The changing of the seasons is often a tricky time for health. On one hand, if you live in the Northern Hemisphere, you may be excited with the end of winter and happy to see the budding flowers of spring. On the other hand, the rapid changes in weather and seasonal allergies can leave you feeling a bit out of sorts. The best way to stay healthy and increase your energy level is to increase your prana, or vital life force.
Prana is the invisible but powerful energetic force that pulses throughout nature. The more you are connected to living things, including food and water, the higher your prana level will be. When you are stuck in artificial environments with stagnant energy, you may become tired, sluggish, and seek stimulants to pick you back up.
According to Ayurveda, you can balance your body-mind by enlivening your health through the five elements: space (akasha), air (vayu), fire (tejas), water (jala), and earth (prithivi). By tuning into your body, you will know which element you need at any particular moment. Look at these seven activities and see which ones appeal to you right now.
1. Meditate Outdoors
Sitting outdoors while meditating is a perfect way to enliven prana. In my meditation classes, I often receive questions about meditating in urban settings and safety issues. My answer is to be smart and trust your intuition. I remember one time I meditated on a bench at the Baltimore harbor while it was bustling with activity. At first, I was a bit apprehensive; however, it was a beautiful day and I had a couple of hours before another activity. I placed my purse strap over my shoulder and tucked my purse in between my legs to secure it and everything was fine.
When you meditate your intuition is increased, so you will know if something doesn’t feel quite right. If you feel uneasy, move to another spot. You can also ask God, the Universe, and your angels to protect you with a shield of light while you meditate.
Elements: Space, air, fire, water, and earth
2. Walk Barefoot in the Grass
Allow your body to make physical contact with the earth. Feel the grass tickle your toes. You can also include sand, mud, or any other earthly surface. In my area especially (the Eastern part of the U.S.), people have become especially afraid of insects like ticks, which makes them apprehensive to go anywhere barefoot. You can apply a natural bug repellant found in any health food store.
According to author, Daniel Howell, PhD, in his book, The Barefoot Book, we have an estimated 100,000 to 200,000 exteroceptors in the sole of each foot. These exteroceptors receive information from the outside world and integrate them into our bodies. That makes the feet one of the most nerve-rich parts of the body.
3. Watch the Clouds or the Stars
In a previous article, I mentioned watching clouds as one of my favorite childhood activities. Now, the only exposure I have to clouds is my ride in the car at sunset when I sometimes notice the cloud formations. Enlivening the space element helps you awaken your awareness to the awe and wonder of the universe.
Take out a blanket, spread it on the ground, and lie down face up to gaze at the sky. Do this activity with your children and play the game, “What does that cloud look like?” Stargazing is another wonderful activity to help you remember the magnitude of the universe.
4. Allow Sunlight to Permeate Your Face
With constant news about skin cancer and skin damage, many people have become afraid of the sun. The sun can be a source of healing and has been used to heal for thousands of years. Exposure to the sun stimulates vitamin D production within the body.
You can increase immunity and vision through the Oculo-Endocrine System. For thousands of years, Taoist monks have used eye exercises to strengthen the cones and rods in the eyes. To practice, try the following exercises before 9 a.m. and just after 4 p.m. And to receive the healing benefits of the sun and to receive the greatest amount of Prana, remove your contact lenses or glasses before doing these exercises. Note of Caution: Never look directly into the sun.
- First, look at the four points around the sun, like the four points of a compass, while blinking the eyes for 3-5 seconds. Do this in a clockwise motion, then repeat in a counterclockwise motion.
- Next, roll your eyes around the sun, like drawing a circle with your eyes, in one direction, then repeat in the opposite direction.
5. Sit by an Ocean, River, or Stream
The water element equals cohesiveness, connection, and love. Sometimes we feel disconnected from others and the world as we go about our daily activities. It feels like we’re all alone fighting an uphill battle. Sitting and listening or watching a body of water reminds us of our connectedness at a deep level. If you can, take some time to sit and absorb rather than walk or jog to receive the prana from jala, or the water element.
6. Take a Hike in the Forest
This prana enlivening activity will require you to go to a more rural place away from the hustle and bustle of suburban or city life. Immerse yourself in nature and watch the perfection of all the creatures in their natural environment. Bend down and smell the flowers, gaze at the plant life, and watch the squirrels chase each other through the trees. Appreciate the beauty of the earth. Listen to the noise of the breeze rustling the leaves in the trees.
Elements: Earth, air
7. Plant Something in the Ground
You don’t need a green thumb to plant something. For years I have shied away from keeping a garden. To me, it’s just too much maintenance and one more thing to add to my to-do list. However, planting a few seeds, bulbs, or seedlings into a small space can be fun and exciting. Instead of looking at it as a monumental task, you can make it a small project. There are many benefits of planting a plant, flower, or tree, including creating a constant reminder that you’re connected to nature, developing patience as you wait to see it grow, and staying grounded with earth energy that mirrors your life experiences as you realize that every goal, dream, or desire must stay rooted to grow and blossom.
Finally, remember that the more you include any of these activities on a regular basis, the greater your Prana and the more energetic your life will be.
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