|Vyana Vayu-governs circulation and is present within the entire body.|
As you practice yoga postures you quickly realize the need to stretch your breath. Perhaps one of the first Sanskrit words you learned was prana. Often prana is described as the breath but it's a little more than that. It means "life force" or you can call it "life energy." It also includes energies present in inanimate objects. In living beings prana is considered to be responsible for all mental and physical functions. Prana has many characteristics and there are 5 types called the vayus which are well worth understanding to deepen your yoga practice.
On Friday October 20th 7-8:30pm I will be leading a Yoga Study Circle focusing on The Vayus/The Inner Winds at Birchwood Center for Yoga and Massage in Nyack, New York.
During this special class we will examine the 5 Vayus with easy to follow seated and on the back exercises. We will also discuss the many benefits of stretching and directing your prana into different areas of your being while on and off the yoga mat. Since the Vayus are energy and maybe an abstract topic to digest I've created some Vayus Artspiration with a few notes to ease your understanding of the 5 Vayus. Enjoy and please visit www.birchwoodcenter.com for more information and to register for this special Yoga Study Circle class.
Prana Vayu is the basic vayu from which all other vayus arise. Prana Vayu resides within the chest and moves upward into the third eye. It governs intake, perception and inspiration. Imagine a newborn baby taking its first breath. This is a beautiful example of Prana Vayu animating a being. Prana vayu is like food that nourishes and supports us and then assists us in moving forward and onward. If we are unable to absorb Prana Vayu the body will die. Disturbed Prana Vayu leads to illnesses of the breath, senses and mind.
Udana Vayu like Prana Vayu is an upward movement that enables us to speak and sing. It is associated with the throat chakra/vishuddha chakra. Besides communication Udana Vayu's upward moving wind inspires thoughts, words and actions from a higher perspective therefore a balanced Udana Vayu propels one's transformation. When Udana Vayu is unbalanced illnesses occur in the throat, neck and head.
Apana Vayu is responsible for exhalation and for the downward and outward movement of energy found in elimination of wastes. Apana Vayu resides in the lower body, specifically within the intestines and the root chakra/muladhara chakra. Think below the belt bodily functions such as toilet needs, sexual and childbirth rely on Apana Vayu's strength. When Apana Vayu is unbalanced disease within the pelvic body can arise such as bladder, pelvis, colon, urinary and reproductive issues. Because of Apana Vayu's outward movement it is also associated with the body's defenses and immune system.
Samana Vayu is the inner wind that is responsible for digestion of what we consume. It assimilates emotions and information in the gut and mind in addition to absorbs breath in the lungs. Samana Vayu's home is within the stomach and intestines. It works with our fire energy center, manipura chakra located in the navel. Think of Samana Vayu as the gatekeeper inner wind. It assists in separating what we need and don't need when it comes to digesting food, ideas and emotions. When Samana Vayu is unbalanced digestive imbalances arise such as gas, bloating, slow digestion and super fast digestion that leads to loose bowel movements.
Vyana Vayu is found throughout the entire body and its origin is located at the heart center, anahata chakra. Vyana Vayu is involved in the functioning of the heart and lungs. This wind moves energy up, down, side to side and expands and contracts outward to the outer edges of the body. Vyana Vayu governs the circulatory, lymphatic and nervous systems. Vyana Vayu is the wind that gets us to sweat and radiate our inner light. When you want to connect to Vyana Vayu's strength think about that post savasana afterglow feeling when your mind and body are balanced. When Vyana Vayu is unbalanced a lot can go wrong physically because this wind encompasses the entire body.