We all contain this subtle life force, as do plants and animals. According to yoga, every living being on the Earth is a storage container for prana, and without it, our physical bodies are merely flesh and bones - the stuff that goes back into the earth when we die. In moments of health and happiness, one could say the prana is balanced. It extends out beyond the physical body and into the field around us, which is often referred to as our auric field.
As we move through life, coming into contact and reacting to all the various energies of people, animals, circumstances, and situations, our pranamaya kosha is naturally affected. It is affected by so many variables – how we breathe, what kinds of foods we eat, the types of conversations and interactions we have, the noises we’re subjected to – all of this impacts our pranamaya kosha.
The good thing is, we can learn to become masters of this energy field - through our lifestyle, and through yoga and meditation. For example, before eating, you might ask yourself, “how will this particular food affect my pranamaya kosha? How will it affect my life force?” The freshest foods closest to their source contain lots of good prana, whereas processed junk foods contain hardly any prana at all. If we consider our dietary choices from this yogic perspective, we can truly shift our relationship with food. It’s quite compelling when you think about it.
Then there’s sound. Our energy bodies are very sensitive to sound. A prelude by Chopin will have a very different effect on our energy field than would the local evening news. The rhythmic sounds of a warm summer rain will affect us differently than the honks and horns of traffic in the midst of a city’s rush our.
Sometimes we can’t control what affects our prana, but we CAN control our reaction to these external circumstances. We also have the ability to influence our prana in a number of ways. We can choose the foods we eat, the music we take in, and the ways in which we interact with our loved ones. We can also intend the kinds of moods or qualities of energy we desire to embody on a particular day or moment.
At times we might need to calm our energies and do so by listening to nature sounds or taking a contemplative walk on a quiet trail near a bubbling creek. Other times we might need to make our prana more dynamic in nature. Perhaps we’re feeling sluggish and need to get the prana flowing. This would be an ideal time for an energizing twenty or thirty minute yoga practice.
The more we practice yoga and meditation, the more sensitive we’ll become to our pranamaya kosha, getting deeper in touch with what it needs from moment to moment. To attune to the pranamaya kosha, let’s sit for a moment in this meditation.
Get comfortable in your seat and close your eyes. Allow the breath to move naturally and see if you can feel into this energy field – your pranic body. Feel the breath sending energy waves throughout your body - out beyond your fingers and your toes. How does your energy feel at the moment? Is it relaxed or fired up? Is it holding onto something that happened an hour ago, a day ago, or even last week or last year? Does it feel balanced or unbalanced?
You’ll probably find that your pranamaya kosha is not unlike your current emotional state. Simply feel into that, as you continue to close your eyes and breathe, with attention and without judgment. Now, intend for your energy to be balanced within your body. If your energy feels stuck in your head, bring it down to your core, your pelvis, your thighs. Just imagine you are distributing your life force equally in all directions.
Feel into your back body, and then your front body. Put your attention there and imagine you are balancing the prana in every direction – from top to bottom, from front to back, from right to left. Simply notice all your energy distributing itself equally in every which way.
Now choose the kind of energy you would like to embody. Maybe you want to feel determined, focused, or passionate. Perhaps you’d like to feel blissfully peaceful or open and loving. The qualities of energy are endless and you get to choose which one to play with. Ask yourself, what quality of energy would be beneficial in this moment or for this particular day?
You can think of the quality of your prana like a theme. For example, today my pranic theme is lightheartedness and playfulness. Or, today my themes are quiet, calm, empathy, and compassion. This can get really fun as you give attention to your energy body and work playfully with it. The more sensitive you become, the better you’ll be at knowing what type of energy medicine you need on a particular day, or in any given moment. Getting in touch with your pranamaya kosha will do wonders for your overall health and well being – not too mention, your entire life! Have fun with it and as always, be kind and compassionate with yourself, as you would with others.
By Aimee Hughes N.D.
Aimee Hughes, ND, is a holistic health writer who has been traveling and exploring the world of natural health and wellness, yoga, dance, and travel for the past two decades. She is the author of a self-published vegan cookbook, “The Sexy Vegan Kitchen: Culinary Adventures in Love & Sex,” available on Amazon. Aimee is the lead writer and health consultant for the Yandara Yoga Institute in Todos Santos, Mexico. [www.yandara.com]
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