What is Prana?
Prana is the life energy that performs respiration, oxygenation, and circulation. Prana enkindles Agni and natural intelligence.
Prana governs all the higher cerebral activities, including mind, memory, thoughts and emotions. Prana governs the heart as well (its seat).
One of Prana functions is respiration (being located at the hypothalamus). We inhale cool air and exhale warm air, we breathe through the nostril which has a hidden meaning behind it. When we breathe through the left nostril, the right hemisphere of the brain is getting activated, and vice versa.
Prana is the bridge between Purusha and Prakriti.
Thousands of years ago, the Yogis of the Himalayas, fathomed the inherent quality of motion and creation and they called it Prana.
One may translate Prana as ‘energy’ or ‘vital force’, but neither definition offers a precise equivalent to the Sanskrit term. Yogis say the entire cosmos is alive, throbbing with Prana.
Prana is present in all aspects of creation. Without Prana there will be no existence!
In the Kathopanishad it is said:
Yadidam Kim Cha Jagatsarva Prana Ejati Nishritam (2:3:2)
The whole world – whatever there is – vibrates having originated from Prana.
Prana and Chitta have a connection between them as said in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika:
When Prana moves, Chitta moves. When Prana is without movement, Chitta is without movement. (2:2)
That is exactly why many Yogic practices includes the Prana as a major part of them, may it be Pranayama, Asana and Shatkriya.
Distorders of Prana:
Disorders of Prana will include: Confusion, illusion, delusion, hallucinations, heart failures, breathlessness, arthritis, ADHD, hallucinations, dizziness and all issues realting the the sites of Prana.
A nice little exercise to know Prana: Inhale deeply, exhale fully. Hold without breathing again (in Yoga: Bahir Kumbhaka). In that fraction of a second when you cant hold anymore, Prana is what makes you breathe again, filling you with oxygen and life force.
Ayurvedic texts book I & II, Dr. Vasant Lad.
Prana and Pranayama, Swami Niranjanananda.
Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Swami Muktibodhananda.
Ayurvedic Yoga Therapy, Mukunda Stiles.