Vitality or the vital force is the energy coming from the great central source of life called Prana. It is responsible for all activities in the body including breathing, metabolic functions, movement, pumping of the heart, brain activity, digestion, etc. The subject of Prana is widely referred to in the yogic texts. Naturopathy too deals with methods to improve the vitality.
How often do we come back from work and feel completely exhausted, leaving us with hardly any energy to follow our evening pursuits. Some may feel tired during day and some may even feel tiredness after a full night sleep. These are signs of lack of vitality or depletion of energy in our body which can affect our day to day functioning, even though we may be medically fit otherwise.
Dealing with low vitality is essential because this can lead to poor digestion and formation of toxins in the intestine and blood. According to Ayurvedic principles, these toxins eventually accumulate in the organs and create diseases. Hence maintaining an optimum energy level is essential for health and fitness.
A solution depends on how closely we can watch our life pattern and correct any excesses in our activities. Both yoga and naturopathy agree on few basic factors that can deplete our energy. Let us discuss those first.
Factors that decrease Vital Force
- Lack of Sleep – Proper sleep is required for repair and maintenance of the body. Normal sleeping hours could vary from 6 – 8 hours, while yogis can do with less. It can vary according to age and health conditions as well. Sleep detoxifies the body, gives rest to all organs and prepares the brain for the next day’s work. Make sure you get your full quota of sleep so that you are totally fresh in the morning.
- Over Eating – You may be over loading your digestive system by over eating. Eating beyond the digestive capacity of the individual results in lack of proper digestion. This undigested food may produce toxins in the intestines. According to Ayurveda, this toxin becomes the root cause of most diseases by getting absorbed into the blood and spreading to all organs. Also, the body has to spend extra energy to flush out these toxins whenever the opportunity arises.
- Over Work – Excessive physical work can sap your energy. Do not exert beyond your capacity. In case you have to exert for some reason, follow it up with amble rest.
- Psychological stress – Mental stress can make you feel tired. The brain consumes around 20% of the daily calories that is provided by food. Excessive thinking and worrying can drain out your energy very quickly. Intermittent relaxation is required throughout the day between activities. Find your own ways to relax the mind. It could be music, nature, yoga, relaxed breathing exercises or other forms of recreation.
- Sexual Over activity – In yogic texts, importance is given to conservation of the sexual fluids. Excessive loss of sexual fluids can cause nervous debility and reduced immunity. The sexual energy when preserved is stored as ‘ojas’ which improves immunity, increases vitality and enhances intellectual creativity. Sexual activity should be moderate depending on the age.
- Use of Stimulants – Stimulants are used to increase performance and to reduce fatigue. Constant use of stimulants makes the body addicted to the substance and the person suffers lack of energy without it. Long term use of any stimulant will have negative effect on the energy level.
Once you are conscious of the factors that deplete energy, it can be corrected. Apart from these, there are ways to increase the energy level in the body using Yoga and Naturopathy. These methods are discussed below.
Ways to increase Vital Force
- Fasting – A water fast is an excellent way to remove toxins, improve digestion and enhance energy levels. One can practice One-day water fast few times a month or according to convenience. Longer Three-day water fast or a Week-long fast can also be undertaken under proper guidance.
- Meditation – Process of meditation takes you inward into deeper layers of your mind. There one can develop awareness of one’s own thought patterns which unnecessarily consume your time and energy. Over a period of time, these thought patterns can be modified or overcome, saving precious energy for other activities. Meditation also gives a deep sense of relaxation. It brings down the metabolic rate, reduces energy consumption and improves concentration and memory. Every meditation session infuses you with abundant energy for additional work.
- Yoga Asanas – Yoga postures should be performed slowly with breath awareness. Yoga Asanas can give flexibility, strength, relaxation and feeling of well-being. It improves the flow of Prana in the body along with many therapeutic benefits. Practice of Surya Namaskara or the sun salutation particularly enhances the vitality level of the body.
- Pranayama – is the yogic technique of working with your basic vital energy or Prana. This Prana flows in the entire body through energy channels called Nadi or meridians. Practice of pranayama cleanses the energy channels and vitalises them. Practice of Bhastrika pranayam (bellow’s breath), Kapalbhati, Anulom Vilom pranayam (Alternate nostril breathing), etc. removes the energy blocks and increases the oxygen levels in the blood. It infuses the body with fresh energy.
- Exercise – A sedentary lifestyle can make one feel lethargic and listless. Some light exercises or even a brisk walk can improve the blood flow and energy level in the body which will give you a sense of well-being. It can remove negativity and change your moods. It is good to incorporate some form of exercise into your daily routine.
- Food and Supplements – Today, the vegetables and fruits that we buy from the market has got plenty of chemicals and preservatives. The body has to spend extra energy to flush out these chemicals from the system. Instead, eating organic and fresh raw food can enhance your energy levels. The Pranic level in fresh farm vegetables and fruits is much higher than those preserved for weeks, something that you buy in the supermarket. Similarly, raw milk has many nutritional advantages over pastured milk products. Nature is the best provider of Pranic Preserved and processed food can never match up to the energy levels derived from fresh food. Also, there are many food supplements available today in the market which improves your health and energy.
Thus we see that to improve vitality one has to do an introspection and figure out the cause of the low energy levels. Then one can apply various techniques or a combination of the above methods to improve the energy levels.