline. If there is an improper distribution of Prana from Manipura Chakra, to the adrenal glands, you will suffer from fear-psychosis, colitis, and other somatic diseases.
The third example is a very important one. Swadhisthana Chakra, located at the coccyx, is the distributing station for all the uro – genital organs, except the testicles. These include the uterus, ovaries, kidney and bladder, and urinary organ. Now, if improper distribution of Prana takes place, or excess energy is used by these particular organs of the body, then you will have the problems of this centre. Sometimes, people who are suffering from frigidity or impotence go to the doctor, who immediately tells them, ‘You have a psychological problem. Something from your childhood is affecting you.’ I don’t entirely disagree with this theory. Our childhood experiences do have an influence on our present behavior patterns, but you must remember that any type of frigidity or impotence is not psycho-somatic, it is somato-psychic.
How Does Transmission of Prana Occur?
Transmission of Prana is a natural occurrence, which takes place all the time, consciously as well as unconsciously. If there is an excess of Prana anywhere, with this science, you can balance it. If there is a disease, caused by lack of Prana Shakti, then an excess of Prana from another area is supplied to the affected part of the body. This is done by converting Prana into magnetic energy and then into a flow of psychic energy. When Prana has been converted into magnetic energy, it can also be transmitted outside of the body through your fingers, a look, or a thought. It can be transported by a flower. It can also be used to charge an object, like a Mala, just as you charge your car battery with electric wires.
The science of Prana Vidya is designed to facilitate the proper distribution of Prana throughout the whole body. Scientists have seen that the energy of the human body flows outward and inward. Vibrations or energy charges are constantly being emitted from every physical body. Some people have long, strong Pranic radiations, while others have short feeble radiations. Research with Kirlian photography has verified this hypothesis of Pranic energy.
Prana is very subtle and can only be felt by the psychic body. Sensitive people can feel it, and those who are healers by nature are born with this faculty, with their Pranamaya Kosha manifesting predominantly. Though they have not learned this science from any Guru or books, these people are capable of healing the sick. Often, they themselves are surprised at their own powers and wonder where they came from and how they work. Of course, most people are not born healers, but many are capable of developing this potential to some degree through the practice of Prana Vidya. This technique, not only opens up your awareness to the vast stores of energy within the human body, but it also teaches you how to consciously manipulate them for the improvement of your own health, and that of others.
Channel of Raising and Distributing Prana
In the practice of Prana Vidya, the channel used for raising the Prana is Pingala Nadi, which in modern science can be correlated with the sympathetic nervous system. Pingala emanates from Mooladhara Chakra, at the base of the spine. It curves right and left, crossing over at all the major Chakra points. Finally, it terminates at Ajna Chakra, where the energy is collected and stored for distribution. In order to practice Prana Vidya, one must have a good understanding of Pingala Nadi.
Before beginning the practice, if there is an energy block anywhere in the body, this must be cleared first by practicing Yogasanas. The Energy Block Postures series (Read my article Yogic Home Work) is particularly important for clearing the energy blocks in the body. Next, you must perfect Ujjayi Pranayama and become familiar with all the Chakra points. Most of the Chakras are fairly easy to locate because they are associated with points which we can directly feel. Chakra points are the following:
• Mooladhara- perineum
• Swadhisthana- coccyx
• Manipura- behind the navel
• Anahata- behind the sternum
• Vishuddhi- behind the throat pit
• Ajna is the most difficult to locate. It is situated at the pineal gland, right at the top of the spinal cord in the Medulla Oblongata. If you look at a book on anatomy, you will see where it is, but if you try to locate it mentally, you won’t be able to find it. So, we have a very simple practice for this.
Close your eyes and concentrate on the eyebrow centre. If you are able to visualize a dot, bindu, or star at this point, then you can skip over the next stage of this practice. If you are not able to visualize anything there, apply a dab of balm at the eyebrow centre. In a few seconds, you will feel some sensations there, which will help you to locate the bindu or star.
When you are able to visualize the bindu, practice moving it backward to Ajna, and forward to the eyebrow centre, with the help of Ujjayi Pranayama. Feel that you are breathing back and forth. When this practice has been established, and you are able to locate all the Chakras, you must develop a clear mental image of Pingala Nadi.
Remember that Pingala Nadi does not go straight up to Ajna. It moves in absolutely symmetrical curves. Starting from Mooladhara, Pingala curves to the right and crosses back over at Swadhisthana. Then, it curves to the left and crosses at Manipura, to the right, and crosses at Anahata, to the left, and crosses at Vishuddhi. Finally, it curves to the right and terminates at Ajna. The path is easier to remember if you keep in mind that the first and last curves are always to the right.
Once you have a clear image of Pingala passage, you are ready to begin raising the Prana. Inhale in Ujjayi, and move up through the curves and Chakras, from Mooladhara to Ajna. Exhale in Ujjayi, and move back down the same route to Mooladhara. Inhale while ascending, and exhale while descending. The color of Pingala Nadi is red. So, as you inhale and exhale, imagine that you are travelling along a red path. At the end of each inhalation, practice Kumbhaka (breath retention) at Ajna Chakra. After forty rounds, distribute the energy to the affected part.
The distribution of Prana Shakti, to the affected part, is a very complicated process, because you have to know how the particular part is connected with Ajna Chakra. Supposing you have pain in the knee – you have to supply Prana to that part from Ajna Chakra. This supply of Prana, to that affected part, has to be done with a very subtle type of Ujjayi. Each inspiration has to be so subtle that it can last for about a minute; but you have to know the exact physiological and Yogic pathways from Ajna Chakra to the affected part in the knee.
There are so many pathways. You have to find the correct one, and when you have discovered it, circulate your Prana from Ajna Chakra to the affected part. Direct the charged Prana, until you feel strong sensations of heat and melting, and a type of magnetic presence in that particular part of the body. First, you have to try for yourself, then – you can try for others, as well.
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Courtesy: Dr. Rita Khanna’s Yogashaastra Studio.
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Dr. Rita Khanna
Dr. Rita Khanna is a well-known name in the field of Yoga and Naturopathy. She was initiated into this discipline over 25 years ago by world famous Swami Adyatmananda of Sivananda Ashram in Rishikesh (India).
She believes firmly that Yoga is a scientific process, which helps us to lead a healthy and disease-free life. She is also actively involved in practicing alternative medicines like Naturopathy. Over the years, she has been successfully practicing these therapies and providing succour to several chronic and terminally ill patients through Yoga, Diet and Naturopathy. She is also imparting Yoga Teachers Training.
At present, Dr. Rita Khanna is running a Yoga Studio in Secunderabad (Hyderabad, India).