This week, I taught on the word, "prana."
Prana is, to many a Western yoga practitioner, a remote concept. Prana is the energy, the force that animates all of life. Prana, some say, is that which connects us to the changeless Self.
Prana is also intimately linked to the breath. It rides on the tides of our respiration, entering the body on the inhale and rejoining the larger, global well of energy as we breathe out. The exhale is particularly rich because it softens the boundaries between us and the external world, welcoming us into the energetic patterns of the universe that lie just beyond our lips and noses.
To my mind, prana is also that which arises in a yoga practice that we don't have clear language to describe. Technical, simple words don't really reflect the felt experience of prana. We invoke light, fluidity, sound, and more to try and capture the richness of a sensation that defies everyday linguistic articulation.
Prana is that which connects us to the mystery of our own practice and, dare I say it, to the lucid confusion of the human experience. That is to say, prana is the invitation to pursue the richness of physical embodiment beyond our anatomy, a call to marvel at the inner landscape with satisfaction but without complete understanding. This energy beckons us to continue to the journey into the unknown, and rewards us.