Apana is the prana vayu that involves the downward and outward flow of energy from the body. Apana vayu governs the outward flow of energy on the breath, with digestive elimination, and with menstruation. The seat of apana vayu is the muladhara chakra, or the root chakra located at the perineum and pelvic floor. Not only does apana guide the elimination of physical wastes, but also mental and emotional waste—that which no longer serves us.
The balanced function of apana is important so that we are able to release negative energy, destructive thoughts, and physical toxins. The work of apana will be lessened by improving the quality of prana, or the inward flow of energy. Prana and apana work in a push-pull manner, each helping to balance the other. Minimizing the input of negativity and maximizing the input of positivity will help improve the balance of prana and apana.
Apana is all about release—physical, mental, and emotional release. In the same way that we must carefully mind what we take into our bodies and mind, we must equally cultivate the proper release of energy from our being. Thus, holding on to destructive thoughts, or suppressing negative emotions, or even the act of holding our healthy digestive functions can all have a detrimental effect on us. Learning to release, in every sense of the word, can be a freeing process. Tap into the energy of apana to guide this process.
Just like we did with prana vayu, we can turn to our breath to help facilitate the flow of apana. The next time you have a troubling thought, emotion, or sensation, use the breath to help you release it. Each exhalation is a release, and carries apana with it. The act of completely embodying release upon exhalation can help you tap into the outward flow necessary for the removal of negativity you may be holding on to. By utilizing your exhalation to help you find release, you be able to improve the outward flow of apana.