Develop your Vitality Quotient (VQ)

Our body absorbs vital energy through breath. However the below factors directly influence our vitality quotient (VQ) by enhancing or dissipating the vital energy.

Food – Food, the primary source of nutrients required for our bodily functions utilise vital energy for digestion, absorption and circulation. Foods influence VQ in the following ways:

  • André Simonéton in France developed a method to categorise food based on the intrinsic pranic energy in different kinds of food. He divided food into four classes – First class comprising fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains etc., has high pranic energy followed by boiled vegetables, cane sugar, eggs, peanut oil, etc.,. The third category comprised of cooked meats, coffee, tea, sausages, etc., has very low pranic energy and the final category of margarine, bleached flour, refined white sugar, etc., exhibited practically no life force in them. Based on the quantum of the above category of foods in our diet we can determine the levels of pranic energy in us.
  • Sattvic foods direct the vital energy towards sattvic thoughts and actions, while rajasic foods enhance rajasic activity and tamasic food enhance tamas and dullness. When our diet is in appropriate ratio of sattva, rajas and tamas, the vital energy is also directed accordingly for effective functioning of the mind, body and intellect.
  • The other influence of food on vital energy is at a grosser level. Sattvic foods are generally easy to digest and consume lesser vital energy leaving more energy for effective functioning of other personality domains – body, mind and intellect. On the other end is the tamasic food which consume more of vital energy for digestion leaving little energy left for other functions, making us dull, tired and lethargic.
  • Another source of vitality is fresh air. Air near water halls and high in mountains have higher levels of pranic energy while the polluted and recycled air in cities and air-conditioned atmosphere are low in pranic energy. Science has explained this in terms of ions. Negative ions in air help enhance vital energy in us. Apart from exposing ourselves to fresh air, practice of pranayama also help attract more negative ions from the surroundings making us feel light, fresh, energetic and vibrant.
  • Additionally adequate exposure to sunlight also help enhance our vitality levels.

Thoughts – When we are rich in positive thoughts we are generally more composed and involve in day-to-day activities for longer periods in a peaceful state.  When our mind is filled with negative thoughts and emotions, we stay disturbed and not effective in day-to-day activities.  This is primarily because positive thoughts enhance vitality and channelize the energy in a disciplined way while negative thoughts dissipates energy in all directions leaving us tired and exhausted sooner.

Surrounding ourselves with people, things and situations with positive thoughts help in maintaining higher levels of vitality. However people, things and situations around are generally not in our control. So it is intelligent to develop awareness of our thoughts, manage the thought flow within us by eliminating negative thoughts and encouraging positive thoughts.

Various pratyahara practices prescribed in yoga sastra – antar-mouna, ajapa-japa, etc, help in this process.

Higher vitality levels help to do the above practices, manage and develop positive thoughts. Positive thoughts further help to develop vital energy levels. This is a virtuous cycle.

Low vital energy levels result in piling up of negative thoughts. Negative thoughts further depreciate the levels of vitality. This is a vicious cycle.

Exercise – After a session of aggressive physical and aerobic exercise one becomes tired and would prefer to rest. On the contrary, a session of appropriate yogic practices (Asanas) will leave one in a state of high energy levels. Appropriateness of yogic exercise in contrast to regular aerobic exercises in developing vital energy levels and maintaining our physical body has been discussed in an earlier post “Why Exercise?”.

Discipline – Things spread out chaotically in a room, files dumped in one location in your computer, river in spate, crowd rushing in and out of a public meeting venue may be contrasted to a situation where things are kept at appropriate places in the room, files categorized in folders in a systematic way, water being channelized through canals/dams and crowd moving in an out of a public venue in queues.

Difference between the two situations is discipline.  Similar is the case with our vital energy.

Watching TV / talking while eating, irregularity in our daily routines, sleeping in late hours and waking up late are some examples of lack of discipline that has cropped up in modern life-style leading to modern life-style diseases.

Appropriate breathing habit (deep breathing), pranayama practices coupled with mudras and bandhas, asanas with breath awareness, regularity in doing the above practices are methods of channelizing and enriching each cell in our body with adequate amounts of vital energy helping them act in the most effective way.

Regularity and systematic practice help in developing our bio-rhythm and keep us more energetic and active throughout the day.

Pranayama practices – Pranayama can be translated as managing prana.  This is the most direct and best method of managing our pranic energy. Apart from what is described above pranayama practices further help in enhancing our VQ in the following ways:

  • Eliminate toxins from the body, clear energy blocks and ensure smooth flow of energy within making us feel energetic, light, calm and clear helping the mind function more effectively
  • Balance the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems in our body, develop homeostasis in the nervous system and help us approach our daily activities in a state of equilibrium
  • Keep the pranic body/energy body active through which the other domains – physical, mental, intellectual and emotional domains can be better managed.
  • The pranic body has chakras or psychic centers corresponding to nerve centers in our physical body. These are likened to transformers in an electrical transmission system. The chakras when awakened through various pranayama practices channelise and transmit the energy throughout the body optimally.

Based on individual body needs, we need to learn and do appropriate pranayama practices under expert guidance.

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  1. Manifesting Vitality – VQ | Ankur Learning Solutions

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