OXYGEN – THE ESSENCE OF LIFE
According to Sw Satyananda, founder Bihar School of Yoga , “In the physical body we have two types of energies. One is known as prana and the other is known as mind or consciousness. That means, in every organ of the body there should be two channels supplying energy. Modern physiology describes two types of nervous systems – the sympathetic and the parasympathetic, and these two nervous systems are interconnected in each and every organ of the body. In the same way, every organ is supplied with the energy of prana and the energy of mind.
In yoga, the concept of prana is very scientific. When we speak of prana, we do not mean the breath, air or oxygen. Precisely and scientifically speaking, prana means the original life force.
Prana is a Sanskrit word constructed of the syllables pra and an. ‘An’ means movement and ‘pra’ is a prefix meaning constant. Therefore, prana means constant motion. This constant motion commences in the human being as soon as he is conceived in his mother’s womb. Prana is therefore a type of energy responsible for the body’s life, heat and maintenance.”
Oxygen is by far the most abundant element in the Earth’s crust. Nearly half of all the atoms in the earth are oxygen atoms. Oxygen also makes up about one-fifth of the Earth’s atmosphere. It is life infact. Oxygen is a gas, and prana is a subtle energy that is within oxygen. It is also within food, sunlight, water, the air in general. The body absorbs prana from the elements that contain it, and uses it in the body for every function that the body performs. Prana is both macrocosmic and microcosmic and is the substratum of all life. Mahaprana is the cosmic, universal, all-encompassing energy out of which we draw substance through the breathing process.
Prana is the foundation and essence of all life; the energy and vitality that permeates the entire Universe. Prana flows in everything that exists. Yogis do pranayama to master this subtle energy. You can also increase prana with sleep and meditation, breath, water, and food. Prana is the subtle energy beneath inhalation that lives in the chest. Apana is the subtle energy beneath exhalation that lives in the abdomen. If you would merge prana and apana, you would awaken kundalini shakti, the strongest manifestation of prana in the human bodymind. Thousands of years have passed since the idea of prana surfaced. Modern science has come up with incredibly accurate theories about energy in the universe and in the biochemistry of the human body. In describing the physical word, modern science is far superior to the ancients.
So in a nutshell Oxygen is the life force.