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Thursday, July 27, 2017

My Prana Went Off

I'm exploring the five layers or sheaths known in yoga as Koshas and trying to apply them to my life. For the first couple of weeks, I centered mostly on what is known as the Annamaya Kosha, or the physical sheath... it's a lot about how we nourish our bodies with food and exercise.  But it cannot stand alone.

Our mental state, our energy, our insights, our contentment... it all plays a part.

For the third week, I focused more on the second kosha - Pranamaya.  This is our life force, the energy that holds all the physical form together and makes it work.  Without it, we would not exist physically.

Our physical self care is critical for our wellness.  We all know that eating healthy and moving our bodies is important for our health.  But it goes even deeper.  When I'm feeling low, I know that getting a shower helps raise my energy.  Washing my face helps.  And, I believe dressing up or wearing make-up is not necessarily wearing a mask.  It is self care if it helps raise you rather than hide you. It has an important role to play.  But like anything, if the focus is only on that, or if your identity relies on it, it is unbalanced.

Our Western medical system (and, frankly, our society) focuses on the physical.  But.... when this life force we call prana - our energy of existence - is out of whack, our physical self responds by going out of whack too.  So.... you just can't have one without the other.

Our prana is used as we move through life.  We need to replenish it.  Just like we eat to fuel ourselves.  We don't eat once... we eat regularly to replenish our bodies' needs.  Prana works the same way.

You can replenish your prana in many ways.... and you're probably doing some of this already:
  • sunlight - some yogis believe the sun is the ultimate source of prana
  • fresh whole foods
  • pranayama - breathwork
So, I had a few good days of feeling energetic and well, and my body was not quite so stiff.  And then, I had a day of feeling tired and stiff.  My energy was low.  This day grew into a few days.  I try not to allow these days to spiral out of control now... rather, I notice and do what I think might help shift things.  I started realizing that maybe my prana is out of whack and this was affecting my energy.

The day before I felt like this, I had limited sunshine and I ate kinda not great.  I also did not practice yoga nor pranayama that day, and my meditation was short.

I've decided to start practicing pranayama daily.  Just add it into my yoga and/or meditation routine. Pranayama, or breath control, can help raise or simmer your energy.  I did a couple of Facebook Live demonstrations last week.  You can view them here:

Kapalabhati Pranayama (This video is about 15 minutes and explains a bit about energy in general)
Sitali Pranayama (This video is about 5 minutes)

I'm still on my wellness adventure.  This week I am going on a 3 1/2 day Enlightenment Intensive, where I will be silent and contemplate, meditate, commune with nature, and experience about 40 dyads.  A dyad is two people in turn practicing mindful listening or answering one question for the entire 3 1/2 days - my question is 'Who Am I?'

I will let you know how it goes.  In the meantime, I'll be practicing my pranayama!


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