Most people loosely associate Prana with breath. While Prana is NOT breath but our engergetic field or Life Force. Prana is present in everything – whether living or non living! Everything in creation has prana – with varying degrees of density/frequencies.
The book by Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati on Prana and Pranayama mentions this experiement conducted in USA on Swami Nadabrahmananda Saraswati who could remain comfortable without breathing for extended periods just by power of his prana. He was placed in an airtight glass chamber. A lighted candle and a live monkey were placed in similar chambers. Electrodes were connected to his heart, brain and different parts of the body and he was asked to play tabla while his parameters were being monitored. His nose and ears were blocked and whole body smeared with was so that air would not even pass through the pores!
After 3 mins the candle went out, after 15 mins the monkey fell unconscious but Swamiji continued to play tabla for more than 40 mins! During this time he wasnt breathing and when a coin was placed on top of his head, it bobbed up and down. A loud constant sound like that of a waterfall was heard from his body – which he explained was the sound of his prana – which was active even while he wasnt breathing!
Prana is in all of us – but in varying degrees. Prana is in higher levels when we are feeling positve and is depleted when we are stressed. Healers also pass on positive prana to the ones being healed and prana continuously flows like water all around. One can receive prana from environment like food, water, sun and air. Fresh fruits and least processed foods have higher prana in them while as foods get processed the prana depletes.
Prana is very high near mountains, waterfalls and flowing rivers. Science explains this using -ve ions. When one inhales -ve ions, the level of prana in body increases.
Prana can be self generated – by pranayama practices.Breath is the external manifestation of prana. Longer the air current in exhalation, the more prana is utilized. Max prana is used up by our brain – and if brain doesnt get enuf prana we feel lethargic, restless, stressed or irritable. Pranayama practices uses breath to manage the pranic levels in our body.
The chakras in our body are energetic transformers – managing the prana in our body and ensuring its distribution to various centres in our body.
We have 5 types of pranas in our body – and each type is resposible for a specific body function/organ. These 5 pranas maintain the balance between physical and mental levels in an individual. These 5 pranas (described in the image) are: Prana, Apana, Udana, Samana and Vyana. Awereness of these pranas during a pranayama practice makes the practice more meaningful and deeper and also drives the consciousness towards these- strengthening them as well. When any of our body system isnt working well – be it digestion, excretion, circulation, we need to also work on the relevant pranas to energize them.