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Prana (प्राण, prāṇa) is the Sanskrit word for "life force" or vital principle.[1] In yoga, Indian medicine, and martial arts, the term refers to a cosmic energy believed to come from the sun and connecting the elements of the universe. The universal principle of energy or force, responsible for the body's life, heat and maintenance, prana is the sum total of all energy that is manifest in the universe.[2] This life energy, prana (प्राण), has been vividly invoked and described in Vedas[citation needed]. In Ayurveda, tantra and Tibetan medicine "praṇā vāyu" is the basic vāyu (wind, air) from which all the other vāyus arise. It is analogous to qi.


Further information: Nadi (yoga)

Prana and vayu are considered interconnected.[3] According to Sanskrit vayu (air) is essential for prana (life) to exist. In Yoga, the three main channels of praṇā vāyu are the Ida, the Pingala and the Sushumna.

Ida relates to the right side of the brain, and the left side of the body, terminating at the left nostril. Pingala relates to the left side of the brain and the right side of the body, terminating at the right nostril. In some practices, alternate nostril breathing balances the praṇā vāyu that flows within the body.

Sushumna connects the base chakra to the crown chakra.

In most ancient texts, the total number of nadis in the human body is stated to be 72,000. When praṇā vāyu enters a period of uplifted, intensified activity, the Yogic tradition refers to it as Pranotthana.


Main articles: Vāyu and Lung (Tibetan Buddhism)

Praṇā vāyu is the basic vāyu from which all the other vāyus arise.[4]

Vāyu Responsibility
Prāṇa Beating of the heart and breathing. Prana enters the body through the breath and is sent to every cell through the circulatory system.[citation needed]
Apāna Elimination of waste products from the body through the lungs and excretory systems.[citation needed]
Uḍāna Sound production through the vocal apparatus, as in speaking, singing, laughing, and crying. Also it represents the conscious energy required to produce the vocal sounds corresponding to the intent of the being. Hence Samyama on udana gives the higher centers total control over the body.[citation needed]
Samāna The digestion of food and cell metabolism (i.e. the repair and manufacture of new cells and growth). Samana also includes the heat regulating processes of the body.
Vyāna The energy that diffuses throughout the body (i.e. circulation). The expansion and contraction processes of the body, e.g. the voluntary muscular system.[citation needed]


Main article: Pranayama

Scientific view

Prana is a hypothetical, pre-scientific concept and has not been observed clinically.[5][6]

See also

Further reading

  • Kason, Yvonne (2000). Farther Shores: Exploring How Near-Death, Kundalini and Mystical Experiences Can Transform Ordinary Lives. Toronto: HarperCollins Publishers; Revised edition.
  • Rammurti S. Mishra Yoga Sutras: The Textbook of Yoga Psychology
  • Sovatsky, Stuart (1998). Words from the Soul: Time, East/West Spirituality, and Psychotherapeutic Narrative. SUNY Series in Transpersonal and Humanistic Psychology, New York: State University of New York Press.


  1. ^ "Prana | Define Prana at". Retrieved 2015-04-22. 
  2. ^ "Prana: the Universal Life Force". Retrieved 2015-04-27. 
  3. ^ "Pranayama". Retrieved 2015-04-27. 
  4. ^ "Yoga: Prana Vayu – Five vital forces". 2008-07-03. Retrieved 2015-04-27. 
  5. ^ Lee, MS; Pittler, MH; Ernst, E (2008). "Effects of Reiki in clinical practice: a systematic review of randomized clinical trials". International Journal of Clinical Practice 62 (6): 947–54. PMID 18410352. doi:10.1111/j.1742-1241.2008.01729.x. Retrieved 2008-05-02. 
  6. ^ "Acupuncture: National Institutes of Health Consensus Development Conference Statement". National Institutes of Health. 3–5 November 1997. Retrieved 2007-01-15. 

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