What is prana and how is it manifested in each of the seven bodies?
Prana is energy – the living energy in us, the life in us. This life manifests itself, as far as the physical body is concerned, as the incoming and the outgoing breath. These are two opposite things. We take them as one. We say “breathing” – but breathing has two polarities: the incoming breath and the outgoing breath. Every energy has polarities, every energy exists in two opposite poles. It cannot exist otherwise. The opposite poles, with their tension and harmony, create energy – just like magnetic poles.
The incoming breath is quite contrary to the outgoing, and the outgoing is quite contrary to the incoming. In a single moment the incoming is just like birth and the outgoing is just like death. In a single moment both things are happening: when you take breath in, you are born; when you throw breath out, you die. In a single moment there is birth and death. This polarity is life energy coming up, going down.
In the physical body, life energy takes this manifestation. Life energy is born, and after seventy years it dies. That too is a greater manifestation of the same phenomenon: the incoming breath and the outgoing breath…the day and the night.
In all of the seven bodies – the physical, the etheric, the astral, the mental, the spiritual, the cosmic, and the nirvanic, there will be a corresponding incoming and outgoing phenomenon. As far as the mental body is concerned, thought coming in and thought going out is the same kind of phenomenon as breath coming in and breath going out. Every moment a thought comes in your mind and a thought goes out.
Thought itself is energy. In the mental body the energy manifests as the coming of thought and the going of thought; in the physical body it manifests as breath coming and breath going. That is why you can change your thinking with breathing. There is a correspondence.
If you stop your breath from coming in, thought will be stopped from coming in. Stop your breath in your physical body and in the mental body thought will stop. And as the physical body becomes uneasy, your mental body will become uneasy. The physical body will long to breathe in; the mental body will long to take thought in.