What does “prana” mean?
In Indian medicine, and in yoga, “prana” is the Sanskrit word for “breath”, “life force”, or “vital energy”.
How to increase your Prana?
Prana comes through the five elements of nature, which are Earth, Water, Fire, Ether, and Air.
- Increase your prana through the Earth element: by being in nature camping, hiking, walking on the earth barefoot, touching the earth (gardening), sitting under a tree, looking at mountains, eating fresh-picked fruits and vegetables.
- Increase your prana through the Water element: by drinking clean pure water, swimming in oceans, rivers, and streams.
- Increase your prana through the Fire element: by spending time daily outdoors in the sunshine, or even opening windows to letting the sunshine in.
- Increase your prana through the Ether element: this element is associated with our thoughts. Being grateful, practicing mindfulness, and keeping a positive mindset, increases prana.
- Increase your prana through the Air element: The main source of prana is through breathing (the Air element). Having a consistent pranayama (breathing exercises) practice, living in the fresh air, airing out rooms, and staying away from polluted environments are some ways to increase prana.
Becoming conscious of your breath
Prana is most felt through deep-breathing. Conforming with Indian Medicine and yoga, the breath connects the body, mind, and spirit. Poor breathing habits, decrease your prana, making you susceptible to diseases in body, mind, and spirit. Further, poor breathing habits can lead to negative health consequences—our body’s organs cannot work to their full potential without plenty of oxygen and the proper elimination of carbon dioxide. Many common health ailments such as high blood pressure, migraine headaches, anxiety, stress, chronic pain, depression, asthma, and insomnia. can be at least alleviated or completely controlled simply by making a conscious effort to breathe slowly and deeply.
Learning to breathe deeply will increase your prana, and oxygen supply, which, in turn, will help to reduce stress and anxiety levels, relieve pain, and improve your overall health. Correct breathing is everything. It can be the difference between a super-strong pain-free body and one that’s under constant Cortisol distress and full of instability. Research studies show that you can inhale and exhale up to seven times as much air (and oxygen, and prana) during a breathing exercise than in a shallow, chest-based breath.
Pranayama, the practice of breathing exercises, connotes extension and control of the breath and works exactly on increasing the prana. Just through deep breathing, we can heal our bodies, shift our consciousness, and raise our vibration.
When you take a deep breath in and your diaphragm contracts down, prana flows through our bodies, passing through thousands of channels, which Ayurveda science, calls Nadis, and stimulating the vagus nerve. When the vagus nerve is stimulated, this sends a message back up to the brain telling you to relax. Lots of wonderful things happen when we relax and increase our prana. We sleep better, food digest better, the process of waste products elimination is better, and even sex is better.
How do you take a deep breath?
Breathing is most unique as compared to other visceral (e.g. digestion, endocrine, or cardiovascular) functions in that it can also be regulated voluntarily.
Place your hands surrounding your rib cage right under your chest and take in a big breath of air. Your ribs should move out in the front, sides, and back. Did you feel them move? They should move a lot! Maybe you only felt some of your ribs move? Did the ribs on the back left under your thumb not move as much as the right? No? There’s the source of that neck or midback tightness you’ve been feeling. Fascinating, isn’t it?
Get your ribs to expand out in a 360 fashion when you breathe.
A scientific view on deep breath
The research is very clear that breathing exercises (e.g., pranayama breathing) enhance parasympathetic (inhibit neural responses) tone, decrease sympathetic (excitatory) nervous activity, improve respiratory and cardiovascular function, decrease the effects of stress, and improve physical and mental health (Pal, Velkumary, and Madanmohan, 2004).
Cellular metabolism (reactions in the cell to produce energy) for example, is regulated by oxygen provided during breathing. There is clear evidence that controlled breathing techniques can affect oxygen consumption and metabolism (Jerath et al., 2006). Pranayama breathing has been shown to positively affect immune function, hypertension, asthma, autonomic nervous system imbalances, and psychological or stress-related disorders (Jerath et al., 2006). Jerath and colleagues add those investigations regarding stress and psychological improvements support evidence that pranayama breathing alters the brain’s information processing, making it an intervention that improves a person’s psychological profile.”
Final thoughts on increasing prana through the breath
To increase your prana practice breathing techniques regularly. Let your breath be easy and smooth. If your breath becomes strained or you start to feel dizzy or anxious, stop the exercise and let your normal breathing pattern return. You will see that when done correctly, pranayamas (deep breathing techniques) will invigorate, heal, and rejuvenate your mind and body.
Just take a deep breath and enjoy a better quality of life.
Wish you great health, energy, and love,