Vayu is the first emanation to evolve from within Akasha. In English, Akasha is often translated as Ether, Space, Sky or Atmosphere, though this may not be quite accurate. Akasha is the subtle, omnipresent, spiritual substance mode within that space. It coalesces into the Body aspect of Mulaprakriti, equivalent to Binah as the embodiment mode of AIN SUPh AUR in Qabalistic doctrine. Compare the names given these different modes in three traditions below:
Apologies; unfortunately, the table below does not format well on iPhone or smart phones. I must refer the reader to observe its proper arrangement from a desktop computer.
Qabalah Alchemy Hinduism Physical Sciences
AIN No-Thing Praylaya
AIN SUPh Boundless Brahmah
AIN SUPh AUR First Matter Mulaprakriti
Kether Mercury Perusha Dark Sentience (?)
Chokmah Sulphur Prana Dark Energy
Binah Salt Akasha Dark Matter
Air Hot/Moist Vayu Atmosphere
Fire Hot/Dry Tejas Radiant Energy
Water Cold/Moist Apas Liquids
Earth Cold/Dry Prithivi Elements
Binah, Salt, and Akasha have also been called Quintessence or Spirit, which is sometimes considered the fifth element containing four sub-elements. If Akasha is the first embodiment of Mulaprakriti (the First Matter) then the first quality within Akasha would be motion. Animation is the first distinction in pure space, and Vayu is this motion. Modern science has long recognized that the primal motion within inanimate matter, or within any body, would need to be a whirling, rotary motion that develops into spiral winding. This is evident in the behavior of atoms and molecules. So the property of Vayu Tattva is movement, locomotion. Long before the physical sciences deduced all this mathematically, Rama Prasad repeated ancient Hindu doctrines in Nature's Finer Forces:
"Vayu is a form of motion itself, for motion in all directions is motion in a circle, large or small. The Vayu Tattva has itself the form of spherical motion. When to the motion which keeps up the form of the different ethers is added the stereotyped motion of the Vayu, locomotion is the result."
Thus the symbol of Vayu Tattva is a blue circle in two dimensional representations, and appears spherical in three dimensions. Equivalent to elemental Air of western traditions, it evolves the subtle principle of touch in the evolutionary order of the senses. Atmosphere, temperature, and changes in pressure were first 'felt' by consciousness that evolved sufficiently to maneuver. Much later, the terrain of ocean floors was 'felt' by evolving organisms that began modifying structural changes in their bodies for locomotion. Consciousness builds and adapts physical vehicles, in whatever environment, by means of the four lower derivatives of Akasha: Vayu, Tejas, Apas and Prithivi (i.e., air, light, water and food). Change any of these four conditions radically and eventually consciousness will adapt bodies to conform to the new conditions. Consciousness may inhabit any environment it must to evolve into its fullest potential. The fullest aptitude is absolute freedom of expression for pure consciousness in physical form. The four sub-tattvas or sub-elements of Prima Materia are not separate from that matter, but qualities within it. We are splitting intellectual hairs to argue the difference between atmosphere and air. What is to be gleaned, metaphysically, is that air is understood as the primal movement within atmospheric substance. The blue hue of Vayu was chosen to represent the color of the atmosphere surrounding our planet. Viewed from outer space the bluish-ness extends into the envelope of black space (Akasha). It is the aura of the living consciousness of our planet, itself a living body. Our auras, the egg-like electro-magnetic energy field radiating about our bodies, are exactly the same proportionally. See TATTVAS, AKASHA, TEJAS TATTVA, APAS TATTVA and PRITHIVI TATTVA for reference.