The effect of prana on the body
09 December 2013,10:37:20 BST
Life starts with an inhalation – as a new-born it's the first time we receive prana through our own inhalation into our lungs. Although prana was there at the very beginning, the time of conceiving, this is the first active intake of prana.
Prana is the life force, an energy we not only experience through breath but also through our lifestyle, the way we behave, what we eat, how we interact with others, our feelings. Prana is much more than just air that fills our lungs.
There is universal prana that is all around us; everything has prana, is prana. And then there is individual prana, the prana contained in our body that enters our physical body through the soul.
This individual prana has 5 functions/seats in the body:
• Uḍāna (arms, legs, head) responsible for swallowing food; speaking, singing, laughing and crying.
• Prāṇa (chest area) responsible for respiration and beating of the heart.
• Samāna (navel area) responsible for digestion and cell metabolismn; also responsible for heat regulation.
• Apāna (abdominal area) responsible for excretion through lungs and excretory systems
• Vyāna (whole body) responsible for the circulation of blood and the voluntary muscular system.
The energy of these different pranas pervades our body and it is very important that we distribute the prana evenly in our system, that we keep it flowing beautifully and that we nourish it.
Through the practice of Pranayama, we do exactly that, we help the prana to flow in our body and direct it to the parts that need more attention by choosing between the different breathing exercises. We control our breath and gain control over prana. Each Pranayama has a different pattern and therefore a different effect on our body as well as on our health. It can cure many medical ailments and strengthen our body and immune system. By controlling the prana we also control the mind which cures mind-related ailments and issues such as worries, anxiety, restlessness, cravings, only to mention a few.
On a spiritual level Pranayama helps us to connect with our subtle body and to awaken unknown energy through the help of prana to such an extent that one can reach pure bliss.
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