Friday, 9 June 2017

Beginners' guide to the vayus


You may have heard yogis speak of prana, the life force energy, that pervades all living things and the universe. This energy moves in the body in 5 ways known as the vayus which translates as 'winds'.  Optimal wellbeing is created by controlling and cultivating these energies which we can do through our posture work and breathing practices.

The five vayus are:-

Prana vayu is located between the throat and the diaphragm with the heart at its centre. Its direction of movement is from the throat to the navel and from the navel to the throat. It is the energy that 'receives' into the body - not only food, drink and air but sensory perceptions.  The element associated with prana vayu is air.  The asana practice to cultivate prana vayu is one of chest openers that is backbends, lateral stretches and twists. Breathing practices also help cultivate prana vayu. For a video to cultivate prana vayu please see Prana vayu on my You Tube Channel. 

Apana vayu is located in the pelvis, lower abdomen, legs and feet.  Its direction of movement is down and out.  It is associated with the earth element.  It is the energy of digestion and elimination not only of urine and stools and carbondioxide but also menstrual fluid (even a baby!), thoughts and emotions that are not serving you. The asana practice to cultivate apana vayu are hip openers, hamstring stretches and poses that compress the abdomen such as core strengtheners and forward bends. Kapalabhati breathing is a good breathing practice for the elimination of stale air from the lungs.  Lion breath also would cultivate apana vayu.  Please see Apana vayu on my You Tube Channel. 

Samana vayu is the energy of digestion and assimilation of food, the breath and of ideas. It is located in the abdomen, below prana vayu but above apana vayu and is associated with the element fire (the digestive fire, agni is necessary for good digestion).  The asana practice to cultivate samana is one of twists, core strengtheners and abdominal compressors. Please see Samana vayu on my You Tube Channel.

Udana vayu is located from the throat to the head and associated with the element ether, it is concerned with the more subtle aspects of our being.  It is the energy that allows you to express your truth and grow spiritually.  The asana practice to cultivate udana vayu is one of inversions and poses that stimulate the throat area such as Shoulder Bridge and Fish pose.
Lion breath would also be good to include.  Please see Udana vayu on my You Tube Channel.

Vyana vayu is the energy that pervades the whole body and is an outward moving energy from the core to the periphery.  Its energy runs through 72000 nadis and is to do with the circulation of blood and lymph and the passage of nervous impulses.  It controls muscle movements and the movement of ideas.  The element associated with vyana vayu is water. The type of asana practice to cultivate vyana vayu is one of strong standing poses and standing balances.  Alternate nostril breathing would be a good breath practice to include. Please see Vyana vayu on my You Tube Channel.

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Namaste,


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