Definition - What does Prana mean?

Prana is a Sanskrit word that has a number of interpretations in English, including "life force," "energy" and "vital principle." The term is used in Hindu and yogic philosophy to refer to all the manifest energy in the universe, present in both living beings and inanimate objects.

A practitioner of yoga may wish to gain a greater understanding of prana in order to be able to extend and improve their own energy and thereby improve their health and wellness.

In the energy body, prana is said to flow through energy channels known as nadis.

Yogapedia explains Prana

Prana is an ancient concept and is referred to in many Hindu scriptures and texts, such as the Upanishads and the Vedas. These texts state that prana originates from Atman.

From the Sanskrit an, meaning "movement," and pra, meaning "constant," prana means “constant motion,” and refers to the idea that vital or life force energy is always dynamic.

Prana is often understood in relation to the physical body and health and wellness through the chakras. It is thought that when someone is well and balanced, prana flows freely through the seven major chakras. However, when there are blockages or imbalances, they may manifest as physical or emotional issues.

In the human body, prana is said to flow through energy channels called nadis. There are said to be thousands of nadis, but the three main ones are:

  • Ida - Located to the left of the spine. This is the introverted, lunar channel.
  • Pingala - Located to the right of the spine. This is the extroverted, solar channel.
  • Sushumna - Located along the center of the spine. This is the central channel, which the energy of Kundalini awakening flows through.

Prana is believed to flow in and out of the body through the breath. A yogi may use techniques such as pranayama to enhance their energy. Performing yoga asanas can also help prana to flow more freely.

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