Have you ever wondered what the life force that drives you is? I would like to share here not only the explanation which yoga give us but also my personal experience of how understanding it has been a key element for my transformation towards well-being in my everyday life. You will not regret reading this!
In India they call it Prana, in China and Japan it is Qi, in Hebrew medicine – Ruh, in Polynesia – Mana, the Mayans called it Chu’lel and the Greeks – Pneuma, in English it is translated to vital energy, the one of our life force. But what does it really consist of? It is a concept little known in our western latitudes but one that is the base of teachings such as yoga, and is considered to be the basis of life.
All living things – plants, animals, earth, sun, air, even minerals and of course us, human beings, are inhabited by prana. It’s the energy that drives us, that makes us move, laugh, cry, breathe, live.
This energy is of course not visible, not measurable, not tangible and therefore difficult to explain scientifically. Yoga, in itself, knows the secret and gives an explanation for the sceptics. Let’s dive into it:
Our physical body is composed of 72’000 Nadis, which could be translated to energy channels that cross our being from the toes through the fingertips and to our very heads. We have 7 main chakras, which are like energy centers in our body, that are located from the base of the spine through to the crown of our heads. Our chakras are connected to our Nadis. They receive, store, create and transmit energy in the body through them.
The energy in question comes from the food we consume coming from the earth, the water we drink, the air that we breathe and as you can imagine – from the sun that shines upon us. Our body then takes a spin of it through all our vital functions and then stores it in our chakras, and more particularly in our solar plexus which is located above our navels.
This is all for the theoretical or academic part, if I can say so. Understanding the notion of this vital energy has been another turning point for me which helped me lead a healthier and more balanced life.
I now know the influence of the food I consume has on me and on my energy, and eat mainly products that have been directly nourished by the sun, such that contain the prana given off by it and which made them grow. When I walk in nature I am fully aware of the energy that surrounds me and intentionally try to absorb it with my 5 senses.
I also know now that not only nature and its effects have an impact on my energy, but also all the experiences that I have on a daily basis. Being connected to my body and my vital energy allowed me to realize what is good for me, or in other words – what gives me prana, and what is not such a good idea, what is empty.
For instance, a nice evening with friends or a relaxing family time fills me up with positive energy. On the other hand, an evening with many people in a noisy restaurant completely empties me, as I return without any energy and my whole being is restless.
Obviously, an argument or just some temporary stress also has a negative effect on it. Even a film, especially if it is violent or stressful, will decrease it.
Yoga has allowed me to become aware of the energy that flows through me. When I’m relaxed or in meditation, I can feel it flowing. And the same goes for the activity of my Nadis, my energetic channels.
Today I choose such activities and situations that are beneficial for me overall, instead of suffering through others that I am not found of. I slowed down the rhythm of my life – I eat healthy foods and try to make them light, I listen to soft music, I burn incense and inhale essential oils, I dress in pastel colours and wear silky fabrics, but above all I organize my social life with the intent of feeding my prana.
Because it is so simple to feed my body and mind with vital energy and because understanding it has been so beneficial to me, I wanted to share it with you too so that you can regain control of your own energy and take care of it.
And as Hippocrates says, “The pneuma, the vital force […] is the greatest force of cohesion and action of all that exists. The space is formed of vital, ethereal energy […], which gives life to men and establishes natural defences from diseases. “
The prana is our most precious asset, it is the life that animates us and taking care of it is the best gift you can give yourself.
I invite you every Sunday morning to take care of your prana and your life, with the help of my workshop Zen for Monday in Geneva.