All Ayurvedic treatments work on prana, because according to the Ayurvedic understanding of human energy, behind all disease there is an imbalance of prana. Ayurvedic specialists and yoga teachers have many ways to help us improve the state of our prana. But there is also a lot we can do ourselves, day to day, that affects how we generate prana, and whether it flows easily around the body and mind.
So become aware of the state of your own underlying energy, and try these six tips – things that are particularly relevant to today's busy city living – to help your prana flow, so you feel balanced, at ease and vibrant.
1. Have more contact with real people, not through a smartphone or computer screen
Human contact and exchanges are a source of prana. But we are increasingly living in a ‘talking heads’ world, communicating electronically through texts, emails, screens and devices. We are losing our pranic connections with each other. A person without these connections lacks the prana to be truly happy.
2. Spend time with positive people with balanced energy, not with negative people who drain your energy or are constantly complaining
The prana in our bodies aligns to the prana of those we spend time with. Don’t be a passive person who fits in with lowest energetic level of a group, or the most erratic. Pay attention to your own energy and the flow of your moving, breathing, talking etc. Spend time with positive interesting people who inspire you, who are doing things you admire, and with friends who make you smile, are interested in you, and give you a boost.
3. Stop doing whatever is disturbing your prana
This includes eating while doing something else, eating the wrong food, too much texting and WhatsApping, being a couch potato on the laptop or television, sitting at a desk for long periods, not exercising, not getting outdoors, drinking dubious quality water. Don’t encourage that which disturbs prana, and you steady your awareness at the root.
4. Prana always follows your attention, so keep your attention on the right thing
For example, when you eat, just eat, so your energy goes to your digestion not the television; when you’re doing a task on the computer, focus on it and don’t keep jumping to emails, twitter updates and cat videos from your friend. Prana requires attention for its cultivation. It has to have a proper aim for it to flow, so it knows where to move, how fast, and its focus.
5. Obstruct the influences that promote fluctuations in awareness
The more directions prana is moving in, the more it turns into imbalanced Vata. Multi-tasking is impossible as the mind can only focus on one thing at a time. You may think you’re multi-tasking, but actually the attention is erratically jumping in a split second from one thing to another to another. (Hence why we say that overstimulation of the senses leads to aggravated Vata.)
6. Prana requires stability, sufficient Earth element
Stability is the primary guna, or quality, of Earth. In London there is constant physical movement of traffic, tubes, trains, people, etc, which our conscious senses may not be aware of. Even our ground is not stable, with all the underground tunnels (for water, cables, the Tube, etc) not far below our feet. Our senses and our prana are unconsciously disturbed. So make plenty of time to be still and stable and connect with the earth: plant things in your garden and get your hands in the soil, or if you haven’t got one make window boxes, or at the very least go to the park and sit on the grass as often as possible. It’s not loafing, it’s prana therapy!
Jacqui Gibbons is an Ayurvedic health coach at Triyoga, London's biggest and best yoga studio. She has eight years' experience helping busy London professionals to better health through Ayurveda and has a warm, supportive and practical approach.