“praaNaaya swaahaa, apaanaaya swaahaa, vyaanaaya swaahaa, udaanaaya swaahaa, samaanaaya swaahaa, brahmaNe swaahaa”
We have three equipments: the Body, Mind, Intellect which is controlled and regulated by the Life, the Spirit. Everyone of us have the five elements. they are: PraaNa, Apaana, Vyaana, Udaana and Samaana; they are contolled by the five Prana Indriyas and the five karma Indriyas. That is why, when we take our food, we offer these respectfully to the five Prana Indriyas, viz: PraaNa to Samaana and also to the Controller of these i.e. Brahma. So, it is lastly offered as “brahmaNe swaaha”. The intention is that when we offer these, they are distributed to the five Karma Indriyas and our system is then well equipped.
When offering food to God or even a brahmin before he starts eating food is supposed to chant with the intention that he is offering the food to the Life energy – the God within him! Such should be the state of mind when the enlightened ones eat the food. They take it just to sustain the life within them !
Also ayurveda considers life to be a union of body, mind and soul. Each of the Pranas must exist in dynamic equilibrium to each other in order to maintain the body’s prakruti, the original balance of the individual body nature which is unique to each of us. A disturbance in any one of these causes imbalance and malfunction, resulting in the manifestation of disease in that particular region where that “PraaNa” functions.
The summary of the functions of the 5 Pranas is given below.
PraaNa(Head): Main life force [breathing]
Udaana(Throat): Supporting glandular functions like thyroid, pineal..etc
Samaana(Stomach and Duodenum): Supporting gastric functions
Vyaana(Heart and Blood vessels): Supporting circulatory functions
Apaana(Semen/Feces/Urine): Supporting elimination
Courtesy: Rediff.com, qna