The Vayus and the Chakra System
Vayu translates from Sanskrit to mean wind or flow. The Vayus refer to the directions that prana moves through the body. There are five main Vayus that are relevant to todays yoga practices each flow or vayu influences different areas of the body and helps move the prana through each chakra. In turn the spinning and vibrating of each chakra helps to keep each vayu moving too.
Chakras are dense areas of pranic energy.
Prana is the vital life force. Prana is shared by the entire universe. Prana flows in many different directions these flows are known as Vayus.
Prana is regarded as the great cosmic catalyst. The more time spent exploring the prana and the Vayus the more apparent this becomes.
Yoga brings balance and a sense of equilibrium between all opposing forces, developing an awareness of the movement of prana enhances and deepens this sense of balance.
Things to Remember
There is only one source of prana, the Great Prana (Maha) or Chief Prana (Muktya).
There are five main prana vayus that move through the physical body influencing and enhancing all physical and emotional functions. These are known as the Pancha Prana Vayus and are Prana, Apana, Samana, Udana and Vyana.
These Vayus will influence one or more of the seven main chakras that are positioned between the base of the spine and the crown of the head.
Chakras are dense areas of pranic energy; each one represents a stage of our human evolution and forms a very important part of who we are.
Each chakra influences different physical functions and emotional behaviours.
To achieve optimum levels of health and vitality all seven chakras need to be balanced and working harmoniously together.
Starting from the base of the spine the seven main Chakras are as follows Muladhara (the base chakra), Svadisthana (the abdominal chakra), Manipura (the solar plexus), Anahata (the heart chakra), Vishuddha (the throat chakra), Ajna (the eyebrow centre or the third eye) and Sahasrara (the crown chakra).
Knowing the location of each chakra and discovering how each of the five major prana vayus flow, the link between the Vayus and the Chakras becomes more apparent.
Prana Vayu is the upwards and outwards movement of the inhalation, it moves between Anahata and Ajna. It is this Vayu that influences these two chakras, Anahata encourages unconditional love and compassion and Ajna can bring great levels of intuition and knowledge.
Apana Vayu moves downwards and outwards and influences Muladhara the root chakra. Muladhara brings security and stability it connects us to the Earth and helps us to remain grounded. Muladhara also provides support to all of the other chakras that are positioned above it. When working with the Apana Vayu notice how grounded you feel when you send your exhalation down and out through your pelvic region.
Apana Vayu also influences Swadhisthana the abdominal chakra. The element of this chakra is water which represents movement, change and intense emotions, by drawing back your navel as you exhale it is possible to balance the water element of this chakra.
Prana and Apana always work together, they flow the whole length of the spine helping to balance every chakra, although they do have a stronger influence over the chakras named above.
Samana Vayu is the middle breath between Prana and Apana; this Vayu stimulates Manipura the Solar Plexus chakra. This chakra is the seat of the self. It is where the ego resides and where our motivation and will power comes from.
Udana Vayu flows through the throat; it mainly influences Vishuddha the throat chakra. This chakra allows us to express ourselves freely and truthfully, through speech, song, dance, visual arts and other areas of creativity.
Vyana Vayu flows around the whole body, from the lungs to the outermost edges of the body. It is this Vayu that influences all of the chakras, for Vyana to flow freely it requires all of the chakras to be balanced, in turn when Vyana flows freely it helps to balance the chakras.
Through discovering the Vayus and how they move through the body it becomes apparent how connected we are physically, emotionally and energetically with ourselves and also the universe. Working with the Vayus and balancing the flows can help us to obtain peak levels of physical, emotional and spiritual health, wellbeing and balance.