The word Prana is derived from the Sanskrit root, ‘An’ with a prefix ‘Pra’, means to breathe, to live. Therefore, the Prana Vata is responsible for all vital functions like respiration, heartrate and other vegetative functions, which are essential for human existence. The definition ‘Pranayatiti Pranah’ also indicates the relationship of Prana Vata with the respiratory act.
Location of Prana Vata:
According to Acharya Charaka and Vagbhata the Prana Vata is located in the head and is stated to transverse in the regions of oral cavity, nose, neck and chest for the proper control and discharge of its functions. Sharngadhara mentions two places as deal of Prana Vata – Hridaya and Nabhi.
Function of Prana Vata:
Prana Vata conducts both sensory and motor functions. The following are the functions of Prana Vata. Prana Vata maintains the functions of the sense organs by way of regulation of sensory input and consciousness i.e. initiation and maintenance of wakefulness. Therefore, Prana Vata is concerned with the arousal of the entire organism, alerting the person maintaining attention. Prana Vata maintains vasomotor functions as Dharana of Hridaya, Mana, Buddhi, Indriya and Dhanami.
Prana Vata therefore assists the different vitalizing principles of the body in discharging their functions in life and contributes to the general sustenance as respiration, sneezing, deglutition, spitting and belching.