Prana is expended by thinking, willing, acting, moving, talking, writing, etc. A healthy and strong man has an abundance of prana, nerve force, vitality. Prana is supplied in water, in food, in air and in solar energy. Excess prana is stored in the brain and nerve centres. Seminal energy, when sublimated or transformed, supplies an abundance of prana to the system. It is stored in the brain in the form of `ojas’.
The yogi stores abundant prana by regular practice of pranayama. The yogi who has stored up a large supply of prana radiates strength and vitality. Those who come in close contact with him imbibe prana from him and get strength, vigour, vitality and exhilaration of spirits. Just as water flows from one vessel to another, prana flows, like a steady current, from a developed yogi to a weaker person. This may actually be seen by one who has developed his inner, psychic vision.
Breath is the external manifestation of gross prana. Correct habits of breathing must be established by the regular practice of pranayama. If you can control prana, you can completely control all the forces of the universe, mental and physical. The yogi can also control the omnipresent, manifesting power out of which all energies take their origin. He can control magnetism, electricity, gravitation, cohesion, nerve-currents, vital forces or thought vibrations. In fact he can control the total forces of the universe, both physical and mental.
A yogi can withdraw prana from any area. That area then becomes numb; it becomes impervious to heat and cold. He can send prana also to any area, and make it oversensitive. He can send prana to the eyes and see distant objects. He can send prana to the nose and can experience divya gandha (supernatural scent). He can send prana to the tongue and can experience supersensuous taste.
There is great significance in the order of the angas (limbs) of raja yoga. Practice of asana (posture) controls rajas (restlessness). Brahmacarya (celibacy) purifies the prana. Pranayama purifies the nadis (astral tubes). Pranayama it steadies the mind and makes it fit for concentration. It removes rajas and tamas (dullness). The practice of yama (self-restraint), niyama (discipline), asana and pranayama are all auxiliaries in the practice of concentration. Pranayama reduces the velocity of the mind. It makes it run and smaller and smaller circles.
- Swami Sivananda