The 5 Prana Vayus Chart


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
Prana Chest, head Governs intake, inspiration, propulsion, forward momentum
Apana Pelvis Governs elimination, downward and outward movement
Samana Navel Governs assimilation, discernment, inner absorption, consolidation
Udana Throat Governs growth, speech, expression, ascension, upward movement
Vyana Whole body Governs circulation on all levels, expansiveness, pervasiveness

About the Teacher

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Sandra Anderson
For over 20 years Sandra Anderson has shared her extensive experience in yoga theory and practice with... Read more