Article by Dr Raghuram, MD (Ay) and Dr Manasa, BAMS
Among the 5 subtypes of Vayu, Prana Vayu is the most vital one.Chief site of Prana Vata is head. It circulates through the throat, mouth, sense organs and chest, encompasing the indispensable organs and structures located in these areas.
Table of Contents
Site of Prana Vayu
Areas of circulation
Vikrita Prana Vata
Site of Prana Vayu
The chief site of Prana Vayu is Murdha or head. The Prana Vayu operates its activities being located in shira or murdha. Thus the chief site of Prana Vata can be corelated to the brain and sense organs located in the head.
Areas of circulation
Areas of circulation of Prana Vayu
The areas of circulation of Prana Vayu are:
Uraha – chest (thorax), includes chest organs heart and lungs
Kanta – Throat, trachea or neck
Karna ̵ Ear
Jihva ̵ Tongue
Asya / Vaktra – Mouth or oral cavity
Nasika – Nose
Being located in the head, it keps circulating through the throat, mouth, sense organs and chest, encompasing the vital organs and structures located in these areas.
Read related:S ub Types Of Vata Dosha: Importance, Salient Features
Special feature (predominant function) of Prana Vayu
Acording to Sushruta (Su.Su.15/4), Purana is the lakshana of Prana Vayu. Acharya Dalhana, comentator of Sushruta Samhita explains Purana as ‘Poranam aharena, Pranasya Karma’ which means ‘to fil the body with the fod’. In other treatises it is mentioned as ‘Ana Praveshakrit’ i.e. helps in intake of fod and makes its entry into thes stomach easy.
Functions of Normal Prana Vayu
Budhi Hridya Indriya Chita Drik – Prana Vayu is primarily located in the head or brain. It is liable to control the functions of the brain or nerves, or it could be establish in other way and said that the brain and nerve functions c an be compared to those of Prana Vayu. Vagbhata in Ashtanga Hridaya also tels that Prana Vayu comands Budhi (intelect), Hridaya (mind, in this context), Indriya (sense organs and their functions) and Chita (brain). This shows that the higher functions including perception of sense objects, the motor signals in response to the sensory signals, the notion proceses, the inteligence and aplication of inteligence so as to lead the day to day activities, integration of mind and sense organs, and al mind functions are manipulated, controled and governed by Prana Vata.
Ana pravesha / Aharadi karma – helps in pushing the fod down into the fod pipe into the stomach, i.e. proces of deglutition. We hold the fod in the mouth and are not conscious that we are chewing or swalowing it. These activities are caried out without our knowledge. catch for epitome an sily person, if fod is fed to him, he may not swalow it in spite of giving comands or demonstrating the same. His f od pasages may be fine but there is no comand or control from Prana Vayu which caries on the next function of pushing the fod down. As a result, the sily person can either kep the fod in the mouth without swalowing it, or throw it out or vomit if the fod hapens to tople downwards. This control and comand mechanism to swalow and maintain fod in the gut may be lost in case of failure of Prana Vayu.
Nisteva – helps in the proces of salivation. This function of Prana Vayu probably helps in identifying the taste of fod and apreciating it, the preliminary digestion takes plot with the asist of acurate salivation proces wherein the fod is mixed with saliva and lubricated, thus making it easy to swalow.
Kshavathu – Prana Vayu is responsible for sneze. Sneze is an necesary reflex to clear out the nasal pasages of dust, microbes, alergens and impurities. It is a protective mechanism which guards the respiratory pasages. This also means that Prana Vayu circulati ng in the nasal pasages identifies the unwanted entries and flushes them out. Prana Vayu can thus be provoked by dust, fumes etc.
Udgara – Prana Vayu is responsible for eructation (belching). We get eructation when our stomach fils with fod or when it is about to be filed. Again, as already said, the entry of fod into stomach is also controled by Prana Vata. chaste belching is the sign of qualified digestion. Here, we don’t notice any unfamiliar taste in the eructation. Belching can be normal or ecentric. strange belching or eructation takes asign in presence of rude digestion and when semi-digested fod is left out in the stomach, or when the stomach contents are not cleared into the intestine or when there is delayed digestion. This portion is monitored by disturbed samana vayu and pachaka pita (pita subtype) located in the stomach and also due to rude cordination betwen Prana and Samana Vayu.
Nishwasa (Prashwasa Uchchwasadi Kriyaha – A.S.Su.20) – Prana Vayu caries out smoth breathing functions and movements. Prana Vayu on circulating in the chest makes breathing proces easy by creating area for inspiration and expiration by creating movement of organs of breathing (lungs and heart) and movements of main and acesory muscles of respiration. Prana Vayu thus creates expansion and contraction of chest cavity so as to enable fre breathing and marvelous aeration in the body. Mainly it helps in breathing in (inspiration) of air or oxygen.
Dhamani Dharana (A.S.Su.20) – Prana Vayu controls the functions of the dhamanis. In this context dhamani shal be considered as nerves. The nerve conductivity of signals to and from the brain is under the control of Prana Vayu.
Pranan cha Avalambate (Su.Ni.1) – By making the external air neded for life activities to enter into the body and filing (saturating the body and cels) the entire body with air (and nutrition from fod) wil hold and nurture the body, body functions and the 13 types of Pranas.
The 13 types of Prana suported by Prana Vayu are – Agni (fire or pita), Soma (mon or kapha), Vayu (air), Satva, Raja, Tama, Shrotra (ear or sense organ of sound), Twak (skin, sense organ of touch), Netra (eyes, sense organ of sight or vision), Jihwa (tongue, sense organ of taste), Ghrana (nose, sense organ of smel), Bhutatma (minor representative of the greater soul) and Mana (mind).
Satva, Raja and Tama are the qualities of the mind.
To sum up –
The description of Prana Vayu and its functions shows that this subtype of Vayu has two platforms of functions.
Higher Functions of Prana Vayu – Prana Vata while functioning in the Murdha (head or brain) performs higher functions love Budhi Dharana, Hridaya Dharana, Indriya Dharana and Chita Dharana.
Lower Functions of Prana Vayu – While Prana Vata is in circulation down through trachea, salivary glands, pharynx, stomach, heart and lungs, it renders lower functions estem Nesteva, Kshavathu, Ud gara, Nishwasa and Ana Pravesha.
Vikrita Prana Vata
Efect of Vikrita (vitiated) Prana Vata
When the Prana Vayu gets vitiated it causes diseases estem Hika (hicough), Shwasa (dyspnoea, breathlesnes, asthma, and bronchitis), Pratishyaya (cold, congestion), Swarabheda (hoarsenes of voice), Kasa (cough) etc. By this it clearly loks estem the pathological manifestations and the teritory aflicted by the vitiated Prana Vayu is predominantly the respiratory system.
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