Prana and Apana: Living life in our current world of distraction and overstimulation can be very draining. We live in a society that is almost always “plugged-in.” Yet, we may discover that being plugged-in actually causes a disconnection from the healthful needs of our physical, emotional and mental bodies – ultimately a disconnection from our true Self. In a world largely touting the importance of being connected to things outside of ourselves, how can we realign our focus? How can we achieve balance and harmony?
The ancient yogis, saints and sages understood that our energy can bring us out into the world, or deeper into ourselves. These energies, called prana and apana, influence how we experience flow in our life.
Prana is the energy that moves up and inward – the energy that leads us to our essence. The higher the prana, the more confined we can become in our own inner world. On the other side, Apana is outward-moving energy – the energy that brings us into the world and provides us with the motivation that we need to move through our lives.
These two energetic forces – prana and apana – ask for our attention at each moment and pull us in opposing directions. We’ve all experienced the depletion that comes from too much outward energy. However, too much inward energy can also disconnect us from the realities of our daily responsibilities. Yogi Bhajan talked about Kundalini Yoga being the yoga of the householder. Balancing prana and apana is what we, as contemporary yogis, need in order to balance our day-to-day tasks with our personal yogic practices.
A powerful way to cultivate the balance of prana and apana is through chanting mantra. In this case, the mantra of Prana Apana Sushumna Hari is the perfect choice!
The complete mantra is as follows:
Prana Apana Sushumna Hari
Again, Prana is the upward moving life-force, while Apana is translated as the “great cleanser of the system.” The Sushumna is the central channel of that life-force, extending from the base of the spine to the eyebrow center. Hari and Har are names of the Divine – the great creative infinity that makes up the Universe.
This mantra helps to create balance between prana and apana, draws energy up the spine and brings about opportunities for tremendous healing.
Chant along with the following track from Simrit’s album, The Oracle Sessions, and become aware of how it shifts the flow of your day. Draw yourself inward, in order to examine the ways in which you are being drawn outward. Find your unique balance and dance with the flow of prana and apana.