PRAAN YOG (The Science of Life Energy flow and Nerves)
The concept of Praan is not so well known, primarily because it is not a physically verifiable organ in the body. The word Praanaayaam is widely known but is generally understood to be the breathing process, that of inhaling and exhaling air, as it is seen and experienced by everyone and easily understood in the gross. But the Praan or life energy automatically flows in the body with every breath. Being a subtle energy flow, it is formless, cannot be seen or physically experienced but its understanding is possible by observing certain definitive responses that result from manipulating the flow of Praan in the body. Praan is also called Vaayu, for it is not static but moving, it enlivens the body and enables it to perform different functions. Accordingly, it is divided into five Praans, viz. Paan, Apaan, Byaan, Udaan and Samaan, and five sub-Praans, viz. Naag, Koorma, Krikar, Devadatta and Dhanajaya respectively.
The Paan Vaayu resides in the heart, the seat of Anaahat Chakra, and functions from the mouth and nostrils down up to the stomach. It is responsible for the working of all the organs in this area but its primary role is in the smooth running of the respiratory and digestion processes. The Apaan Vaayu resides at the Moolaadhaar Chakra and operates in the lower parts of body, downwards up to the feet. It can be felt from the energy required for its main functions, viz. the release of the urine and excreta from the body, ejaculation of semen in males and pushing the fetus out at the time of childbirth in females. Samaan Vaayu resides in the navel, the Manipur Chakra, and operates between the heart and navel region. It is responsible for proper assimilation of the nutrients (extracted from food) in the blood stream and its distribution to all parts of the body through the blood circulation. Byaan Vaayu resides in the region between the navel and the sex organ, the position of Swaadhisthaan Chakra, and is responsible for communications all over the body through the network of nerves. Udaan Vaayu resides at the dip on the throat, the Vishuddha Chakra, and is responsible for activity of the organs situated upwards up to the crown. It provides the ability to the body to stand and is also the vehicle for the transmutation of the Soul, at the time of death, to the next destination. The Soul, along with the Chittavrittis and Karmaphals (all such memories of the individual that were very dear to him, he was attached to them, which have left their Samskaars on the Chitta, as also the cumulative returns of his actions throughout life) at the time of death, rides with the Udaan Vaayu to its next birth. The time the Soul spends in transmutation from one life to the next is called the Preta-yoni.
The concept of Praan can be explained convincingly by a simple example. Praan is independent of the Aatman in the sense that until the Praan enters the body, the Aatman alone cannot activate the body. We all accept that God is all-pervasive, residing in both living and nonliving matter. But it is the Praan that starts activity in the body with Aatman’s impulse. In other words, Praan alone also cannot start activity in the body in the absence of the directions from Jivaatmaa. The best way to understand this complex situation is to think of the body as the car, the Jivaatmaa as the driver and Praan as the electricity provided by the battery by the turn of the car key. We may also consider the example of the clay pot. The potter cannot handle the clay without water. We can say that water is like Praan for helping the potter work with the clay.
The naadis are not the usual nerves that medical science is aware of but relate to airspaces within them through which the Praan moves. In fact, Naadyog is also a well-developed science that deals with sound energy flow. Naad means sound and Naadi is the sound-tube through which it travels. Praan is thus also treated as a form of sound energy. The chanting of the Pranava mantra or the cosmic sound ‘Om’ has to be seen as the flow of Praan all over the body. It is common experience that chanting the Om sound in unison in a congregation immediately creates an atmosphere of cosmic vibrations in which the flow of Praan in the body settles down almost instantly and those present there enjoy a state of total relaxation. Some may even immerse in a sense of bliss. The other point to make special note is of the special role music plays in our lives. Listening to music is also nothing but a healing therapy. It allows the sound energy to carry out the involuntary healing process about which we may be unaware but it nevertheless takes place automatically and that is why people feel so relaxed if music of their choice is playing. Alternately when they wish to calm down their anxiety or simply relax, they turn on the music of their choice. The three main naadis are Sushumna,Ida and Pingalaa…..