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Taking Charge of Your Health


Hello friends The National Library of Ayurveda Medicine is pleased to present a new episode on Ayurveda. The present release is part of a video lecture series prepared for the education of Ayurveda literature in accordance with the academic curriculum of Ayurveda studies in India. My name is Dr Sumit Kesarkar and I will be your host throughout this video which is a continuation of explanation of Vata Dosha and describes its 5 subtypes and their interrelationships Vata dosha carries out its various functions through its subtypes We have already looked at the subtle relation of Vata dosha and its subtypes, which are co-related to humors in modern terms. Vata dosha is the all-governing force in the cosmos and humans are one part of its manifestation. In humans Vata dosha sustains the body along with the other two doshas, Kapha and Pitta. However, Vata dosha functions in the body are subject to malfunctions, which ultimately proves to be a contributing factor to the physical death of the body. The functions of Vata are vivid as described earlier and are more specifically carried out or identified by its subtypes. Vata has 5 subtypes, they are Prana Vayu, Udana Vayu, Samana Vayu, Vyana Vayu and Apana Vayu. These are the Sanskrit names of the five types of Vata. There are no equivalent terms in English. They are formed by adding various prefixes to the root “an,” which means to Breathe or to Energize. They are the most important of these groups of five, as Vata is the most important of the Doshas. They are called “Vayus,” which also means winds. They show the different kinds of movement of the life-force. Let us have a brief look at each of the Vayus. Prana (Pra-ana)means the forward or “primary air” or nervous force. The prefix “pra” means forward, towards or prior, and relates to absorption. Ashtang hruday gives description of Prana Vayu as Prana Vayu is located in the Brain, Nose and Throat. Prana Vayu functions in the head, neck and chest region, and the direction of its action is from the atmosphere to the inside of the body. It carries out the functions of the sensory organs in the head and acts as a receptor of all external stimuli. Pervading the head and centered in the brain, Prana moves downward to the chest and throat. It governs inspiration which is inhaling during breathing, which helps in purifying the blood taking in food and water; as well as sneezing, spitting and belching. It governs the intake of impressions through the five senses of Touch, Smell, Sound, Taste and Vision; interpreting these impressions and coordinating reactions to them; mental activities and grasping of knowledge. Prana vayu also keeps the consciousness intact. On an inner level, it governs the mind, heart and consciousness and gives them energy,coordination and adaptability. It is our portion of the cosmic life energy and directs all the other Vatas in the body. It determines our inspiration or positive spirit in life and connects us with our inner Self or pure consciousness. It should be noted that the term “Prana” is also used in a broader sense to indicate Vata in general, as all Vatas derive from it. Prana has mainly an inward movement. When Prana is sufficient, no disease can affect us. All diseases involve some impairment of Prana and can be treated with methods like Pranayama, Breathing exercises, or Aroma therapy, which help balance it, as the course will outline. Udana (Ud-ana) means the “upward moving air” or nervous force. The prefix “ud” means upwards. Ashtang hruday gives description of Udana Vayu as Udan Vayu is located Chest and throat, Nose, Umbilical region and throat Udan vayu acts in the opposite direction of Prana vayu. It acts in an upward and outward direction. It governs exhalation and orientation of speech, both of which occur through the outgoing breath. It allows us to express ourselves through talking, singing, whistling, to show emotions through laughter or tears; and to perform actions such as sneezing and blowing. Production of energy and power in the body are linked with Udana Vayu. It is primarily related with the regulation of respiration. On an inner level, Udana is responsible for Memory, Strength, Will and Effort. Udana has mainly an upward movement. It brings the air up and out in exhalation. It brings our energy up in our strivings in life. It causes our minds and spirits to ascend. It gives us higher values and deeper powers of discrimination. At death, it rises up from the body and directs us towards various subtle worlds according to the power of our will and Karma that move through it. When fully developed, it gives us the power to transcend the outer world, and affords various psychic powers. The practice of yoga is involved mainly with developing Udana, through which the Kundalini arises. Samana (Sam-ana) means the “equalizing air”. “Sama” means balancing Ashtang hruday gives description of Samana Vayu as Samana Vayu is located in Gastrointestinal tract. It is present in the area of the abdomen, where digestion takes place. It is centered in the small intestine It is the nervous force behind the digestive system. Its main function is to ignite the digestive fire and activatae the process of digestion by creating peristalsis in intestinal movements. It also helps in the separation and absorption of digested food and carries excretory wastes to the large intestine. When impaired, it causes a lack of appetite or nervous indigestion. It functions in all organs to aid in absorption and in this regard also works in the lungs to help with the absorption of air. Samana mainly has an equalizing or balancing action and a contracting movement. It balances the higher and lower portions of the body and their respective energies. It balances the inner and the outer and the upper and lower parts of the body in the process of digestion. As it aids in assimilation and increase of energy, it has some ascending action. Vyana (vi-ana) means the “diffusive or pervasive air”. “Vi” is a prefix meaning “apart” or “to separate”. Ashtang hruday gives description of Vyan Vayu as Vyana Vayu is located in the entire body & specifically the Heart Vyana has mainly an outward and expanding movement. Vyan vayu is centered in the heart and distributed throughout the entire body. It governs the circulatory system maintaining the rhythm of the heartbeats, dilatation and constriction of vessels, the movement of the joints and muscles, and the discharge of impulses and secretions within these systems. It performs the function of nerve impulse conduction and is responsible for the perception of touch by means of skin. It is the initiator of all actions and movements everywhere in the body including mental activities. When it is impaired, we suffer from lack of coordination and difficulty in movement, When it is strong, we have good powers of movement and physical articulation. Apana (apa-ana) means the “downward moving air” or the air that moves away Ashtang hruday gives description of Apan Vayu as Apana Vayu is located in the Pelvis, Urinary Tract and the Reproductive system. Apana acts in a downward direction. Apan vayu is the primary vayu present at the main seat of Vata, in the Pakvashaya It governs all downward moving impulses of elimination, urination, menstruation, parturition and sex. It governs the absorption of water, which occurs in the large intestine and gives us the power to take in full nourishment from our food It activataes and mobilizes sperm, enables performance of sexual activities, and is central to ovulation, menstruation and the process of childbirth. It aids in the nourishment of the fetus, and supports the immune system or our ability to eliminate or ward off toxins. Apana supports and controls all the other forms of Vata because it rules the large intestine, Vata’s main site of accumulation. Derangements of Apana are the basis of most Vata disorders. As a downward moving force, when aggravataed, it causes an increase of waste materials and toxins. Its impairment manifests as difficulty or abnormality in these discharges, for example, both constipation and diarrhea. The treatment of Apana is the first consideration in the treatment of Vata. This allows Prana and Udana and the other Vayus (Vatas) to return to their normal functioning by reducing the restraining action of Apana. As Vata disorders are the basis of most diseases and as they usually accompany those of the other two Doshas, we must always consider normalizing Apana in the treatment of any disease. SUMMARY OF THE FIVE PRANAS PRANA has an inward and downward movement. Its site of action is in the head. It governs the INTAKE of energy via food, drink, breath, impressions, emotions, thoughts and consciousness. It resides in the head and moves inward and downwards allowing for the reception of all energy sources. The breath is the key action for Prana. In breathing we not only take in energy from the air, we can also connect with subtler sources of energy through the consciousness. UDANA has an upward movement. Its sites of action are the nose, throat, chest and umblicus. It governs the OUTPUT of energy via our expression through speech, physical effort, emotional enthusiasm and mental judgment. It is responsible for our creative use of energy. It is the ultimate result of nutrition, the positive energy created through it. SAMANA has an inward movement towards the deeper tissues. Its sites are the Gastro-intestinal tract especially the small intestine. It governs the ABSORPTION of energy via the digestive and other systems. VYANA has an outward direction towards the periphery. Its site is the entire body, especially the heart. It governs the CIRCULATION of energy via the circulatory system but also through the breath, senses, emotions, thoughts and consciousness. It transports the absorbed Prana to the places where it can work and express itself. APANA has a downward and outward movement. Its sites are the pelvis, urinary tract and reproductive systems. It governs the ELIMINATION of waste energy via all energy sources. All five Vayus are more complex than their simple physical presentation. Keeping all five Vayus in balance and in proper functioning on all the levels of our being is the key to real health. I hope this video was informative and made the subject clear. Comments and feedback are highly appreciated and you can leave them by visiting the NLAM website at or likewise by writing to me at Thank you for watching. [SUBTITLES CREDIT:NLAM]

12 thoughts on “#EP- 02, What is Vata Dosha Ayurveda, Concept Of Vata and its 5 subtypes-

  1. hey im getting hyperacusis ……can u please help its a ear problem when im sensitive to all sound…any suggestions what i should do

  2. I'm a Vata dosha, and I'm getting depressed…. taking medicine for it… my sleep pattern is out of sync… any advice?

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