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Vyana Vayu: Keeping it all Together
5 March 2016

Vyana Vayu: Keeping it all Together
5 March 2016

Vyana Vayu: Keeping it all Together

We arrive at the fourth of the 5 Prana Vayus. If you are following this blog series, you might take a quick read of the first 3 on our blog. If you are not interested, please feel free to skip ahead to our list of events and announcements.

Overall,
Vyanu Vayu is the force that holds all of the parts of the body together and resists disintegration. While not associated particularly with either inhale or exhale, its mundane function has to do with proprioception, or our awareness of where we are in the body, and where the body is in space. Vyanu Vayu describes how the body balances and maintains itself through the central nervous system, and it is also strongly associated with fascia, or the connective tissue that literally holds the body together. It is Vyanu Vayu that gives us a sense of the body, how we are held together, integrated, and coordinated as a unified whole. As a "force", Vyanu Vayu resists falling apart, both physically and in different emotional aspects of the body. Beyond that, Vyanu Vayu gives us the more subtle experience of being that dissolves the boundaries between individual consciousness and all pervasive consciousness. All of the other Vayus play a function in producing this experience of Vyanu Vayu, and at the same time, these Vayus depend on the original presence of Vyana for their function: In this self-sustaining loop of life, Vyana acts as a kind of binding of body and soul, through nourishment of body and heart. Yet, paradoxically it's the presence of Vyanu Vayu there to begin with that allows the whole process to take place. When Vyanu begins to break down—often a failure of one of the other vayus, like the ability to digest your food, or to derive nourishment (Samana Vayu)—health begins to fail. At the time of death, all the vayus involute and the vital functions of the mind and senses withdraw into Vyanu Vayu, and Uddana Vayu becomes the vehicle by which the Pranas leave the body. This consolidation of the Prana Vayus at the moment of death explains how the soul is carried out of the body to be reincarnated for another life. For those of us who don't believe in reincarnation, this also describes the process of meditation. All the energies of the Prana Vayus become consolidated in a clear, central experience that takes you inside and toward the essence of life, toward the soul itself. It is here, through the experience of Vyanu Vayu, that we have those momentary experiences of all-pervasiveness, of oneness with everything. While living in the body, it's the process of meditation that gives you the experience of your consciousness as pervading not just the body, but as being all-pervasive. This experience of meditation is how we begin to move from the ordinary experience of the embodied self, to the more exalted experience of our boundless connection with each other and the world around us.

So, you can certainly experience
Vyanu Vayu through the process of meditation. You can also experience it through a broad range of asanas. While Vyanu Vayu permeates the entire body, regulating balance and moving outward from the core to the periphery, vyana is particularly active in the limbs, making standing poses a clear vehicle through which to "feel" Vyanu Vayu. Standing poses allow us to connect the various movements of the arms and legs with core strength, which is a key tool for developing focus, mental clarity, and expansion of consciousness. Practiced with skill, standing poses help us cultivate grace and sensitivity, countering feelings of weakness and the discombobulation associated with anxiety and alienation.

Next time you are practicing standing poses, spend some time becoming aware of the network of connection that radiates from the core out through the limbs, anchoring the strong sense of being in your body, on your mat, in the space you inhabit. See if you can "feel" this all the way to your outermost layer, your skin. In Savasana, observe how perhaps your sense of your own boundaries then dissolve as you let go into deep relaxation.

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ACCOMMODATIONS:

The building itself was renovated to be energy efficient, and the room is moderately heated in cooler seasons to promote a good, healthy sweat, but not heated to an excessive or wasteful degree. There are cubbies in our large office to store your personal belongings, a spacious changing room, a comfy sofa and a water cooler (please bring a water bottle to fill, to cut down on paper cup usage). Two nice, clean bathrooms are located just down the hall. There are also cubbies in the studio itself for valuables, which students are welcome to use. We have a full lending library of yoga books, and encourage students to borrow freely. Gift certificates are available for purchase in any amount.

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GUIDELINES FOR PRACTICE

Please do not wear perfume or any strong scent

People with allergies can be very sensitive to scent. Also, lots of people sweating in a closed space is less stinky than lots of people all wearing different brands of perfume or deodorant.

Wear comfortable clothing

Not so tight it binds, not so loose it gets in your way. And please do not wear clothes that “gap” and are inappropriately revealing.

Practice on an empty stomach

If possible, don’t eat at least three hours before practice. If you know that this isn’t possible for you, eat easily digested food one hour before class.

No food or outside beverages inside the studio

If necessary, bottled water is okay, but remember we are trying to generate internal heat; constant sipping cools the body. After practice, drink plenty of pure water.

Bring your own mat

Shared mats are not hygienic; you may borrow one from us if one is available, until you are able to purchase your own, but please clean it afterward with the mat wipes provided. Please understand mats may be borrowed on a first come basis….we have only a few to borrow, and do occasionally run out of them.

Keep your eyes on your own practice

The practice is richer when it happens from the inside out. It’s not about comparing yourself with the person next to you. Be present with your own experience.

Be kind and loving to yourself

Rest when you need to. Honor where you are in your practice. Use the energy of those around to inspire, not diminish, you. Remember: you are perfect just as you are now, and yoga is meant to enhance that understanding and let that perfection shine. Have fun!

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Newcomers! 3 for $30

If you are new to Upper Valley Yoga, you can purchase a 3-class pass for $30! (For our first-time guests only, package expires 15 days after purchase)

Single Class, $16

Drop in to any regular weekly class

Single Class, Student or Senior* Rate, $13

*Full time high school and college students, Seniors 60+

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Expires after one year

10-Class Pass, Student or Senior* Rate, $120

Expires after one year

*Full time high school and college students, Seniors 60+

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Expires after 6 months

5-Class Pass, Student or Senior* Rate, $63

Expires after 6 months.

*Full time high school and college students, Seniors 60+

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Monthly, Auto-Renew with credit card, $99/mo

Unlimited yoga. 6-month commitment is required; early cancellation fee of $50 applies if the auto renew is canceled before 6 months. This is the best value if you plan to attend at least 2 classes per week.

One month, unlimited, $140

Unlimited yoga with no commitment required.

One month, Student or Senior* rate, $120

Unlimited yoga with no commitment required.

*Full time high school and college students, Seniors 60+

3-Month Unlimited, $360

Unlimited yoga, 3 months

If you don’t yet have a mat, borrow one from us and please clean it afterward with the mat wipes.

We have a limited, need-based scholarship fund available for those who are struggling to pay for classes; please email or call us to inquire. We also gratefully accept donations for that fund in any amount. In addition, there are occasional work/study opportunities. If you are interested in being on the work/study list, please let us know!

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