The 5 Prana Vayus Chart

May 27, 2013    BY Sandra Anderson

At its heart, hatha yoga is more than just flexibility or strength in postures; it is the management of prana, the vital life force that animates all levels of being. Prana enables the body to move and the mind to think. It is the intelligence that coordinates our senses, and the perceptible manifestation of our higher selves. By becoming more attentive to prana—and enhancing and directing its flow through the practices of hatha yoga—we can invigorate the body and mind, develop an expanded inner awareness, and open the door to higher states of consciousness.

The yoga tradition describes five movements or functions of prana known as the vayus (literally “winds”)—prana vayu (not to be confused with the undivided master prana), apana vayu, samana vayu, udana vayu, and vyana vayu. These five vayus govern different areas of the body and different physical and subtle activities. When they’re functioning harmoniously, they assure the health and vitality of the body and mind, allowing us to enjoy our unique talents and live life with meaning and purpose.

A Quick Look at the Five Vayus

Our life force, prana, divides itself into five vayus, each governing different functions and aspects of being.

Vayu

Area of Body

Function

Chest, head
Governs intake, inspiration, propulsion, forward momentum
Pelvis
Governs elimination, downward and outward movement
Navel
Governs assimilation, discernment, inner absorption, consolidation
Throat
Governs growth, speech, expression, ascension, upward movement
Whole body
Governs circulation on all levels, expansiveness, pervasiveness
#subtle body Tom Cornish

Sandra Anderson
For over 20 years Sandra Anderson has shared her extensive experience in yoga theory and practice with students from all over the world. A senior faculty member and resident at the Himalayan Institute, her teaching reflects access to the living oral tradition, and the embodied experience of 30 years of dedicated practice. With a background in the natural sciences and interest in classical Sanskrit, along with frequent pilgrimages to India, Sandy has a rare capacity to eloquently convey the... Read more>>

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