Prana is the Sanskrit word for “life force”. Vayus, on the other hand, literally means “wind”. According to the tradition of yoga, Prana which means the vital life for all living beings in this world has 5 different segments. It means each prana vayu is defined as the different ways prana moves throughout an individual’s body. As discussed in the yoga tradition, when all the vayus are functioning in their highest level, the individual will be able to function well and he will be able to reach his maximum potential and become the best versions of their self.
Prana helps an individual be able to move his body and use his mind to think clearly. The prana is the intelligence that guides the senses and it is the manifestation of an individual’s self. When one is attentive to the prana, he will be able to enhance and direct the flow by practicing hatha yoga. It aims to invigorate the individual’s body and mind and he will be able to develop awareness of the inner self and it also results in the opening of the door to the ultimate goal of an individual which is self-realization.
Each of the five prana vayus has unique and subtle energy qualities and has different functions from each other as well as various flows of direction. As years pass by, yogis are able to study and improve these vayus by being able to focus and bring awareness to each of them and therefore results in creating a healthy body and mind. It also allows deepens awareness of the body and proper breath that improves an individual’s yoga practice.
The 5 Prana Vayus
Prana vayu is located in the head, it is the energy centered in the third-eye and it spreads all throughout the chest region. The flow of this vayu is inwards and upward. It is the vayu ayu that energizes the brain and the eyes. It also supervises the reception of food, air, thoughts and all the senses. It is considered one of the most essential energies in the body. It is the Vayu that directs and feeds energy into the other four Vayus. Prana-Vayu is experienced when you close your eyes, completely relax the body with a long spine whether standing or sitting and you inhale and you feel the energy flowing in an upward direction towards the torso, stomach, and the third-eye. Try these yoga poses that help to activate this vayu: backbends, warrior I, chair pose, corpse pose, and arms raised overhead during the mountain pose. Meditation helps with the activation and balance of this vayu as well.
Apana vayu is located on the pelvic floor; it is the energy that spreads all throughout the lower stomach region. The flow of this vayu is downwards. It is the energy that sustains the digestive, reproduction, and elimination organs. This vayu is the one that supervises the elimination process of the wastes inside the body such as carbon dioxide, feces, urine, and other waste products. Apana vayu is experienced when you close your eyes, have a completely relaxed body with a long spine whether standing or sitting and you exhale and you feel the energy flowing in a downward direction to the torso from the direction of the head towards the tailbone. Apana and Prana vayu are considered as the two most essential Vayus among the five. Try these yoga asanas that help activate this vayu: standing poses, seated forward folds, and seated twists.
Vyana vayu is located in the heart and lungs; it is the energy that spreads throughout the entire body of an individual. The flow of this vayu starts in the middle of the body towards the peripheral parts of the body. It is the energy that supervises the circulation of all the substances in the body and it is the vayu that helps the other vayus perform their proper functions accordingly. Vyana vayu is experienced when you close your eyes, have a completely relaxed body with a long spine whether standing or sitting and when you inhale feel the energy of your breath flow from the navel towards the arms and legs. Try these poses that can help this vayu to be activated: backbends, side bending postures or side bend positions, sun salutations, and savasana.
Udana vayu is located in the throat; it is the energy that flows in a circular motion in the neck and head. It is the vayu that helps our body maintain an upwards position and it supervises the speech, expressions, and growth of an individual. Urdana vayu is experienced when you close your eyes, have a completely relaxed body with a long spine whether standing or sitting and when you inhale and exhale feel the flow of the breath that circulates throughout the head and neck. Try these asanas to help you activate this vayu: standing poses (warrior I, chair pose, eagle pose), seated forward folds, and backbends (especially belly backbends).
Sama vayu is located in the stomach or abdomen region, it is the energy that is centered in the navel of an individual. It is the vayu that flows from peripheral areas of the body towards the middle or center. This vayu is the one that supervises the digestion and the absorption of the substances in the body such as food, air, different experiences, emotions, and thoughts of an individual. Sama vayu is experienced when you close your eyes, have a completely relaxed body with a long spine whether standing or sitting and when you inhale and exhale you will feel the flow of breath rising and falling throughout the front, sides and back portion of the torso. Try these poses to help activate this vayu: standing, seated, and supine twisting positions, planking and four-limbed staff pose also known as low plank, boat pose, seated forward folds, and arm balances.
The five Prana vayus have the tendency to be out of sync from time to time. It may result in the imbalance of the body, mind, and the spirit. When an individual continuously practices the yoga asanas mentioned above, he will be able to manage the smooth and proper functioning of these vayus. With proper guidance of a teacher, these vayus can be properly maintained in order to ensure the body, mind, and spirit are well coordinated and fully functioning.