Treating the Life force ( Prana ) / Pranic healing
26 Jun 2022 HYN Himalayan Yoga Academy
Besides the treatment of specific bodily systems and their diseases, it is important to get an overview of the person`s vitality or prana as a whole. Ayurveda is not a physically based or symptoms- approach to medicine but looks at underlying issues of energy and motivation. It is a life science that requires an understanding of life and its forces. Life is all about the transmission of energy, which consists of not only eating and breathing but also sensing, feeling, and thinking. The physical body is a manifestation of prana. Our prana reflects how we think, feel, perceive and breathe, as well as our outer patterns of food, rest, and exercise. Pranic imbalances lie behind all diseases. Three doshas of our body are basically three different statuses or orientations of prana.
All Ayurvedic treatment methods are done to treat prana. Foods are the vehicles for prana, which is the deeper energy that we extract from it. Herbs correct the movements of prana and its functions like digestion, elimination, or sweating. Basic Touch is the sense through which prana is conveyed. It conveys prana from the therapist to the client. Bodywork loosens pranic blockages in the muscles and bones. Meditation opens the prana or energy of the mind, while the mantra energizes it. The healer`s prana should awaken the prana of the patient and direct it towards healing. The rapport between the healer and the patient transmits prana and connects the patient with the will of the therapist. This is the power of counseling. A doctor with an awakened or spiritually energized prana can heal by touch alone. Sometimes in life, the presence of a doctor is healing and soothing to the mind and prana of the patient and can work miracles.
Nowadays, a large number of people today suffer from low energy and chronic fatigue. Others suffer from excess or distributed energy patterns. We should address these energy problems specifically and not just look at particular disease conditions that arise from them.
Behind most disease states- particularly those that are chronic, degenerative, or hard to treat-is a state of low energy. Most modern methods of treating diseases, such as the use of antibiotics or sedatives, reduce vitality further. Our modern isolated lifestyle disrupts our connection with nature and with other people and makes us prone to low energy. A person alone can lack the Pranic connection to feel really healthy and happy.
Second, there is the energy that we draw in from outside sources. These are primarily twofold food and breathing. The wrong diet decreases our true energy input from food and is a causative factor in most diseases- thus the importance of dietary therapy. Eating fresh cooked organic food removes many cases of low energy. Wrong breathing, including shallow or hurried respiration, is another important factor- thus the importance of pranayama or breathing control. Daily pranayama improves energy and counters many diseases, particularly those of the heart, lungs, and brain.
The third factors are those that produce energy through the mind. These start with sensory perception. When the impression that we take in are wholesome, like the beauty of nature, the mind receives positive energy and creativity. When these are unwholesome, like the stimulation of the senses through images of violence or from an unnatural living environment, the mind develops negative energy and becomes destructive.
Our sensory impressions can either stimulate our higher faculties or dull us and put us to sleep. Meditation, silence, and peace of mind increase mental energy. The distraction of the mind, the excess pursuit of entertainment, gossip, worry, and any excess thinking dissipate mental energy.
Deep sleep is also important for renewing the mind. This is our natural form of mediation that regenerates our entire being. When this does not occur, our energy is not able to renew itself and we get unhappy or diseased.
We also receive from other people. Association is a key source of vitality, which is why we naturally congregate together. To have positive energy in life we should all our walls with those individuals whom we can emulate and are seeking to do what we think is truly valuable in life.
Love itself is the highest and most nourishing form of prana. Love can keep people alive who would otherwise die. It can raise our prana from its deepest depths. That is why love has such a healing force in it. A person who feels really loved will not be depressed or debilitated. Similarly, a person who can give love becomes a source of life itself.
The most important source of energy is our own soul, which is the ultimate source of prana and Ojas. If we are not in contact with that internal source of energy, we are entirely dependent upon external sources of energy, which are limited and possess a certain entropy or tendency towards decay. Connecting with our internal source of inspiration, discovering our spiritual aspiration in life, and following our true dharma or right vocation, are ways of attuning ourselves to our soul. For spiritual healing, we must awaken our souls. We must be conscious of ourselves not as mere bodies seeking pleasure or longevity but as spiritual beings, immortal portions of consciousness seeking enlightenment and self-realization.
To increase Energy
Increasing energy requires first of all removing the factors that reduce it. We must change our negative attitudes and emotions, and take a positive view of life and healing. We must remove ourselves from locations or situations that are devitalizing. For example, many people sleep in rooms that have negative energy or emotional history, or they are tied to relationships that drain them. Without removing these energy drains we cannot expect our energy to grow.
We must establish the right diet, right breathing, adequate restful sleep (deep sleep), and moderate use of sexual energy. Important also are right thinking and not dissipating mental energy, which depends upon the proper intake of impressions from the external world. Right association and a spiritual purpose in life are perhaps the keys.
If our energy is chronically low we are either dissipating it or not renewing it properly. There is really nothing mysterious about low energy, though it may consist of a combination of subtle factors that cannot be treated simplistically or mechanically. If we do not have the energy we must be wasting it in some way that should be obvious to objective observation of our behavior.
For revitalizing energy, various tonic and supplementation therapy is indicated. Substances to increase Ojas – foods like milk, ghee, and almonds and herbs like ashwagandha and Shatavari – are important. Chyavanprash or Ashwagandha compound or the Energy Tonic are very helpful.
For mental energy, mantras are the simplest way to increase it, particularly energizing mantras such as OM, RAM, and HUM. Gems for chronic low energy are ruby, garnet, and red coral, which revive and circulate energy set in gold. Also helpful are diamond, zircon, yellow sapphire, or yellow topaz which have a tonifying effect.
Treating Blocked energy
There are two states of low energy, which are often related. The first is energy that is simply low or insufficient. The second is blocked energy which cannot use. When energy is blocked it appears low but it is simply not flowing properly. This is more common in young people, whose congenital energy source is not yet exhausted by time. Symptoms of blocked energy involve feelings of suppression, tension, and being pent up, with occasional agitation or even major outbursts. However, blocked energy leads to deficient energy in the long run because if energy is not allowed to flow it eventually dissipates. Complicated cases of combined deficient and blocked energy exist that can be hard to treat.
Blocked energy is treated differently than deficient energy. Activity is required to move the energy, such as purification therapy including Panchakarma. For the diet, spices to promote the digestive fire are indicated, particularly aromatics like ginger, cardamom, bay leaves or basil, which should be used freely with food. Herbs to move and clear the energy pathways are important like calamus, guggul, myrrh, or turmeric. Normally Aromatic oils have essential clearing energy mostly camphor and eucalyptus. Physical exercise and creative mental activity are required. Sweating therapy is great in all its different forms. Pranayama is excellent, including more active forms.
Often it is necessary to make some move to break stagnation in our lifestyle. This may require a change of job, residence, or relationship, or otherwise breaking up our pattern of inertia. Some diseases cannot be changed until we change how we live.
Generally, excess energies are not a problem. But some diseases arise from excess energy, which if not used properly can become toxic. This is usually as high energy of an inferior quality that comes from consuming meat or taking alcohol and stimulants. It can come on a psychic level of human body from being controlling or dominating others. It is often related to a condition of too strong an ego.
Most infectious, congestive, and acute diseases are excess conditions because they involve a strong pathogenic factor and acute symptoms. Such excess can lead to deficiencies because after the excess results in a disease that eventually weakens our vitality.
Reducing therapies are indicated for excess energy, including stronger forms of Pancha karma, like purgation, that eliminate negative energy from the body. Mild sedative herbs are also helpful like jatamasi and gotu kola. Jatamasi is excellent for those who feel their energy unstable and about to erupt or cause agitation. Peaceful forms of meditation are helpful along with peaceful materials like SHRIM or SHAM.
Hyperactivity is usually a sign of disruption. It leads to low energy and is often a sign that our energy level is in decline. When our energy falls to a certain level it no longer has the power to hold or consolidate itself. This results in hyperactivity, which in turn results in exhaustion.
Some individuals are karmically or congenitally hyperactive. While they may get away with this when young, it causes low vitality or chronic diseases when older. This is often the case with Vata types who often live on nervous energy. Eventually, they suffer from an energy collapse, which often follows a period of strong exertion or lack of sleep. Psychologically, hyperactivity is often a form of distraction and indicates that there is something in life we are trying to avoid. We should always remember that inaction is important both for health and longevity. If a muscle is used all the time, for example, it easily gets worn out.
Hyperactivity requires a combination of mildly tonifying and sedating therapies. Usually, a rich and grounding diet is indicated that is mainly anti-Vata in nature and emphasizes complex carbohydrates and adequate proteins. It should be combined with mild sedative herbs like jatamasi, ashwagandha or skullcap. Adequate rest, relaxation, and meditation are necessary.
In the case of children, hyperactivity often arises from a lack of proper attention or emotional regard from the parents. Children need to have their energy contained but an adult or they can easily get hyper. A balanced diet is essential for them as well.
Strengthening the Energy Field
The disease involves a disruption in the vital energy field, what is often called the aura. Our energy field reveals any imbalances that we may have. It is the field of our positive vitality, the light emitted by our essential vitality (Ojas). The aura wards off disease and maintains the organic integrity not only of the body but also of the mind.
The aura of the human body can be read through the complexion of the one’s skin, the luster of the eyes, or the pulse. It is revealed by the person’s willpower, the integrity of their character, and the degree of creativity that they possess. By yogi’s, power of concentration, it can be intuited or perceived. Astrology gives us a key to it because it is created by the colors of our planetary rays.
Pranayama, gems, mantra, and meditation have the most power to improve the aura. The aura is the total effect of our daily thought and action, so the right life regimen, in general, improves it.
Natural Dark gems found in nature such as blue sapphire or amethyst protect the aura. Warm gems like ruby, garnet, or red coral, energize it. Nurturing gems like a pearl, diamond, or yellow sapphire feed and strengthen them. Divine Mantras like AUM help expand the aura of the body, while those like RAM protect it. Those like HUM ward off any negative energy that may disrupt it. Peace and silence of mind both energize and consolidate it. Most allopathic practices like the use of medical drugs, machines, or staying in hospitals, weaken the aura. Excess stimulation or dissipation of any kind damages it. This includes too much travel, too much exercise, excessive sex, over-use of the senses, and such factors as radiation, environmental pollution, or overexposure to mass media influences. The aura is the weekend when we give our minds over to an external influence because of its astral and psychological nature, not merely physical. So, improving concentration also strengthens the aura.