The Sanskrit word prana is often translated as ‘life-force’, ‘vital energy’ or ‘vital air’. Yoga philosophy teaches that this subtle energy animates and moves through your pranamaya kosha, or aura – an ‘etheric double’ of your physical body. Prana is not a physical energy, and is quite different from the electrical current that moves through your nervous system. This form of bio-energy is much more subtle.
Prana flows through the pranamaya kosha or bio-energy field in subtle channels known to yogis as nadis. Acupuncturists and shiatsu practitioners refer to these channels as ‘meridians’. In Sanskrit, the word nadi means a riverbed containing water or the channel through which a river flows. Yoga texts claim that the subtle wiring system in your pranamaya kosha is made up of 72,000 nadis. As prana flows through these nadis it reaches every part of your body: this is the force that ensures your body stays well balanced and healthy.
It’s perhaps easiest to understand the concepts of nadis and prana by visualizing the nadis as the roads within a highway system that enable traffic (prana) to move smoothly and freely. When prana is free-flowing, the body stays vibrantly healthy. However, at times the nadis become blocked and the flow of prana is interrupted. A whole region maybe cut off by a blockage. As a result, that part of the body is weakened, and may become susceptible to ailments – or it may even atrophy or become paralysed.
Vineesh KR – firstname.lastname@example.org