“All that exists in the three heavens rests in the control of Prana. As a mother her children, oh Prana, protect us and give us splendour and wisdom.” Prashna Upanishad 11.13
The Atharvaveda is an early Vedic text which states Prana is “the fundamental basis of whatever is, was and will be.” Other texts suggest the term translated is “life-force” or “vital energy’. There is discussion and disagreement between translations due to the complex nature of Sanskrit. Within some literature, it is suggested that Prana is derived from the sun and connected to the elements of the Universe. It is known in many traditions, for example the Chinese call it chi and the Polynesians know this energy as mana.
Prana is not visible it is a subtle energy just as electromagnetic fields are, the pranic waves and pranic field are constantly working and regulating the body during daily life. When prana begins to diminish, disease occurs, contrarily when pranic flow is good, health is good. When we have excess prana this can be directed to others for healing.
Pranic energy is not only in living beings but is also in all inanimate objects. There are five types of prana which are responsible for pranic activities within the body, all responsible for a different outcome, prana, apana, vyan, udana and samana. Prana and apana are said to be the most important. Prana is the upward flow of energy and apana is the downward flow. Thus, with the breath the inhalation is prana whilst the exhalation is apana. Vyan is the circulation of energy, udana the energy of the head and throat, samana is linked with digestion and assimilation.
The prana can be stimulated through exercises such as pranayama, this is why often practiced coinciding with yoga and meditation as the body and brain require maximum energy levels. When the body and brain do not receive sufficient prana, these practices will often be disturbed by a restless mind.
The universe is a manifestation of prana, the original creative power. The powerful energy of Kundalini Shakti is developed from awakened prana. Cosmically there are two aspects to prana, firstly the unmanifest aspect and secondly the manifest aspect. The unmanifest aspect of prana is the energy of pure consciousness which transcends all of creation. The manifest is the force of creation itself. Rising from the quality of the rajas, it is an active force of nature or Prakriti.
From the moment of conception there is prana used in the creation of life, from heartbeat to heat and regulation of the body. This energy is constantly evolving and shifting through and around us. The concept of prana within yoga is very scientific, it does not mean breath, air or oxygen it is the primordial life force energy.
Hope you enjoyed reading.