It is believed in Yoga that there are 5 winds or 'Vayus' in each of us. Named after the Hindu deity of the wind & air, Vayu. “Va” meaning "that which flows"…
Prana Vayu - chest & head. Respiration. Forward momentum
Apana Vayu - pelvis. Elimination. Downwards momentum
Samana Vayu - Navel. Balances. Inwards momentum
Udana Vayu - throat. Expression. Upward momentum
Vyana Vayu - Whole body. Circulation. Outward momentum
The air element is deeply connected to Anahata (heart) Chakra & this is where the upwards momentum of Prana Vayu primarily circulates.
The word Prana has many translations & does not only mean breath. According to The Hatha Yoga Pradipika this word, which consists of to syllables "Practices" & "Na" means "Constant force in motion". The word Pranayama is often translated simply to mean breath control however, according to the Hatha Yoga Pradipika "Pranayama mean panic capacity or length. It is not merely breath control, but a technique through which the quantity of prana in the body is activated to a higher frequency".
There is a belief held by some Yogi’s that we are all given a set number of breaths for our entire lifetime, & we have the power to alter this by simply controlling & slowing down our breath. This is mirrored in the practice of Qi Gong; Qi being our energy, life force, more than the act of breathing. "Qi, the omnipresent energy of life, manifests as breath & easily escapes through the nose & mouth unless conserved by practicing quiet, meditative breathing." (The Way of Qi Gong).
According to The Way of Qi Gong, The parallels between Yoga & Qi gong are pretty damn remarkable! "For example, the theory of Yin & Yang, the Philosophy that health is a balance of complementary opposites, fire & water, mind & body, self & nature"
We explore the colours of our breath & how our Prana or Qi are so much more than our breath in this powerful Vinyasa practice.
I'd love to know how this practice felt in your body. Let me know in the comments below.