The 4000-year-old meditation practice from India - pranayama, if not a household word all over the world, has gained wide acceptance and shown proven benefits of advancing holistic emotional and physical health and wellness globally. The ancient texts written between the 6th-15th centuries AD which pre dominantly refer to techniques of pranayama are Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Gheranda Samhita and Hatharatnavali. Though it can simply be practiced by following a set of directions to get its benefits, it is imperative to understand the underlying philosophy and physiological aspects to leverage its benefits the best.
The theory of” prana” from a yogic concept is rather difficult to explain. Since pranayama refers to the control of the “prana” it needs to be understood conceptually when we engage in the practice instead of just mechanically following the steps. Visualising the “prana” flow through our system acts powerfully to increase our mindfulness, calmness, have better control over our volatile emotions like anger, anxiety and stress. It slows down the aging process and builds core strength that helps us fight germs better. A force in constant motion is a literal transliteration of the word “prana”. However, the concept of prana or vital life force principle forms the foundation of many ancient, esoteric and healing practices all over the world. However, in different cultures the nomenclature differs. The Chhandogya Upanishad (1:11:5) says:
प्राण इति होवाच सर्वाणि ह वा इमानि भूतानि प्राणमेवाभिसंविशन्ति प्राणमभ्युज्जिहते सैषा देवता प्रस्तावमन्वायत्ता तां चेदविद्वान्प्रास्तोष्यो मूर्धा ते व्यपतिष्यत्तथोक्तस्य मयेति ॥ १.११.५ ॥
prāṇa iti hovāca sarvāṇi ha vā imāni bhūtāni prāṇamevābhisaṃviśanti prāṇamabhyujjihate saiṣā devatā prastāvamanvāyattā tāṃ cedavidvānprāstoṣyo mūrdhā te vyapatiṣyattathoktasya mayeti || 1.11.5 ||
In prāṇa all things that we see around us [moving or unmoving], disappear [at the time of their destruction. And at the time of their appearance or creation,] they appear from prāṇa.
In the energy body the prana flows through channels called nadis and are stored in energy vortices called chakras. This level of existence corresponds to our physical bodies but is of course of subtler essence. Yet existence of this energy field has been proven beyond doubt. The scientific instruments that we have in existence currently may not be able detect it however its presence is manifested strongest in the healing of the physical body that can be achieved with balancing it.
At the practice level it is easily implemented by various breath control techniques corresponding to the three stages of respiration: inhalation , retention and exhalation. This however, is hardly to be understood by reading but by practice because even the simplest of these motions most often results in instant increase in the energy levels in mind and body.
The write up ends here as we would like to continue our discussion virtually in a more interactive way: actual practice.
Please watch this space for timings and other details to carry on our energy healing efforts.
Looking forward to meeting all of you soon.