Through their exploration of the body and breath, the ancient yogis discovered that prana life force energy could be further subdivided into energetic components they called Vayus winds. The five Vayus of prana all have very subtle yet distinct energetic qualities, including specific functions and directions of flow.
The yogis were able to control and cultivate these Vayus by simply bringing their focus and awareness to them. Through this conscious control and cultivation, they were not only able to create optimal health and well-being but were able to activate the primordial Kundalini energy to obtain states of enlightened Samadhi.
The ancient yogis found 49 distinct types of Vayus in the body. Only five of the main Vayus or Pancha Pranas are important for yoga practitioners to understand. Viewing ads supports YogaBasics. Remove ads with a membership. Their subtle energetic movements affect and influence our physical, emotional and mental health and wellness.
If a Vayu becomes imbalanced it can create disharmony through the whole energetic system of the body or can negatively affect its associate chakra or the organs linked to its location. Complete mastery over the Vayus is not necessary to benefit from using them to improve our health, inward focus and the ability to feel the subtleties within the body.
Cultivating a basic awareness of one or more of the Vayus will help us deepen our awareness of body and breath to enrich our yoga practice and achieve our greatest potential. Once you connect with the subtle energies of these two Vayus it will be easier to work with the others.
Prana-Vayu is situated in the heart, and its energy pervades the chest region. It nourishes the brain and the eyes and governs the reception of all things: food, air, senses, and thoughts. This Vayu is the fundamental energy in the body and directs and feeds into the four other Vayus. When this Vayu is weak, the mind cannot focus and experiences excess worry. Shortness of breath, anxiety, low energy or a poor immune system can be related to disturbed Prana-Vayu. Alternatively, practice our third eye meditation.
Heart-opening yoga poses like bow posecamel posecobra posedancer poseand bridge pose will activate and strengthen the Prana-Vayu. To encourage this vital wind to flow upward practice inversions and poses with raised arms like Warrior IChair poseand Mountain pose. Bringing awareness of Prana-Vayu in any yoga pose creates a focus to lift, lengthen and open the upper body.
Apana-Vayu is situated in the pelvic floor and its energy pervades the lower abdomen. Its energy nourishes the organs of digestion, reproduction, and elimination.
How to Correct Vata Dosha Imbalance ?
Apana-Vayu governs the elimination of all substances from the body: carbon dioxide, urine, stool, etc. A weak or dysfunctional Apana-Vayu creates feelings of ungroundedness and weakness in the legs. Elimination issues or diseases that affect the intestines, kidneys, or urinary tract can be related to disturbed Apana prana. Focus on engaging the leg muscles and grounding down in standing yoga poses strengthen this Vayu. Bringing awareness of Apana-Vayu in any yoga pose creates a focus to ground and stabilize the lower body.
Vyana-Vayu is situated in the heart and lungs and flows throughout the entire body. It governs the circulation of all substances throughout the body and assists the other Vayus with their functions. Poor circulation, impaired nerve stimulation, skin disorders, and nervous breakdowns can be related to disturbed Vyana-Vayu.Pancha Prana Vayu or the five energy flows, enables the body and its organs to function.
Essentially, the Pancha Prana Vayus are responsible for the entire physiology of the human system. We generate our physical energy from food. The food is converted to glucose which is broken down in the cells to produce energy. The five Prana Vayus are involved in assimilation, distribution and managing this energy to make the body function. These five pranas or Pancha Prana Vayu are closely interlinked with our physical energy. But the actual source of these Pancha Prana is difficult to explain.
The source of the Pancha Prana is Maha Prana. This Maha Prana is the cosmic energy and is manifest in each of us as the Kundalini Shakti. Prana : This is the first and the main of the five pranas and functions between the throat and the diaphragm. All organs of the thorax including heart and lungs are maintained by Prana.
The basic function of respiration and pumping of heart is controlled by Prana. Prana can be thought of as moving upwards. Apana : Apana is the second of the five Pranas and is primarily responsible for elimination. It controls organs situated between the naval and the perineum including, small and large intestine, kidneys, urinary system and reproductive systems. Elimination of waste as faeces, gas and urine is done by Apana Vayu.
Also, ejaculation of sperm, Monthly menstrual cycle for women and expulsion of foetus during childbirth is done by Apana Vayu. Apana Vayu flows downwards and stimulates the downward movement of the wastes. Disturbances in Apana Vayu can cause constipation, diarrhoea, piles, etc. Samana : Samana Vayu operates between the naval and the diaphragm.
It controls the function of organs like stomach, liver, pancreas, spleen, small and large intestine. Samana Vayu travels sideways. Samana Vayu is the Prana that is responsible for digestion and assimilation of nutrients into the body. Disturbance of the Samana Vayu can cause indigestion and other stomach disorders. Udana : Udana Vayu functions above the throat, face and head region. It is responsible for all the sensory organs and functioning of the brain.
Apart from that it controls the organs of movement including hands and legs. Vyana : Vyana Vayu pervades the entire body. It is Vyana Vayu that carries the nutrients needed to every cell of the body. The nutrients are carried via blood flow and the circulatory system to reach all the organs. Whenever there is a shortage of energy in any part of the body, Vyana Vayu immediately sends the required nutrients to the cells to produce the energy.
It is like a dynamic reserve store of energy, available to the whole body. It also helps in muscular movements and carrying the sensory and motor impulses from different parts of the body. It also causes perspiration from the skin. Gooseflesh, caused by cold or fright also comes under the jurisdiction of Vyana Vayu. Yoga Therapy aims at improving the function of these 5 pranas to correct any problems with the functioning of the organs.
If any of the five pranas are depleted or not functioning optimally, diseases may occur in their corresponding organs.He says prana is the closest to a physical form of the Lord that we may perceive and directly experience. Prana is that numinous substance which is the form of the allpervasive energy in the Universe and the pulsation of the Divine within each of us.
It is the substance or substratum, and something very concrete that animates and vitalizes you and I so that we can grasp the thoughts written on this page. Was it not for the movement of prana in the appropriate channels in the body, there would be no ability of the mind to comprehend it. It is due to the movement of prana alone that the mind arises. It is due to the movement of prana that what is seen by the mind is seen as the appearance of the world.
But it is also due to the movement of the mind that the prana is kept in movement. Prana is the essence of life and its manifestation. Few know about prana, and fewer care to define or explain it but it was worthy of the Siva yogis constant contemplation. The Hatha Yoga Pradipika, the classic text of Hatha Yoga, defines prana as the vital energy force sustaining life and creation, permeating the whole of creation and existing in both the macro-cosmos and micro-cosmos.
Prana is found in the macrocosm as the ocean of life with the sun as its center. The microcosm in the body is an exact replica of the macrocosm. According to Indian philosophy of the Upanishad, the entire universe was projected out of akasha ether, or space, one of the five elements or bhutas through the energy of prana.
Akasha is the all-encompassing, infinite space of the universe. So, we are made up of what the universe is made of, akasha and prana. Akasha is unmanifest prana, prana is manifest akasha. The prana, which appears as the shape of all living organisms of the planet, is nothing less than a modification of the prana, which makes up the sun.
Prana assumes two phases of existence, the solar, positive lifematter and the lunar, negative life matter. All the various modifications of these two forms of prana constitute the total of our world appearance. All of the worlds appearances, visual, auditory, olfactory, kinesthetic, gustatory, in all their varieties are gathered into prana. The Yoga Vasistha says prana in company with the mind takes the human pilgrimage.
Apana Vayu Mudra: How to Do, Precautions and Benefits
The word prana is used in two senses, general and specific. In a general sense, it is known as pranana, varishtha or terrestrial prana.A mortal lives not through that breath that flows in and that flows out. The source of his life is another and this causes the breath to flow. Cycling continuously through day and night, the breath empties the lungs and fills them with air. Each breath rids the body of wastes, replenishes the bloodstream with oxygen, and nurtures the cellular fires of metabolism.
Breathing forms a backdrop for every activity. But exhalation and inhalation, the two great tides of the breath, do not give us a complete picture of breathing. They are connected to a vast system of energy, a latticework of activities all woven around a central hub. Contained in that system are mechanisms that process and put energy to use. Thus, without conscious effort, we are able to maintain body temperature, circulate blood to cells, digest the food we have eaten, and eliminate the wastes accumulating inside us.
This mobilization of the entire array of human functions—functions propelled by a living, vital energy—is what we really mean when we say that breathing sustains life.
Each function has a distinct role, and each is integrated into the total system of human energy. If we understand the role of each prana vayu, we can grasp how the forces of prana serve the whole person and how disturbances among the pranas lead to illness and reduced quality of life. The term prana is most commonly used to describe the vital force in its totality, but within the context of the five divisions of pranic energy, it refers to all the ways in which we take in energy.
Inhalation is by far the most important vehicle for absorbing prana, but prana is drawn from other energy sources as well. We also absorb energy from food and water; from the sights, sounds, and smells gathered through the sense organs; and from ideas and impressions communicated to the mind.
While some sources place the primary abode of prana in the chest, the region of the lungs and the anahata chakrathe heart center, others say that prana is focused naturally at the ajna chakrathe center between the eyebrows. It is there that our attention becomes fixed on an object, and this automatically opens pathways that will bring sense impressions and nutrients into the body. If we are unable to absorb it, the body will die.
Samana is the function of prana that digests and assimilates incoming energy. It operates in conjunction with agni the digestive fire and is centered in the stomach and intestines. Thus it is commonly associated with the manipura chakrathe navel center. But samana also functions in the lungs, where the breath is absorbed, and in the mind, where ideas are integrated.
In this sense, it serves a gatekeeping function, allowing energies into the body in the proportion and order of importance necessary for health and well-being. Samana is also the gatekeeper of our mental functions. When functioning in a balanced way, it allows us to make wise and healthy choices as to which sense impressions and thoughts we allow to enter our mind.
The Tirumandiram explains the Prana Vayus
Ailments associated with samana imbalance include gaseous swelling and abdominal discomfort, weak digestive fire, as well as overactive digestion leading to diarrhea. Once energy has been drawn into the body, it must be distributed. Vyana is the force that distributes prana by causing it to flow.
It expands and contracts, bends downward and upward, and travels to the side. It induces the movement of blood, lymph, and nervous impulses. It causes sweat to run. Unlike samana, which draws energy to a focus at the navel center where it can be assimilated into the energy system, vyana moves energy outward to the peripheries of the body. Thus vyana is spread throughout the body, coursing through the nadis. The hub of vyana is the anahata chakra, where it is involved in the functioning of the lungs and heart.
When vyana is disturbed it creates systemic problems that travel through the whole body. The pranic function called udana is a bit more difficult to conceptualize.
Ud connotes upward movement, such as the movement of energy in the windpipe. As air rises and passes through the larynx, it produces speech and song—communication.Apana is the second-most important of the five vayusor types, of prana in Hatha yoga and Ayurveda. Vayu is a Sanskrit word that means "wind" and refers to the movement of prana through the body.
Apana vayu is responsible for regulating the outward flow of prana from the body and governs elimination of physical wastes and toxins from the body. Located in the pelvic floor, it spreads upward into the lower abdomen, helping to regulate digestion and reproductive functions.
If the flow of apana vayu is weak, the body becomes more susceptible to disease, low mood, doubt and other negative emotional states. Apana vayu can be strengthened and balanced through asana practice. Learning to regulate it can help avoid needless energy loss.
The original purpose of mula bandha root lock is to manage and contain the flow of apana vayu in the body. It works to encourage a more positive and invigorating flow of energy.
The practice of pranayama is another excellent way to balance the flow of apana vayu. Kapalabhati is especially good for this. Its forceful abdominal exhale helps engage the seat of apana vayu while expelling toxins from the lungs and clearing congestion.
Toggle navigation Menu. Home Dictionary Tags Lineage Philosophy. Definition - What does Apana mean? Learn More. Yogapedia explains Apana If the flow of apana vayu is weak, the body becomes more susceptible to disease, low mood, doubt and other negative emotional states.
The following beginner-friendly asanas also stimulate and strengthen the flow of apana vayu: Prasarita padottanasana spread-legged standing forward bend Vrikshasana tree pose Baddha konasana bound angle pose Shalabhasana locust pose. Share this:. Related Terms. Related Articles. The History of Hatha Yoga. Top 10 Mudras for Your Yoga Practice.
Cultivating Yoga Community During the Pandemic. How do you practice alternate nostril breathing? What are the four Vedas? Why do yogis squat? More of your questions answered by our Experts. Related Tags. Synonyms: Apan. Latest Articles. The Yogic Practice of Losing Control. Unlocking the Stress in Your Body.The exercise we are going to introduce to you is a combination of the yogic efficiency with the simplicity of execution. This technique is recommendable for both beginners and advanced practitioners.
In order to understand this technique, we need to consider first the human being as a transformer of energy, of prana. An uninterrupted flux of particles, molecules, and atoms traverse the body, not just as solid or liquid form, but also gas, and subtle.
Air that brings us oxygen is also charged with water vapours, and subtle smells, such as the smells of nature play an important role in preserving the health — aromatherapy. The air contains also energy that is directly assimilated, one of its forms are the negative ions. Consequently, life means changes and transformations. The more active are our changes and interactions with the environment, the more we are alive, in the most dynamic sense of the word.
Our body is a whirl of energy in the universal prana-ic ocean.Apana Vayu Energy Flow - 8 Minutes Practice
The yogis perceive distinctly these exchanges of energy with the environment. They even managed to differentiate between these types of energy, and they named them vayu — subtle energy. The basic sense of the term vayu is sky, which would make someone think of the regular sky, with its chemical components — oxygen, azoth, rare gases.
However, the yogis understand by this word the energies that circulate through the air, in the process of breathing.
One absorbs prana-ic energy from the surroundings through prana vayu. Once the energies are absorbed in the microcircuit of our organism, they have to be personalized and assimilated — this is the function of samana vayu. Once the body assimilated them, they need to circulate throughout the organism, which is the function of prana vayu. Udana vayu allows the direction and the expression of the energies.
The final stage is the elimination, when these energies return to their previous environment. All the functions that concur in this process belong to apana vayu. We live or we should live balancing these two functions. If apana fails to work properly, the organism is charged with toxins, and lacks vitality and suppleness. One of the main objectives of Hatha Yoga is that of stimulating all the vayu-s in a harmonious manner.
If we act on prana vayu we also need to stimulate apana vayu.The three doshas namely the vata, pitta and kapha are known to be the vital components of a human body.
Among them vata — the biological air holds a prime importance. Vata is the only element that has movement in the body and which controls the movement of pitta and kapha.
Vata helps in the movement including cell divisioncirculatory functions, movement of metabolic wastes, transmission of liquids and gases, osmotic changes in between cells, perception of smell and other sensory functions. Vata is composed of air vayu and ether akasha elements of the panchamahabhoota.
Importance of Vata over other doshas Vata is the initiator and activator of all happenings. Acharya Sharangadahara substantiates this by saying that Pitta, Kapha, the Dhatus tissues and the Malas excreta, metabolic wastes or everything in the body is lame and cannot move by themselves unless motivated, provoked, carried, pushed or pulled by Vata.
Thus all activities are contributed to Vata. Tatra rooksho laghu sheeta khara: sookshmashchalo anila: Ref- Ashtanga Hridayam Vata also has the quality of daaruna or instability. All these qualities have to be kept during the vata dosha treatment. Functions of vata dosha at physical and psychological levels The Vata Dosha, when it is normal, sustains the functioning of all the organs of the body. Vata initiates all the actions and speech. Vata controls and directs mind. Co ordinates, stimulates all the sense organs Controls all the objects of sense faculties.
Maintains the compactness and unison of all the body organs.
It is the root for touch, sound, ears and sensation of touch. It maintains body compactness. It is the root cause for happiness and enthusiasm Controls Agni Dries up the other dodhas namely kapha and pitta.
Also causes dryness in the tissues and excretory products. Evacuates waste products out of the body Forms all the body channels — minute and large Responsible for growth of the fetus. Vata moulds and shapes embryo It is the cause for continuity of life Responsible for the inititation of all natural urges. Vata regulates activities of mind like initiation of thinking, analyzing, understanding etc.
The vata dosha treatment targets upon correcting the deranged functions of vata. Types of vata The basic concept of vata or vayu in the body is one. However it is given five different names based on its site of action and specific function. Wherever the vata resides in the body it does not let go of its basic qualities as mentioned above. There are 5 types of vaayu in your body, which are responsible for various functions.
They are: 1. Prana vayu — It is situated in the head and neck region and is responsible for the normal functioning of the sense organs. It is responsible for expectoration, sneezing, belching, inspiration and swallowing of food. Udana vayu — It is situated in the chest and moves between nose, umbilicus and throat.
It is responsible for the initiation of speech, efforts, enthusiasm, strength, colour, complex and memmory. Vyana vayu — Vyana is located in the heart and moves all over the body in a great speed.