Pranayantra is the title of my upcoming book. This article is a brief introduction to the concept and its significance.
Prana is subtle energy.
A yantra is a geometric pattern or form that serves as a guide for concentration.
Pranayantra is the use of a yantra to influence and control the flow of prana.
Prana is the name given to refer to the subtle energy that underlies, pervades and sustains the physical reality. It is also known as chi. Tai Chi and Chi Gung are ancient practices. Chi Gung means "directed energy". A Chi Gung practitioner uses the power of concentration to focus their awareness into a specific place, pattern or formation. Subtle energy will gather and accumulate in an area where there is sustained attention. This is how the directing of subtle energy is accomplished. Pranayantra is much like Chi Gung. The power of concentration is used to direct the flow of subtle energy. A yantra serves as a guide, or template, which will help in this process. It establishes a standard for the complete flow pattern in an instant and helps ensure that the energy will go to the right place, just like using a ruler to help draw a straight line, or the use of a compass to draw a circle. The use of a yantra improves power and precision. Precision is important for several reasons.
Alignment is crucial in yoga asana.
An asana is accomplished when the body is brought into a specific alignment. The benefits of the pose are closely related to the alignments that make up the pose. If we are doing the pose in order to realize the associated benefits, then we need to be aware of our alignment. It is the alignment that makes the pose beneficial or not.
What is proper alignment?
Proper alignment means that two or more objects are positioned relative to each other so that they can exchange energy efficiently. In asana we are aligning many parts. The goal is to improve the efficiency with which they are exchanging energy, and also to improve our awareness of how our force is moving through the body.
Our posture and movement determines the condition of the body and how it will develop over time. Body mechanics is the term that is given to refer to our quality of posture and movement. If we have poor body mechanics, then we will develop pain and dysfunction in the body. Good body mechanics is about the efficient exchange of kinetic energy among our body parts in our posture and movement. It is about our alignment and our spacial and body awareness.
Overcoming pain and dysfunction requires commitment.
It is ultimately up to us if we want to repair the damage in our body. We can get fast relief from bodywork, chiropractic adjustments, and various healing techniques, but the problems will return because it is the way in which we move our body on a daily basis that is the source of our pain and dysfunction. Neuromuscular repatterning techniques will provide more lasting benefits because they are working closer to the level that is the sorce of the issue. Ultimately it is our level of commitment that will make the most difference. If we spend most of our time doing things that are bad for the body, then spending a few minutes trying to address the resuling pain will provide only short term relief. Whatever we spend most of our time doing will be that which is most strongly reinforced and will be most visibly reflected in the body. The quality of our daily posture and movement in general is where the improvement must occur.
Pranayantra is the use of a yantra, or template, to serve as a guide that improves the quality of our posture and movement. It helps guide the movement of our force into more balanced and coherent flow patterns. It will make our yoga practice safer and more effective. It will also increase our awareness of subtle energy and the subtle bodies, and bring our practice of yoga beyond the physical.
"Yoga And Sacred Geometry" Samuel Palmer's second book.
This book reveals the controlling geometry that underlies the structure of the human body and shows how we can use this knowledge to refine and perfect our yoga practice, gain insight into the true purpose of yoga and become a master of your body. Packed with marvelous full color illustrations.
e-book, 172 pages. 3D Computer generated illustrations.