Breath of Life (PDF)
Yoga and the Five Prana Vayus
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.
Publisher: Himalayan Institute
Pages/Length: 29 pages, 30+ detailed photots
Yoga / Digital Downloads
About the Author
Initiated into the Himalayan tradition in 1988, author and teacher Sandra Anderson draws on traditional yoga texts and 20 years of study and practice under the guidance of Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, PhD. She teaches all aspects of yoga nationally, trains teachers, and instructs programs at the Himalayan Institute where she lives. Sandra holds a degree in geology and began her studies in yoga while working throughout the west as an environmental groundwater geologist. View her videos on pranayama and other practices online, and her e-book, The Breath of Life—The Prana Vayus, and articles on pilgrimage, prayer, and more.
Excerpt from Breath of Life
From the Introduction
Hatha yoga practices, including asana, pranayama, and traditional cleansing techniques (known as the shat kriyas, or six actions), can profoundly affect prana in all its five forms. By working directly with the body's intrinsic vitality, these practices balance and enhance the physiological system and the functions of the mind. The asanas create an inner structure which supports the efficient work of all the vayus. Pranayama augments and expands the vital life force, and, along with hatha yoga cleansing techniques, it purifies the nadis, or channels of pranic flow. A closer look at each vayu individually can help us maximize the effectiveness of our hatha practice.