Spring always brings a sense of renewed energy, so that is why our focus for April and May is energy and spirals.
One of the earliest Yogic Classical Texts, The Upanishads, describes how the body has five layers, these are called Koshas. The first layer Anamaya Kosha is our physical body. The second layer Pranamaya Kosha is our Subtle or Energetic Body. The other three layers are concerned with the layers of the mind and wisdom.
We are particularly concerned with the Pranamaya Kosha or our Energetic Body. This layer of our body is the interface between our physical body and our mind. It is concerned with energy and is highly active and every changing, responding to impressions brought in through the senses and mediated by our emotions and our mindThis energetic subtle body- the Pranamaya Kosha - encompasses our nervous system and our respiratory system - our breath. It is our vital energy dimension.
This vital life energy we call Prana in yoga. (Chi in Chinese tradition) Flows in and through all that is living, it is our energetic blueprint it is the animating force in the body.Prana has been described as having certain characteristics, electrical, electromagnetic, light emitting, gravitational and thermal. Prana has many layers of meaning from breath to energy to consciousness itself. Even modern physics recognises that everything is made up of elementary particles continuously moving, coming into and out of existence. We are fields of energy which is moving and shifting and there is a theory in that these fields work in interlaced loops - spirals if you like
The classical yogic text (Hatha Yoga Pradipika) said that life energy or prana in the body circulated through 72000 nadis (or pathways) which are like our bodies energetic irrigation system. But that the two most important were Ida and Pingala. Which spiral and intertwine either side of our central channel called Shusumna crossing over at certain nerve plexus points (chakras). Ida is related to the left side of our body and our left nostril when we breath. It is regarded as a passive energy, cooling and nuturing, linked to our subconscious mind and parasympathetic nervous system. Pingala is related to the right side of our body and right nostril when breathing. It is regarded as active, warm and stimulating, linked to our conscious mind and sympathetic nervous system. Shushumna - the central channel - is the passage only for the most refined prana.Through pranayama - breath patterns - we can amplify prana in the body, because prana enters the body through the breath. Through the breath we can enliven, balance and sustain prana. And through pranayama we link body to mind. According to the Bhagavad Gita, yoga is eveness of mind and in the Yoga Sutras yoga is settling the mind to stillness. Yoking together of energy/mind/breath is heart of yoga training.