Prana… The Vital Life Force Energy
By Dr Rita Khanna
According to human physiology, the human body is comprised of five bodies or Sheaths. The Sheaths are called ‘Kosha’, which means layers of existence. These five Sheaths are known as Annamaya Kosha / Physical / gross body, Pranamaya Kosha / Pranic / vital air body, Manomaya Kosha / mental body, Vijnanamaya Kosha / intellect body and Anandamaya Kosha / bliss body. The Pranas constitute the second sheath (The Pranamaya Kosha).
The Five Vayus
There are five principle elements of nature; these are Earth, Air, Water, Ether & Fire. Air is the principle element & one of the minute forms of cosmic energy. This energy is also present in the human body as well. When you breathe in slowly, deeply & consciously you can feel this cosmic energy circulating in each cell, each tissue, each muscle, each nerve, each organ & each part of your body. It gives us light, a life, strength, courage, vigour & power. Although Prana is one, it has five subdivisions based on its location in the human body & called Punch Prana. They are Prana Vayu, Apana Vayu, Samana Vayu, Udana Vayu &Vyana Vayu. Each govern specific areas of the body, not just physical, but govern emotional qualities and mental energies fundamental to physical, mental and emotional well being. All five flows have to be working well for a person to be completely healthy physically, mentally and emotionally. Regular breathing exercise can keep Pranamaya Kosha healthy & balanced
The breath is the key action for Prana & can be experienced strongly as it moves within the head in practices of Pranayama and Meditation. It circulates in the area around the heart and throat. It gathers at the navel and from there is distributed throughout the body. The Prana Vayu is the energy of the Anahata / Heart Chakra. It governs the intake of energy via food, drink, breath, impressions, emotions, thoughts and consciousness. Its element is air. It maintains the life system by filtering & warming up the air taken in through the nose. When Prana is sufficient, no disease can affect us. It brings right receptivity, love & compassion. When Prana is not sufficient, we start feeling weaknesses, stiffness & negativity in the body & mind. Diseases like asthma, anxiety, insomnia, headache, high or low BP and ringing of the ears can affect us. The awareness of Prana-Vayu creates a focus to lift, lengthen and open the upper body
Apana Vayu circulates in the lower region of the abdomen between the navel and the rectum including the large intestine & reproductive organs. The healthy functioning of the Apana Vayu is as vital as that of the Prana Vayu. It controls excretory functions (urine, faeces, toxins & waste materials). It is also responsible for bleeding, labour pain, childbirth, stomachache, the semen and the elimination of carbon dioxide through the breath. Its element is Earth. It is related to Mooladhara / Root Chakra. When Apana Vayu is in balance, it brings stability, security, abundance & values. But when in an imbalanced state, it can lead to instability, insecurity, scarcity, egoistic, biased feeling, complaints, rejection, demands & mental weaknesses. Diseases like constipation, anemia, diarrhea, body pain, jaundice, piles, vomiting & gas can affect us.The awareness of Apana Vayu creates a focus to ground and stabilize the lower body.
Samana Vayu is a circular flow of breath around the waist. The main function of the Samana is to maintain the balance between Prana & Apana. It circulates between the heart and navel center including the small intestine & the umbilical region. It stimulates the digestive juices, thus facilitating digestion. Developing Samana Vayu properly nourishes all parts of your body and the energy supplied by food is evenly distributed because it separates nutrients and waste from food & separates useful and not useful thoughts. Its element is Fire. It is related to Manipur / Solar Chakra. When Samana Vayu is in balance, it brings peace, balance, harmony, equilibrium strong will power, wit, wisdom, brilliance, bravery, courage, generosity, forgiving within ourselves and with our natural environment. But when in an imbalanced state, it can lead to attachment, greed, passiveness, not God fearing, revengeful, pervertion & lust. Diseases like Indigestion, diarrhea, constipation, gas problem, skin, blood related, TB, chicken pox, cancer, acidity can affect us. The awareness of Samana Vayu creates a focus to open and relax the body.
Udana Vayu is in the opposite direction of Prana Vayu. It operates the region from the throat to the brain. It controls the entry points of food, air & governs the output of energy via our expression through speech, physical effort, emotional enthusiasm and mental judgment.
Its element is Ether / Sky. It is related to Vishudi / Throat Chakra. When UdanaVayu is in balance, it brings right aspiration in life, right values combination skills, gratitude, spiritual, philosophical, religious & chaste life. But when in an imbalanced state, it leads to person being overly proud, arrogant, sad, irritating & shouting. Diseases like belching, vomiting, sore throat, sinus, headache, earache, epilepsy & speech problems like stammering can affect us.
At death, it rises up from the body and directs us towards various subtle worlds according to the power of our will and karma that move through it. The awareness of Udana Vayu, creates a focus to maintain a long spine and a correct posture.
Vyana Vayu circulates along the whole body distributing the energy from food & breath through lymphatic & nervous system. It controls all physical movements including the flow of breath, senses, emotions, thoughts, elimination of toxins and coordination between mind & body. It transports the absorbed Prana to the places where it can work and express itself. Its element is Water. It is related to Swadhisthana / Hara Chakra. When VyanaVayu is in balance, it brings mental peace, creativity, perfection, punctuality, luxury, wealth, patience, inner power, humbleness, knowledge, right action and action in harmony with our values, aspirations, including the free expansion of thought, emotion, perception and consciousness. But when in an imbalanced state, it leads to depression, frustration, disappointment, defeat, superstition, doubting, lack of coordination between mind and body and difficulty in movement particularly while walking.
Diseases like menstrual problems, gyne, menopause, leucorrhoea, prostrate glands, urinary, colitis, excess water accumulation in stomach, depression, frustration & snoring can affect us.
The awareness of Vyana-Vayu creates a focus of strength and fluid movement of body.
In short, Prana and Udana work opposite to Apana as the forces of energization versus those of elimination. Similarly, Vyana and Samana are opposites as expansion and contraction. This is much like the working of a machine. Prana brings in the fuel, Samana converts this fuel to energy, Vyana circulates the energy to the various work sites. Apana releases the waste materials or by products of the conversion process. Udana governs the positive energy created in the process and determines the work that the machine is able to do.
The key to health and well-being is to keep our Pranas in harmony through Yoga, Pranayama, Meditation, Proper Diet, & Positive Thinking. When one Prana becomes imbalanced, the others tend to become imbalanced as well because they are all linked together.
If you feel inspired by this article, feel free to publish it in your Newsletter or on your Website. Our humble request is to please include the Resource as follows: Courtesy: Dr. Rita Khanna’s Yogashaastra Studio. A popular studio that helps you find natural solutions for complete health and detoxification.
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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 his discipline over two decades ago by world famous Swami Adyatmananda of Sivananda Ashram in Rishikesh.
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.
At present, Dr. Rita Khanna is teaching Yoga in Secunderabad. She has been treating and curing various diseases and disorders through Yoga, Diet and Naturopathy and has been achieving tremendous satisfaction in disseminating this virtue.
Hatha Yoga, Personal Growth, and the Environment
By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500
Hatha Yoga, Personal Growth, and the EnvironmentAmong the members of many noble causes, you will find Yogis and Yoginis. Causes such as: Charities for curing diseases, world peace, and saving the natural environment are filled with Hatha Yoga practitioners. While it is true that these people are performing Karma Yoga, what is it that draws them toward giving to others?
The core of all Yoga philosophy agrees with the values of the environmental conservation. There is a logical reason for this. Living, eating, consuming, and recycling, in a healthier way, have impact on our environment. The Sattvic (Yoga) diet is environmentally friendly and healthy, at the same time.
The environmental decisions we make today will have a definite impact on future generations. You could listen to a newscaster, or a politician, deny the fact of global warming, or you could see that the world’s glaciers are melting at a rapid rate.
Glaciers in Austria, Alaska, Antarctica, Greenland, Peru, and many more locations are receding; and in some cases, disappearing altogether. The easiest course of action is to deny everything, bury our heads in the sand, and go about business as usual.
We do not have to take anyone’s word for it, but once we see reality, it is time to observe and act. Those who shout the loudest may not agree that “going green” is the best financial investment. The argument that “gasoline is cheap right now” is temporary.
It only makes sense that the price of gasoline should rise over the long-term because crude oil is a finite source, and all of the parties involved in the production of it, desire to make the best possible profit. For the short-term, there are more attractive investments in fossil fuels than non-polluting forms of energy.
“Green energy” such as geothermal, wind, solar, and hydro power, address the long-term concerns of our children and grandchildren. Regardless of what anyone thinks, Yoga and personal growth allow us to see the obvious and react to it. The time for action occurs after we have absorbed the facts, seen the truth, and choose our path.
There is a “window of time” facing us right now. We cannot change everything all at once. Yet, we can support those politicians who are making positive efforts to change the world for the best. Yoga practitioners are a growing part of the world population; but collectively, we can make changes by the way we consume and recycle.
Each significant movement starts with one thoughtful step forward. It is up to each of us to preserve this world for future generations.
© Copyright 2009 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications