The 5 Vital Forces in Yoga
Prana VayuSituated in the head, centered in the third-eye, and its energy pervades the chest region. The flow of Prana-Vayu is inwards and upward. It nourishes the brain and the eyes and governs reception of all things: food, air, senses, and thoughts. This Vayu is the fundamental energy in the body and directs and feeds into the four other Vayus.
Apana VayaSituated in the pelvic floor and its energy pervades the lower abdomen. The flow of Apana-Vayu is downwards and out and its energy nourishes the organs of digestion, reproduction and elimination. Apana-Vayu governs the elimination of all substances from the body: carbon monoxide, urine, stool, etc.
Udana VayuSituated in the throat and it has a circular flow around the neck and head. It functions to “hold us up” and governs speech, self-expression and growth.
Vyana VayuSituated in the heart and lungs and flows throughout the entire body. The flow of Vyana-Vayu moves from the center of the body to the periphery. It governs circulation of all substances throughout the body, and assists the other Vayus with their functions.
Samana VayuSituated in the abdomen with its energy centered in the navel. The flow of Samana-Vayu moves from the periphery of the body to the center. It governs the digestion and assimilation of all substances: food, air, experiences, emotions and thoughts.
Mini Retreat for better Energy Flow
“Prana” is the one life force that permeates all living things and in fact all matter. This cohesive, animating force is also known as “Maha Prana” or great prana. In the human body, this universal prana has been observed to move in specific ways in specific regions in the body, regulating and controlling physical and mental function. Though there are 49 distinct prana vayus or types of vayus in the body, five principle vayus or “panacha pranas” are important for the yogi to recognize. The word vayu translates as “wind,” connoting all-pervading movement. The root ‘va’ means “that which flows” – and so a vayu is a vehicle for activities and experiences within the body, or a “force” that moves throughout the system controlling functions such as digestion, respiration, nerve impulses act.