While listening to a lecture about Prana by Dr. Claudia Welch, she made a poignant statement. Prana, when unbridled, undirected, and moving according to its nature, will naturally rise, filling the head. When coerced downward, into the lower body, it has the ability to contour the nadis, spreading and nourishing the Being in totality.
The result of this is the ability to be still and almost vaporous in attention. Dr. Welch explains that breathing into the lower belly stimulates multi-dimensional hearing. I have understood this to mean hearing all sounds present simultaneously, as well as hearing the context, intention, and requests in the sounds. There is a quietude and comprehension that occurs from this place – an understanding of equality of the Souls communicating and a desire of the listener to hold space for the speaker. This to me describes the essence of compassion. The ability and desire to listen from a place of holding which is a tenant of apana vayu or Prana when she moves downward.
There is a quietude and comprehension that occurs from this place – an understanding of equality of the Souls communicating and a desire of the listener to hold space for the speaker. This to me describes the essence of compassion.
Listening from this space of grounded Prana creates time to reflect on what is being said and what kind of response – if any – is necessary. The verbal or physical communication that may return is supportive to the initial speaker and thus their Prana is also able to remain settled as they receive a response. It is likely, that they are able to listen in kind. There is a rhythm as the speaker becomes listener and listener, speaker. Each takes turns holding through listening (apana) and speaking (udana – upward moving Prana). Each person feels both held and expressed. Communication from this standpoint is balanced. It leads to new discoveries, increases trust, and ultimately deepens relationship.
I am certainly no master of the intimate relationship, but when I heard Dr. Welch express this sentiment of grounding Prana, it explained so much of the sadness and frustration I have both felt and caused in long term relationships. Whenever I have felt the sense of building, partnership, or love lacking, it has often been because mine, his, or both of our Pranas have been unsettled.
When this occurs, and Prana gets stuck in the head – we speak directly from our senses, without time for digestion of what we are perceiving. Because of this, time speeds up, comprehension decreases and we end of talking at our partner with whom we are trying to connect. There is frustration both at them for misunderstanding and at ourselves for not being understandable.
From this place, we will likely regress into stress induced default patterns and we will attempt to fulfill our needs from there. Working to connect with someone from a place of fear, anger, and/or control will leave the other person feeling like a failure, unequal, controlled, ignored and ultimately alone. There is nothing more heart breaking really, than to be in an intimate relationship and feel isolated and alone. I feel this occurs when we do not encourage our Prana to regularly settle downward.
Additionally, according to one of the foundational tattvas (laws) of Ayuveda – like increases like – and so, after awhile, if one person’s Prana is unsettled, the second person will tire of trying to manage their own Prana while simultaneously supporting the imbalance of their partner. It is a lot of work, and if done habitually, will exhaust both parties. Communication will cease and both will regress into unsupportive habitual behavior. Eventually the relationship will not have enough Prana to sustain itself, and will end.