Note: This is part 7 of 7 of the five vayus series.

In the preceding articles, we explored how the dynamic flows of Prana work within our physical and subtle bodies. We should now have a basic understanding of how to encourage and cooperate with the various aspects of that evolutionary force.

To conclude this short study, we’ll touch on how all five vayus work together within the framework of our specific practice.

Integrating the Five Vayus

When prana and apana unite in the equalizing force of samana, udana is activated and rises as Kundalini into the higher centers. These centers open and feed down energy, which then spreads and expands throughout the body through the movement of vyana. In this way, the yogi becomes filled with the power of Spirit.

The above statement is crucial to understanding how the vayus operate and why they are essential in our work. I invite you to take a while to contemplate it. Consider writing it out on paper and carrying it with you so you may refer back to it until it becomes second nature.

If these concepts are new to you, and you haven’t trained much with energy-based practices, the five pranas may seem like abstract metaphysical concepts. But the more attention you bring to their functions and movements, the more tangible they’ll become.

As you progress in your training, your sensitivity level will increase. You’ll become more attuned to the flow of the five vayus, notice when they become depleted or disturbed, and know how to restore their balance.

How do the Five Vayus Relate to Our Practice of Rudra Meditation?

If you’re new to Rudra Meditation, check out this article for a detailed description.

  • In Rudra Meditation, we begin our practice by acknowledging Awareness, the source of all Prana.
  • Then we bring our attention to manipura chakra, the center point of our extensive plexus of subtle energy channels.
  • Through the power of prana vayu, we breathe nourishment into our chakra system.
  • We concentrate that energy in manipura, where it’s broken down and refined within the fire of samana vayu.
  • Through vyana vayu, we open and expand the heart and other chakras and circulate and assimilate the life-force.
  • With the help of apana vayu, we let go of our tensions, free up blockages, and release any energies we can’t assimilate into our flow.
  • Over time, as we continue to work and surrender more deeply to the process, udana vayu becomes active. Dormant forces uncoil (Kundalini) and rise upward through the central channel toward the thousand-petaled lotus, the chakra at the crown of the head.
  • Eventually, this energy spills over, pouring down into us and spreading throughout our subtle and physical bodies via the power of vyana vayu.
  • The chakra system continues to open and function at a fuller potential, giving us access to higher and subtler dimensions of our being.
  • Eventually, the obstructions within the nadis and chakras are cleared away. The old patterns and constructs that kept us stuck for so long break down and become part of our creative flow.
  • We come to perceive our inherent unity with all things.

Though I described the process above in a linear way, the path is more like a winding road with ascending and descending slopes that increases in intensity over time. At the same time, as our sadhana deepens we develop a stronger energy flow and greater capacity to walk the path. And the more we learn to open, the more grace guides and uplifts us.

Before we conclude, let’s take one more look at how the elements of our practice relate to the five vayus.

  • Prana Vayu:
    • Consciously opening and breathing nourishment into the chakra system
    • Opening the heart chakra through an attitude of devotion and gratitude
  • Samana Vayu:
    • Directing our attention and energy into manipura chakra below the navel
    • Feeling our deep desire to grow spiritually increases the fire of samana.
  • Vyana Vayu:
    • Opening and expanding during kumbaka (breath retention at the heart and navel chakras)
    • Intentionally circulating the energy throughout the chakra system during the exercise
    • Through the downpouring and assimilation of higher creative energies descending from the higher chakras
  • Apana Vayu:
    • Relaxing and surrendering our tensions
    • Releasing thoughts and emotions; emptying the mind
    • Letting go and trusting in the wisdom and guidance of our Self
  • Udana Vayu:
    • Swallowing and relaxing the throat
    • The centering of our attention in the navel chakra enlivens samana which brings prana and apana into balance. The life force then rises as udana.
    • Consciously opening in the crown into the “sky of the heart”
    • Again, our deep wish to grow spiritually plays a large role in activating our dormant potentials.

By learning to cooperate with the five vayus, we become more immersed in the creative process of living, loving, and growing. Simply put, we become more alive by opening and attuning to the life-force. And in this way, we embrace the wonder, rawness, and beauty of the ride.