“The more willing you are to surrender to the energy within you, the more power can flow through you”. Shakti Gawain
Energy is an important focus in the yogic sciences. There are a few words for “energy” such as prana, shakti, ojjas and kundalini. Prana is the most commonly used term.
“Prana is cosmic energy, the dynamism of life. According to yogis, it is present in the air, in our food, in our water, in sunlight, in nature. It has no chemical or physical form, but it is our true nourishment, for without prana there can be no life” Andre van Lysebeth
Prana is a very deep subject, but the bottom line is, the more prana we have and manages well enough, the better we feel. Prana flows in etheric channels or pathways called “nadis”, a Sanskrit word meaning “little rivers, channels or streams”. In acupuncture, these pathways are referred to as “merridians”. We could simply call it “charge”, “life force” or “spirit”.
This in an ancient drawing depicting a map of the nadis.
Subtle nadis can become blocked, clogged or temporarily corrupted by negative thinking, or by certain lifestyle choices, or by our social and familial conditioning and programming, or perhaps environmental circumstances. When blocked, prana does not flow freely and therefore directly affects the body/mind which is totally dependent on energy.
We all have familiar methods of freeing our energy, but some of the deeper blocks can use some help. In this sense yoga becomes energy medicine. Nadis can be unblocked through practices such as asana, pranayama, chant, mudras, yoga nidra and dance. This allows us greater access to meditation, a powerful source of prana.
The mind and body are very sophisticated instruments and without the pranic charge, they become listless or lifeless. If you leave a nice crisp piece of romaine lettuce sitting on the shelf for two or three days, it will lose its’ charge. The water begins to evaporate and colour fades. The lettuce becomes pale and limp.
We are like this. If we have lots of prana, we stand up straight and feel inspired to follow our dreams. When our energy is low we feel out of sorts, a little like a wilting lettuce leaf. If our prana reserves (ojjas) are really down, our immune system weakens and we become susceptible to disease. Negative thinking is also takes hold and becomes more difficult to deal with.
Our task is to discover how to access, store and best manage the prana we have available to us. This results in greater joy in life and gives us the strength to bear hardship. Aside from the natural environment, we have access to vast amounts of prana that lay within us, because we are directly connected to the unified field of consciousness, the Cosmic soul/God, the superconsciousness which pervades the whole universe. We are not just human, we are first and foremost spiritual beings. We are Beings with a Human body.
“a genuine smile distributes the cosmic current (prana) to every body cell. The happy person is less subject to disease, for happiness actually attracts into the body a greater supply of the Universal Life energy.” Parmahansa Yogananda