Five years ago I wrote a mini dissertation about Prana. Whilst researching the subject, I came across the work of a French scientist by the name of André Simoneto. What I learnt in studying his work changed my eating habits overnight! My Sunday trips to organic market began then and, for the last five years, I have hardly missed a weekend without stocking up on organic fruit and veg plus other organic produce from the market. My son and I noticed an enormous difference in the way we feel and our general health, plus the taste of fresh organic produce is far superior to anything you will get from a supermarket, no matter how good it looks on the outside! But first of all, let's talk about prana.
When I embarked on a 2,5 years yoga training I already had some idea of what prana was but I have never looked too deeply into it. Especially not from a practical perspective. However, studying at the Mandala Yoga Ashram and, as part of the course, delving into the books, research and materials from the Bihar School of Yoga, gave me a real insight into not just prana, but also into how I can practice and teach prana enhancing and elevating practices on a daily basis. If you have never heard of the Bihar School and are interested in yoga then I urge you to visit their website. It is a real University of Yoga that contains and shares true, authentic knowledge of ancient yogic practices perfectly preserved for generations. Practices like Yoga Nidra and Antar Mouna Meditation have both come from the Bihar School. They were revived and brought to the world by Swami Satyananda Saraswati, the founder of the Bihar School. But let's go back to the subject of prana and organic food.
Wikipedia describes prana as "... a universal energy which flows in currents in and around the body". Prana is also popularly described as an 'energy force'. However, the Prana & Pranayama book published by the Bihar School offers a much fuller perspective. It states that neither definition offer a precise equivalent of the Sanskrit term that emerged from the highest states of contemplation. The word prana assumes the quality of ‘livingness’. From the yogic point of view, the entire cosmos is alive and throbbing with prana. Yogis describe prana as the sum total of all energy that manifests in the universe, all the forces in nature and powers which are hidden in men and which lie everywhere around us. If there is no prana, there would be no existence. Therefore all beings, whether living or non-living, exist only due to prana. I plan to write a blog specifically about Prana in the near future.
But why eat organic? According to yogic philosophy and anatomy, prana can be accumulated and increased through different sources. These include being in nature, breathing in fresh, unpolluted air, using yogic practices such as pranayama, mudras and bandhas; and eating right foods. Both, Yoga and Ayurveda promote a sattvic diet. Sattvic foods are the food that are fresh, simple, organic and non-spicy - foods that nourish your body and balance your mind. It makes sense, doesn't it? If you want to feel good - eat fresh, organic food that have the most minerals and vitamins in them. But it goes further than just nutrition. What we are looking at here is using food to increase our life force and our capacity for spiritual growth.
If you think that this knowledge only comes from the East than let me tell you - you are mistaken. Between 1930 and 1940, the Frenchman and expert on electromagnetism, André Simoneton, conducted a research into the vibrational qualities of food. By using scientific equipment he was able to measure the amount of electromagnetic waves in food and then categorise them according to these waves. On the basis of his findings, Simoneton divided food into four general categories. On a scale of zero to 10,000 angstroms*, Simoneton found that to remain in perfect health the human vibration must be around 6,500 angstrom. He regarded the foods that had wavelengths between this and 10,000 angstroms, to be of the highest quality and value.
In this first category are fruits and fruit juices obtained from squeezing; fresh vegetables and fruit - raw or cooked at the temperature below 70 degrees; flour and whole grain bread; olive oil, almonds, sunflower seeds, coconuts, soy, peanuts and hazelnuts; ocean fish and shellfish. He also discovered that some food are superior only when consumed at the time of production, like milk, butter and eggs. Interestingly, he also found that sea foods must be eaten raw to gain their full value, otherwise they drop into the second category. Yay for sushi!
In the second category, with radiations 6.500 thousand to 3,000 angstroms, are the vegetables cooked in boiling water, milk, butter, eggs (not freshly laid), honey, cooked fish, peanut oil, sugar cane and wine.
The third category, with very weak radiations below 3,000 angstroms, is comprised of cooked meats, sausages, coffee, tea, chocolate, jams, processed cheeses and white bread.
The fourth category exhibits practically no energy and includes margarine, conserves, alcoholic spirits, refined white sugar and bleached flour.
This research substantiates the recurrent yogic advice to maintain purity of diet, especially when practicing pranayama.
I think these last two categories are very interesting, considering our average Western diet these days! If you are someone who regularly consumes pre-packed, processed foods, as well as copious amounts of caffeinated drinks, meats, sausages and white bread than I would like you to stop and think for a moment. How would you describe your energy levels? Do you wake up fresh? Is your digestion working well? Is your skin subtle and soft? Your eyes sparking? Is your mind sharp and is your mood mostly calm and balanced? If the answer is 'No' to one or more of these questions then perhaps it's time to take a closer look not only at your diet but also at where you source your food from. For example, according to the above research, and yogic / ayurvedic view the fresher the food the more prana you will get from it. So if you are buying your food from a supermarket, it has most likely travelled for a few days or weeks to get to the sorting centre and then even more days to get onto the shelf in your local supermarket! Add to this pesticides, including insecticides, rodenticides, herbicides, fungicides and antimicrobials and it is guaranteed that that seemingly healthy looking piece of fruit or vegetable you picked up will have no prana left in it at all. Never mind that you are most likely poisoning yourself with harmful chemicals, full effects of which on human health are not yet studied. And I am not even talking about meat here, most of which is injected with anti-biotics and chemicals such as chlorine, ammonia and carbon monoxide. Wow! Do you need more reasons to go veggie??
No, I am not preaching a vegetarian diet to you. What I am saying is that switching to fresh, organic, locally sourced food, including vegetables, fruits, meats and other produce can make a major difference to your overall health and well-being. For me, switching to all organic, amongst other changes, has been a game changer! Some would argue it is too expensive, but let me ask you, what is the price of your health? Realistically, if you budgeted and cut out all the things you buy that you don't need and are not that good for you anyway, would you not have more than enough to buy the best food for yourself and your family? What can be more important than taking care of your health and your body? At the end of the day, your body is the vessel for your soul, a house in which it dwells. Don't you want this house to be clean, balanced, well-organised and aligned?
*a unit of length equal to one hundred-millionth of a centimetre, 10−10 metre, used mainly to express wavelengths and interatomic distances.