The Sanskrit word Nadi is derived from the root ‘nad‘, meaning ‘movement’.
Nadi are organs of the subtle body that allow pranic energy to flow to every point of the body and beyond the body.
We imagine very thin tubes, lines or channels that form a dense web inside and outside the body…however, they are not physical, so they are only perceptible to the inner vision.
They originate from the Kanda, a bulbous centre between the perineum and the umbilicus, similar to a white, fluorescent egg, from which some 72,000 nadis arise.
Ten are the main ones, but only the first three are involved in yoga practice: Ida, Pingala and Sushumna.
1. Ida – left side
2. Pingala – right side
3. Sushumna – in the middle
4. Gandhari – left eye
5. Hastijihva – right eye
6. Pusa – right ear
7. Yasasvini – left ear
8. Alambusa – mouth
9. Kuhu – area of the reproductive organs
10. Sankhini – rectum area
The three main Nadis
1. Sushumna Nadi
It is the main Nadi, the spiritual channel par excellence, located at the spinal column and therefore connected to the central nervous system.
Sushumna is the main channel of yoga and all evolution because it allows the awakening and transformation of the potential present in each of us; in fact, it controls the awakening of spiritual consciousness.
Along its path are the evolutionary chakras and at its base resides the dormant kundalini, the potential energy that must be awakened by the inner fire of spiritual practice.
The awakened energy rises beyond the head, culminating in brahmarandra – the gateway to Brahman, located at the top of the head (Sahasrara Chakra), the mystical centre of supreme realisation.
The complete activation of this Nadi is related to the awakening of the kundalini, the opening of the chakras and the balance of Ida and Pingala.
2. Pingala Nadi
It is the solar nadi – Surya nadi.
It ascends along the right side of the body, touches the first six chakras and ends in the right nostril.
The prana energy takes on a positive magnetic charge, acquiring solar, desiccating and warm qualities.
The energy is active, dynamic, strong, extrovert, connected to the right side of the body and the left lobe of the brain.
It favours objective and practical analysis, but possesses little intuition.
It also allows knowledge of the whole system coming from the masculine (archetype); it is a paternal biological inheritance originating from the spermatozoon, and samyama (the simultaneous combined practice of Dhāraṇā -concentration-, Dhyāna -meditation- and Samādhi) gives access to this whole plane, with the consequent potential to operate on it.
It controls life processes and is connected to the sympathetic nervous system
3. Ida Nadi
It is the lunar nadi – Chandra nadi.
It ascends along the left side of the body, touches the first six chakras and ends in the left nostril.
The prana energy takes on a negative magnetic charge, acquiring lunar, cold and pure qualities.
The energy is mental, introverted and uninterested in practical action, but rather intuitive and profound, it is connected to the left side of the body and the right lobe of the brain.
It also allows knowledge of the whole system coming from the feminine (archetype); it is a maternal biological inheritance originating from the ovum, and samyama gives access to this whole plane, with the consequent potential to operate on it.
It controls mental processes and is connected to the parasympathetic nervous system.
Ida and Pingala together
They correspond to the two eternal polarities of the cosmos.
Harmony, peace and physical and mental health, as well as spiritual development and the activation of Sushumna depend on their balance.
What the Nadis are for
One can use the qualities of the Nadis to balance the body’s energy, mainly through the practice of Pranayama (the art of assimilating life energy through breathing techniques), as the breath is directly related to both the energy level and the physical body.
Breathing through the nostrils (where the Nadis end) in a balanced way leads to better coordination and synchronicity between the two hemispheres of the brain.
Throughout history, pranayama has been studied and practised based on direct and intuitive knowledge of the subtle body to better channel energy throughout the body in order to harmonise the various levels of body and mind and to concentrate all the forces that will affect personality, level of consciousness and cellular functions in the chakras.
Pranayama is essential in the purification of the physical body: when the physical body and energy channels are purified, prana can act freely in the body and perform all its functions regularly.
The mental and subtle structures, which make up the astral body, will also be purified.
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