With my midterm YTT exam fast approaching, I have been reading up on all the aspects of yoga and/or yogic philosophy that I needed to brush up on. I have been doing some reading about the Vayus the last few days – definitely needed as I couldn’t name any of the 5 other than Prana and Apana!
Prana is the life-force energy drives all life and movement in the Universe. It enters the body via the absorption of energy around us, as well as the food we eat and the air we breathe.
Prana travels in the body via channels called nadis. These are the 72,000 energy channels similar to the concept of the nervous system in modern science – but also different as they are not part of the *physical* body. However, the location of the major nerves also map up to the nadis – which is pretty cool! Chakras are located at the intersection of major nadis
Prana moves through these channels and reaches every cell in the body – enabling the body to move and the mind to think, as well as all the other bodily processes.
The Vayus (Sanskrit: wind) are the five types of of Prana. They all have distinct patterns of flow through the body. By bringing your focus and awareness to the Vayus, you can learn to cultivate and control them, which in turn will ultimately activate Kundalini to obtain the state of Samadhi (enlightenment). The five types of Vayus are:
Flow: inwards and upwards
Location: third eye, pervading the chest region
Function: nourishes the brain and the eyes. It is the fundamental energy and feeds into the other four Vayus.
Flow: downwards and outwards
Location: pelvic floor
Function: nourishes the organs of digestion, excretion and reproduction.
Flow: throughout the whole body, from the centre outwards
Location: heart and lungs
Function: is responsible for circulation round the body and helps the other 4 Vayus
Flow: Circulates head and neck
Location: head and neck
Function: helps speech and expression
Flow: throughout the body, from the periphery inwards
Function: digestion and assimilation
Awareness of any of the 5 Vayus can have great practical implications in your physical yoga practice, eg. Apana Vayu will help stabilise and ground the lower body etc.