Article by Dr Raghuram, MD (Ay) and Dr Manasa, BAMS
Vyana Vayu is one among the 5 subtypes of Vata Dosha. This Vayu circulates all through the body and hence is responsible for circulation and distribution of blood, air, nutrients and necessary building blocks needed for the formation and maintenance of tissues from one part of the body to the other.
Read related: 5 types of Vata Dosha
Chief Site of Vyana Vayu
The chief site of Vyana Vata can be said as ‘whole body’. But it needs an operational center from where the Vyana Vayu is distributed all through the body.
The chief operational site of Vayu is Hridaya – Heart (Ashtanga Hridaya). The functions of Vyana Vayu are thus to distribute the blood and nutrients to different parts of the body through blood circulation, initiated in the heart.
The Vyana Vayu is helped by Udana Vata, Avalambaka type of Kapha, located in chest region and Sadhaka type of Pitta, located in heart. .
Areas of circulation
Other Areas of circulation and distribution of Vyana Vayu
Rasavaha Srotas – Channels conveying the nutrients to different parts of the body.
Raktavaha Srotas – channels conveying blood and oxygen to different parts of the body.
Swedavaha Srotas – Channels helping in transporting the sweat and eliminating it from the body.
Artavavaha Srotas – Female genital system including uterus and vagina
Shukravaha Srotas – Channels helping in carrying the semen or reproductive fluid.
Doshavaha Srotas – Channels responsible for transportation of doshas in the body.
Malavaha Srotas – Channels responsible for voiding the metabolic wastes including faeces, urine and sweat.
Ambuvaha Srotas – Channels responsible for transporting water to various parts of the body.
Antaragni or Agni desha – organs of the body related to digestion of food.
Vyana Vayu circulates or travels with great speed – Mahajava. Almost all the activities occurring in the body are under the control of Vyana Vayu.
Vyana Vata functions
Cardiac function – Hridaya Praspandana – The entire circulation process depends on the expansion and contraction of the heart (muscles). The left part of heart receives the oxygenated blood from the lungs when it expands or dilates (diastole). The right part of the heart receives the de-oxygenated or impure blood from different parts of the body at the same time. When the heart contracts (shrinks), the left part of the heart (ventricles) pump the pure or oxygenated blood to the entire body through aorta and its branches (arteries) and the left heart pumps the de-oxygenated blood to the lungs for purification. This rhythmic contraction and relaxation of heart keeps the circulation intact, without interruption throughout the life and keeps the life process going. These activities of the heart are initiated by Vyana Vayu.
Distribution of nutrients – Rasa Dhatu Vikshepa – Distribution of Rasa Dhatu (essential nutrients) to all parts of the body through circulation is one of the chief functions of the Vyana Vayu. This function it conducts through the heart. Rasa dhatu is the first dhatu or tissue formed from digested food in the stomach and intestines. Vyana vata transfers the nutrients into the circulatory system and distributes it to all parts of the body through blood vessels.
Vyana Vayu helps in praspandana – rhythmic contractions and expansion of heart needed to pump the blood consisting of nutrients and oxygen to all parts of the body.
This action is assisted by
Ranjaka Pitta (which causes expansion of blood vessels and pushes the blood ahead),
Udana Vayu (which enables smooth functioning of the chest organs) and
Avalambaka Kapha (which supports the circulatory system by enabling proper balance between input and output, by providing good lubrication of the blood vessels and mainly by enabling the filling of heart without disturbing its emptying).
Other Functions of Vyana Vayu
Flexion and extension – Prasarana-Akunchana of limbs at the bony joints and also of the spine. Thus, Vyana Vayu helps establish and maintain the neuro-muscular conduction and coordination with which the movement of the limbs become easy enabling day-to-day activities to perfection and effortlessly.
Prana Vayu too participates in these functions along with Vyana Vayu.
Utkshepa-Avakshepa – Vyana Vayu enables the utkshepa (elevation) and avakshepa (downward movement) of the limbs.
Movement – Gamana – walking, running, moving around etc activities.
Eye lid movement – Unmesha-Nimesha – opening and closing
Jrumbhana – Yawning
Anna Aswadhana – Vyana Vayu helps in food tasting. Vyana Vayu helps in developing a liking towards food, to taste and appreciate the food so that it can be easily consumed. If the food is not likable and not tasty, the same vyana vayu helps in rejecting the food so that the incompatible food doesn’t enter into our system.
Cleansing channels – Srotoshodhana – to ensure free flow of channel contents. With this the body cells and organs are nourished on regular basis and helps in maintenance of health.
Sweating – Sweda Sraavana – Sweat is one of the malas i.e. metabolic wastes, which need to be eliminated on regular basis so as to keep the body pure. Sweda is also excreta of meda dhatu or fat tissue. Proper sweating indicates proper fat metabolism.
Asruk Sravana (Ashtanga Sangraha) – Blood circulation is also the function of Vyana Vayu.
Yonau Cha Shukra Pratipadana – Vyana Vayu enables shukra (seminal fluid, reproductive fluid) to reach into the Yoni (uterus, vaginal canal) and stay there until it gets fertilized. Thus, Vyana Vayu helps in entry of semen into the female genital tract post coitus and enables easy fertilization and implantation. Vyana Vayu would need the assistance from Apana Vayu in this function.
Vibhajya Cha Annasya Kittat – Vyana Vayu helps in differentiating and segregating the metabolic wastes from the digested food. This function is helped by Samana Vayu and Pachaka Pitta. This kitta or waste substance will further be thrown out with the help of Apana Vayu.
Saram Tena Kramasho Dhatoon Tarpayati – Vyana Vayu helps in transporting ahara rasa – nutrition rich part of food to the tissues.
The tissues thus nourished by this ahara rasa will be enriched with good qualities. One will have optimum quality and quantity of tissues which form the basis for strength and immunity.
To sum up –
Movements of the body, muscles and muscular coordination– Vyana Vayu helps in coordinating various movements and establishing neuromuscular conductivity and helps in achieving various movements at the level of skeletal muscles and joints. This helps in easy locomotion and in conducting various day-to-day activities effortlessly since all our life activities depends on the movements of muscles. Thus, it can be said that the contraction and relaxation of muscles are coordinated and monitored by Vyana Vayu.
Circulatory Functions of Vyana Vayu – Vyana Vayu chiefly being located in the hridaya or heart helps in causing the heart beats, contraction and relaxation of heart which enables easy pumping of blood, nutrients and oxygen to various parts of the body. Thus, Vyana Vayu helps in the circulation of Rasa and Rakta.
Distributive and conveyance Functions of Vyana Vayu – Being located and travelling in the rasavaha, raktavaha, doshavaha, swedavaha and udakavaha srotas respectively, Vyana Vayu is responsible for holding and distributing the rasa, rakta, doshas, sweda and udaka (water) to all parts of the body or to the target tissues and organs. Similarly, Vyana Vayu helps in conveying the Shukra dhatu (semen) into the garbhashaya or yoni (female genital tract) enabling fertilization, implantation and conception.
Digestion and excretory related functions of Vyana Vayu – Vyana Vayu helps in appreciating food and taking it. After the digestion of food, Vyana Vayu helps in discriminating and differentiating the wanted and unwanted fragments of the ahara rasa (digested food). It prepares the wastes of the food for elimination. At the same time, Vyana Vayu helps in transporting the essence of digestion i.e. ahara rasa to the tissues, thereby nourishing and fortifying them.
Vitiated Vyana Vata
Effect of Vikrita (vitiated) Vyana Vata
Diseases caused due to vitiation of Vyana Vayu
When Vyana Vayu gets vitiated it causes generalized diseases pertaining to the entire body like Jwara (fever) etc.
Seeing the widespread nature of Vyana Vayu and also its functions, various diseases coming in the territory of disturbed vyana vata can be inferred. The same functions which are brought about by Vyana Vayu when it is in a state of balance are brought to dys-rhythm when the Vyana Vata gets imbalanced or vitiated, thus causing diseases pertaining to those functions or organs and parts of the body wherein these activities take place.
- Circulatory disturbances, rhythm disorders of the heart
- Loss of mobility or reduction of free movements at the bony joints (mobility disorders), Joint disorders
- Loss of taste sensation, anorexia,
- Improper formation of stools
- Block of different channels and pores of the body
- Loss of perspiration
- Nutritional imbalances or inadequate nutrition
- Loss or deficit movements of the eyelids
- Disorders of locomotion, Gait disorders.