Definition - What does Vayu mean?

Vayu is a Sanskrit word meaning "wind." Vayu (or Vayu Deva) is also the name of the Hindu god of the wind. In Hindu tradition, the five elements - fire, earth, water, air (wind) and ether - are represented as gods.

According to ancient yogis, prana is subdivided into five vayus. Being aware of the vayu can help an individual obtain optimum benefits from yogic practices as the movement of prana is the essence of yogic practice.

Yogapedia explains Vayu

The five subdivisions of vayu are as follows:

  1. Prana vayu - Situated in the head, this is the fundamental energy. Governs the reception of everything from air to food, from senses to thoughts.
  2. Apana vayu - Active in the pelvic and lower abdominal areas. Improves digestion, elimination and reproduction.
  3. Vyana vayu - Governs the heart and lungs, and supports the function of other vayus.
  4. Udana vayu - Situated in the throat region. Promotes self-expression and growth.
  5. Samana vayu - Present in the abdomen with the navel as its energy base. Governs digestion of everything from food to thoughts.

Balancing the vayus while practicing yoga poses not only promotes physical strength, but also helps the practitioner move closer to their spiritual aspirations.

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