What is Prana Yoga?
Yoga is an activity and one of the most popular leisure activities in our modern society. In its teaching, there are different elements that correspond to a specific principle and each play a specific role. The practice is grafted to needs and remedies. In this article, Yogom will make you discover what prana is, what it means and what it is used for
What does it mean?
It is difficult to define what prana yoga is since it has several definitions. V.S. Apte, an Indian lexicologist, proposes nearly 14 different translations. One of them would be that in Sanskrit it would correspond to a combination between -ana which means breath and -pra which means the beginning or a forward movement, but can also mean very “. It encompasses the vital principle of breathing as well as its organic manifestation.
The term pranas in the plural: prāṇās refers to a set of five pranas or vayus: prana, apana, udana, samana and vyana, each of which have their own meaning and purpose. This is what we will see in the rest of this article. The concept of prana is a historical part of yoga, but also in Hinduism since Prāṇāhuti is the divine energy used for human transformation.
Prana means the vital breath. It is the higher self that manifests itself and moves throughout the body. Its element isair and it is associated with the heart chakra, its role is to give strength to the vital organs. Prana is a complex and multidimensional energy, it is composed of different mental, electromagnetic and thermal energies. The pranic energy is divided into three main paths: the ida nadi, pingala nadi and sushumna nadi located along the spine, the sushumna is static while the ida and pingala revolve around it. Ida and sushumna can influence the flow of prana thanks to the ions of which they are composed. The pingala is charged withpositive ions unlike the other two which are charged with negative ions. These currents influence the prana but their opposite effects can influence each other and the consciousness.
The Apāna means the inspired breath and has the earth and the root chakra as its element. Its role is to eliminate what has become useless. TheApāna gives energy during childbirth. In the body, it acts in particular on the kidneys, the rectum and the colon. It brings emotional and physical stability. In order to increaseapāna, reclining, sitting or cross-legged postures are to be favored. The Sun Salutation, for example, is a perfect position. This one consists in standing on a mat, feet together and back straight, then pulling the arms back to open the chest. Then the yogi bends down to touch his feet with his hands and descend into a lunge. A non-slip mat style like the Star line made from natural rubber is recommended for these positions.
Udāna is the vital breath that irrigates the upper part of the body, it is the least dense of the five. It is located in the throat larynx, vocal cords and throat. It therefore represents the force of expression. Exercises such as Nadi Shodhana or alternate breathing can be an excellent stimulus for the udana. These exercises are mainly done with the help of a mudra which is a specific position of the hands. To perform this activity, you must place the thumb of your right hand against your right nostril, the ring finger is on the left nostril while the index and middle fingers apply pressure between the eyebrows. The goal is to inhale deeply while releasing the pressure on the nostrils before plugging the right one to inhale from the left and then plugging the left one to exhale from the right. This activity is good for your health as it improves your breathing and blood circulation.
The element of Samana is fire and it is associated with the solar plexus chakra, the one that coordinates the udana and apāna. In the body, the samana handles digestion and eliminates or preserves the various nutrients. In order to stimulate the Samana several positions including the Tree. In the Tree Pose, the yogi stands with his right foot against his left thigh and his hands together above his head. The Virasana posture also called the hero posture can also be performed to stimulate the solar plexus chakra. It consists in sitting with the heels on each side of the body. From bricks can be used when performing this posture. They are placed under the buttocks to avoid applying too much pressure on the knees. These postures allow the yogi to concentrate on his energy.
How is it practiced?
Because of its very subjective meaning, the teaching of pranas can vary greatly depending on the teacher, the area and the discipline of yoga being taught and has evolved over the centuries. It is often adapted according to the beliefs of teachers and specialists. Pranayama is a style of breathing exercise often practiced in yoga practices such as hatha yoga and kundalini. Kundalini is a very spiritual style of yoga that aims at mastering the energy in order to awaken the mind and consciousness. Through asanas -postures- and breath techniques called pranayama as well as meditation in order to achieve its goal.
It is a style that dates back to the end of the 19th century before appearing in the United States in 1969. It is taught in nearly 210 centers in France. If you want to learn more about kundalini, please read our article on this discipline . If you access our youtube channel, you can also find kundalini yoga sessions . Prana kriya is a practice that allows the purification of the body through breathing. During a session, the yogi performs 12 breaths to awaken, purify and coordinate the energy system.
Where is it practiced?
There are several prana yoga centers in France. The main studio is located in the city of Caen in the northwest of France. It offers several activities around this practice. He also offers classes in other styles, as well as mindfulness meditation classes. Another center in the Haute-Alpes offering retreats and training with discovery activities of prana yoga. These trainings do not have unlimited numbers, so it is important to register in order to be able to participate in a menu.
What are its virtues?
The main goal of prana yoga is to strengthen the energies of the different chakras of the body. In a western society where people work in multinational companies, it is rare to turn to traditional medicine. Prana yoga can greatly improve the life of the person practicing yoga. As seen previously, several styles of yoga can be practiced to stimulate the chakras such as kundalini. Kriya breathing exercises are both healthy and can improve the lives of practitioners while calming their minds. The style of yoga practiced depends on what the person is looking for, practical, dynamic, sporty or on the contrary soft. Prana yoga is known to be good for mental and emotional health.
If you want to learn more about the practice of yoga and which style is best for you, Yogom recommends the article “ what type of yoga to practice? “