How Prana (life-force) enters the body


I am a Kriyaban in the tradition of Paramhamsa Yogananda.

PY teaches that the life-force flows into the body through the medulla oblongata. There are 3 colours: White — consciousness beyond primal nature, blue — God involved with creation; gold — frequency of "OM."

Before I started the path of Kriya-yoga, I studied other systems. For years I have tried to find out the difference, similarities etc. of the energies entering the body through the crown and the medulla respectively.

Is there, in Kriya yoga, a difference between the incarnated soul and the Higher Self? Maybe you could help me with these questions?

Thank you very much in advance.

Dr. Andreas Ullrich

—Andreas, Austria


Dear Dr. Ullrich,

Yes, it is true that several other traditions recommend that prana (life-force) be directed into or out of the astral body via the 7th or Crown Chakra. But Paramhansa Yogananda offers a different teaching on this matter.

As you mention, Yogananda teaches us to draw prana in through the Agya (sometimes spelled Ajna) or 6th chakra, especially through its receptive aspect in the medulla oblongata area of the brain.

He is very specific about this in terms of the way we practice his Energization Exercises. He also teaches us to draw life-force through the medulla for healing purposes.

Here is more clarification on this subject from Swami Kriyananda, based on Yogananda’s teachings on the chakras, from my book Chakras for Starters:

“The seventh and highest chakra, located at the top of the brain, is known as the sahasrara, or thousand-petaled lotus…. All the rays of the brain go out from that point, and it is at the thousand-petaled lotus that the soul finally becomes united with God.

“Though it is the highest center, it must be approached through the sixth chakra; you can’t really reach the seventh chakra until the spine has been completely magnetized in the lower six chakras. In that magnetizing process, and by prolonged meditation on the spiritual eye, a subtle passage automatically opens up from that center to the top of the head.

“To attempt to approach the sahasrara by any other route would be futile; it has even been said to be dangerous for it can disrupt the flow of energy between the medulla and the crown chakra. The proper pathway is through the spiritual eye.

“It is important to understand that the spiritual eye is the seat of enlightenment and the crown chakra is the seat of liberation. You must become enlightened first, in order to become liberated.”

As a Kriyaban and disciple of Yogananda, I have tried always to follow his teachings very closely, and also those of his direct disciples Swami Kriyananda, and not go to other teachers and teachings for instructions. I have found through 34 years of experience that these teachings have proved themselves to be true and extremely effective.

This would be my humble recommendation for you also.

And finally answering your question about the difference between the incarnated soul and the Higher Self: The soul is the Higher Self, whether incarnated in a physical body or not – it is eternal and infinite.

It is the part of us which is a part of God. The ego is the “little self” or the soul’s identification with the body. Self-realization means to offer the little self into the Higher Self. This is the final yoga or union with God called samadhi, the goal of all yoga practices, including that of Kriya yoga.