This is a big, massive, awesome, and really important topic. I could write a 5,000-word essay on prana, but for the sake of your eyes and schedules, here’s a more digestible summary. Prana is a Sanskrit word that translates as “vital life force.” In urdu this will called ” Amal-e-Tanaffus ” . Understanding what prana is and how it works is like being given a key that can unlock new improved levels of health and well-being—on the inside and out. Our outermost layer, the physical body, is what we tend to associate with most because it’s tangible—we can see it, feel it, and therefore rationalise it.
My skin is dry. My hair is getting longer. My elbow is sore. Less tangible, but no less real, is the energy that exists within and around the physical body. In yoga, we call this energy prana, the vital life force that sustains life everywhere.
In our physical body, blood flows through veins, capillaries, and arteries. In our energy body, prana flows through energy pathways called nadis (nadi translates as flow). Prana rides on the breath, so when we breathe in, we take in prana. When we expand the breath and improve the quality of it, we are expanding and improving the quality of this vital life force within and around us. This is exactly what yoga breathing techniques, or pranayama, are designed to do. An important aspect of the pranic body are the chakras, or energy centres. In yoga, we focus on the seven major chakras that exist along the line of the spine, each one connected to specific glands and organs of the physical body, as well as areas of our mind that influence our personality.
It is believed by many that health and wellbeing comes when there is a balanced energy flow through each of the seven major chakras. On the flipside, when prana is prevented from flowing naturally, either becoming blocked or overactive at a certain point, it can create disharmony on both a physical and emotional level. All forces, all powers and prana spring from the fountain or common source, known as atman. Heat, light, electricity, magnetism are manifestations of prana. It may be in either a static or a dynamic state. It is found in all forms from the highest to the lowest, from the ant to the elephant, the unicellular amoebae to man, from the elementary forms of plant life to the developed forms of animal life.
Whatever moves 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 that the ear hears, the eye sees, the skin feels, the tongue tastes, the nose smells and the brain and the intellect perform their functions. The smile of a young lady, the melody in music, the power in the emphatic words of an orator, the charm in the speech of one’s beloved are all due to prana. Whatever you behold in this sense-world, whatever moves or works or has life, is but an expression or manifestation of prana.
Prana is force, magnetism and electricity. Radio waves travel through prana. That which moves the steam engine of a train and a steamer, which causes the motion of breath in lungs, that which is the very life of this breath itself, is prana. It is prana that pumps the blood from the heart into the arteries or blood vessels. Through prana digestion, excretion and secretion take place. Prana digests the food, turns it into chyle and blood, and sends it into the brain and mind.