This month we are Building Pranic Capacity. At first glance it seems simple enough; Building is the process of increase, of making more, of substantiating. Prana is the vital life force of our lives and our bodies, of all animate objects. And our Capacity is both the unit of measurement for how much we can contain, as well as an ability to accomplish or act (a capacity for public speaking, for example). Which, reassembled, would mean that we are building the ability to hold and generate more vital life force in our lives. True enough.
The question is how? The sequence runs from building the tips of fingers overhead down to the soles of the feet below (with some grand marching in between). Our hearts pound, our attention strays and we return again and again to the simple task at hand. Subsequently we build cardiovascular strength, mental focus, and can feel the space around us bright with this pranic force that radiates wellbeing.
All this is well and good if our foundation is strong and steady. If we put more current through a weak connection, we are likely to blow the connection. If we overfill a cracked bowl, we may break the bowl. Increasing pranic capacity isn't only about making more energy, more strength, but also requires us to make more steadiness to hold it. This is the unfamiliar territory this month, the place of the practice that serves us most.
In yogic philosophy the universe is composed of two forces: prakriti and purusa. All things undergo change. Our thoughts, our bodies, our sensations, our perceptions, our planet, are all dynamic. This dynamism is necessary for us to grow and change. This is prakriti. Yoga uses this unending flux by giving us practices that direct our change in a positive direction. We can get unstuck. We can evolve and heal. Prakriti is our creative potential.
Beneath this is a stillness. Unmanifest consciousness. The One, all-pervading reality of Nature that is not subject to change. Purusa is the Mighty Self, Awareness, the Seer, the field of consciousness that is more powerful than your changing circumstances.
The Bhagavad Gita says, “The Self cannot be pierced, burned, made wet, or dry. It is everlasting and infinite, standing on the motionless foundation of Eternity.” This is purusa.
Our practice this month enables us to generate shift and movement, feeling the currents of our circulation pulse fast and strong. Once in motion we can start to positively influence the direction of change so that we can suffer less and thrive more. At the same time, in the shining stillnesses we discover interwoven in our movements and at their conclusions, we can disconnect from that which is changing, in order to connect to that which is eternal.
I've used the analogy this week of building a big IKEA bookshelf. If we do it quickly or carelessly, it will be loose and wobbly. And the trick is that we are going to use this bookcase to climb higher - to see further, and we will invite and carry friends with us. Shoddy construction will mean that as we rise, we will increase fear and uncertainty (prana flows into an enlivens all things, these emotions too). Too much movement without an anchor can be destructive. We will be likely to look down, hungry to return to the safety of what we knew, rather than keep climbing to explore and grow.
But if as we climb to the top, we create a sound structure with a steady breath and a composed mind, we will be captivated by our new view. We can trust and believe in what we have achieved. Our pranic capacity - the energy and perception of where we are and where we even have the possibility to go - is expanded. Feeling our strength grow, feeling our perspective shift and extend, we sense a quality of safety we have created for ourselves that builds inner trust and healing.
As we practice, we unleash our creative potential - our movements, breath, and mind grow strong. In this strength we touch a stillness inside. The potent consciousness that underlies all things. We can shift our lives in the directions we desire as our capacity for vitality increases.
May you practice boldly this month. May it shake you up, challenge you, shift you, and settle you towards your Mighty Self. May you know firsthand the power and prana of your life.
Yes! There is a community Kundalini class in Columbia on Tuesday nights! 7-8pm (full schedule here)
Yes! I will teach my noon class on Thanksgiving Day @FellsPt
Yes! I will teach two pop-up kundalini classes on Black Friday as part of #optoutside - Don't shop! Do! Get out. Get love. Get sweaty. Details on my website schedule and next email
Yes! You can get this practice and every practice online via subscription and use it every day.
Yes! Registration for my 100 hr 'Power of Prana' training is up and open. Details here. For yoga teachers and yoga enthusiasts.
Feel free to reply to this post with comments, questions, and suggestions xx