Prana means energy, maya in this case means body or vehicle. The Chinese call it Chi, the yogis Prana or life force. Prana moves around the body through channels, called nadis. Some 72,000 reportedly, but who counted them, nobody knows. When we practice asana and pranayama, we are affecting Pranamaya kosha.
Prana enters into the body not only through food and water, but it also comes into the body via of the breath. One of the major benefits of yoga is that we become more and more conscious of our breathing, and eventually we learn to take proper deep breaths. Practicing diaphragmatic breathing, complete yogic breathing, and alternate nostril breathing are specifically designed to enhance the proper functioning of this second sheath. This leads to an increase of prana into our system which literally makes us feel more alive plus it invigorates and powers Pranamaya kosha.
Additionally, getting plenty of fresh air and sunlight is essential for maintaining the health of the vital force. Yoga texts often refer to the sun as the ultimate source of Prana.
The Pranamaya Kosha forms the energy body. The primary way to impact this kosha is through breathing. It is affected by the 5 kleshas as follows:
As noted in my last post as these kleshas are recognized and dissolved (or cleared) from the Pranamaya kosha, the next step is taken. As the remaining koshas are cleansed of these afflictions, the Atman (or Self), which is indescribable, is gradually recognized and eventually realized by direct experience; this is the goal of Yoga meditation, Advaita Vedanta, and certain Tantra practices.
Stay tuned, next: Further exploration of each Klesha and how it colors the Manamaya kosha.
Rae Indigo is ERYT 500