NADIS: The Vast Network of Energy Channels
-“Kabir, where is God?” a student asked the great Indian poet Kabir.
-“He is the breath within the breath.” responded Kabir.
Even if you went to a single yoga class you most probably heard about prana that also is called a life force energy. Prana needs to flow freely otherwise it can lead to poor mental and physical health. The prana is circulated through the nadies.
Nāḍī (Sanskrit: नाडी), can be explained as a network of channels through which energy travels through the body. There are three principal nadis run from the base of the spine to the head and are the ida on the left, the sushumna in the center, and the pingala on the right.
Ida Nadi: The Passive Channel
Ida nadi means “comfort energy channel.” It is associated with the energy of the moon, represents the feminine aspect of our personality, considered tamasic (inert) in nature and white color is used to represent the subtle vibrational quality of it.
Ida Nadi begins at a subtle level in muladhara chakra, goes along the back on the left side of the spine, and intersects with pingala nadi in ajna chakra (the coordinator of polarity in the being).
Ida controls the function of the parasympathetic nervous system which is known for calming the mind and body because it is related to emotions, feelings, and memories.
When Ida Nadi becomes too strong or dominant, we can feel tiredness, depression, introversion, and an inability to see things with a clear perspective.
Pingala Nadi—The Active Channel
Pingala nadi (also known as surya nadi) is the “tawny energy channel.” It is associated with the energy of the sun and considered rajasic (dynamic) in nature, represents the masculine aspect (yang energy channel) of our personality, and red color is used to represent the vibrational quality of it.
Pingala nadi begins at a subtle level in muladhara chakra, then it goes along the back on the right side of the spine until it intersects with ida in ajna.
Pingala nadi controls the sympathetic nervous system and stimulates activities and planning of body and mind. Pingala nadi is responsible for the logical, rational and analytical intellect.
When Pingala is overused, we start facing several problems such as sleeping disorder, difficulties in concentrating, we become anxious, irritable, and impulsive.
Ida & Pingala
“The Ida and Pingala represent the basic duality in the existence. It is this duality which we traditionally personify as Shiva and Shakti. Or you can simply call it masculine and feminine, or it can be the logical and the intuitive aspect of you. It is based on this that life is created. Without these two dualities, life wouldn’t exist as it does right now. In the beginning, everything is primordial, there is no duality. But once creation happens, there is duality.” Sadhguru
Shamanic healer & mystic Anahata Menononce once said “It is the interaction between these two distinct yet complementary energy channels that controls our mental processes, intuition and the activity that takes place between the left and right hemisphere of our brain. The sacred union between the male (solar or day) and female (lunar or night) aspects of our spiritual nature forms the basis of most evolutionary esoteric paths.”
Sushumna Nadi—The Central Channel
Sushumna nadi, the “most gracious energy channel,” is the neutral energy channel that passes through the spine in the subtle body and brings it to a perfect balance. It is associated with the Fire element (tejas tattva) and it is considered sattvic (harmonious) in nature. It is also called Brahmanadi, or the channel of the Absolute (Brahman). Some refer to it as the saraswati (wisdom) or shanti (peace) nadi.
It begins in muladhara chakra and goes along the middle of the subtle spine to brahmarandhra at the crown of the head.
Sushumna balancing Sun (pingala) and Moon (ida), awakens the higher consciousness.
When energy flows predominantly through sushumna for long periods of time, we become “dead to the world,” and enter into samadhi.
You can be reasonably balanced, but outside factors can disturb that balance as that is the nature of Ida and Pingala. It is reactive to what is outside. But once the energies enter into Sushumna, you attain to a new kind of balance, an inner balance where whatever happens outside, there is a certain space within you which never gets disturbed, which is never in any kind of turmoil, which cannot be touched by the outside situations. Only if you create this stable situation within yourself, you will dare to scale the peaks of consciousness.
Balancing & Purification
Sushumna nadi only opens and flows freely when Ida and Pingala nadis are balanced and clear, thus the purification of all three nadis are important for the overall health, wellness of the body and mind.
In yoga, different breathing practices are used for the flow of energy in the nadis. ... Nadi shodhanam (Channel purification) is the first formal pranayama (yogic breathing exercise) practice. It is primarily aimed at clearing and purifying the subtle channels of the mind-body organism, while balancing its masculine and feminine aspects. It is a cleansing practice. It is also called alternate nostril breathing because it involves breathing through one nostril at a time.
Nadi Shodhana practice helps to balance hormones, it infuses the body with oxygen and enhances the ability of concentration. Nadi Shodhana is also known for reducing stress and anxiety, calming the nervous system, fostering mental clarity. It also helps to alleviate respiratory allergies that cause hay fever, sneezing, or wheezing
If you want to find out more about nadis and other pranayama and yogic techniques for your well-being, or you just want to deepen your yoga knowledge and practice, you can join our 200 HOUR ALIGNMENT BASED HATHA YOGA TEACHER TRAINING COURSE, an intensive program that represents traditional teachings and will help you to gain strong foundation of ancient wisdom.