Prana is a word quite common in the yogic world. Most people know that prana means life force energy and that our breathing controls the level of vitality that flows throughout our body. Pranayama, also known as the art or science of breath control, is a practice in yoga that goes hand in hand with the postures. However, understanding that prana manifests not only in our bodies, but also in our food, is important knowledge for increasing our health, vitality and ability to prevent and heal from disease.
Pranamayakosa, also known as the "vital body" or "etheric body", literally translates to the sheath of vital energy within the human being. The pranic body is part of the physical body, which is made up of our skin, bones, organs, tissues, etc. It is a very thin layer of energy that surrounds the body (3-4 cm) and protects it. It’s the "life" you see when you look at someone or something alive and the physical body cannot live without it. When the prana dies, so does the person. For this reason, it’s imperative that the pranic body be rebuilt first when injury or sickness occurs in order to allow the body to heal.
Prana not only exists in humans, it also exists in all living things. For example, cats have a particularly strong pranic body and are able to survive falls that other living people and animals cannot. Yoga, breathing and food are three excellent ways to build and expand one’s prana. Food in particular has been the source of inspiration for the raw live food diet and is an excellent way to heal, regenerate and purify the body. The pranic energy of the foods you choose directly impacts your own prana, influencing your health, vitality and overall wellbeing. Here are some tips to help you obtain the most prana from the foods you eat.
1.Choose Live Foods
Live foods have the most pranic value of any food because they are the closest to being alive. Packed with vitamins, minerals, enzymes and phytonutrients; sprouted grains, beans, vegetables, nuts, seeds, etc. assist with digestion and the assimilation of nutrients. Most report feeling an immediate increase in energy and enthusiasm after consuming live foods.
2.The Fresher the Better
Again, prana exists in living foods, so you’ll want to make sure that you are always consuming the freshest food possible while the prana is still active. Frozen, canned, preserved and packaged foods are low or empty on prana. Dead foods do not provide the same level of nutrients that live foods do. Try to avoid eating too many leftovers or foods that have been sitting for long periods of time.
3.Vivid Colors, Great Smell, Vibrant Taste
Anyone who has watched vegetables begin to lose their color, smell, wilt or go bad has witnessed the disappearance of prana and life energy. Foods that still show signs of life are vibrant and vivid in color, smell fragrant and rich, and are full of flavor. There is also an unmistakable lightness to high pranic foods that produces energy and vitality once consumed.
4.Organic, Locally Grown
When looking for foods rich in prana and life energy, you’ll want to make sure you only consume organic foods. Not only do they have more nutrients they are also devoid of chemicals and pesticides that can kill off aspects of the food’s energy. Locally grown foods are also higher in prana since they are typically fresher (closer to the source) than foods that have been transported long distances.
5.Whole Foods, Nothing Processed
Avoid processed foods that are more or less "dead". Whole foods such as vegetables, fruits, grains, beans, nuts, seeds and even raw and/or organic dairy products are all high in prana. Chemical preservatives and additives create altered, "fake" foods, which negatively impact your health for many reasons beyond their lack of prana alone.
6.Raw or Lightly Cooked
Prana is destroyed by fire, which is why cooking eliminates a lot of the nutritional value contained in its original form. The recommendation here (regardless of the diet you consume) is to at least eat some raw foods on a daily basis. Even lightly cooked or steamed foods contain more prana than foods that are over-exposed to heat during the cooking process.
By including more prana rich foods in your diet, you’ll notice increased energy, a heightened zest for living and an overall healthier body, mind and spirit.