Article by Dr Raghuram, MD (Ay) and Dr Manasa, BAMS
Samana Vata is one among the 5 types of Vayu Dosha, located in the proximity of digestive fire – agni, in the gut (stomach, intestines). It aids in digestion and absorption of food in association with pachaka pitta or jathara agni.
Related reading –Sub Types Of Vata Dosha: Importance, Salient Features
Chief Site of Samana Vay
It is near the Agni – metabolic fire. This fires is involved in the process of digestion and diviion of food into usable and waste components, helps in absorption and distribution of the essence of food (ahara rasa), after the digestion of food.
The jathara agni is represented in the body in the form of Pachaka Pitta, one of the sub-types of pitta.
Samana Vayu being located in the proximity of this agni, kindles the fire and keeps it in a state of balance.
Samana is just like giving air to the fire and aiding combustion in good quantity and quality. In the absence of Samana Vayu, it would not be possible for Pachaka Pitta alone to carry on the digestion and metabolic process comprehensively, to its fullest extent.
According to various explanations, agni – the primary metabolic fire is said to be located in amashaya. Amashaya grossly means stomach and upper intestines.
Grahani – duodenum is said to be the seat of fire. Much of the digestion process takes place in the stomach and duodenum. Therefore we can consider these two organs as the primary seat of Samana Vayu. Apart from this there is an organ named Agnyashaya which is said to be an abode of agni, this organ is often compared to the Pancreas.
In general, the digestion zone (apparatus) and the physiology of digestion are the areas of operation of Samana Vayu.
Other Areas of circulation and distribution of Samana Vayu
Apart from the place of agni, the Samana Vata also circulates and operates at the level of below mentioned structures of the body –
- Swedavaha Srotas – Channels conveying the sweat in the body (Charaka)
- Dosha Vaha Srotas – Channels conducting the doshas from one part of the body to the other (Charaka and Vagbhata)
- Udakavaha Srotas – Channels in the body carrying the water in the body, to different corners (Charaka)
- Malavaha Srotas – Channels transporting faeces and urine for excretion (Vagbhata)
- Shukravaha Srotas – Channels and ducts transporting reproductive fluid (Vagbhata)
- Aartavavaha Srotas – Channels of the body carrying artava – menstrual fluid and ovum (Vagbhata)
- Pakwashaya – Large intestine (Vagbhata)
- Koshta – the space in the body which lodges the visceral organs (Vagbhata)
- Nabhi – Navel (Nabhi is one of the pitta sthanas, thus a site of agni)
This shows that Samana Vayu is not only located in the stomach and small intestines but also traverses widely in many channels and conducting systems of the body as mentioned above. Doshavaha, Udakavaha and Swedavaha Srotas are widely spread in all the parts of the body. Therefore, Samana Vayu too can be considered to be located in the whole body while being controlled from the stomach.
Each cell and tissue (dhatu) has its own agni, this also means that there should be a component of Samana Vayu in the proximity of these small fire components.
Its functions, just like Vyana Vayu are spread out at various parts of the body, including the lower parts of the body wherein being in Pakwashaya, Shukravaha Srotas and Aartavavaha Srotas this subtype of Vayu helps in holding the mala, artava and shukra until the excretion of feces and urine, expulsion of menstrual blood and ejaculation of semen takes place with the help of Apana Vayu and Sweda or sweat is eliminated with the help of Vyana Vayu.
Main functions of Samana Vayu
Annam Grihnati (Anna Dharana- Vagbhata) – Samana Vayu being located in the stomach permits the entry of the food. Therefore the reception of the food (without rejection) is the job of Samana Vayu. In its work, it is aided by Prana Vayu and Udana Vayu. Not only receiving the food, Samana Vayu also helps in retention of the food in the stomach until it is digested. If this job is not accomplished, the food is propelled from the stomach into the lower intestines without getting digested and this leads to the manifestation of many disorders due to sluggish digestion.
Annam Pachati – Samana Vayu is located nearby digestive fire. The fire (pitta) and Samana Vayu are always interrelated elements and always work in coordination with each other. Samana Vayu helps in the digestion of food. For the proper digestion to take place in the stomach and intestines, the coordination of Samana Vayu with the local doshas should be at its best. The other local doshas which team up with Samana Vayu to digest the food properly are Pachaka Pitta (Pitta located in the stomach and intestine) and Kledaka Kapha (Kapha located in the stomach).
Annam Vivechayati – Sorts out and bifurcates the food into different components i.e. digestible (sara bhaga), indigestible and excretory (kitta bhaga). This segregation of food as wanted and unwanted is a basic internal intelligence of the gut provided by the normal Samana Vayu. If this basic inbuilt intelligence weren’t present, the body would have excreted everything we consume or hold everything (including the waste and unwanted foods). \
This would harm the body in many ways. After anna vivechana – bifurcation of food, following its reception and digestion, samana vayu prepares the wanted and digestible food to get absorbed, in fact helps in its absorption and puts it into circulation so that it is uniformly distributed to all the cells and organs of the body through the heart, with the help of Vyana Vayu. At the same time, it judiciously prepares the unwanted and indigestible components, waste products of the metabolism to get excreted from the body. It makes bifurcation of kitta bhaga – waste components of digestion into mala or pureesha (stools, feces), mutra (urine) and sweda (sweat).
Annam Munchati (Kitta Adho Nayana – Vagbhata) – Samana Vayu helps in pushing the unwanted part of food i.e. kitta bhaga (excretory wastes) in downward direction, towards the large intestine so that they be excreted with the help of Apana Vayu located in the colon and anal region. While Apana Vayu is the main Vata subtype which helps in excreting the excreta, Samana Vayu helps in preparing the waste and holding it until it is expelled.
Other Functions of Samana Vayu
Agni Bala Pradaha (Agni Sandhukshana – Vagbhata) – Just like the air kindles the fire; Samana Vayu (being the form of air) kindles the agni (fire in the body). Samana Vayu provides strength and supports the digestive fire and helps keep the metabolism intact and good. This will kindle all the sub-fires in the tissues (dhatu agnis) and elemental fires (bhutagnis) which will form the foundation for a comprehensive health. If the fire is intact, good and strong, it will digest the food properly and convert it into nutrition. The body will be nourished, rejuvenated and replenished. On the other hand, if the agni gets weak the body will lose its immunity, strength and endurance. Absence or depleted agni reflects absence of heat in the body. Absence of heat is also a sign of death.
Dosha Dharana – Since Samana Vayu travels in and works in Dosha Vaha Srotas (Charaka and Vagbhata) this subtype of Vayu helps in holding and carrying (movement of) doshas in the channels of the body.
Mala Dharana – Samana Vayu helps in forming the waste substances of the ahara and pushes the metabolic wastes into the intestines (colon). It forms the urine and pushes it towards the urinary bladder for excretion. Samana Vayu forms the sweat and sends it to the periphery (skin) for elimination. It holds the mala or excreta until they are excreted from the body with the help of Apana Vayu. Samana Vayu thus helps in excretion of feces, urine and sweat from the body. This happens owing to the anna vivechana property or action of Samana Vayu which happens in the gut. Samana Vayu bifurcates sara and kitta bhagas from the digested food.
From the kitta bhaga or metabolic wastes, Samana Vayu further bifurcates the pureesha (feces), mutra (urine) and sweda (sweat) and pushes them and holds them (keeps them ready) for elimination from the body. Thus, Samana Vayu helps in detoxifying the body on regular basis and keeps the body healthy.
Shukra Dharana – Samana Vayu being located in and moving in Shukravaha srotas, as already mentioned, will help in holding on the shukra or semen ready until it is ejaculated with the involvement and help of Apana Vayu (vata subtype located and controlling the lower part of the body)
Artava Dharana – Samana Vayu is also located in the Artavavaha Srotas. It keeps the artava i.e. menstrual blood ready and holds it until it is eliminated with the help of Apana Vayu. (Artava also means the ovum, thus arthava dharana also means holding the artava or ovum until it is released during ovulation).
To sum up –
The description of Samana Vayu and its functions shows that this subtype of Vayu has three platforms of functions.
Metabolic Functions of Samana Vayu – Samana Vayu serves metabolic functions being seated in its prime site i.e. stomach, navel and intestines. It takes part in bifurcating the digested food into wanted and unwanted portions, bifurcates the wastes into sweda (sweat), mutra (urine) and pureesha (feces).
Distributive Functions of Samana Vayu – Samana holds and distributes doshas, sweda and jala by being located in doshavaha srotas, swedavaha srotas and udakavaha srotas respectively.
Excretory and Eliminatory Functions of Samana Vayu – Being located in Pakwashaya or colon, Samana Vayu helps in holding the feces and preparing it for elimination. Similarly being located in Shukravaha and Artavavaha Srotas, Samana Vayu helps in preparing the shukra and artava for elimination from their sites respectively.
Diseases caused due to vitiation of Samana Vayu
गुल्म अग्नि साद अतीसार प्रभृतीन् कुरुते गदान्।(सु.नि.१)
When Samana Vayu gets vitiated it causes diseases like Gulma (abdominal tumors), Agni Saada (deterioration of digestive fire, sluggish metabolism and digestion, indigestion, anorexia), Atisara (diarrhea) and many more dreadful diseases.
Seeing the sites of Samana Vayu the other diseases which are manifested due to vitiation of Samana Vayu can be inferred. They include
ati sweda (excessive perspiration),
asweda (lack of perspiration),
shukra kshaya (low semen quantity, oligospermia),
artava kshaya (oligomenorrhea) etc.
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