We often think of energy in the form of output — like expelling however much of it we have inside. It’s what we often associate with a child running at the park, or someone who seems to be overly enthusiastic; commonly identified by a phrase that goes something like: “Wow, she really has a lot of energy,” or “He’s extremely energetic.”

It’s the output of energy that is most apparent — rapid movements and loud vocal projections, breakdancing and belly laughs — but energy exists all around us in more subtle forms too, and it’s important that we acknowledge its ever-present power.

By definition, energy is the property of objects, which is transferable among them. Energy is what makes up our physical, emotional and spiritual compositions, and is then manifested through physical movement, mental stimulation and emotional journeys.

More Than Meets The Eye

In a 1999 report on Bioenergetic Fields, written by Victor J. Stenger in affiliation with the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and published in “The Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine,” Stenger points out how many fields of alternative medicine are “grounded on vitalism, the notion that living organisms possess some unique quality … that gives them a special quality we call life.”

 The reason that the generally modern, Western mind has a hard time identifying more subtle energy is that it is trying to see energy from an action, instead of feel it from a more intuitive place.

“As modern science developed in the West and the nature of matter was gradually uncovered, a few scientists sought scientific evidence for the nature of the living force,” identifies Stenger.

Eastern methodologies, among others, have identified the force with many names: as “prana” by the Hindus, “qi” or “chi” by the Chinese, “ki” by the Japenese, and has 95 other names in 95 other cultures, as Stenger states. He says this multi-named, universal substance that produces energy, “is said to constitute the source of life that is so often associated with soul, spirit and mind.”

This hypothetical vital force, he explains, is often referred to as the bioenergetic field, and that many touch therapists, acupuncturists, chiropractors and other alternative healing practitioners say they can manipulate this field, bringing the body’s energies back into balance.

Tap Into Your Vital Force

While reading and shifting energy fields has been practiced in many cultures for centuries, it is up to us in this modern age to get more in-tune with the life force of our whole being.

A consistent and progressive yoga practice is one very powerful way to connect inward, which then translates to becoming more mindful of the ways that we project outward.

There are many practices that assist with energy awareness, but as yoga is fiercely growing in popularity throughout the Western world, we can all use the asana (practice of the physical poses), to connect them to pranayama (the breath), in order to shift any energy stuck in the body — the same energies that block emotional understanding and spiritual growth.

Just notice if your yoga practice is offering you opportunities to shift your energy. Practitioners beginning on their journey will first notice the physical shifts — the feeling lightness and freedom after an hour on their mat; and more seasoned yogis will begin to move more and more into the realm of personal exploration, and will notice that energy shifts start from within, and then radiate outward.

Yoga in this world, and all forms of energy work, have the power to shift physical, emotional and spiritual realms of existence. These methodologies are catalysts for us, helping us to be more open new awareness, and to constant evolution. We can then cultivate more awareness, curiosity and compassion to all of the energy fields — every living being — which which we interact.