Five root winds

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The five root winds (Tib.རྩ་བ་རླུང་ལྔ, tsawa lung nga, Wyl. rtsa ba rlung lnga) or five major winds (Tib. རླུང་ཆེན་ལྔ་, lung chen nga, Wyl. rlung chen lnga) are part of the our subtle psycho-physical system. Each of the root winds supports an element and is responsible for a function of the human body. They are:

  1. The 'life-supporting wind' (Skt. prāṇa; Tib. སྲོག་འཛིན་རླུང་, sok dzin lung, Wyl. srog 'dzin rlung). Located in the brain, this lung regulates functions such as swallowing, inhalation, and concentration.
  2. The 'upward-moving wind' (Skt. udāna; Tib. གྱེན་རྒྱུ་རླུང་, gyengyu lung, Wyl. gyen rgyu rlung). Located in the chest and thorax, this lung regulates, among other things, speech, the body's energy and vitality, memory, mental endeavour and diligence.
  3. The 'all-pervading wind' (Skt. vyāna; Tib. ཁྱབ་བྱེད་རླུང་, khyap ché lung, Wyl. khyab byed rlung). Residing in the heart, this lung controls all the motor activities of the body.
  4. The 'fire-accompanying wind' (Skt. samāna; Tib. མེ་མཉམ་གནས་རླུང་, me nyam né lung, Wyl. me mnyam gnas rlung). Found in the stomach and abdomen area, the fire-accompanying wind regulates digestion and metabolism.
  5. The 'downward-clearing wind' (Skt. apāna; Tib. ཐུར་སེལ་རླུང་, thursel lung, Wyl. thur sel rlung). Located in the rectum, bowels and perineal region, this lung's function is to expel faeces, urine, semen, and menstrual blood. It also regulates uterine contractions during labour (to allow the foetus to be 'expelled')[1].

The Tantra of Caṇḍa­mahā­roṣaṇa says:

“Prāṇa is in the heart, apāna in the anus,
Samāna in the navel area,
Udāna in the area of the throat,
And vyāna in the entire body.


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