What Is Prana?

Prana Vayu and Life Force

Prana (also known as Prana Vayu), or life force, is the Sanskrit word for the energy that permeates everything in the universe. Prana is an extremely important concept to understand, as it has an inescapable link to the process of enlightenment for Hindus, Buddhists, and Tantric traditions.

For those that practice these eastern traditions, the concept of prana cannot be overstated!

The practitioner, through deep concentration and meditation-related practices, shifts the awareness within by withdrawing the prana into the spine and brain, where he then experiences higher levels of consciousness. Eventually, this brings the person to enlightenment by lifting the Kundalini force in the spine into the brain.

SEE ALSO: How To Raise Your Kundalini


Prana and the Nadis

In Hinduism, there are channels or “tubes” of Pranic energy in the body called Nadis. There are literally around 72,000 Nadis, but the three main Nadis are the Ida, Pingala, and Sushumna.

  • Ida- This energy channel relates runs along the right side of the spine and correlates to the right brain. However, it’s energy flows into the left side of the body.
  • Pingala- This energetic channel runs along the left side of he spine and correlates to the left brain. However, it’s energy flows into the right side of the body.
  • Sushumna- This channel is actually the most important of the three. As the practitioner becomes very calm and the prana reverses its flow, the central channel of the spine, the Sushumna, comes into play. This tube contains the Kundalini energy which is lifted into the brain and into the higher Chakras, achieving enlightenment.

Pretty cool huh? By balancing the energy of the body (usually by breathing techniques), a practitioner can lift the powerful serpentine energy of the spine and find higher levels of awareness.


Vayus

Just as there are energy “channels” or tubes, there are different expressions of Prana Vayu in the body. There are called Vayus. Prana Vayu is the sum total of all the energy we contain, but it manifests differently for different purposes in the body. There are 5 main Vayus:

  • Prana- The heartbeat and breath. Through breathing techniques, the energy in the body is withdrawn into the spine and higher Chakras into the brain.
  • Apana- Elimination of waste.
  • Udana- The expression of the vocals, such as singing or speaking.
  • Samana- Digestion and regulation of heat in the body. It also creates auras.
  • Vyana- The voluntary muscular system.

Conclusion

As you can see, Prana Vayu is a very important concept in eastern traditions! Without it, we cannot exist. By controlling this life-force, we’re able to connect on a deep level to higher levels of consciousness and perception, and even achieve enlightenment.

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Matt Caron

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Matt is the content manager of the Sivana blog, an enthusiastic Yoga teacher, and life voyager. He strives to inspire…

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