Guest Scribe: Kia Miller "The Secret Gift of Prana"
Hiking up the trail to Nevada Falls in Yosemite National Park this weekend I had a little revelation around energy and where it comes from. I had just completed a 9 day juice cleanse, where I was drinking only raw juice, soup and smoothies. The hike was very demanding yet I had lots of energy to spare. From the old model of calories in, calories out, it made no sense. How could I have this much energy from very little food? The answer came clearly, “It is all about prana – life force!” Our prana is built and sustained through food, water, breath and certain activities including yoga. From a food perspective, even though I was drinking liquid food, I was getting all the nutrition and hydration that I needed.
We have been so entrained in our culture to look at food in terms of the calories that it gives us, taking us away from the perspective of how much life-force we gain or lose from eating it. A hamburger with fries gives us plenty of calories, even protein in the traditional way of looking at it, but also TAKES a lot of energy to digest and process. If we look at it from the perspective of prana, we realize that it can actually be more depleting than enhancing. Ways to increase prana come from eating raw organic fruits and veggies, live spring water and sprouted nuts, grains and seeds. The nutrition and energy of these foods becomes more readily available when they are broken down either by chewing really well or blending the foods before eating them.
Knowing this, how can we enhance our vitality and energy through the choices we make around what to eat and when? Many of us are entrenched in years of habitual and emotional eating, choosing comfort food over prana, eating what is around, or what we have always eaten. Many of us are addicted to caffeine as a way to overcome the heavy feeling of digesting food and to give us the energy and focus we so desperately need. It takes discipline to overhaul your food addictions and to start to choose health over habit. It also takes time to transition from heavy dense foods to light pranic foods. Start to look at what you eat from the perspective of prana and see how your vitality grows… Make changes that support you living a life of full potential allowing you the energy, joy and presence to fulfill your dreams.
To practice a prana enhancing breath technique see here.
This did not happen to me overnight, in fact it has been years of experimentation and observation to find the correct balance. However we all need prana to live healthy, vital and disease free lives. Here are 4 ways to be concious of and increase your prana:
Yoga practice to increase Prana
According to the ancient Rishis, practitioners of yoga, the entire functioning of the body is not muscular and it is not nervous either, it is governed by prana.
The breath is the main vehicle of prana. Yogi Bhajan said “Breath is your guide, your sage, your knowledge… your life and its existence are based on breath of life. Create a friendship with it and breath consciously, mechanically.” Guru Nanak said, “When you are short of wisdom, breathe.” The ancient Rishis understood how prana operates in the body and how to balance it. They categorized the activity of prana into airs, or vayus. The five major are: prana in the chest region which is linked to breathing and the drawing of new energy into the body; apana which is in the area below the navel and governs the functions related to elimination; samana which is in the region between the thoracic diapragm and the navel and governs digestion, discernment, and assimilation; udana which operates from the larynx upward into the head and governs speech, projection, mental capacity, and memory; and vyana which pervades the entire body and accomplishes the distribution of energy into every cell.
Increase prana in the body through Conscious Breath
“What is old age? Old is a shallow breath. People who take deep breaths never feel old. They can be old, but they never feel old, technically speaking. Is your breath of life conscous and deep? You can absolutely not be old in energy. One emotional burst with anger consumes the energy you need for exactly seven hours of hard work. I am talking of the pranic energy.” ~Yogi Bhajan
Instructions for a conscious breath: 31 minutes of conscious breath can give you better health that you have ever had before.
“If you do not breathe consciously for eleven minutes a day, you lose 40% of the vitality of life. This 40% you cannot recapture by any medicine or any exercise. But if you do breathe consciously for 11 mintues and make it very long, deep, and slow breathing, that can do exactly what no miracle can do, because our life is based on the breath of life.” ~Yogi Bhajan
Respect prana in nature: Live Water
Water comes in many forms, purified, bottled, alkaline, ionized, carbonated, tap, filtered, reverse osmosis, distilled etc. Finding a good pure water is essential. Water carries memory and vibration, it also carries more or less hydrogen atoms depending on its source and the process it has been passed through. Living water straight from nature is idea, from a spring or well. Since that is not available for most of us the next best thing promoted by living food expert and pure water enthusiast Gabriel Cousins is water that has undergone reverse osmosis OR distilled water that you add salt to (pinch of salt per gallon) and stir vigorously in one direction and then to other to ‘activate’ the water.
“In essence, water is like the Divine Presence in living creatures. It vibrates within all life as the blood of Nature that takes on many forms: a glass of water, the vast oceans, turbulent mountain streams, or even the blood in our bodies.” -Gabriel Cousens, MD
Balance prana in the body with Pink Lemonade
This is better than any lemonade you had as a kid!
2 cups water
1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup strawberries
Combine all ingredients in a blender and liquefy.
Makes 2 servings.
~ Kia Miller imparts her radiant spirit and joy for life in her yoga classes, workshops, retreats and teacher trainings throughout the world. Kia has spent over 2 decades studying and practicing. Trained in both Hatha and Kundalini Yoga, Kia offers an inspiring and powerful combination of asana, breath, meditation and chanting that leaves students uplifted and empowered. Learn more about Kia and her teaching schedule at www.kiamiller.com, and find her on Facebook here and Twitter here.