Introduction: Prana Vayus

The five movements or functions of prana are called prana vayus (vayu= wind).

Pranayama Kosha Made Up of Five Pranas

Pranamaya kosha is made up of five major pranas, which are collectively known as the pancha, or five, pranas: prana, apana, samana, udana and vyana. – Swami Satyananda Saraswati

Energetic Winds

Wind… refers not only to our gross breath, but also to the basal energetic forces that govern all of our bodily functions. The traditional name for these energetic winds is “vayu…” These vayus are sub-units of a “master” wind (pranavayu) that joins our mind together with elements from our mother and father at the moment of our conception. As we continue to develop in the womb, the pranavayu sub-divides itself… These winds then provide the energy for essential bodily functions such as circulation, elimination, assimilation, respiration and locomotion. – David Magone

Prana Vayu

  • Not the same as the general term of prana
  • Governs intake, forward momentum
  • Energizing

Propulsion & Vitality

It provides propulsive energy, speed, motivation and vitality. On a more subtle level, this vayu gives heightened sensitivity both to the external senses and to inner awareness… If, however, prana vayu is deranged, we suffer from cravings, fall prey to bad habits, and wrestle with a restless and dissipated mind. – Sandra Anderson

Vyana Vayu

  • Governs circulation
  • Expansion

Samana Vayu

  • Governs assimilation, absorption
  • Contraction

Udana Vayu

  • Governs growth, expression
  • Upward Movement

Apana Vayu

  • Governs elimination
  • Downward Movement

Practice Should Work All Pranas

One should consider the role of all five pranas in asana practice. An integral asana practice should work all the pranas. It requires energization (prana), expansion (vyana), contraction (samana), upward movement (udana) and downward movement (apana) in the right proportion and balance. But the degree of these pranic movements will vary by condition and by dosha. – Dr. David Frawley & Sandra Summerfield Kozak