Welcome to Part 9 of The Seeker’s Story, where Namit continues his exploration into yoga philosophy and discusses spirituality – what does the breath have to do with yoga and what is Prana? Is Prana the same as the breath?
Chapter 1 & 2 – Yoga Sutra – A Seeker’s Story Part 1.
Chapter 3 – What is Yoga?
Chapter 4 – Yoga’s Theory of Creation
Chapter 5 – Happiness and Oneness
Chapter 6 – Does Magic Really Exist?
Chapter 7 – Who is God?
Chapter 8 – What is Karma?
Chapter 9 – What is Spirituality? What is Spirit?
Yoga Sutra – The Seeker’s Story
Chapter 10 – What is Prana? Is it the Same as Breath?
The next day came and me and yogi ji met at our allotted time. Yogi ji was arched back with one leg in the air. This looked very impressive. He lowered his leg and then raised the other leg.
‘Yogi ji you look like an acrobat!’ I called out.
Yogi ji came down and explained that yoga was not for acrobatics but for inner peace.
‘Jake the nervous system travels down the spine. As you strengthen the spine the signals in your nerves travel more freely, you relax and can see the world in a much better light. It is all about being peaceful, calm and relaxed.’
‘I like the idea of being relaxed.’
‘It is our natural state Jake, it feels good to everyone.’
‘I know yogi ji, I really want a life without stress,’ I said. In truth I did want something better than my stressful life back home and to live a more relaxed life.
‘Stress exists in the mind and body both Jake. Change your thoughts for the better and relax your body.’
‘Good advice yogi ji, thank you.’ I was already learning to relax my mind by seeing the world from yogi ji’s point of view. And I decided on my return to England I would learn how to do the yoga postures in order to relax my body too.
‘What is prana yogi ji?’ was my question for today. I had heard this word in connection to Indian philosophy many times.
‘Prana is breath Jake. It is vital energy. It is the force that makes us move. It is all around us in the world. It is kind of like oxygen. The ancient scriptures say it pervades the whole universe. It connects us all. When you have a good energy, that is good prana that you are feeling that day.’
That still sounded a bit mystical to me.
‘So there is an energy that fills the whole universe yogi ji?
‘Yes Jake have you never felt it?’
‘Well I am not exactly sure what you mean by it yogi ji.’
‘When you are feeling happy Jake do you not feel like there is a positive energy that fills the world around you?’
‘Well yes lots of times when I happy then yes I do feel like that yogi ji’ I said.
‘This positive energy Jake, this is prana, this is the energy that is in our breath, this Jake is life force.’
So when yogi ji went home I sat once more by my lake and just felt the energy, the prana in everything around me. The world was starting to make sense.
[Stay tuned for Chapter 11: Posture next week]
About Namit Kathoria
Namit Kathoria has a Bachelors Degree from King’s College London in Pharmacy and a Masters Degree in Clinical Pharmacy from Queen’s University Belfast. He is also a member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain and has worked the Pharmacist Advisor to NHS Direct. He hence has a vast knowledge of health which he applies to his yoga teaching. He has studied yoga across the world including various parts of his native India including Dharamshala, Rishikesh and Mysore. He currently teaches yoga retreats in Spain at Yoga Sutra Shala in Sayalonga. To read more please visit www.retreats-yoga.com.