Prana energy, also referred to as ‘Life Force’ or ‘Chi’, is considered the driving power of the world that can be seen in every manifestation of life. There are ways to tap into the sources of Prana – including the five elements found in nature – to nourish ourselves.
What is Prana energy?
“Prana is the driving power of the world, and can be seen in every manifestation of life,” said Swami Vivekananda.
Prana is known by many names including ‘Life Force’ and ‘Chi’.
The quality of your Prana energy determines the quality of your life.
Prana energy influences all spheres of your life – your physical health, your mental well-being, your success, your growth, and your happiness.
Sharmila Kannan, a ‘Mudra Therapist’, specializing in ‘Pregnancy Yoga’, explained to me that when the sperm and ovum unite, Prana enters the embryo along with the soul.
Thus, the embryo comes alive as the life force gets activated and the mother senses the movements of the child.
So, the physical body is inert without this vital ingredient called Prana.
Prana energy as found in nature
We must understand that Prana is all-pervading in nature. So, we can tap into Prana through all the 5 elements:
1. Earth – The food we eat
2. Water – The water we drink
3. Fire – Our exposure to the sun
4. Air – The air we breathe
5. Ether – The thoughts we think
Harnessing our Prana energy
To continuously recharge ourselves, we need to plug into these sources and nourish ourselves with the highly concentrated Prana available to us.
a) Sharmila Kannan advises, “Choose live foods like fruits, salads, and nuts over lifeless processed and packaged foods.”
However, we must avoid overeating.
b) Our Prana is replenished by living in Nature or tending to our garden, walking barefoot on earth, hugging trees, and by spending time in mountains and forests.
a) Sharmila Kannan suggests, “It’s best to avoid plastic containers while drinking water. Instead, choose earthenware or the neutral glass or metal vessels.”
b) Whenever we can, we must bathe in oceans, rivers, springs and waterfalls.
a) Spend time daily in the sunshine. Open doors and windows to let sunlight in.
b) Avoid looking at the computer screen too much as it is artificial energy.
a) I interviewed Dr Maruthi Ram, an authorized Yoga Teacher and Evaluator approved by the ‘Yoga Certification Board’ in India. According to him, exercise is a method of building our reserves of Prana.
He suggests activities like pranayam (breath regulation) and yoga asanas (postures) that take you to a higher dimension of life, or simply walking, jogging, and playing games.
b) However, Dr Ram warns against hitting the gym as this vitiates the Pranic energy.
Yoga Asanas and pranayama are known to build the sattvic qualities and therefore the positive Prana.
Pumping iron has selfish and competitive intents of looking good and projecting a certain body image. Hence, it increases the rajasic quality in us and depletes the Prana.
c) We also need to keep the house and office well-ventilated.
6. Our thoughts and behavior determine how strong our Prana is.
a) Avoid grasping, hoarding, and indiscriminate shopping, as these deplete the Prana. On the contrary, acts of giving increase your Prana energy.
b) Sharmila Kannan says, “Holy people, holy places, holy books, and healing crystals can impart Prana energy.”
Our Prana is replenished by living in nature or tending to our garden, walking barefoot on earth, hugging trees, and by spending time in mountains and forests.
Thought food to tap Prana from the universe
Dr Maruthi Ram asks us to be mindful of our diets and hydration levels, learn effective breathing and spend time outdoors in nature.
However, according to him, thoughts are the most important food for the Prana.
All other practices would come to naught if we fail to regulate the ambience of our minds.
Hence, he advocates Pranayama, Yoga Asanas and Dhyana (meditation) to balance the effect of our modern fast-paced living.
Meditation is the most powerful tool to merge the personal Prana with the Universal Prana.
It works like a Pranic tonic and effectively recharges the whole mind-body persona.
When we visit temples or churches, listen to hymns, chants and soulful music (loud head-banging music is a definite No-No!) The Prana experiences a boost.
Similarly, keeping the company of positive people and making time for ‘Satsangs’ (‘Sat’- means truth and ‘Sang’ means company) can go a long way in building positive Prana energy.
Thus, we can neutralize or overwrite the harmful effects of being bombarded with negativity on news channels and social media.
Five Koshas (sheaths) or layers of our being
Dr Maruthi Ram explained that according to the science of yoga, the human form is made up of five Koshas (sheaths).
We can only appreciate the physical body (Annamaya Kosha) as it is visible to the naked eye.
Other four Koshas are: the energy body (Pranamaya Kosha), the emotional body (Manomaya Kosha), the wisdom body (Vigyanamaya Kosha) and the bliss body (Anandamaya Kosha).
Interplay of Prana with the physical and emotional body
The energy body resides within the physical body and impacts both the physical body and the emotional body.
Thus, when the Prana is low or vitiated, we end up with all kinds of physical, mental, and emotional ailments.
In turn, the emotions and thoughts exert a telling effect on our Prana energy.
For example, if we binge on thrillers and horror flicks, the Prana gets vitiated and will show through the short, shallow breathing.
When we get angry, breathing becomes fast because of agitated Prana.
However, if we listen to calming music, the Prana also feels calm, deep, slow, and relaxed.
Daily wholesome thought food for Prana energy
Alexis Carrel, the Nobel Prize-winning French surgeon and biologist, once said,
“The quality of life is more important than life itself.” It’s imperative then for us to experiment with some of the above-mentioned activities to tend to our Prana, the very reason we are alive.
My go-to practice is Vipassana meditation, followed by 10 minutes of Metta.
Metta or loving-kindness meditation is the practice of sending waves of peace and well-being to all living beings.
This helps give my thoughts a positive bent. Singing is another tool I use to make my Prana energy dance with joy.
In the words of the legendary philosopher and polymath Aristotle, “Quality is not an act, it is a habit.” So, whatever activity you choose as thought food for your Prana, do make a habit out of it.
Lead picture courtesy: Freepik
Breathing life into a blade of grass
There are many legends of how the sages in ancient India created a living human being out of a blade of grass or a mound of clay – known as ‘Prana Pratishtha’ or putting vital life force into matter.
Here is a popular folktale relating to the birth of Kush, son of Sri Ram and Sita.
When Sita was banished, she took refuge at the ashram of Sage Valmiki. Soon after, she gave birth to Luv. One day Sita asked Sage Valmiki to babysit Luv and went into the forest to collect firewood.
The sage got engrossed in his daily prayers and Luv wandered off to look for his mother.
When the Sage realized the child had gone missing, he feared Sita’s ire.
So, he took a blade of Kusha grass, used his divine powers, and created Luv’s twin, who had all the qualities and characteristics of Luv.
When Sita returned with Luv, she was surprised to see the twin. The sage then sheepishly explained what had transpired.
Since he was born from the Kusha grass, he was named Kush.
(Tulsidas Ramayana, however, has Sita giving birth to twins, Luv and Kush.)