Relationship and Movement of Energy According to Ayurveda

Ayurveda is a holistic medical system that has been practiced in India for thousands of years. It is based on the concept of energy. Energy is the most important factor in our life. It makes us feel good or bad. It is also the reason why we need to care about it so much. This is the primary focus of this article, enjoy as we tackle the relationship and movement of energy according to Ayurveda!

Theories and concepts are from Dr. Sumit Kesarkar and from the National Library of Ayurveda Medicine (NLAM). This article is for educational purposes of the readers and no copyright infringement intended.

Movement of Vayu

The movement of the five pranas is also very important in order to understand the yogic lineage of mind, body and spirit. Prana and Apana govern the intake and elimination of Prana or vital energy. Sama and Vyana operate at a deeper physical level. Samana takes the Prana into the tissues and Vyana circulates it throughout the body. Udana is the culmination of the other four Pranas as our energy and motivation in life. We see then that there is one Prana or life-force in five forms according to its different powers and directions of movement.

We can imagine it like a cross with Prana in the center as the regulating factor. Udana which rises, will be at the top; Apana which sinks, is at the bottom. Samana will be to the left moving from Apana to Udana balancing the two in an upward direction. Vyana will be to the right moving from Udana to Apana, balancing the two in a downward direction.

To summarize the movements of the five Pranas, Udana is ascending, Samana is balancing in, Prana is central, Vyana is balancing out and Apana is descending. Samana has an equalizing but centripetal force which is moving towards the center as the power of digestion. Vyana has an equalizing but centrifugal force moving away from the center as the power of movement.

Process of Breathing

In ancient texts like the Upanishads, two primary forms of Prana are recognized. Prana and Apana, as inhalation and exhalation, with Samana in between as the balancing or metabolic factor. Vyana develops as our capacity to circulate the absorbed Prana. Udana develops as the positive side of exhalation, the capacity to extract energy that follows from inhalation.

The five Pranas are different stages of the process of breathing:

  1. Prana, the primary air is inhalation
  2. Samana, the equalizing air is the retention or the point between inhalation and exhalation
  3. Vyana, the outward moving air, follows after Samana. It can be related to the second part of retention approaching exhalation.
  4. Udana, the upward moving air is the first part of exhalation
  5. Apana, the downward moving air is the second part of exhalation

Through breath control or Pranayama at these different points we can learn to regulate and strengthen the Pranas.

Subdosha Relationship

The 15 subdosha have a corresponding relationship with each other and carry on the balancing act of Vata, Pitta and Kapha at the micro level in a similar way as found at the macro level. Though in general it’s the action of the three prime doshas, understanding the relationship between subtypes makes it simpler to treat disorders.

The subtypes relationships is as follows:

1. Prana- Sadmaka Pitta, Tarpaka Kapha

Relate to the brain-heart-spine-nervous system function and have controlling actions on the other five forms of their respective Dosha. Prana is increased by the practice of Pranayama and by the creation of a positive attitude and positive will in life. Sadhaka Pitta is increased by the practice of discrimination and by clarity of perception in life. Tarpaka Kapha is increased by the practice of contentment and by faith in life. All of them are related to Prana, Trejas and Ojas.

2. Samana- Pachaka Pitta, Kledaka Kapha

Aid in the digestive process and are located mainly in the stomach and small intestine.

3. Udana- Alochak Pitta, Bodhaka Kapha

Relate to the head, face, mouth and neck and the sensory activity. They improve sensory perception, increase will and aspiration and help raise the functioning of the other forms of the same Dosha.

4. Vyana- Bhrajak Pitta, Smlesmak Kapha

Relate to the limbs, skin, joints and the surface of the body circulation.

5. Apana- Ranjaka Pitta, Avalambak Kapha

Play a supportive role for the other doshas and are mainly related to internal organs like the kidney, liver and heart. They govern the waste-products of the doshas. Apana governs intestinal excretion, Ranjaka Pitta governs the excess blood and bile while Avalambak Kapha governs excess mucus in the chest and lungs.

We should always consider these relationships when treating any subdosha. Generally, we should try to increase the power of the subtler forms of the Dosha and decrease that of their grosser forms. 

Special thanks again to Dr. Sumit Kesarkar and from the National Library of Ayurveda Medicine (NLAM) for the Ayurvedic made easy materials. Hope you enjoy reading this blog. If you follow Organic Ayurveda Life, you will be on your way to a healthier, happier family. Thanks for reading. Namaste.

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