Prana

This is an old theory of health based on the concept of Prana. Prana can be loosely defined as life energy. More Prana, more liveliness and energy; less Prana, less energy. This energy needs to be spent and replenished. It is primarily used for our biological functions and also for our various karmas (activities).

Prana keeps flowing through the body through various nadis or channels. These channels pulsate in a rhythmic fashion. Whenever there is a block, the rhythm is disturbed. In the primary stages of disturbance, this manifests as irritation. Prolonged disturbances leads to growths. Long term disturbance of the rhythm causes degenerative diseases. Outwardly we can see this rhythm in breathing, heart-beat, peristaltic movement etc.

When Prana is used efficiently and there is a free flow, our biological functions happen without any hindrance. But once the economy is disturbed, Prana keeps making choices about what to do now and what to do later. For example, if you fall down and get injured, Prana will concentrate on the repair of tissues and for a while suspend digestion. It may increase the temperature of the body to discourage infections. It may even allow the cells around the injured site to swell up allowing the injured area more resources. Now when we choose to do karma outside our biological functions (e.g. a student studying or an employee working in office), we have to learn and use our talents. If these are not aligned with our own internal dispositions or interests, it causes stress or disturbs the rhythm.

When you are under stress, there is a perceived danger, which leads to using up of Prana quickly leading to fatigue. When you do actions that you love, there is a free flow of energy all over. This state is called Yoga (union) where you feel one with the Universe and actions look effortless. Many would have had these moments of ‘flow’ once in a while when they feel very connected. People who choose professions that are aligned with their natural talent often have prolonged periods of health and happiness. These people can replenish their energies with very little rest. It is like running a motor with less friction.

Yoga, pranayama and meditation were all invented to economically channelize Prana to keep the body working at peak efficiencies to maximize human potential. Learning to recognize and harness Prana will have great benefits for health.