The individual prana-vayu, not to be confused with the entire category of prana vayus, is the specific function of movement of prana, or life force. Prana-vayu governs the inward movement of prana, which enters the body with breath, food, and drink, and also enters with mental and sensory perceptions.
The seat of prana-vayu is the heart. And the prana that enters the body moves towards the heart, where it nurtures our heart center. One of the best ways to tap into the movement of prana-vayu is to feel the body’s movement as you breathe. As you inhale, notice the movement as it begins with the belly expanding and moves in an upward motion as the lungs fill with air and the chest expands.
Since prana-vayu also governs the movement of prana that comes in from food and drink, consider that fact as you make choices about what foods and drink most nurture you. We bring in energy with each bite and each sip. What is the quality of energy taken in from the foods you eat? When we make this connection to our food, we begin to make choices that change our health.
Similarly, the energy we take in through our senses and thoughts is equally important. Think about it—the last time your thoughts were troubling, how did it affect you? And the last time you saw something beautiful, how did that affect you? We can’t control everything in our environment, but we can work on our response to the situations we encounter.
Again, we can turn to our breath for help. The next time you have a troubling thought or emotion, use the breath to bring your mind back to the moment. Take in that which nurtures you, and use the breath as a vehicle to do so. By integrating prana-vayu into your yoga practice, you will learn more about yourself by connecting with the energy that nourishes you.