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Upavayu – Subordinate Airs in Human Body

As per Yoga and Samkhya there are five upavayu, or subordinate airs, in the human body. Vayu means air. The five upavayus are naga, korma, krikara or krukala, davadatta and dhananjaya. They are located in bones, skin, face, throat etc.

The functions of Upavayu are mentioned in Trishikhibrahmana Upanishad (86-87); Yoga Yajnavalkya (Chapter IV 64-72) and in Vedantasara.

Functions of Upavayu

Naga Vayu – responsible for vomiting, spitting and emitting.

Korma Vayu – Winking, opening and closure of the eyelids.

Krikara or Krukala Vayu – responsible for sneezing.

Devadatta – responsible for yawning and sleep.

Dhananjaya – keeps tissues, skin and body parts in good condition and good appearance. This Vayu keeps the face fresh for a while, even after one’s demise.

Concept of Prana or Vital Air in Hinduism

As per Hindu scriptures, the life activity of a human being us derived from prana (vital air).

The functions of a living organism depends on the vital air or prana (Yoga Vasishta V.78. 10-12).

Ten different vital airs are at work in the human body. They take care of important body functions like digestion of food, circulation of blood, working of the mind, breathing etc.

All vital airs are all forms of one single basic entity called prana.

They are divided into two groups Pancha Pranas and Upavayu.

Pancha Prana flow along nadis and take care of vital and important functions in the body.

The Pancha Pranas are Prana, Apana, Vyana, Udana and Samana.

Source – some notes taken from Encyclopedia of Hinduism Volume XI page 56.