Vital energy or Prana
What is vital energy or prana?
According to yoga philosophy, there are five main forms of vital energy or prana. All our energy is divided into these five types and a healthy balance between them is essential to enjoy good health, physically, mentally and emotionally.
Each class of prana is related to a part or function of the body and therefore has a direct effect on our health. If a body part is at a low level of prana it ceases to function properly. Although we continually generate prana, with age, we increasingly create less and we have to use prana that has been stored in the body to meet all our needs (digestion, exercise, work etc) but eventually theses stores will become depleted and the body will stop functioning.
However, there are exercises and practices to develop and strengthen each type of prana, enabling us to achieve physical and mental wellbeing at any age.
The five main types of prana are:
Prana: The energy of the lungs. Controls the area between the diaphragm and throat and is associated with the air element. It maintains the function of vital organs, especially the heart. It is enhanced with breathing exercises.
Udana: The energy of the nervous system. If it is balanced it makes us feel light and carefree. It controls the area of the throat and head, plus muscle function and the senses. When there is an imbalance of Udana we find it hard to create ideas and communicate effectively. It is also related to throat problems that have been caused by an emotional blockage.
Samana: The energy of the digestive fire. It influences digestion as well as the management of our emotions. It moves mainly between the navel and the heart. It helps separate the nutrients from the toxins and when it is not working properly, the body cannot eliminate toxins. It also influences the mind, allowing us to separate beneficial information from that which is not. An imbalance of Samana can cause mental instability.
Apana: The energy of Apana performs a downward movement and eliminates what the system does not need. It works with the kidneys, intestines and bladder. It is also a very important for the reproduction process. A lack of Apana can make us feel unmotivated, lazy and even confused.
Vyana: Vyana is an energy that coordinates and connects all the energies of the body through a network of 72,000 nadis or energy channels. Associated with the water element, Vyana is like an emergency prana that keeps the system running when another prana fails. Vyana imbalance can cause a lack of coordination and perception as well as disconnection between mind and body.
Regular practice of Yoga and Meditation is the best way to maintain a healthy balance between the five Pranas and enjoy a high level of physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.