The past two mornings our theme for Satsang has been Prana, the vital energy of all life. Prana is the thread between the astral and the physical bodies. Living in a community, we are constantly exposed to others’ Prana, and although we may not see it, we feed off of the energy of others and they feed off of us. Thus, we must learn how to control our Prana. Our energy body is beyond anything physical–it is our true, eternal nature.
Swami Sivananda wrote a beautiful essay on Pranayama, discussing the ways we can recognize Prana and then control it. Here is an excerpt from the essay in Bliss Divine.
“Through Prana the gods live, and also do men and beasts. Prana is verily the life of beings. Therefore it is called the universal life or the life of all.
Prana is the universal principle of energy or force. It is vital force. it is all-pervading. It may be either in a static or a dynamic state. IT is found in all forms from the highest to the lowest, from the ant to the elephant, from the unicellular amoeba to a man, from the elementary form of plant life to the developed form of animal life.
Prana is force on every plane of being, from the highest to the lowest. Whatever moves or works or has life, is but an expression or manifestation of Prana.
It is Prana that shines in your eyes. It is through the power of Prana the ears hear, the eyes see, the skin feels, the intellect do their functions. The smile in a young lady, the melody in the music, the power in the emphatic words of an orator, the charm in the speech of one’s beloved, are all due to Prana. Rivers flow through Prana. The aeroplane moves in the air through Prana. The steam engine works through Prana. Trains and motor cars move through Prana. Radio waves travel through Prana. Prana is electron. Prana is force. Prana is magnetism. Prana is electricity. It is Prana that pumps the blood from the heart into the arteries or blood vessels. It is Prana that does digestion, excretion and secretion.
Prana is expended by thinking, willing, acting, moving, talking, writing, etc. A healthy, strong man has abundance of Prana or nerve-force or vitality.
The Prana is supplied by food, water, air solar energy, etc. The supply of Prana is taken up by the nerve system. The Prana is absorbed by breathing. The excess of Prana is stored in the brain and nerve centres. WHen the seminal energy is sublimated or transformed, it supplies abundance of Prana to the system. It is stored up in the brain in the form of Ojas. Ojas is nothing but Prana.
The Yogin stores an abundance of Prana by regular practice of Pranayama just as the storage battery stores electricity. That Yogin who has stored up a large supply of Prana radiates strength and vitality all around. He is a big powerhouse. Those who come in close contact with him imbibe Prana from him, and get strength, vigour, vitality and exhilaration of spirits. Just as water flows from one vessel to another, Prana actually flows like steady current from a developed Yogin towards weak persons. This can be actually seen by the Yogin who has developed his inner Yogic vision.”