Column: Yogi Ashwani

Power of Prana

Modern science believes oxygen is life and in an indispensable energy for life. Yogis have proved that it is not the breath but the prana which is responsible for life in the body. Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati in his book Prana, Pranayama, Prana Vidya has beautifully narrated how his Guru bhai Swami Nadbrahamanand demonstrated in the US, the power of prana.

The complete philosophy of yog is based on prana. Prana is 'the force' in the universe; there is nothing devoid of prana in the entire creation. Everything is prana the only thing which distinguishes one from the other is the unique frequency of prana vibrating in them. Prana is also the life force in a living body. Breath, food, water etc are all sources of prana. One can survive without breath but not prana, even for a second. That is how yogis who have mastered the breath through yogic kriyas survive in the state of samadhi. Apparently they seem to be lying in a state of hibernation but it is a completely alert state, fully conscious with their awareness at its peak. They survive for longs periods of time without food, water, light, or even breath. This was proven in an experiment at the Louisiana University on Swami Nadbrahmanad. He was seated inside a glass enclosure with a set of tabla. His body was smeared with wax to prevent any air flowing in through any part of the body. Along with him a candle was lit inside the glass enclosure. After some time the candle got extinguished when the oxygen ran out, but he continued to play non-stop tabla for 45 minutes. How did this happen? It can happen only if there is something other than oxygen that is necessary for survival.

Thus it was scientifically proven that life sustains in the body on the life force called prana. With the practices of certain pranayamas the yogic practitioner learns to derive prana from sources other than oxygen, food water, etc. and is able to hold on to the prana for long periods without the body going into a state of trauma. So technically speaking, pranayama uses breathing to influence the flow of the prana in the energy body through the nadis (energy channels). A word of caution here, all pranayamas should only be done under the guidance of a Guru, as prana is the most potent energy, which needs to be channelised according to the individual's capacity. Wrong practice can damage the body beyond repair. Never forget each person is a unique frequency, his/her state of balance and requirements are also unique, therefore any yogic practice is done keeping the individual requirement in consideration.

—The writer Yogi Ashwini Ji is the head of Dhyan Foundation, Delhi.
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July 2007

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