Prana and mind
In this day and age, we are drawn to what depletes us and have very little control of the mind and our thoughts much less have much of an idea that we are not our mind or that little voice going and going in your head. Yoga is concerned with both of these. Without these two main factors no real progress is made on the path. No capacity is created if we keep living a life that sucks out all the prana but this is what we have been brought up with here in the West with demands of work being the foremost reason we exist and then the demands of family as well. So instead, we go on intoxicated binges for what we call vacations to relax. Studies have shown that we actually come back more stressed after a vacation than before leaving for it.
So what is depleting to our prana, what does it feel like?
First you need to feel. yes, that means stop and smell the roses. Most people are to busy to even notice that there are roses to smell so the first lesson is to slow down and wake up to what else is going on in your reality. This is not always the easiest thing to do. Time is really just a concept of the mind but our world rests on it as well as demands that we live by it.
There are two principal Tattvas in the universe, the mind and Prana. Wherever there is Prana, there is mind also. Even in the external movement of breath beyond the nose, the mind is mixed with the external breath. Prana (energy) is the outer coating for the mind. Prana digests the food, turns it into chyle and blood and sends it to the brain and mind. (this is why real yoga does not deplete your prana or make you ungrounded in its real practice, yet most yoga practiced in the west is completely prana depleting. In yoga, as soon as you sweat you have hit your limit. Anything more is going to deplete prana. But we don’t practice that here in america, what we do is based upon western sweat your butt off, get a good work out and burn calories exercise, not yoga.)
After prana feeds the brain, the mind is then able to think and do Brahma-Vichara (enquiry into Brahman). The life of the mind is kept up through the vibration of the subtle psychic Prana which gives rise to the formation of thought. (This also speaks to how when prana is depleted or the person is ungrounded, the mind continues to run wildly, yes, that little voice in your head.)
Prana is gross. Mind is subtle. Mind is formed out of the conglomerate Sattvic essence of the five Tanmatras; whereas, Prana is formed out of the sum total of Rajasic essence of the five Tanmatras. That is the reason why mind is more subtle than the Prana.
The Pranamaya Kosha (vital sheath) is more subtle than the physical body. It overlaps the Annamaya Kosha (physical sheath) and is more extensive than it. Manomaya Kosha is more subtle than the Pranamaya Kosha and more extensive than the vital sheath. You have to touch the body of another man to have a physical influence over him. Whereas you can stand at a distance and by mere passing by, you can impart your Prana to him; because, Prana (vital) is more subtle than the body.
A developed person can influence a man mentally through thought even though he lives a thousand miles away from them, because mental force is more subtle than Prana. (Both of these examples are also prana depleting.) Mental force is extremely depleting of prana. Excess thinking is the causative factor in many many diseases in ayurveda. Just by being in high anxiety one will lose weight and deplete. This says volumes. (I can see the new weight loss fad in America now with this new knowledge.)
All of this speaks to what is health and what is yoga. This is also why a true yogi does not live in society and teach classes all day but rather lives away from society in solace.