Swami Sita: Can you tell me which one of your nostrils is working without checking?
Satsang students: the right, the left, the right.
Swami Sita: Who has both nostrils working? You have to check your nostrils all the time to know how your energy is. When both work then you are able to meditate.
The breath, the energy, and the pranic flow corresponds to your thoughts. So if you are always blocked you can already deduce that something is wrong.
So you have to endeavor to correct it, it may take some time due to impurities or some kind of blockage in the mind or the emotions. So you have to do lots of pranayama to alternate the breath or alternate the flow of energy, and also change your diet.
This is very important, and then you have to change your lifestyle. From your lifestyle you create a certain type of energy, or prana, so lifestyle, food choices and thought choices, all these are affecting your energy.
So checking your breath is a very good way to ask yourself how am I? It’s like you’re driving a car, and you have to constantly know if you are between the two lanes or not, are you facing the right direction or not, sometimes the car goes too much to the left, and you bring it back, it goes to the right, you have to constantly navigate or pilot.
So ask yourself the question how am I, now at this moment, and then you have to check, how is my mind, how is my breath, how are my emotions, am I calm, am I focused, am I jumping around?
And the breath is a very good way to check, you cannot catch the mind but you can feel the breath. The breath is the external manifestation of prana so you can feel it.
Take a deep breath and exhale and you can already see that you are moving to another state of mind. You are not stressed out. And if you are in a stressful situation in work or life, try to find a space that you can be quiet and do pranayama.
People will find it very strange that you are holding your nose but…do relaxation in your mind, and then do pranayama. So advanced people do pranayama all the time, except you don’t see them holding the nose.
They know the breath and they know the connection between the breath and the prana and the thoughts, so by changing the thought they can bring themselves to balance.
So what is Prana? How do you get more prana, more energy, so you are not stressed out? What are the sources of Prana?
Swami Sita: no, start first, common, we always have to start first at the level of the lowest chakra.
Swami Sita: Earth So how do you get prana from the earth? Walk barefoot, walk in nature. If you walk on cement you can tell there is not much prana there.
If you live in a metal and glass building, you can tell there is not much prana there, if you live in the fresh air you can already tell there is a lot of prana there. What else?
From food. That means you have to think of the food not only in terms of color and shape, but in terms of prana. Is this food going to give me the energy I need?
Because you need a lot of prana in order to think and cope with challenges and find your way in life. So some foods give more prana than others.
Anything that is processed has low prana. Anything in a natural state that has prana from the sun will have more prana. That is very simple.
Water. How do you get prana from water? By drinking pure natural spring water. If you drink Coca Cola or coffee or tea, then your prana will go down.
It actually takes prana in order for you to deal with this. So it is very important to drink the proper water. You can also swim in water, in a river or the ocean.
Earth, water, next comes Fire. The sun is the main source of prana from the fire element. If you live in a building under tube lights and never see the sun, you walk to your car on cement, drink coffee and cigarettes only to survive, drink other things to survive, then you can see the prana is down down down.
It becomes a pranic debt. And worried thinking, driving with a cell phone, reading a newspaper about the problems of the world, this will make you loose prana.
So be in the sun, anything with heat, even hot water, especially if your mind is worried. If your mind is worried the worst thing to do is drink gassy cold water.
Next comes Air. The best source of prana is in the air. So breathe natural, not polluted air. Learn how to breathe; the air can be there but you need to know how to breathe. INHALE and EXHALE.
That’s all you have to do and half of your problems are gone. I think more than half, it is the first step in Yoga life. Breathing with an exhale that is twice as long as the inhale. Inhale is 3 the exhale is 6.
Then you have to be aware of your breath. When you feel stressed out and want to have prana, then Inhale and Exhale. Alternate nostril breathing helps to regulate the prana, because your whole system is a pranic or energetic system, so all the problems come from having the system out of sync with the pranic flow of the universe.
Last comes Ether. Ether is a very subtle element which you can also call space. How do you get prana from the ether? It comes from the thought environment.
You can go camping in nature, so you have the prana of the nature, but you don’t have the prana from the thought environment.
Of course in nature no one is there to pollute the thought environment, but you can also be in nature and worry or have negative thoughts.
Since thought is such a powerful thing it influences, so if you are in a positive thought environment it will lift you up. You will get prana from the thoughts of the people.
The people who are present or the people that are absent, that is difficult for us to understand.
People are like a channel of thoughts, like a radio, and their thoughts might not be expressed like me right now, my radio is on because I’m talking, but the thought is there.
So let’s say you are in a group like this satsang, the thought environment is there. Imagine these young nice people at the ashram doing selfless service, meditation, and practicing yoga—guess what, the thought energy is high.
And the thoughts also stay in the atmosphere. This place exists for 30 years, morning and evening the thoughts are here—people come here with good intentions, with a good heart, wanting to improve their own life, these are very valuable thoughts to hang around.
Also the thoughts of the Masters are here. You cannot see these thoughts, but you can literally feel them. So it’s not just the physical space—earth water fire air—but the ether is also important for prana.
If you are in a place where people hate each other, like some work environments, people are stressed and hating each other but outwardly they are polite, you feel down but you don’t know why.
It’s because you are absorbing the thought prana. So it takes a lot in that situation to survive and keep your thoughts healthy. Hospitals are another area where the thought prana is very low, full of worry and disease—imagine the flow of thoughts in the hospital–if you visit someone there you come out drained.
Bars and clubs are also areas with low thoughts and pranic debts. People go to bars and clubs to drink their sorrows away. When the thought environment is chaotic it also creates problems.
When there is no distinct thought, like at an airport, train station, subway, or restaurant, at that time your thought world jumps around and becomes incoherent.
You have to learn how to acquire prana, to balance prana, to channel prana, and to conserve prana, these are the 4 things one must know in order to have a prana surplus.
It is like money—if you use it properly you get more, if you use it improperly you get debts. So you have to invest your prana in the right place
Satsang with Swami Sitaramananda on Prana; Dec. 07, 2006
© Swami Sitaramananda 2014 No part of this article may be reproduced in any form without the written permission of the author.