Nadis are the energy pathways and Chakras are the energy centers of our consciousness. In my last article Spiritual Anatomy- Who am I? explaining about the spiritual anatomy 5 koshas surrounding the human body. Nadis and Chakras that belong to the subtle body and today we will talk about their role in our lives. Chakras as energy centers of consciousness are first mentioned in the Yoga Upanishads (600 B.C.) and later in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (200 B.C.). Nadis are subtle energy channels through which prana or life-force energy flows. There are 72000 nadis and at least 114 Chakras across the human system. Lets us find out more on how to balance Nadis and Chakras.
There are 3 major nadis ida, pingala and sushumna. Ida and Pingala travel upward criss cross each other along the spine like the double helix of our DNA , and terminate in the pineal gland point. Ida (feminine or Lunar energy) is located to the left and represents the parasympathetic nervous system that is responsible for rest and digest connected to the right brain. Pingala (Solar energy) is located to the right side and represents the sympathetic nervous system responsible for fight and flight response and connected to the left brain, The sushumna nadi is centrally located and travels along the spine from the muladhara or Root chakra to the top of the head the Sahasrara or Crown Chakra and is connected to both hemispheres of the brain.
When Ida and Pingala Nadis are harmonised, Sushumna acts as a pathway through which the Kundalini or the Divine serpent power that is coiled at the base of the spine is awakened and this energy rises and reaches the crown energy center. Person attains samadhi and experiences immense bliss. This is the first step towards enlightenment. Sacred texts say that a person who activates his or her Kundalini gets infinite power and Siddhis in the process. But that is not the goal of human life. Real goal of human life is when an individual ego dissolves into the Cosmic soul. When individual consciousness merges into Divine consciousness. That is when a human attains Moksha or salvation which is written in Bhagavad Gita, holy scripture of the Hindu’s.
If Ida is more pronounced, the feminine or nurturing energy may be dominant in you. If your Pingala is more pronounced, the masculine or active energy may be dominant in you. Whenever a situation in our life, we tend to react and our Ida or Pingala is activated in most of us. For Yogis who practice breathwork and purification practices, Sushumna gets activated, they experience inner balance and remain calm regardless of the outside situation.
Various breathing techniques like Nadi Shodhana or Alternate nostril breathing practice, Anulom Vilom, Kapalbhati are highly effective in purifying the Ida and Pingala channels.
Anulom Vilom and Nadi Shodhan are very similar with a subtle difference. In Anulom Vilom air is inhaled from left nostrils and exhaled from the right one, then it is inhaled from the right nostril and exhaled from the left one. In Nadi Shodhan, the air is inhaled from the left nostrils, holds the breath and exhales from the right one.
Both Nadi Shodhan / Anulom Vilom calms the mind and relieves mental and physical stress. Strengthens memory, concentration, improves lung function, digestion, metabolism and overall well being.
Kapalbhati is one of the cleaning techniques practiced in Hatha Yoga. It consists of gentle inhale and short, powerful exhales. Also called Breath of fire. This technique cleanses the respiratory system. It purifies and rejuvenates the body and mind. It improves blood circulation and digestion and helps people with diabetes.
These practices can be practiced for 15 minutes per day. If I were to start practicing something new, I would start with 2 minutes and gradually raise my bar to the recommended range. Note that everyone has different lung capacity. For some it may be easier to do for longer duration while some might struggle to even complete a minute of practice. Please be gentle and slowly raise the duration as and when you become comfortable. Take a break when it gets uncomfortable or you feel dizzy. More oxygen might make you feel lightheaded sometimes.
These practices purify the nervous system and deepens self-awareness. Only when the perfect balance is achieved does the energy enter into Sushumna nadi, facilitating the kundalini (divine serpent power) that lays dormant at the base of the spine to raise to the Sahasrara or crown chakra. Word of caution: Kundalini activation involves complete purification of both body and mind. If you try to raise kundalini without purifying the Body and mind on your own, it can be detrimental. Kundalini activating practices should be done only under the proper guidance and supervision of a Guru or someone who has Mastered this process.
The point where the ida, pingala, and sushumna nadis meet along the spine are called chakras (wheels). There are at least 114 chakras across the human system. Of which there are seven major chakras: the muladhara chakra or the root chakra, at the base of the spine; the svadhisthana chakra or the Sacral chakra below the navel region; the manipura chakra or the Solar Plexus chakra located at the stomach or upper abdomen region; the anahata chakra the Heart Chakra located at the heart region; the vishuddha chakra or the Throat Chakra, at the throat region the ajna chakra or Third Eye Chakra, in between the brows, and the sahasrara chakra or the Crown Chakra, at the top of the head.
To know more check out my next article –Deep Dive into our Chakras.
Hope you found this information insightful. Please check out the video below or on YouTube channel