In Mary Shelley’s book-“Frankenstein”, the main character Victor Frankenstein was so fascinated by the mysteries of life and creation, that he got consumed by the desire of creating life in an unconventional manner. He was plagued by the burning question -“What animates a living creature?” A living creature can have all organs and tissues, but what is it that animates it? Brings life into it?
He became obsessed with the study of natural philosophy, particularly chemistry. Armed with knowledge in the field of alchemy and using electricity to spark life force into the corpse, with body parts he gathered from charnel houses, Victor created his now famous monster. We all know how that story ended.
If only Victor had had the good fortune of running into some ancient seers of the eastern hemisphere he could have saved himself and others a whole lot of trouble. Maybe they could have sparked his interest in the metaphysical instead of the ‘alchemical’ and help him understand that the underlying force that animates a living creature is what has always been known in the east as Prana or Chi or Ki. During a Reiki session, it is this life force that the Reiki practitioner channels into the body of the recipient who wishes to receive healing.
Low levels of prana makes one more susceptible to sickness, while abundant levels of prana makes one healthy, happy and energetic. We receive prana through air, food, water, sunlight, activities like Yoga and Pranayam. This life force called Prana, flows in our astral body through a network of subtle energy channels called nadis. Emotional debris and stress directly impacts our astral body by causing blockages in our chakras and nadis. This impedes the proper flow of prana which in turn adversely affects our health. When we do yoga we are working on dissolving these blockages and getting the prana to flow properly.
In Chapter 46- A Woman yogi who Never Eats, of Paramhansa Yogananada’s book-“Autobiography of a Yogi” there is a mention of a woman by the name of Giri Bala who survived without food for a period of roughly fifty years at that time (since 1880 to 1936 which was when this story was covered). She survived solely on cosmic energy that she imbibed directly from the sun, air and ether.
A simple way to increase life force or Prana in the body is through the practice of Prana Mudra. One should bend the little and ring finger so that their tips touch the tip of the thumb. Apply gentle but firm pressure. The middle and index fingers should be extended in a natural position. This should be done using both hands. The ideal position while practicing this should be easy pose (sukhasan, criss cross) or Lotus Pose, but it can also be done lying down if needed. You can do it while watching TV, instead of holding on to the remote control
Benefits of Prana Mudra:
Prana Mudra pumps Prana (life force) into the body, reduces fatigue and nervousness and is great for the eyes. It is said to bestow immense power to the eyes which can ultimately lead to reducing the prescription of your glasses. It is helpful in eradicating a number of other diseases.
According to http://mrinalkantipal.blogspot.com/2012/12/pran-mudra-benefits_6.html), Pran mudra helps to overcome the following disorders:
Chronic fatigue, general debility, low endurance; Impaired immunity; mental tension, anger, irritability, jealousy, pride, restlessness; inflammatory disorders; forgetfulness; scanty and burning urination; burning red dry eyes, cataract; dry red hot aging skin, skin rashes, urticaria and leprosy; any ailment of eyes is cured; eyesight is improved; the element of earth, water and fire are joined, so this helps remove the obstacles present in blood vessels resulting in improved blood circulation. This mudra removes impurities present in blood and stimulates joy, energy, delight, zeal, hope and perseverance. This mudra helps remove any kind of deficiency of vitamins A,B,C,D,E,K all vitamins are provided by this mudra; any types of cramps in muscles or veins and pain in the legs cured; during fasts this mudra can help control hunger and thirst; to treat any disease Pran Mudra is like a friend that helps other mudras; to cure insomnia, Jnana Mudra is to be followed by pran mudra; to cure diabetes Apan Mudra is to be followed by Pran Mudra; Numbness in any part of the body is cured by Pran Mudra.
The current of life in the human body is discharged through the right hand. Hence it is advisable (especially indispensable for people at and after the age of 40) to apply intermittent pressure (acupressure) to the point on the right arm that lies midway between the inner elbow and wrist and within a 1 inch circle. Pressure should be applied for at least 2 minutes. Acupressure thus applied regularly will help one feel youthful and energetic.
Resource: Health in Your Hands, By Devendra Vohra