The belly is considered a major reservoir of energy in yoga. If you have been following along in our Yoga for a Happy Belly Series, you will already have felt the effects of a strong, flexible belly. In yoga, the energies of the body are called the Prana Vayus, or energy winds. Most prana vayus can be found to originate or end in the belly. There are two prana vayus that reside exclusively in the belly – Samana and Apana.
The Hara Center leaves us feeling invigorated and invincible. That’s because by activating your Hara, you are circulating your samana prana – the energy of digestion, extraction and digestion of your food nutrients, the world around you, ideas and inspiration. By keeping our samana prana strong, we have good physical digestion, but are also able to feed and nurture the rest of our self. You can revisit the Samana Pranayama or the Hara Center posts to connect with this prana vayu.
While it is important to digest, it is also important to eliminate waste. The waste of our food, but also of emotions, thoughts, etc. This is where Apana prana comes in. This energy makes us feel grounded, clear and also relaxed as practices that cultivate apana also trigger the parasympathetic (rest and digest) nervous system. Try the following brief practice to cultivate your apana prana…
Practice for Apana Vayu:
Dirgha Pranayama with spinal awareness. See you if you can feel the movement of your breath along your spine. 20 breaths seated, then integrate this breath into the following postures. Take at least 10 breaths with each pose.
And, as always, Savasana for as long as you like. Maintain relaxed awareness, noticing the Samana and Apana energies in your body.