March-April 2018: Exploring the Prana Vayus

This term we are exploring the Prana Vayus. These are the “energy winds” in the subtle energy body, known as the Pranamaya Kosha (the “body that feeds on prana or universal energy”).

We began our journey with a practice designed to balance the energy of Prana Vayu. This is the fundamental, inward-moving, propulsive, vital energy, that gives us vitality, speed and motivation. It is our receptive energy which enables us to receive everything from air (through inhalation) and food, to impressions and ideas. This energy governs respiration, and is most active in the region of the lungs and heart.

On a more subtle level, this is the energy that heightens our sensitivity to our external senses and our inner awareness. It allows us to see the external world and all its opportunities more clearly, and at the same time, this energy lets us rest our inner attention in contentment. An imbalance of this energy can lead to adopting bad habits and suffering from cravings, a restless and scattered mind and emotional conditions such as anxiety, depression, grief, bereavement and isolation.

Physically, a lack of prana vayu can lead to low energy and fatigue, breathing difficulties (inability to catch breath, asthma, COPD), or a lack of chest expansion (forwards and outwards, especially the middle ribs), heart and lung problems, any chronic illness, a weak immune system, upper back stiffness or pain, shoulder or arm weakness or problems, such as frozen shoulder.

The mudra that we used to encourage a balanced prana vayu was Madhyrama Sharira mudra:

Place the index fingers around the upper chest and the thumbs towards the back of the body. Keep the other fingers together so that the middle fingers are pressed towards the index fingers, palms facing downwards. Relax the shoulders and close the eyes.

Bring the awareness down in to the upper chest area, to where your fingers and thumbs are touching your body. Begin to focus on the inhalation and extend the inhalation to it’s maximum, comfortable length. Focus on the breath entering the body and filling the upper chest area. Let the exhalation be natural, whilst you maintain your focus on the inhalation. Practice for 5 minutes or more, whenever you feel there is a need to redress any of the imbalances described above.

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