2 Prana in Ayurveda
2.3 Prana in
Ayurveda and the Chinese concept of Qi (Chi)
The concept of prana is not unique to Yogiv and Ayurvedic schools of knowledge. The Chinese have a well-developed understanding of prana, or Qi (Chi) as it is also named. However, the Chinese have a slightly different view of the creation, and their description of Qi is also somewhat different. Chinese thought does not distinguish between matter and energy, but we can perhaps think of Qi as matter on the verge of becoming energy, or energy at the point of materializing. Yet there are far more similarities than differences. The oldest and primary book of Chinese medicine is the Nei Chig. Here is an ancient account of Qi from that book.
The root of the way of life, of birth an change is Qi; the myriad things of heaven and earth all obey this law. Thus Qi in the periphery envelopes heaven and earth, Qi in the interior activates them. The source where from the sun, moon and stars derive their light, the thunder, rain wind and cloud their being, the four seasons and the myriad things their birth, growth, gathering and storing: all this is brought about by Qi. Mans possession of life is completely dependent upon this Qi.
Therefore, we can see that the two most ancient surviving cultures have the same basic concepts of prana. They applied these concepts to all aspects of life and did not limit its usage to medical systems. Understanding prana (or vayu) helps us understand many of the strange - for the Western mind - concepts of Ayurveda or Chinese medicine. Prana is, in fact, one of three cosmic forces that ancient sages perceived in the universe.