Sadhguru explains how to use prana to take charge of your physiological health
Prana means vital energy. Whatever you do in life, how your body, your mind, and your whole system function is ultimately determined by your prana. There are five basic manifestations of prana in the body – prana vayu, samana vayu, udana vayu, apana vayu, and vyana vayu – which direct different aspects of the human mechanism. Through Yogic practices, you can take charge of them.
Using the Air Element to Transform Yourself
Most of the Yogic practices that involve an element of breathing are aimed towards prana vayu, and the element of air. The quality of the air that we breathe and how we breathe largely determines people’s surface experience of life.
What can we do with air? We can pollute it. We can purify it. Above all, we can use air as a force of transformation in our lives. I would say almost ninety-nine percent of the people today are only concerned about how to navigate their way through the world in a reasonably pleasant and successful manner. There are very few who seek to become perceptive to another dimension of life. In this context, prana vayu becomes most significant. There is a certain immediacy about air or vayu, which makes it very responsive and gives it the ability to transform or to bring about changes very quickly. A certain level of mastery over this prana instantly enhances the sharpness of the intellect. Your emotions get a little more stable, organized, and sweet. And you can do some physical activity better than you used to. For most people, these three aspects are all they want in life.
The impact of the air that we breathe is very immediate. You can go without food for eight to ten days without causing damage to the system. You can go without water for up to three-and-a-half days without causing damage to the system. But most people can go without air for only three-and-a-half to five minutes. With some practice, you can stay without air for longer periods, but this involves a little bit of cheating. If you manage to keep your metabolic activity very low, you do not need to breathe through your nostrils but you breathe through your skin. As there is perspiration, there is also respiration, or movement of air through the skin. If you substantially activate the prana vayu, you can survive for a longer period of time without breathing through your nostrils.
Of all the elements, air or wind is the one that can generate maximum force. That is true both in the outside atmosphere and within the human system. If you learn to activate it, it will make you phenomenally strong – not necessarily in terms of muscular strength but in terms of life. The sheer energy that you carry will set you apart. You will seem to have a limitless amount of energy. There is no such thing as limitless energy, though – only in other people’s perception, it appears like that.
If your prana vayu is really active, you will be able to manage your time well. Life is a combination of time and energy. If you keep your energy or the prana vayu very intense, you will seem to have more time. People are desperately trying to stretch time, though it is rolling away for both you and me at the same pace. But if you manage your energy well, what someone does in ten years, you could do in one year. That means if you live for a hundred years, you would have lived for a thousand years in people’s experience. In terms of profoundness of experience and impact, your time would get enhanced because you managed your energy. Activity will happen out of the effervescence of your energy, not out of effort.
Taking Charge of Prana
Physiological health cannot be guaranteed one hundred percent for external reasons. But psychological wellbeing can be one hundred percent guaranteed if you take charge of your prana. If you are psychologically in an extremely good place, a few physiological issues will not be a problem. Most of the time, minor bodily conditions are less of an issue than the reactions to them that happen in your mind.
Suppose your hand does its own thing and pokes you in the eye, scratches, and beats you – that is a sickness. This is what most people’s mind is doing. Every day, it pokes them from inside, makes them cry, bawl, or worry – in so many ways, it creates suffering for them. That means it is sick, even if in a socially accepted manner. Right now, a whole lot of people are psychologically imbalanced, though not everyone may have a medical diagnosis. Every kind of suffering that human beings are going through day in and day out is created in the mind. This sickness has set in, and it will multiply because of the social structures, the technology around us, and various other influences.
Unless we act now, in the next fifty years, the number of people who are psychologically imbalanced, disturbed, or deranged will increase many times over, due to various factors in our lifestyles. We are handling many aspects of our lives in a grossly negligent way, for which we are going to pay the price.
If you take charge of your prana, whatever the external situation may be, you will remain psychologically balanced. Various types of methods are available through which every human being can do this. There are ways to improve the very way the fundamental life force within you functions – there is a whole science and technology for this.
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Sadhguru is a yogi, author, and internationally renowned speaker. In 1992, he established the Isha Foundation, a non-profit organisation offering transformational yoga programmes for inner wellbeing and inspiring social outreach initiatives. His book Inner Engineering: A Yogi’s Guide to Joy (2016), was a New York Times bestseller. In 2017, Sadhguru was conferred the Padma Vibhushan award by the Government of India in recognition of his contribution towards exceptional and distinguished service. A new video platform, Sadhguru Exclusive, offers never-before-seen content, including: Rare & Unseen: videos from private and intimate meets, Spiritual Guidance: Seeker’s Compass – a collection of Sadhguru’s answers over the last three decades, addressing every predicament a seeker could face.
Bookshelf: Death: An Inside Story by Sadhguru, published by Penguin Ananda, paperback (376 pages).
Discover further details on prana, and other unique insights into mysticism, spirituality, life, death and beyond in Sadhguru Exclusive, the extraordinary new video platform.
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