This week we are working with PRANA in class. Prana is a Sanskrit word that translates as vital life force, the subtle energy which animates all life and weaves through all creation.
Sounds spooky? I know, but it really isn’t.
Have you ever felt you’re in the flow and things are working out for you? Do you remember feeling lifted and at ease in a certain environment or in interaction with a particular person? Chances are energy was on point here – the flow of Prana feels good and naturally draws life purpose, joy, people and situations to us who are on the ‘same vibration’.
On the other hand, do you recall feeling tired or exhausted every time you entered a room? Do you remember feeling drained every time you hung out with a particular person? Do you feel ‘blah’ in your body or mind? Well, chances are the energy is stuck somewhere. No need to panic: The opportunity of change and the gift of bringing new vitality into certain areas of your life is right at your fingertips.
Through the chakras, seven major energy centres within your body. Chakras are located along the spine and commonly translated as energy centres or ‘spinning wheels of energy’. They hold and express information and are connected to specific physical and emotional areas in our life.
Let’s have a closer look at them:
Root Chakra (Muladhara) – The right to be here
Stability, survival, security, support, ability to relax, secure about self and circumstances
Focus in practice this week: Reconnection with body, grounding, bringing the energy downwards into the legs, hips and inner groins
Sacral Chakra (Svadhisthana) – The right to feel
Connection to others, relationships, trust
Focus in practice this week: Movement, connection with self in order to be able to connect with others, emotional release and letting go
Solar Plexus (Manipura) – The right to act
Will power, vitality, action, self-confidence, strength, autonomy
Focus in practice this week: Moving internal energy into action through powerful poses, building stamina and self-esteem
Heart Chakra (Anahata) – The right to love and be loved
Kindness, (self-) love, compassion, generosity, healing, joy
Focus in practice this week: Opening the heart, backbends, working with arms and finding balance
Throat Chakra (Visuddha) – The right to speak and hear the truth
Communication, expression, truth and creativity
Focus in practice this week: Neck, shoulders and sound (OM)
Third Eye Chakra (Ajna) – The right to see
Intuition, insight, clear vision, accurate interpretation
Focus in practice this week: Concentration, meditation, relaxation
Crown Chakra (Sahasrara) – The right to know
Wisdom, understanding, self-knowledge, awareness, union
Focus in practice this week: Meditation, relaxation
It is said that health and wellbeing can be achieved when there is a balanced energy flow through each of the seven major chakras. On the flipside, when prana is prevented from flowing naturally, either by becoming blocked or being overactive in one of those wheels, it can create disharmony on both the physical and emotional level. So, in class this week we’ve been working with release of any blockages in those areas.
In case the whole idea of energy centres along your spine is a little too out there for you, here are some fairly practical tips on how you can go about lifting energy in your day-to-day life:
Practise yoga & meditate – Exercise regularly to keep the energy moving. Become present to and connect with the quiet place within, the center of your being. Be in your body and feel into it with everything that’s showing up (happiness/ sadness, comfort/ pain, trust/ fear, excitement/ exhaustion) and simply allow it to be there. The simple act of holding space for the good, the bad and the ugly, will shift the energy. It’s one of the more challenging, but also one of the most rewarding parts of the practice.
Breathe – The breath is one of the most powerful ways to experience and exchange prana. To confuse things further, prana is subdivided into energetic components called Vayus (winds). There are five in total, however for simplicity let’s focus on Prana-Vayu (inwards and upward flow) and Apana-Vayu (downward and outward flow). So, with every inhale you naturally take in new energy (prana) and with every exhale, you automatically let go of old, stale energy (apana). The moment you show up on your mat and follow the simple instruction of breathing, you will activate this cycle – it’s a miracle.
Eat high-vibe foods – Nourish yourself with fresh, healthy food. I know I mentioned this before: this is not only about where you source your food from but also the attention and intention that goes into preparing it. I highly recommend to look into Ayurveda – there are many online resources and workshops in your local yoga studio available.
Surround yourself with the right people – Energy is contagious, surround yourself with people who reflect who you are or who you would like to be. Release toxic relationships if need be and let go of energy vampires – abusive, disrespectful and demanding people who suck the life right out of you. If it doesn’t support you in becoming a better version of yourself, if it leaves you feeling drained and fearful or simply in a state opposite of love, then perhaps it’s time to let it go. This, in turn, shows your willingness and commitment to healthy relationships and will automatically attract more loving and abundant connections into your life.
Laugh – Don’t underestimate the power of a good belly laugh. It’s a bullet-proof way to lift the energy and will break lower vibrations and destructive thought patterns. One of the teachers in my favourite yoga studio in Ubud, Bali does this thing at the end of every class: He asks everyone to join into the final practice and then just starts laughing frantically. At times, that really pissed me off. Especially when I was convinced that I really had nothing to laugh about. However, there is no other way but joining in and within seconds I usually found myself crawling on the floor because I thought it was so funny. That, of course, always led to the realisation that we (I) mustn’t take ourselves so seriously. There is always something to laugh about and be grateful for – no matter how difficult the circumstances at hand may seem.
Connect to nature – During a recent camping trip I noticed once again how the simple act of unplugging from the city, breathing fresh air and connecting with nature has the capacity to completely change ones energy. Allow sunlight to permeate your face, sit by the ocean, go for a swim, watch the stars or the moon, go for a hike… find something that works for you and connect with that. It’s a resource that’s always available.
I hope it goes well for you this week. Get in touch if you have any questions, otherwise I look forward to seeing you on the mat soon.