Pranamaya Kosha is the second sheath in the Kosha system. Prana means life force, vital energy. Maya means made-of, or, composed-of. It is the vital principle that supports and directs embodied energy. The life force that vitalises, energises and holds together, uniting the body (Annamaya) and the mind (Manomaya).The existence of pranamaya kosha is what differentiates the living from the dead. Yogis use the metaphor of a candle and the flame to explain Prana.
Prana – Life Force or Vital Energy as a Flame. Agni – Heat of the Flame. Tejas -Light Radiance from the Flame. Ojas – Candle Wax or Fuel of vital nutrients that gives energy, strength and immunity we need to sustain the Flame. We practice to build a strong body (Annamaya) to contain this vital energy utilising it to support optimal health and energy to support our purpose in life. The physical manifestation of this life force is expressed as the breath.
In this practice we will focus on the direction of movement of Prana within our body. Prana Vayu: Pran brings the oxygen/vital energy, Samana converts oxygen to energy, Vyana circulates the energy, Apana releases waste materials or byproducts of energy conversion, Udana is the positive energy created from the process and determines the work that the body is able to do.
Symptoms of disfunction: manifest as issues in the body and/or mind, energy blockages especially in the nadis, chakras, myofascial planes and lack of breath awareness.
Solutions to build your Pranamaya kosha: Breathing good quality air (Pranayama, neti) and connection to nature or other sources of Prana are the best inputs to build your Pranamaya kosha. Fresh foods that grow in sunlight are a wonderful support and moon-light is said to be prana enriched for nourishment.
Some questions to contemplate as you practice are; Reflect on how well you manage your energy. Do you do things that build energy or deplete it? Do you respect it when it is low? Are you able to contain your energy? Are you careless and give it away easily? When are the times when you feel most energised? What does it feel like to feel your life-force? How do you prioritise those times?