Prana Vidya Practice

Swami Yogananda Saraswati, personal private secretary to Swami Satyananda

Have you ever experienced silvery streaks of light, minute specks of light dancing in the air about you while you were out in the sun looking up at the blue sky? Those dancing points of light are prana, the life force that permeates all existence. It is contained in everything, the air we breathe, the food we eat.

It is this prana that sustains our being. It is prana, the subtle life force, that leaves the body at the time of death. By the withdrawal of this prana, the body dies.

Try the following practice and consciously recharge yourself with this vital force of life... You may relax in any position that is comfortable for you. Close the eyes, and attune yourself physically and mentally for the ensuing practice. Do not move until the practice is over and do not open your eyes. Your breath should be normal and natural.

Focus your attention on the right hand, become fully aware of the right hand. As you breathe in, feel that you are breathing in through the pores in the skin of the right hand. As you breathe out, feel that you are breathing out through the pores of your right hand.

Then concentrate on the left hand for a while, breathing in and out through the pores as before-mentally, of course. In the same manner, consciously breathe in through the pores of the skin of the different parts of the body- the face, arms, back, chest, legs and feet. Be aware of the pores of your skin. Do you feel a slight tingling sensation over all the various parts of the body as you breathe in and out?

As you breathe in and out normally, feel all the pores inhaling and exhaling with every breath. As you pass over the various parts of the body, visualise the tiny streaks of light penetrating every pore of the skin in that particular part. With practice, you will be able to see the light streaks- prana- entering your body.

Feel prana entering the pores and pervading the whole body as you breathe in and out. Keep your attention on breathing in prana over the entire body through the pores of the skin as you inhale. Keep your attention on breathing out through all the pores as you exhale. Be aware only that you are breathing in and out through all the pores of the body at once.

Then visualise a stream of golden light flowing in through the pores as you inhale. Visualise a greenish blue light flowing out from the pores as you exhale. Feel all the tiredness and tension leaving as you breathe out.

Next, take your awareness to manipura chakra in the spine, behind the navel. The symbol of this pranic centre is a golden ball of fire- the fire of digestion that releases prana from food, the vital fire that warms us in winter and gives us a positive outlook all year round. As you breathe in, see streaks of light being devoured by the flames in manipura. The fire feeds itself from all over the body, absorbing from the stomach and abdomen the prana that is the real nutrition in food, soaking up life energy through the lungs and the pores of the skin. Now as you breathe out, see these brilliant, golden tongues of flame flare out into every part of the body, taking light and warmth, vitality and optimism to each cell, to the most dim and distant corners of consciousness.

It is most important to take your time in resuming normal consciousness again. Do not hastily end your practice, but let your mind, your thoughts, your breathing become fully externalised again. Be completely attuned both physically and mentally to the outside environment, be sure you are completely extrovert before you open your eyes and proceed to get up and move about.

Hari om tat sat