021 671 4068
Prana The Vital Energy

Sep 23, 2022 | Leaflets

Prana: The Vital Energy

Individual and cosmic prana
In most of the yogic texts, the term prana is associated with the lifeforce or bioenergy. Many people even use the word prana for oxygen, confusing it with the subdivision of prana vayu, which regulates the heart and the lungs.
But when we speak of prana in the higher sense, we are referring to the cosmic concept rather than the physical breath or the atmospheric ions. Life in itself is not a gross concept, and just because something exists does not mean it represents prana.

Prana is a Sanskrit word derived from two roots, pra is a prefix used to denote constancy and na means “movement”.

Therefore, prana is a force in constant motion, like a vibration moving to and fro without any interception. We have to be very precise when we use the word prana, because it has two aspects – cosmic and individual.

The cosmic prana is very subtle and can only be perceived by the infinite mind, but individual prana related to the body is grosser and more tangible. In the order of creation, prana emanates from the unmanifest reality known as hiranya garbha, the golden womb or egg. On the physical level it manifests as individual existence.

Swara yoga develops awareness of the manifestation and existence of prana within our own being in order to realize its cosmic propensity.

The inherent energy of the breath.
In yoga, breathing is considered to be a very important process because it is the vital means of absorbing prana into the body. According to different ancient Indian texts, the breath is referred to as the vehicle of Brahman or cosmic consciousness.

In fact, the Prasnopanishad, which specifically aims at clarifying the nature of creation, explains that,” Prana springs from the atman and is as inseparable from the self as the shadow is from, he who casts the shadow”. (ch.3)

Even the bible implies that man was give n consciousness and life through the breath: “The Lord God formed man out of the dust of the ground and breathing into his nostrils the breath of life, he became a living soul”. (Gen. 2:10) The breath itself, being imparted from the cosmic self, contains the cosmic force therein. 

Thus, through the practice of swara yoga, we are attempting to experience the gross aspect of prana in order to trace it back to its original source.

This is a symbolic expression of the process of materialization of matter and life together through prana and consciousness. Dust is symbolic of the matter and the breath of life means the emergence of prana in matter. Matter has many stages of existence and manifestation.

At one level it is inert. In the process of evolution, it manifests life. Later it manifests consciousness, then energy emerges and the final manifestation is knowledge and experience.

This is the truth about physics and metaphysics both, about science, tantra and swara yoga.


According to swara yoga the body is a storehouse of vital energy, a dynamo with infinite electrical currents flowing throughout. The ordinary man sees his body as a combination of flesh, blood and bone. But the yogis and scientists have perceived a greater force behind the physical elements, and that is the force of energy or prana. The prana that motivates the body of man is more subtle than the nucleus of an atom and technology has not yet been able to harness it.

Most people consider the pranic system within the body to be purely physiological, but recent scientific investigations are coming closer to the truth of swara yoga. Researchers are discovering what the yogis found, that there is an energy link between the physical and the psychic bodies. Furthermore, they have arrived at the conclusion that energy or pranic force is convertible into material force and material force is convertible into pranic force. You know the famous equation of Albert Einstein E = MC , that matter is energy in its potential state. This is an ancient truth contained in the Vedas.

There is a small scientific experiment which we can use to illustrate this more clearly. If you look at a piece of bone with your naked eye, all you see is a bone. But if you look at a piece of bone under a super-microscope, what do you see? First you see living cells, then atoms, and later the nucleus of the atom. Ultimately you discover the fantastic behaviour of energy. The piece of bone which appeared to be lifeless was not really dead at all, only your eyes were incapable of detecting the living energy within.
Therefore, we utilize the practices of swara yoga to make our perception subtle enough to perceive this inherent energy.

Now, even scientists who have gone into the study of energy fields maintain that the so called motionless matter is also permeated with this subtle energy. Therefore, prana not only means life, it means existence as well. Where mobility and stability are combined, there is prana. If an object is devoid of prana, it will disintegrate. So, science has come to the conclusion that every existing thing is a composite structure of energy and matter.
Swara yoga is a means to develop deeper understanding of our own energy structure and how to keep it functioning harmoniously.

Kirlian Photography

One of the major scientific discoveries which brought the subject of prana to public awareness was Kirlian photography. The inventors, a husband-and-wife team, came across the phenomena in 1939, and since then researchers have been photographing many types of objects. They found all life forms emit a particular aura and that insentient objects can also have an aura for some time. It has become an extensive field of research, which I will leave at this point.

Suffice it to mention here that experiments have brought researchers to the conclusion that the aura or electromagnetic radiation of the body, is constantly changing. It can expand and diminish, and it can influence as well as be influenced by others.


Source: Shapter 2: Swara Yoga by Swamis Satyananda Saraswati and Muktibodhananda Saraswati

Other Articles



In not a too distance past before the development of the sprawling cities and metropoles people were part of the journey through the seasons and their particular challenges, especially those people who were dependent on their land for daily sustenance.   Many of...

read more

How Energy Influences Matter

The Earth is a magnet. Your body is also a magnet. Ancient cultures, especially Asian cultures, have known this for thousands of years. Your north pole is your mind and brain, and your south pole is your body at the base of your spine.When there is a flow of energy...

read more
Give me a call or email me to enquire about space, fees
or any other details or to arrange a trial class.

(021) 671 4068

Follow Us



18 Mathew Road, Claremont
(Harfield Village), Cape Town