Monday, September 25th 2017

YOGA, PRANA, LOVE: Beyond the fire in the belly

41.JPGPrana: The *love* force. Part 4 of a six-part series.

By RAQUEL TAVARES — Devoted practitioners often talk of the “force” that comes from yoga, which is embodied in the concept known as prana. Prana, also a misunderstood word, is generally thought of as energy, a life force, or a fire in the pit of your belly. Yet it is much more than this — and, like love, it is ineffable.

Also like love, prana gets you through the ups and downs. And it is prana that keeps you coming back for more.

In Light on Pranayama, the godfather of all living yogis, B.K.S. Iyengar, gives the most compelling explanation I’ve ever seen:

It is as difficult to explain Prana as it is to explain God. Prana is the energy permeating the universe at all levels. It is physical, mental intellectual, sexual, spiritual and cosmic energy. All liberating energies are prana. All physical energies such as heat, light, gravity, magnetism and electricity are also prana. It is the hidden or potential energy in all beings released to the fullest extent in times of danger. It is the prime mover of all activity. It is energy, which creates, protects and destroys. Vigor, power, vitality, life and spirit are all forms of prana.

With consistent yoga practice, you will begin to feel and understand Prana. It begins to pierce your Koshas and direct your vayus (subtle energies) in unimaginable ways. Your daily practice begins to take flight. With time, the posture becomes not a chore but a blessing. Prana permeates not only your practice, but also your life, enhancing your relationship with all your surroundings.

This subtle change can take days, years, a lifetime and it occurs only if you are open, aware and willing to surrender to it. You can think of prana as the light that cracks through under your door, or as the nostalgia that rakes up memories of childhoods and past loves. Prana helps you through the most difficult days, empowering you with hope and strength.

NEXT: Chakras, your access points to *love*

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