Prana - Life force energy, vital energy – constantly flowing within and around us.
I love this topic, after all, our bodies are energy, which means that and our postures and movements in yoga are anything but static, still and separate but rather fully active alive movements that are shifting and evolving from moment to moment. Connecting to our energy, our own unique vibration, can really transform how a practise feels and unfolds, taking it beyond a collection of physical shapes and into an embodied experience that actually aids our health and wellbeing.
In yoga philosophy the body is described as having 5 states of being, each of them made of increasingly finer degrees of energy and consciousness– referred to as the “koshas.” These interconnected layers (like the circles of a mandala ) encompass physical, energetic, mental, intuitive and spiritual levels of our being. When we start to listen and pay attention to these subtler layers they can provide us with invaluable insights and feedback, just like having our own personal map to guide us, that's available in any given moment, all we have to do is listen and trust.
To help us connect to these subtler layers and feel into a deeper sense of flow in our practise we can use the breath and awareness to direct and harness prana, drawing on the yogic model described as the “winds of prana” (pancha vayus) - a way to feel energy and breath moving through us. Although I love drawing on this ancient wisdom and guidance I am also aware that doesn't become another distraction or complication to our practise, rather simply using it to help us connect to our breath so we can feel the different directions of energy through the body to help each posture feel good. For example in plank pose, feeling a connection and line of energy from crown of head to toes, rooting to the earth through the hands and feet whilst drawing a lightness up from the ground. Feeling into a place where the effort is distributed across the body, letting go of the sense of gripping and forcing but finding the ease amongst the active effort. It’s that wonderful balance of effort and ease (sutra 11.46).
It’s this connection and understanding that I feel can transform our practise, so it truly serves us just as it needs to each time we come to the mat. Going with our own flow. Weaving through our layers so we may find a greater sense of release and letting go of the outer tension and chatter of day to day life so hopefully by the time we reach savasana we may just feel a little quieter, calmer – able to rest in stillness.
We will be exploring more on this in the workshop:
Prana – Yoga & The Subtle Body
Sun 11th Sept 10am to 1pm - £30
The Yoga Barn - Hele Bay – North Devon
We’ll start the morning by collectively creating a nature mandala to represent the layers spoken about above – it’s a lovely way to connect to nature and to help us ground into our space together. Followed by a discussion and exploration of the subtle body, yoga flow practise, meditation on energy flow, all rounded up with tea and chat.
Reach out if you’d like any more info or to book - email@example.com