Saturday, November 25, 2006
Teaching Hatha Yoga: Prana and Pranayama
By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500
Prana, which is also known as vital energy, is in the air, our bodies, and objects around us. One of my students remarked that Prana could not be in his Yoga mat, since it was an inanimate object.
After all, his Yoga mat was not a living being, so how could it contain Prana? How could ancient Yogis know of the existence of Prana about 5,000 years ago?
We cannot visibly see vital energy? None of us can see the mind create ideas either. Yet, the mind creates ideas, and we put them into action, with our voice and hands. So, Prana is not an object.
We cannot see a Yoga mat move, but it is moving all the time - at the atomic level. In fact, your Yoga mat is full of open space at the atomic level. Electrons are flying around in many open spaces within your Yoga mat.
On the other hand, we are born, live, and die, on planet Earth, a moving object, which does not appear to be moving at all. The universe is infinitely vast and infinitely small, at the same time. Prana is the power behind the perpetual movement of the universe. We now know that the universe is moving at every level.
Within Prasna Upinshad, Chapter 2, Verse 5, Prana is described in this way: “It burns as fire. It is the sun, rain, Indra, wind, earth, and it is food. It is the luminous god. It is being and non-being. It is immortality.” To go a bit further on this point, you can see Prana is a power that is everywhere, is not an object, and apparently is difficult for the human mind to define.
We are smug and take our ability to learn for granted. At the touch of our finger tips, the Internet gives us much more access to knowledge than ancient Yogis had in all of their scriptures, and in any other scriptures that existed, on earth, at that time.
However, the ancient Yogis took the time to observe nature and the cosmos. They were in tune with their surroundings and the natural laws of the universe. The ancient Yogis did not have to waste their time with spam and waves of disinformation. Achievements and mistakes are always made, but they documented them, so we could learn from them.
Without tools, computers, or machines, Pranayama is a method to alter Prana at a level, in which the human mind can easily comprehend. Pranayama is Yoga’s answer to regulating Prana, with the breath.
In Yoga, Pranayama can be used to heal in times of need. Pranayama is useful for stress, grief, anxiety, nervousness, and many more ailments, which plague mankind, but Pranayama should be learned with the guidance of a competent Yoga teacher.
For physical health, Pranayama is the most important of Hatha Yoga’s many methods.
© Copyright 2006 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications
If you are a teacher, yoga studio, blogger, e-zine, or website publisher, and are in need of quality content, please feel free to use my blog entries (articles) – Please be sure to reprint each article, as is, including the resource box above. Namaste, Paul