We are all iPhones
If you are a yoga practitioner, you may have heard the word ‘prana’ mentioned every now and then. Prana is regarded as ‘life force energy’. It is said that prana runs along the breath. It is not necessarily breath itself, but it rides the waves of breath. Kind of like a surfer. Kind of.
At it’s core, prana is something that cannot be seen with our physical eye but is very much real and just as significant and vital as our physical bodies. Yoga believes we have five bodies, and because of ego, ignorance, and other blockages, we are not in touch with our deeper layers. The first body is our physical body, otherwise known as ‘Anamaya kosha’. We must take care of our physical bodies, as prana depends on it. Yoga calls the second body the ‘Pranamaya kosha’. The word ‘kosha’ translates as ‘layer’ or ‘sheath’.
Oftentimes, we are attached to our physical bodies >>the outermost layer<< whether we adorn them with nice clothes, work out in order to shape and tone our exterior, or have an extreme fear of losing our bodies, i.e. death. It makes little sense to me that the physical realm is the end all be all. In fact, yoga also suggests that the physical realm is an illusion, otherwise known as ‘maya’. This is not to suggest that it isn’t real or important. It is just as real as a dream. We know our dreams are real, even though they’re not.
I think it’s important to become curious about that which resides just below the physical layer. These techniques can help us relieve stress and anxiety and feel more peace and balance in our minds and our lives.
Notice your breath. It is not visible. But it is there. If it were to be studied with a machine, your breath could actually be detected physically. There are molecules of carbon dioxide and oxygen circulating in and out. Such is the same with prana. If you have ever studied Krilian photography, you will know that certain types of photo resolution can measure an energy field or an ‘aura’ around living objects including people, animals, and plants. Literally. There’s a camera that can show you your pranic field.
If you’ve ever taken a sweaty yoga class, done a good amount of conscious breathing, engaged in mindful sexual activity, gone for a run, become angry, become excited, or meditated, you have experienced prana. Prana can be translated as a ‘pulsing’ or a ‘streaming energy’. Some call it blood flow. Some call it ‘tingling’ sensations. Some call it ‘pressure’ or a ‘rhythm’ of sorts. It’s a detectable and palpable frequency that shifts and changes based on our circumstances, but it is always with us. It is sometimes more noticeable than other times. It is not the blood itself. It is the force that allows all of these physical systems to function. It is the ‘on’ switch.
Here’s an example: I have an iPhone. Without my Verizon service, my iPhone wouldn’t be of much use. It would just be a shell. I need my cell phone service in order for the phone to work. I am also aware that my iPhone will one day perhaps break or become old and need to be replaced (I know this because it has happened many times). Nothing has changed about the service. The energy running through the phone is the same, but the shell needed to be updated. The energy running through is ageless. It is always simply pure energy. Untouched. The shell is temporary. The energy flowing through is eternal (unless of course Verizon goes out of business. But then you can just change carriers. #NBD).
Oh, and let me share something about the shell. The body. So I have an old iPhone 4 that I use for playing music when I teach yoga. It is completely cracked on both sides, and the back is taped on otherwise it would fall off as well. It is literally beyond broken. But it still works fine. It still plays such sweet music. Even when the shell is broken and cracked, we can still feel peace. We can still experience harmony.
I am grateful for my shell, for it is a temporary luxury for me to enjoy the various pleasures associated with the material world. I can feel connected. Whole. I have an opportunity to remember where I came from and how I can serve.
We can feel connected and whole in our bodies when we realize that we are not our bodies.
Existence served me a temporary home to express my infinite-ness. And in that knowing, I feel peace.