Prana is present in every mental and physical event; it flows from spirit, or pure awareness, to bring intelligence and consciousness to every aspect of life. The critical importance of life energy has been recognized in many cultural traditions; the Chinese know it as Chi and control its flow through acupuncture, meditation, and specialized exercises such as tai chi. Other names for the breath of life appear in Sufism, mystic Christianity, and the teachings of ancient Egypt. What is universally agreed on is that the more Prana you have, the more vital your mental and bodily processes.
Depleted Prana is directly linked to gaining and death. Nothing can remain alive when Prana is absent, because Prana is intelligence and consciousness, the two vital ingredients that animate physical matter.
In India the body is perceived first as a product of consciousness and only secondarily as a material object. Conserving Prana is considered extremely important.
Thus, a healthy life, as measured by the conservation of Prana, demands the following:
- Fresh food.
- Pure water and air.
- Moderate exercise.
- Balanced, refined breath.
- Non-violent behavior and a reverence for life.
- Loving, positive emotions; free expression of emotion.
Contrast a picnic in the mountains with lunch at a hamburger stand. Freshness indicates the presence of Prana; staleness its absence.
Adapted from The Essential Ageless Body, Timeless Mind, by Deepak Chopra (Harmony Books, 2007).