Discover the Prana Vayus with Patricia
Posted by Katie Brown, 21-Feb-2022
We sat down with Patricia Wigley to chat about this upcoming IYTA workshop. Patricia is the Vice President of the Australasian Association of Yoga Therapists and an Ayurvedic Consultant. She is also a past president of the IYTA.
The prana vayus are the five pranas (prana vayu, apana vayu, samana vayu, udana vayu and vyana vayu), that govern the body. Together they form the pranamaya (also known as pranamaya kosha). It is the breath itself, as well as energy, vitality, or life force.
In this two-hour workshop you will discover how to balance these five movement/prana flows to create a heightened function of the physiological systems of the body and the more subtle levels of mind and awareness.
Patricia says: “It is so important that we move prana or heighten the movement of prana in a soft and flowing way – think Sthiram and Sukham of the Yoga Sutras (steadiness and ease) – so we are moving without effort.”
She adds: “Prana is central in the teachings of Yoga and so in this session we will be visiting how we can work with all our Yogic tools to support the soft flow and intelligence of Prana through our body/mind. How we work with our awareness and the breath is key.”
This online workshop is a combination of theory and practical and Patricia will be guiding participants through yoga flows with the breath incorporating the Ayurvedic elements, chakras and mantras as you experience the movement of the Prana Vayus through the physical body.
It’s something that, as yoga teachers, we tend to incorporate naturally, but, as Patricia says: “It can be beneficial to revisit what we already know and look at it as if it is new. Imagine this is the first time in the pose/practice. Notice what sensations you are aware of, what is happening with the breath and prana.”
For example, in Tadasana if you come up to the toes in a balance and raise both arms in the Breath of Life, then you stimulate the prana in the upper body and the udana flow (upward flow from the throat to the head connection between the brain and the body).
Then with the exhalation as you lower, you are balancing the apana vayu and that important connection with the lower abdomen and apana – helping the body let go of waste. So the inhale is energising and lightening and the exhale releasing letting go.
Patricia says: “The breath is the the tool by which we know that we are working in a way that is beneficial to the body. So if the breath becomes jerky or strained then we are creating the stress response and not balancing the important response of the Parasympathetic Nervous System.”
During the pandemic, Patricia has been teaching most of her classes online. She says: “I don’t mind online, I do prefer face to face for the immediate feedback that you don’t get on camera, but online classes are very convenient, a lot of my students have been coming a while, so they are comfortable within the poses and I think they are happy don’t have to sit in traffic to get to the class!”