The Power Of Prana
Where attention goes, energy flows
You might have heard that the purpose of asana is to sit in meditation. This is a bit of a misconception as it is based on the Raja Yoga method and Patanjalis Sutras. But via the Tantric based Hatha practices, we are learning to cultivate the power of energy that we have within.
“The Hatha Yogin’s primary objective is to intercept the oscillating current of the life-force within his own body”
George Feuerstein from the Encylopedia of Hatha and Tantra.
Prana, often translated as “Life Force”, is the energy that moves through the body in channels called nadis of which there is purported to be between 72,000 and 350,000. In Hatha Yoga the movement of prana is to be directed toward the Sushumna Nadi (Central) to awaken the Kundalini-shakti.
I’ve got great news!
You don’t need to put your foot behind your head or sit for hours in meditation to connect to your Prana or Life Force. And, no one is excluded from connecting to your powerful, transformative life force. We all have prana and we can all connect to it.
We can access our prana by cultivating focused awareness on our internal dialogue through movement and breath. And what do I mean by internal dialogue? Bringing attention to resistance in the body and in the mind. Since my study of fascia began over six years ago, I have noticed that when we remove resistance in the body through the fascial network - we automatically release the movement of energy. And the same can be said when we bring the focus to resistance in the mind. Where fascia or thoughts or beliefs gets stuck - energy gets stuck!
Learning how to release it moving through the body is just the beginning. The upward movement of energy through the spine activates the pineal and pituitary glands, not only signalling the balance of hormones but expanding the power of the mind. The most recent research in trauma and movement therapy is discovering the same thing. We can change our perception and state of being when we use the movement of energy.
The most recent research in trauma and movement therapy is discovering the same thing. We can change our perception and state of being when we use the movement of energy.
Let go of the shape - and embrace and embodied yoga practice
If we let go of the ideas about what asana should look like or even which form of asana is the “right” one, we can focus on what truly matters in the asana practices. What am I cultivating within? And no, it’s not an endorphin rush, although some classes can feel like that’s the aim.
Awareness is the key. And I don’t mean a simple mindfulness, although there is nothing simple about mindfulness. What I mean is something beyond noting that you are aware of a sensation in your body. That is only the beginning.
The better we get at using movement and breath in an embodied scope, we can begin to feel and sense how the release of tension or rigidity in the body allows energy to flow through. Then we begin to become aware that we can control the movement of that energy. My favourite meditation teacher, Dr Joe Dispenza always reminds us “Wherever your awareness is, that is where your energy will flow”.
“Wherever your awareness is, that is where your energy will flow”. - Dr Joe Dispenza
Own your yoga practice
It’s simple, but it’s also not easy. We need to maintain the awareness and harness the ability of the mind to stay focused and clear on the intent. In my classes, instead of telling people what to feel, I ask them to notice things in their bodies. I want them to own their sensations and therefore, cultivate that awareness. It can start with simple noticing of the movement of the rib cage in breathing or the sensation in the spine after a back bend. But once they get that the practice is about looking inwards for that sensation, when we cultivate the prana and the energy through releasing our blockages the next layer appears. We access the subtle body and can then begin to direct the prana.
Whether it be sitting in meditation after an asana practice to cultivate the energy up the spine, or focusing the awareness and therefore the energy to one of the chakra centres it becomes easier. We find our light, our life force moving through us. Then the magic can really happen.
As you continue to practice take the awareness away from the external form and begin to notice sensation under the skin. Is there an aliveness? Can you work with the movement of that aliveness? Send it to your heart, or head and truly feel it. Use the breath as a conductor, and movement as the engine or generator. And then even the most simple of movements can become alive and fascinating in a way that perhaps you’ve never experienced before.
In 2020 I have several Prana Workshops on offer in Europe and one in Dubai. So if you are in the neighbourhood, why not join me!