Pranayama – Managing Life Force

Day 34: Pranayama is the management of the life force within us.  ‘Prana’ can be translated as life force and ‘ayama’ means extension, drawing out, controlling, restraining.  So pranayama means extending this energy, managing this energy.

In every thought that is created in the mind Prana is involved at the spiritual (subtle energy) level.  All forms of energy manifestations in this Universe have a spiritual background, or spiritual dimension; the pranic dimension.

When someone has a very strong presence, it is pranic energy in manifestation.  If we cut the body, we cannot see that strength of presence but it is prana, it is life force.  In this teaching of prana – it is an Indian teaching at the heart of the Yoga tradition – the entire energy in the Universe is called Prana as well, but it has a capital P.  Prana (with a capital P) is the entire Cosmic Energy in the Universe from which all the other energies emanate.  All the energy manifestations in movement are prana with a small p.

The more spiritually aware we become, the more aware we become of our power to move prana.  Every chakra allows us to bring prana into manifestation from that infinite supply, that infinite store that we have within us.  So as we become more spiritually aware, we will realise that our look towards another with the intention of loving or supporting or showing compassion is a pranic flow; and the stronger our intention, the more the flow of prana.

We see the abundance of prana in fresh fruits.  When we eat them, our body is nourished and we feel an extra vitality; our body picks up the prana.  According to the Yoga tradition, in our pranic body, we have seventy-two thousand (72,000) channels through which prana can flow.  They are associated with our nervous system as well, so the prana system charges up the nervous system.

There is prana (subtle energy) in the air that we breathe.  When we breathe the air into our being, our pranic body picks up that life force and it recharges our body.  If we become in touch with this life force, it is amazing what we can do.  We can bring healing energies through this pranic body – through these seventy-two thousand nadis to any part of our body; recharging the nervous system; stimulating body functions from a spiritual level; bring about healing within the body; and influence the space around us with this vitality, with this presence.  So pranayama is much more than just breathing exercises with moving the breath; it is getting in touch with the energy behind the breath, getting in touch with the life force within us and learning how to manage that.


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