Have you ever felt that when things in life are going well for you, they go, like, really well? You may start with a delish, healthy breakfast, enjoy an uplifting yoga practice, be inspired to create something, and make a great decision at work, all in the same day?
If you’ve felt that unstoppable current of energy just flow your life, you already know something about vyana vayu and your pranic body.
In yoga, the five prana vayus are all connected through vyana vayu. Vyana vayu is responsible for circulating prana throughout the body, connecting to all of the other vayus.
In this article, you’ll learn about what vyana vayu is, common signs of imbalance, and ways to improve the movement of prana in your body through your yoga practice.
Before you dive in, make sure you’ve read all about the vayu system in this article about prana.
Vyana Vayu: The Wind of Energetic Circulation
Vyana vayu governs the flow of prana through the nadis, or energy channels, that permeate the pranic body. While all of the 5 prana vayus involve movement, vyana vayu is the most active and diffuse. This vayu is associated with the exchange and distribution of energy through the body’s complex communication systems.
In ayurvedic tradition, the sister science of yoga, it’s believed that vyana vayu helps maintain the balance of pressure in the human body at optimal health. How? It regulates organ functions through blood flow, body fluids through the lymphatic system, and electrical impulses in the nervous system.
It governs the connection of the five senses, and is generally responsible for our ability to move from A to B through the coordination of all of these amazing body systems!
On a more philosophical level, vyana vayu is the unifying force in yoga that gives our actions meaning. The coordination of the legs and brain carries us to fulfill our dharma. Our ability to transform emotional wisdom into thoughtful behavior is the hallmark of our human ability to love, comfort, and care for others.
Meaning of Vyana Vayu
Translated from Sanskrit, vyana vayu means roughly “outward moving air” in English. This translation makes sense in reference to the entry point of vital energy (prana vayu) into the body through the head and chest, where the breath originates.
Location and Qualities of Vyana Vayu
Physically, vyana vayu is present in the entire body, connecting the center to periphery through veins, sense organs, and breath.
Associated with the water element (each of the five elements in Hindu tradition is associated with a vayu) and the sacral chakra, vyana vayu influences the flow of creativity, emotional experience and manifested desire through the being.
At the same time, vyana vayu is connected to all of the chakras in a cycle of positive feedback. When the chakras are balanced, vyana vayu flows freely. Yet in order for vyana vayu to flow freely, the chakras must be in balance.
Movement Pattern of Vyana Vayu
As the name suggests, vyana vayu flows outward in all directions from the head and chest where prana vayu originates. The “center outward” flow of vyana vayu, when it is balanced by the movements of the other vayus, supports a steady pressure throughout the entire energy system just as the steady flow of blood through the circulatory system supports vital organ functions.
Why Study Vyana Vayu
If you want to study the vayus, vyana vayu is a great place to start. Vyana vayu is like a bridge to understanding how the other vayus work together with the bandhas, chakras, and nadis, to awaken your kundalini energy.
Developing a basic awareness of the overall pattern of movement in the energy layer that is revealed by vyana vayu will bring you insight into where to start balancing your energy.
I’ll talk about various movements and yogic practices that help to balance vyana vayu below, though standing poses are generally a great place to start since they boost energy throughout the whole body.
Vyana vayu helps to cultivate grace and mental clarity by improving your general sense of cohesion throughout the body.
By developing focus on the exchange between the four other vayus, you will empower their overall function by releasing any energy blockages that may exist between them (note that samana vayu has a similar, yet distinct function).
Common Signs of Imbalance in Vyana Vayu
When vyana vayu is stagnant, everything might feel more challenging. On the mental level, you might experience difficulty coordinating the advancement of your personal life, career path and spiritual growth, or finding balance between these areas.
Physically, an imbalance in vyana vayu can manifest as poor circulation, low energy, nervous system disorder (hyper- or hypo- activity of the electrical impulses from the brain to the body), or a compromised immune response related to the lymphatic system. Since vital nutrients are absorbed primarily through the small intestine into blood vessels and carried from there to the rest of the body, issues with circulation are in some way related to all of these symptoms of imbalance.
How To Improve Energetic Circulation in Your Practice
Besides ensuring that your diet is rich in vitamins and nutrients, a well-balanced yoga practice (including asana, pranayama, meditation and study of the yamas and niyamas) is your key tool for breathing vitality into vyana vayu.
Since vyana governs the movement of prana throughout the energy body, we focus on full-body movements and neutral breathing to balance everything out. Standing poses and inversions are generally a good idea for a vyana-invigorating asana practice (think slow-flow) because they engage all the muscles in the body, ignite life force through developing core strength, and regulate the nervous system.
Not all of these balancing practices involve movement though. Did you know there’s a mudra for vyana vayu? Once you’ve worked through your pranayama and yoga poses, finish off with this mudra to reinforce the flow of all things in your meditation. Here are my tips for brightening up your overall energetic well being:
Nadi shodhana is a beautiful pranayama designed to balance the vital force of prana between the pingala (right, solar) and ida (left, lunar) nadis, which are accessed through the respective nostrils. This integrating breath will leave you feeling more clear, focused, and “one” with yourself. Take a comfortable seat and let’s begin!
- Start with a natural breath. Balance a deep inhalation with a long, full exhalation.
- Place your right index finger and middle finger to your third eye center (just above and between the eyebrows), and make sure your ring finger and thumb can reach your nostrils
- Inhale freely, and then close the right nostril with your right thumb. Exhale completely, and then inhale completely for one full breath cycle through the left nostril.
- Switch nostrils; close the left nostril with the ring finger. Exhale and inhale for one complete breath cycle through the right nostril.
- Continue for 3-5 minutes.
Full-Body Yoga Flow
This full-body yoga flow focuses on standing poses (chair pose, eagle pose, triangle pose) that will leave you feeling awake and connected. Start with a few sun salutations to get the blood flowing:
- Boat pose. Hold for 5-10 cycles of breath.
- Chair pose with the feet together. Focus on engaging the lower abdomen as you lift the pelvic floor. Hold for 10 cycles of breaths.
- Eagle pose. Hold for 5 breaths and repeat on both sides.
- Triangle pose. Hold for 5 breaths and repeat on both sides.
Vyana mudra is a yogic hand gesture that activates the healing power of awareness. It’s used to balance overactive or stagnant vyana vayu. Also known as an energy seal, this mudra directs the flow of energy and is thought to free the flow of vyana vayu. It’s a perfect pairing for meditation! Here’s how to use vyana mudra:
- Find a comfortable seat for meditation
- Place the index and middle fingers of each hand together to touch the thumb (as if you’re taking a big pinch of salt)
- Rest the mudra of each hand on your lap
- As you inhale, imagine breath energy moving outward from your chest through all of your energy channels, and as you exhale, visualize energy moving inward toward your heart center, anahata chakra
- Meditate for 20 minutes for maximum benefits