Pancha Maya: Pranamaya (notes from Chase Bossart’s class)
Hello Dear Readers,
This is so much useful info in this article. It took me a while to put all the notes together. I am very exited to share it with you. Again, I could’ve missed a thing or too…However, this would be mostly useful for a serious students or teachers with some experience, but even if you’re just curious see what stands out to you, read it, and may be come back to it later. Of course, it’s not the same as lecture, but if you ask me:-) this is as good as it gets!
We can have eyes, years, but there are no guaranties for clear perception. It reminds me of Gerry’s song: “Have 2 good eyes, but still can not see…” Pranamaya – is responsible of the Annamaya functioning.
Interestingly, the Sanskrit word Anna – means to nourish or not. What you eat can nourish you or not. What we take in can become part of us in a healthy proper way or it can be debilitating. This is a concept of the word Anna.
How prana flowing in the system is the second Maya. This Maya is represented as the bird model as well: Prana (head), Vyana (right wing), Apana (left wing), Akasa (holds it all together) and Prthivi (tail). It’s beautiful symbolical system and we can see how it can mean different things in different situations. Symbols are more open.
Prana means which nourishes us. Vyana is what’s circulation in our system. Apana is elimination what we don’t need.
Prana is represented in triangle with levels. Prana is the first level, consists of Prana, Apana, Udana, Vyana, Samana. The triangle helps us understand the system. This is only done to be able to talk about it. However, it’s not a dividable thing.
Prana (which is on top of the triangle) is the expression of purusa just like a sunlight is an expression of the sun. There is no sunlight without the sun. As we can say, in our system, without the soul, there is no prana. It is is coming from a consciousnesses (or soul). That prana is almost captured by our body. You can imagine it as a web in the spider. If the web is whole, spider can remain in the web. As long as prana stays within certain parameters, it will retain the prana from the soul. The end of the existence if when body can’t support the prana or the soul leaves.
The definition of a yogi is someone whose prana is entirely within their body. If we fine tune our antenna or our container (body) then it will allow the prana to remain more in the system. In other words, it won’t defuse out, it will stay in our body. The room is a different room when yogis whoes prana in captured in the body is present.
Besides that prana, there is a prana which comes from breathing. Hence a word pranayama – the stretching or extending of prana. In this case, prana means breath and life force. We get prana from food. When we cook the food we should eat it before its cold. Cold food doesn’t have live energy. Prana is also to what we linked to. When we go to the certain places, our energy changes.
It’s not enough just to take in. We have to also expelled or eliminate. We can say, prana is what we take in, vyana is a distributor and apana is an eliminator.
Coming back to the head of the bird (prana), or the engine, it is what nourishes us. The direction in which we are going. The direction is what we connect to. Then the thing the actually makes the bird go is related to locomotion is assimilation and elimination. Unfortunately, in our “civilized” society, we are not taught and don’t teach our children on the body functions. For example, during the very young age if you sit on the toilet every morning, your bowl movements will flow easy and will promote healthy elimination. And the body builds the pattern. Here, we just take a pill…And as it was discussed before, digestion is the first step is good body function.
The ancient yogis also have a concept of circulation – vyana. How does it happens? It’s a combo of both structure and space. You can think of the fossil and a pipe. If there is no space – nothing will move. If you have too much pritivi (structure) then there is no movement. If you have too much pritivi, you can’t fly. In this idea, we have nadis – channels from which prana moves from it’s sourse to the places in the body. There are about 72,000 nadies in the body. Our circulation goes to each and every cell in our body. So does the prana, mind, senses and emotions. Any movement only possible by prana. Any movement in the system is only possible by prana. Nadies are the channels by which prana moves throughout the system. In order for the channels to work properly you have to have enough structure and space.
We can consciously influence the movement of the prana by asana and pranayama. One of the main reasons why we do asana is to affect the movement of prana in the system. In this way, yoga is very similar to Thai Chi (both work with energy). When we do our asana practice, the results should be – to feel the flow of energy moving through us. And we should be moving in ways that facilitates that. We can think of the body as a metaphor for our American Flag. The flag is just a piece of fabric, but it represents freedom. The object is like a skin, but there is something in there around the object when we make contact with a skin, yet we can’t see it. Our bodies are the same thing. It is a visible part of a much greater entity. We’re not doing asana just to stretch the limbs, we’re doing asana to facilitate the flow of prana through the system. And as it happens, everything is supported by this energy – it’s no longer just a muscular thing. As you can see, it’s much more than just a physical movement.
Let’s talk about Uttanasana – lengthening or extending upward. Firstly, we inhale to set Jalandhara bandha to lengthen the upper the spine. As we move forward, it also prevents the head to compensate. The lengthening is the most important to align the cakras and for the space between them to be correct. If there is not enough space, you put pressure on the organs and they don’t function well. In these regards, eastern model is very similar to the western thought. (One of my pilates teacher says all the time – “You are as young as your spine”.)
The practice of asana should help us to bring the spine in the it’s most ideal relationship and to create space and foundation. Therefore, in Yoga asana, we should think in terms of functionality, not the form. With correct Yoga asana, the prana flows freely. Your body becomes more solid and functions better. Your fire becomes appropriate and your elimination becomes better. With this, what remains is what we want to remain.
Akasa means space. Metaphorically, akasa means consciousness. It’s the purusa – the souse. Why does this body exists in the first place? It is build specifically for your purusa. The only way to get a purusa is to be born. In other words, the only way the spirit is able to function is by going and getting an “earth suite”.
Vayu (wind) is prana. It still space, but it’s movement. When we look at our body, there are things to go in and things to go out. The body is a transformer. It changes things. When you take a piece of wood, you put it into the fire; wood’s shape has changed. When ancients were looking at the body, they see that something transforms things – they called it fire. It cooks the food and than assimilates into something else. There is fire in each of the dhatus. This fire changes the shape of this dhatu and transforms it into something else. There is fire in the eye which transforms light, shade into something meaningful. Suppose, we’re siting on the mountain, if you focus at something and that shift focus, our eye will change at it’s own accord. We can say, the eye has it’s own digestion.
This completes the lecture on Pranamaya. More to follow.
This entry was posted on Saturday, August 6th, 2011 at 6:11 pm and is filed under Yoga, Yoga Sutra. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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