Prana and the Gut

Research output: Contributions to conferencesPaperpeer-review



Ayurvedic healer and yoga teacher Tirumalai Krishnamacharya famously said that the biggest obstacle to the flow of Prana (life force as made manifest in the breath, also known as Qi in Traditional Chinese Medicine) is a poor digestion. This paper traces conceptions of the gut in traditional Indian medicine, known as ayurveda, the knowledge of life. After introducing the three main constitutions – vata, pitta and kapha – and their relation to the five elements, and agni, the deity symbolising digestive fire, I will pay special attention to the work of Swami Kuvalayananda, pioneer of research into the science of yoga and ayurveda, and his legacy as transmitted at the Kaivalyadhama Health and Yoga Research Center at Lonavla, in India,
which he founded in 1924. I will explore how how breath and posture in yoga and the gut are related by looking at cleansing practices aimed at removing excesses in the body, clearing energetic obstacles to the circulation of waste and waking up the digestive fire. I will examine these ancient practices in the context of Kuvalayananda’s modern scientific approach and how it has been understood in the present day.


Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished or Performed - 28 Apr 2023
EventModernity and the Gut - Kelvinhall, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, United Kingdom
Duration: 27 Apr 202328 Apr 2023


ConferenceModernity and the Gut
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address

Author keywords

  • ayurveda, creative health, breath, prana, eastern thought