I thought I might talk a little about Prana today seeing as I mentioned it in my post ‘Tadasana – root down and rise up’ and it is something that you will hear referred to time and time again in any yoga book, blog or class.
Prana is a Sanskrit word, which is a vibrational language and as such cannot be translated using a single word in English. Rather like Chinese Characters, where a picture tells a thousand words, each character is a concept, a picture and therefore can be interpreted in many ways, it has layers of meaning. Well think of each Sanskrit word like a song or a beautiful piece of music, and you can instantly understand that one word will never suffice to translate its true meaning, we have to use many in order to fully appreciate the melody, the harmony, and the rhythm which together tell the story.
Prana is made up of the two syllables pra and an. ‘An‘ literally means movement and pra is a prefix meaning constant, therefore prana can be translated literally as constant movement, and whilst that gives a feel for the song, a peek at the sheet of music, it is only the prelude, the first two bars if you like. I translated Prana in my blog post as Universal Life Force. Wikipedia will tell you it means ‘life force’, ‘vital principle’ or ‘life energy’. You will also see it translated as breath, and other variations on the same theme. All of those are notes in the music, lyrics of the song, but what does the song, the music, feel like when you close your eyes? Because it is when you start to feel a song, a piece of music, its rhythm, melody and meaning permeating you, moving you, when your body starts to sway to the music and you feel your heart, mind and soul touched by it that you really start to understand what the piece of music is all about, the story the song sings.
The term Prana refers to all cosmic energy permeating the universe on all levels, the essence of life. We are all energy, tiny particles in constant motion, everything is alive….
Imagine you are by the sea and you consciously take a deep breath and fill your lungs with the fresh, clean sea air. Go on, close your eyes, you are by the water take a deep cleansing, healing breath in and slowly and completely exhale out.
Did you notice just how many layers there are to that breath? How much more ‘alive’ it feels than your usual automatic unconscious breathing? You can smell the air, that indescribable scent, a mixture of sea and salt, seaweed, sea shells dried fish, and je ne sais quoi…intoxicating you. You can hear the waves crashing against the rocks, or gently lapping up along the shore, the seagulls squawking overhead, the sound of stays ratting against the masts of boats. You can feel the wind on your face and in your hair and the sand between your toes. In your minds eye, you can see the raw power of the sea, the white horses on tops of the waves, the rugged beauty of the cliffs and rocks, the undulating sand dunes and you can taste the salt and the mist in the air. All your senses are activated, each breath energises them, you can feel that energy coursing through you, in and out of you and all around you. Each breath calming, soothing, balancing and yet at the same time revitalising, and rejuvenating.
That, my friends is PRANA. That is the song moving you, cleansing you, healing you, energising you, flowing through you, in you, and all around you, it is all life, all energy, connecting you to nature, to yourself, to the universe.
Wherever you are today, try to tune into the song, take a few deep breaths, filling your lungs with each breath and exhaling slowly and completely, slowing down for a moment to let the melody play, enriching, and enchanting you, harmonise with it, live it, breath it, be it……….
Prana baby………….now that’s what I’m talking about!!
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti
Until next time beautiful souls.