Definition - What does Apana mean?

Apana is the second-most important of the five vayus, or types, of prana in Hatha yoga and Ayurveda. Vayu is a Sanskrit word that means "wind" and refers to the movement of prana through the body. Apana vayu is responsible for regulating the outward flow of prana from the body and governs elimination of physical wastes and toxins from the body. Located in the pelvic floor, it spreads upward into the lower abdomen, helping to regulate digestion and reproductive functions.

Yogapedia explains Apana

If the flow of apana vayu is weak, the body becomes more susceptible to disease, low mood, doubt and other negative emotional states. Apana vayu can be strengthened and balanced through asana practice. Learning to regulate it can help avoid needless energy loss.

The original purpose of mula bandha (root lock) is to manage and contain the flow of apana vayu in the body. It works to encourage a more positive and invigorating flow of energy.

The practice of pranayama is another excellent way to balance the flow of apana vayu. Kapalabhati is especially good for this. Its forceful abdominal exhale helps engage the seat of apana vayu while expelling toxins from the lungs and clearing congestion.

The following beginner-friendly asanas also stimulate and strengthen the flow of apana vayu:

  • Prasarita padottanasana (spread-legged standing forward bend)
  • Vrikshasana (tree pose)
  • Baddha konasana (bound angle pose)
  • Shalabhasana (locust pose)

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