For the second week, February 10th - 16th of our syllabus on the Five Koshas, we move deeper into the human system to explore the Pranayama Kosha, or the Energy Body. Feeling energised, sleepy, dull, restless, or calm are all attributes of the energetic body. Just as we have a physical "look," we also have a personal energetic signature.
On February 11th, we dive deeper through a focused meditation practice, we may begin to become acquainted with our energetic body; we may perceive our Being beyond the boundaries of skin and flesh. Some yogis describe their connection with the vital energetic body as waves of heat rippling through the body, whiles others feel an expansion of energy in the head or the heart. Once we become sensitive to the energy within and around us, we may start to recognise the vibrational signature unique to every living being.
Pranayama Kosha is composed of our subtle life-force energy known as Prana in Sanskrit (or Chi in Traditional Chinese wisdom) and relates to the quality of our breath. According to yogic texts, Prana moves via the Nadis (energy pathways) to the Chakras, where the energy is collected, transformed and distributed to the corresponding parts of the system. There are said to be 72,000 Nadis that make up the Pranayama Kosha!
An essential component in yoga is the practice of Pranayama - learning how to regulate our breathing - which is linked to maintaining the vitality of the energetic body. Imbalances or blocks in this energetic layer greatly affect the function of the physical body and also influences our state of mind.
Last week, we looked at the Physical Body and how it retains disease, illness or chronic pain as a result of deep rooted afflictions in the other Koshas. Unless we address the root of the problem, the physical discomfort or pain we experience in the body will not be resolved properly. We also briefly discussed the importance of the breath and the long-standing effect of trauma on the physical body that stems from a survivor's inability to regulate the breath during stressful situations. When the breath is shallow and sporadic, the Prana becomes erratic. Unstable Pranic energy causes the body’s various systems to become irregular and the mind to become agitated. Irregular breathing and a lack of oxygen results in an increase of adrenaline and the stress hormone cortisol in the body, which over time may cause high blood pressure, chronic anxiety, unintended weight loss, excessive sweating and heart palpitations.
The breath is also said to be the remote control of the mind! By controlling our breath, we are able to overcome any physical or emotional discomfort that arises from our yoga practice, in preparation for challenging experiences that may come into our lives. Advanced practitioners who have mastered their breath can do incredible things, such as free-diving down to remarkable depths without an oxygen tank and regulating the body’s core temperature in extreme cold. For restorative purposes, Pranayama has been efficient in treating a range of stress-related disorders, clearing toxins in the body, balancing hormones and much more. We often think of yoga and meditation as toning the mental and physical bodies, but they are also aimed at moving stagnant energy through the body.
One way to tune in to the power within the Energy Body is to practice letting yourself "be breathed” with the following mindful breathing exercise:
Without changing your breathing pattern, become aware of the breath flowing in and out of the body as a natural, spontaneous flow. Instead of feeling "I am breathing," feel "I'm being breathed." Let yourself relax into this feeling. If you notice your breath tightening, just notice it, with the thought "I am being breathed." Eventually you may begin to feel the breath as energy, your posture may automatically readjusts itself, and your back or hips may open. You may feel waves of heat rippling through the body, tingling sensations, or an expansion of energy in the head or heart. You may feel yourself expand beyond your physical limits. These are all effects of consciously accessing the vital energy body, which is the storehouse of healing power in your system. When you have mastered the practice of connecting with your Prana, you may even develop the ability to send energy to various places within or outside the body for the purposes of deep healing.
Join us at HOA this week to explore the Pranayama Kosha and its links to the breath. Book your spots today!
February 11th, 7pm - 9pm
Week 2: The Energy Body, Pranayama Kosha
We will share knowledge on the Chakra System and the Prana Vayus. Then, we will work with particular poses and sensing into sensation in the different locations of these subsets of energy, connect with these forces within your own body.
Cost: 2 sessions from package or drop in $56
* Cancellation for February 11th should be done 3 days prior or you will be charged for late cancellation.
Written by Izzy Liyana, content creator & writer for HOA