Plane of elimination
While prana is the air that takes in energy from outside the system through the lungs and aids in conveying food energy to the stomach, apana serves the opposite function. Apana literally means downwards, and this is the air responsible for the elimination of energy from the body. It resides in the lower intestines; it expels the child from the womb and causes downward discharges of energy. Apana is the air responsible for urination, defecation, and ejaculation.
The importance of apana is poorly understood in the West. The presence of intestinal gases is acknowledged, but they are not even listed in a separate category or class. Scores of patent remedies are available for conditions brought on by disturbances of apana, but there is no understanding of their cause.
According to Indian medical science, apana is a great friend who aids in the cleansing of the system. The digestive process releases gases trapped in foods through the chemical interaction of the foods and digestive juices in the intestines. These gases are produced in greater quantity when the food is improperly digested, or when the circulation of juices has been disturbed (raw foods produce more gas, as do nuts and seeds). When, for whatever reason, the gases are disturbed, they start moving upward instead of down. This unbalances the chemical system of the organism. If the gases approach the heart they may produce high blood pressure, heart palpitations, and a heart attack. If they are driven still higher, disorders of the respiratory tract ensue. If the gases reach the head, schizophrenia results.
When prana, which is charged with positive ions, is made to function with apana and forced to enter through the central canal into the spinal column, a great fusion takes place between the positive ions of prana and the negative ions of apana. This generates a great amount of energy, which helps the ascent of the dormant energy at the base of the spine, called kundalini. (Kundalini is the immobile support of all the activities in the body. It is the energy that is present, in static or kinetic form, in all manifested phenomena. This is the energy used by the organism for its survival.)
By practice of the locks prescribed in yoga, apana is drawn upward. When it reaches the region of the navel it increases the gastric fire. Then apana combined with the fire of the third chakra pierces through the fourth chakra and mixes with prana. Prana is hot by nature. This causes a further increase in heat, and both airs rise upward, creating a vacuum. The scriptures say it is through this extreme heat, caused by fusion of prana with apana, that kundalini is awakened and enters into the central canal as a serpent enters its hole. This mixing of prana and apana rejuvenates the yogi, and he becomes a young man of sixteen, full of vitality, stamina, and power.
So on this square the player becomes aware of the importance of apana in his life and learns to keep the airs of his body harmonized through proper diet and other practices.