What is Prana?
We have heard about Yoga and Pranayama. Prana is a Sanskrit word and the translation in English is still not apt or possible in a single word or a bunch of statements. Prana is mostly translated in English as ‘Life Force’ and many also refer Oxygen as Prana.
I am not a Sanskrit scholar to give translation. However, by reading different texts, I tried to grasp what the ancients mean by Prana. Prana means Energy and my Explanation for the same is as below:
Light is a source of Energy as we say. But Light contains Photon which are particle in nature. Science also says that Photon contains quantum of Energy. By this, Photon carries Energy is the understanding.
In a similar sense, Oxygen is a matter(gas) but it in-turn will carry Energy(assume). The Matter is of Four State as identified(solid,liquid,gas,plasma) and these are all the manifestations of Energy and in-turn will carry Energy as well. A Photon is a manifestation of Energy and it in turn will carry Energy.
We intake air,Water and Food. We also have Vision, Sound, Taste and Smell has Inputs. The Energy from Air, Water and Food will be referred to as Prana. In other sense, If we breathe Pure air, we intake more Prana and if the air is impure and polluted, the prana will be less. Same with contaminated and polluted water and food. In that sense, Vegetarian Food will have more Prana than non-vegetarian food.
Air(Oxygen),Water and Food are important for our survival. Lets see How it works,
We drink Water(Prana) and it forms the blood and We eat food(Prana) which gets mixed in the blood and We breathe Oxygen(Prana) which burns the Food and supplies Energy as well as revitalizes the Body. There is a Channel for the Prana Flow in the Body. These Channels are called as Nadis.
What are Nadis?
Nadis are the nostrils, esophagus and Blood vessels. These are the channels in which the prana(Energy) flows.
There are two nostrils called as Ida and Pingala and the connecting point of the two nadis is called sushumna. If there are any blocks in the nostrils, the flow of Energy may get hindered and hence techniques like Pranayamana are of help.
Just like sushumna is a connecting Point for two nostrils, there are in total 72,000 connecting points in the blood vessels as well which are called as Chakras.
What are Chakras?
Chakras are the junction points for the Energy flow. If we connect two pipes for the flow of water and in case there is a block or hold in the junction, the flow or speed of water might get reduced. In a similar way, if there is any blockage in the blood vessel connecting points, the flow of prana could get affected. Pranayamana technique will be effective in the nostril and esophagus and it cannot be as effective in the blood vessels. Precaution is needed to maintain the blood(which carries prana) and this can be done by taking hygienic food which doesn’t contain any cholesterol and other junk. A fresh green vegetable has more prana than the dead meat. A fruit has more prana than the cooked food. A Fruit Juice has more prana than tea or coffee.
Seven Chakras and its Significance:
Of the 72,000 connecting points in the nadis(blood vessels) the Seven are the main Chakras. This number as such 72,000 may be associated with the heart beat(72 times) and the pulse rate(about 72 times). These are the termed as Main chakras as they are in line with the nervous system of the spinal cord. Hence whatever you think(mind), you will likely to spend the energy on that thought. For example, if you think about eating ice cream, you will use your energy thinking about icecream and focus on them to start an action with or without conscious. You may satisfy the thought by buying an ice cream and even if you don’t buy it now, you would have this thought pending which can affect your other routine works and in spending enough energy on them or concentrating.
The Seven Chakras will correspond to the endocrine glands in the human body and if there is any thought in the mind, the brain will command the endocrine glands to produce hormones. If the Mind is in fear, the brain would command the adrenal glands to secrete androgen and you would likely to spend your energy on fear and survival. This is True because when there is someone coming to kill you with a knife and we are hiding under a bed, we feel a sudden rise in Energy level in the body and there will be heavy breathe to supply more prana for the exhausting energy.