Written by Nicole Doherty, Published by American Athlete Magazine (launched in their Winter 2014 iTunes edition)
Powerful. Mysterious. What is this enigmatic life force that yogis talk about?
If you look up the term “life force energy”, a variety of definitions appear from the more esoteric spiritual concepts to the more scientific descriptions of physical energy. In many healing modalities, it’s referenced by different names such as “prana” (Indian Yoga), “qi” (Chinese acupuncture), and “ki” (Japanese Reiki).
“Sometimes it is equated with the movement of breath in the body, sometimes described as visible “auras”, “rays”, or “fields” or as audible or tactile “vibrations”. (Wikipedia)
We know that every living being has a vital life force or a composition of energy. Our current scientific knowledge can explain much of it and then there are the subtler parts that have no scientific basis. Life force energy is coursing through our bodies and we are emitting an energetic field around us as well.
In Yoga, “prana” or “life force” is often paired with talk of the “subtle body”.
“The subtle body is one of a series of psycho-spiritual constituents of living beings, according to various esoteric, occult and mystical teachings. Each subtle body corresponds to a subtle plane of existence in a hierarchy or great chain of being that culminates in the physical form.” (Wikipedia)
Our life force travels on the breath in this subtle body structure within a system of channels throughout our bodies like electric wiring. The physical form is a manifestation of characteristics of this invisible energy. If we can understand our subtler energies, we can start to understand more deeply our physical manifestations.
“The Yogic, Tantric and other systems of India, the Buddhist psychology of Tibet, as well as Chinese and Japanese esoterism are examples of doctrines that describe a subtle physiology having a number of focal points (chakras, acupuncture points) connected by a series of channels (nadis, acupuncture meridians) that convey life-force (prana, vayu, ch’i, ki, lung).” (Wikipedia)
In many healing modalities it is proven that when we unblock the channels that carry the prana, we maintain a very healthy long, vital life. We can unblock energy in many ways for example through touch (massage), needles (acupuncture), manipulation of breath (yoga), meditation and sound.
In many cultures you may hear that we are “being breathed” by a universal presence of which we are all a part, which is our life force. This force is what unifies all living beings. This prana is consciousness. This unified field of energy and love is in all things and symbols of this love are all around us.
How can we describe consciousness?
Deepak Chopra explains consciousness as not material at all, but “a quantum reality… What we think of as tiny particles are actually not material at all, but waves of potential. The waves represent different potential outcomes of reality. Only when observed does the wave collapse into one perceived outcome and is seen again s a particle. The physical world as we see it is not reality, but pure potential.”
If you can wrap your head around this concept for a moment you will witness the exquisite nature of the Self and become the Seer that is a creator of physical reality.
Our life force is pure potential. It has no beginning or end and exists apart from space and time. It is infinite.
Nicole Doherty is a 500-RYT YogaWorks Certified teacher, shamanic reiki energy and sound healer, wellness coach, singer and writer. Through the study of various healing arts and a disciplined yoga practice, Nicole spent most of her adult life on an extensive spiritual inquiry that empowered her to overcome multiple traumas in her life ultimately finding love, light and sustained joy. Her work included wide-spread travel to third world countries and studies with world renowned thought leaders in the areas of yoga, meditation, subtle body, Reiki, shamanism, women’s empowerment and life coaching. What she discovered on this path to wholeness fuels her passion to inspire others to heal and find their highest potential. Committed to embodying her truth in service, Nicole encourages others to do the same with her contagious laughter, endearing smile and lightness of being.