“Energy is the living, vibrating ground of your being, and it is your body’s natural self-healing elixir, its natural medicine.” – Donna Eden
Try this practice to give you a sense of what energy or charge in your body feels like. Sit comfortably with a straight spine, extend your arms directly out in front of you and begin to rub your palms together till you feel warmth. Then seperate your hands a few centimetres apart and feel into the subtle energy field between the palms, it might feel like tingling, buzzing or a slight magnetic pull. This is energy or charge!
A recent issue of New Scientist features a story on the discovery of the electrome. It states that every cell in your body is a tiny battery, providing electricity with the immense power to shape and heal you. We know that nerves and muscle cells make use of electricity, but it turns out that the membrane around every one of your 40 trillion or so cells also act like a a little battery. As I was reading this it occurred to me that this is science discovering what ancient practices had already described. This bioelectrical activity is found in all part of nature and sounds to me like prana.
In the perspective of yoga, prana is the primordial energy of the universe and is dispersed through the entire material world. The availability and circulation of prana in the body is related to our health. In Dru Yoga this is why we begin classes with activation that gives us access to our vital force or prana. When we feel tired, we often do have adequate energy, but much of our vital force may be lying dormant stored within the organs, soft tissues and the joints. The energy that flows is called prana shakti (life energy) and manifests itself differently in all the layers of our being or the koshas. In the pranamaya kosha (subtle or energetic layer) you may feel this energy as heat, cold, tingling, seeing light and colours.
In Dru there is a sequence of movements called the Prana Kriyas (kriya means movement or action) that are practiced to balance the five pranas and optimise meditation. There are five streams or winds of prana known as the prana vayus.
- Prana Vayu flows inwards and upwards in the chest, it is the process that allows us to absorb energy.
- Samana Vayu flows from side to side in the centre of the abdomen, it allows us to assimilate energy.
- Udana Vayu flows upwards in the neck, head and limbs, it allows us to express energy.
- Apana Vayu flows downward in the lower abdomen, it allows us to let go of unwanted, toxic energy.
- Vyana Vayu flows throughout the body and the aura surrounding it, it allows us to connect.
The movements of the Dru Prana Kriyas focus our energy and help to remove blockages that hinder us in our experience of meditation. As you practice them regularly you may find that your physical and mental processes become more balanced. This sequence does take time to work as the movements are subtle and not just of a physical nature. In order to experience their full benefits, the breath and energy awareness is more important than the actual physical movement.
Science tells us that energy is the cause of all natural phenomena and the widest definition of energy is the potential to change. The ancient sages who wrote the Vedas already knew this, they described the universe as being composed of two things, prana (energy) and akasha (space). High prana results in rich, bright, vibrant experience whereas low prana brings dullness, lethargy and dysfunction. In meditation we find high levels of prana help us to sit with energy.
If you ever feel low in prana head outdoors in nature and connect with the earth stream that flows up from beneath us and the sky stream that flows down to the earth. This is more prevalent in the presence of life such as forests and near the ocean. Practicing the vertical alignment breath barefoot on the earth helps us to connect to these streams of energy or prana.
“Everything is energy and that’s all there is to it. Match the frequency of the reality you want and you cannot help but get that reality. It can be no other way. This is not philosophy. This physics.” – Albert Einstein