The prana vayus are the five movements or functions of prana, or life force. Vayu means, literally, “wind.” The five prana vayus are prana vayu, apana vayu, samana vayu, udana vayu, and vyana vayu. Each governs a different area of the body. When they are balanced together, they promote health and vitality of the body and mind, allowing us to realize our full potential.
The practice of yoga asana (postures), pranayama (breath control), and shat kriyas all help to balance the prana vayus. In the next five months, each prana vayu will be explained in more detail. The five are summarized below:
Prana vayu is the energy that receives inward. It is associated with Anahata chakra, the heart chakra, since it is located at the chest and governs the intake of prana into the lungs. Eating, drinking, and breathing are all prana vayu activities.
Apana vayu is the energy that expels outward. It is associated with Muladhara chakra, the root chakra, connected to the earth so that it may receive the energy no longer needed. Exhaling, sweating, and eliminating digestive waste are all apana vayus.
Samana vayu is the “balancing air” that moves between the navel and heart. It is associated with Manipura chakra at the solar plexus—where digestion begins. Samana is the seat of the digestive fire.
Udana vayu is an upward moving energy that promotes mental clarity and acute sensory function. It is associated with Visshudha chakra, the chakra of communication, truth, and self-expression.
Vyana vayu is an outward moving wind that moves from the center out to every area of the body. It is associated with Svadhisthana chakra, the sacral chakra that is associated with creativity and pleasures. Vyana is the coordinating and connecting force of prana.
As we delve into the prana vayus in the coming months, you will begin to understand the subtleties of prana, and how it is a vital part of our overall wellbeing—body, mind, and spirit.