Prāṇa is considered the basic vāyu from which the other vāyus arise, as well as one of the five major vāyus. Prāṇā is thus the generic name for all the breaths, including the five major vāyus of prāṇa, apāna, uḍāna, samāna, and vyāna. The Nisvasattvasamhita Nayasutra describes five minor winds, naming three of these as naga, dhanamjaya, and kurma; the other two are named in the Skandapurana (181.46) and Sivapurana Vayaviyasamhita (37.36) as devadatta and krtaka.
In Hindu philosophy including yoga, Indian medicine and Indian martial arts, prana (प्राण, prāṇa; the Sanskrit word for breath, “life force“, or “vital principle”) permeates reality on all levels including inanimate objects. In Hindu literature, prana is sometimes described as originating from the Sun and connecting the elements.
Prana has many levels of meaning, from the physical breath to the energy of consciousness itself. Prana is not only the basic life-force, it is the original creative power. It is the master form of all energy working at every level of our being. Indeed the entire universe is a manifestation of prana. Even kundalini shakti, the serpent power or inner energy which transforms our consciousness, develops from awakened prana.
On a cosmic level there are two aspects of prana. The first is unmanifest, the energy of pure consciousness, which transcends all creation. The second, or manifest prana, is the force of creation itself. The purusha, or higher Self, can be said to be unmanifest prana, the energy of consciousness itself, called devatma, shakti or chiti shakti. From the unmanifest prana of pure awareness comes the manifest prana of creation, through which the entire universe comes into being.
We can say that Prana is the universal sea of energy that infuses and vitalizes all matter. This sea of energy coalesces into sub-atomic particles and atoms, which become the basic building blocks of all matter materialising the physical world. So, every atom, molecule, and cell is an extension of prana, just as waves are extensions of the sea that lies beneath them.