Prana, or live force, is the single most important part of yoga. The state of yoga or unity cannot occur unless prana flows quietly, smoothly and without obstruction. That is why it is essential for Yoga to balance the prana in our body. This balance is achieved by balancing the active Yang principle with the passive Yin principle.
This idea of balance is already present in the name of classic Ha-tha Yoga which translates to the yoga of sun and moon. As well as in Ayurveda where the two principles of Prana are known as Agni and Soma.
Agni means fire, the active power for digestion and doing something. Soma means nectar, the receptive power of nourishing and assimilating in the body. And quiet opposite to the model of our fast paced life in the west, Soma, the nourishing part has to come first! If we only push on the gas pedal, without refilling the tank, we soon run out of fuel. If we don't put any wood into the fire it soon burns out. These analogies seem very clear, but in our lives still many of us push over our limits, so that burn-out is often all to close and quiet common in our society.
Why it is so difficult to see this for ourselves ? Because in our society we are all quiet disembodied. Our life functions through thinking and planning. To listen to the body and its feelings and messages, to be connected to nature and its natural cycles, is something we have lost as a society a long time ago. In this sense the modern yoga movement is bringing back something to our attention that we lost a long time ago: to feel and fully inhabit our body.
Through the practice of Yin and Yang Yoga we learn to listen to our body again and start to understand our energy level and health from within. Scientifically speaking, our physiology is governed by the nervous system, which has a passive and an active part: parasympathicus and sympathicus. These act like the brake and the gas pedal for our bodily system, giving the body some rest or putting it into active mode. Thoroughly understanding and feeling this in our body, will put us back into the driver seat of a balanced and healthy life style. And it will change our world from inside out.
Furthermore the balancing of the energies in the body has a calming effect on the mind and vice versa. Which is one of the pleasant effects that is felt after a yoga practice. But be sure not to stop here, because a balanced mind is a very powerful tool. It can see much deeper into the reality of things, and that is where the journey is starting to get really interesting...