|[ Excerpt from The Science of Yoga, page 351 ]
The basic Universal Energy is of two natures: prana (or loma) and apana (or viloma).
Prana is the positive, warm, golden, solar, masculine flow associated with the in-breath. Apana is the cool, silvery, negative, moon-like feminine energy associated with the out-breath. Through proper body positioning, movements and breath work, these two forces can be balanced or united, which is the essence of hatha yoga. The following set of practices is a precise method to achieve this balance.
The polarity prakriyas are a group of techniques, both asanas and kriyas (coupled with breathing), designed to re-polarize, or to harmonize the energies of the being -- to synchronize the mind and body, and to restore health, balance and vitality. In addition to balancing the body's energies, the very specific movements of these practices also serve to channel and store energy within the kandha, which is the energy centre (or energetic storehouse), the source supplying all the prana nadis.
This energy centre is located below the region of the navel, near the base of the spine. It is the building up and storing of energy which is a principle objective of many of our hatha yoga practices, as described in the following passage:
"In yoga, we seek a type of energy which has the ability to lie dormant, that is, a potential energy, which can be available for us when we need it. This energy should also have the ability to ‘remain quiet’ when it is not needed. Hence, though we may possess a very high level of energy, it does not need to be constantly expressed in activity, speaking, moving, etc. On the contrary, even though we posses much energy, we have the ability to remain still and quiet for long periods of time, and at will."
~ Source: ICYER
To develop, balance and store these great forces of energy, we must use the body in various planes of movement, while lying in the 4 different positions upon the floor. These four positions are:
- Shava Asana - face-up, or supine position
- Unmukha Asana - face-down, or prone position
- Dridha Asana - Side-lying, right side dominant (i.e., right side up, left side down)
- Vama Dridha Asana - Side-lying, left side dominant
NOTE: This yoga article is an excerpt from The Science of Yoga, an online yoga training program with streaming yoga videos and 600 pages of step-by-step yoga instruction.
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