I Have a Question:
How Does Prana Get Stuck?

Debbie, one of my long-time students, sent me a question yesterday:

“Would you write a blog post on stuck prana?  How does it get stuck.  And what can you do to shake it loose?”

BreathPrana:  What is it?

It is very easy to get all kinds of crazy when we start talking about Prana.  First, prana and Prana are not the same things.  Prana with a lower case P is breath.  Prana with a capital P is the body’s vital life force or energy.  It’s also, somewhat mistakenly, called spirit.  Many have never heard of Prana but most people have Chi or Qi, this is just Prana by a different name.  The main vehicle for Prana to enter the body is through breath—food is another vehicle but that is another post for another day.


p class=”indented”>When I first started practicing Yoga, I read about some about Prana and immediately decided that it was too “out there” for me and I just ignored it.  I cannot now dismiss it so simply because I have felt it and I have seen it in action.  Here are two simple experiments for you, dear reader, to do right now:

    Experiment #1

  1. Close your eyes.
  2. Touch your face lightly with your fingertips.
  3. Notice all the sensations in the fingertips.
  4. Notice all the sensations in the face.
  5. Open your eyes.
    Experiment #2

  1. Close your eyes.
  2. VERY SLOWLY move your right index finger toward the center of your eyebrows.
  3. Notice if you can feel your finger approaching your skin.
  4. Open your eyes.

In the first experiment, you could feel sensations in both fingers and in the face.  Every sensation you felt was actually being processed in the brain but how does it get from fingertips or face to the brain?  The sensation travels along nerves but how?  Electrical impulses travel along the nerves, just like data travels along a network cable via electrical or light impulses, until they reach the brain.  We are bioelectric (energetic) creatures and without those electric impulses we die.

In the second experiment, you likely felt the skin around your eyebrows and nose reacting to your approaching finger, why?  As demonstrated by the first experiment, we are energetic creatures and the second experiment shows we can sense the energy around us.  If you’ve ever walked into a room and felt tension without anyone saying a word, then you’ve felt the action of Prana without even realizing it.

FrozenPranaFrozen Prana, the Broken Circle

Now to Debbie’s first question, “How does Prana get stuck?”  Using our experiments from above, you might wonder how the signal from your finger gets stuck somewhere along the way.  If you’ve ever had your hand or foot fall asleep, then you know it happens; however, that is not quite what Debbie is asking.

Emotions, beliefs, stress and tension—all fueled by Prana—can become trapped, frozen, in our physical and mental bodies.  If you have had a stress/tension headache, you’ve experienced frozen Prana.  If you have ever believed something untrue about yourself, you’ve experienced frozen Prana.

In simple terms, the body and mind work on a tension and relaxation balance.  If we keep tension and relaxation balanced, we stay healthy and happy.  If there is more tension than relaxation, stress appears—stress is simply unbalanced or leftover tension.  If there is more relaxation than tension, love handles appear—fat is simply leftover energy.

The very simple reason that Prana becomes frozen is that we don’t fully use it.  Anger rises and we stifle it.  Shame or grief or fear rise and we stifle them all.  Cake—the cosmic vehicle for icing—rises, we eat half of it and then take a nap.  The energy behind those emotions, the cake and the icing all get locked in place, frozen Prana.

Heating Things Up

Prana is circular in its motion.  Something rises, we experience it fully and it dissipates leaving no leftovers.  This is the natural rhythm of Prana.  We, as noted above, tend to act in unnatural rhythms.  By not allowing ourselves to fully experience life—both the ups and the downs—we short circuit Prana’s natural rhythm and it becomes stuck.

Thawing frozen Prana requires some heat.  In physical terms, such as with a stress headache, we might apply heat directly to the neck or do some neck rolls to loosen the muscles and relieve the headache.  This frees up the Prana held in the neck muscles but it does not resolve the excess tension which caused the stress in the first place.  When we stifle life, we freeze Prana; so to thaw it, we must fully experience life.  If you are stifling emotion, feel it fully instead.  Cry, laugh, yell.  If you ate the cake, run around like a 5 year old.  LIVE and leave no leftovers—well, except for the cake; definitely leave some cake.

What about the really deep stuff?  The deep seated untruths we hold about ourselves:  “I am a failure.”  “I am unlovable.”  These are frozen Prana as well, how do we shake this frozen Prana loose?  That is food for another post and for another day.  🙂

Jai Bhagwan!