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What Is Prana?


All of the blog posts are written by Arien Smith with the intention to heal, inform, and expand every reader. Three posts a week: Monday Mindfulness, Wednesday Yoga, Saturday Reflections. 

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What Is Prana?

Arien Smith

In a single sentence, prana can be summarized as being the energy that sustains all life, consciousness, and existence. Every living being has this energy, as it works like blood does with our bodies, fueling every function of ourselves as both spiritual and physical beings. Non-living beings are still a part of this Universe, though, and embody pranic energy as well. Prana is at the heart of every atom. This energy flows in each corner of the universe, as it is pure Source Itself and vital to the existence of all form, being, and consciousness. “Prana” itself is a Sanskrit word, originating from Vedic texts, literally meaning “vital principle” or “life force/energy.” 

Prana has many other names, like Universal Life Force energy, Chi, Source, Unconditional love, Energy, Universal energy, Higher Consciousness, All That Is, the Holy Spirit, God-energy, and many more. Anything representing the purest spiritual energy in any faith is synonymous with the term prana. Prana itself is the ideal word to use, since it acknowledges the original naming of such energy in Vedic spirituality and avoids problematic New Age cultural appropriation too often seen in today’s spirituality.  

Prana itself sustains our lives by moving through energy channels in our subtle energy bodies. The nadis are such energy cords and they work similarly to our physical nervous system, which functions as a myriad of channels through which electrical currents flow. With prana, it works similar to this electricity, so unbalanced or low prana would be like a lack of electrical current traveling through the nervous system or if some nerves suddenly lost their conductivity and blocked the current from flowing.

There are many different types of prana, all of which will be talked about in later blog articles. Pranamaya kosha is a specific sphere in our subtle energy representing the center of pranic energy. It works as a mediator between elemental energy, physical senses, and the rest of our subtle energy bodies. Pranamaya kosha itself is composed of five pranas: Prana, Apana, Udana, Samana, and Vyana. These all allow an individual to have the vitality needed to accomplish spiritual purpose, beyond just surviving off of this sustaining life force energy. 

Locations and places also have prana, so entering spaces with a “good vibe,” or positive energy will prevent your own prana from being negatively affected by an energetically sick place. If you have to enter a place with lower or unbalanced prana, spiritual shielding is essential.

When prana is unbalanced, it quickly leads to illness of the mind, body, and spirit. Taking care of your subtle energy body, like maintaining balanced chakras, is essential to keep prana harmoniously traveling through you. Prana can be best experienced through the breath in exercises like pranayama breathing meditations.

With dedication to meditation, mindfulness, and energy work, one can increase both the ease of flow and amount of prana within oneself. This leads to higher states of consciousness, the dissolution of the ego, a Source-aligned existence, and more unconditional love. Free-flowing prana is an essential component to all spiritual journeys—prana sustains such journeys. 

Since prana is a more complex subject than this singular blog explains, it is best experienced by directly reading the Upanishads Vedic texts (where the understanding of this life force energy originates in theology) or by practicing your own energy work and experiencing prana from a first-hand account.

Through any pursuit of prana, honoring the energy is of upmost importance. Prana is a gift the Source/Universe provides for us, as this life force is Source-energy itself. Humbly accepting and increasing the flow of energy within us is a primary way of dedicating ourselves to our spiritual purpose. 

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