You probably heard of chakras; nowadays, they are a new-age trend. If you are into yoga, perhaps you are familiar with the word prana. If you have been in the yoga world for a while, you may even know about nadis. But, do you know what they are and how prana, nadis and chakras are connected?
Prana, nadis and chakras are part of the energy network that forms the energy body. Prana energy flows through your body in channels known as Nadis. There are 72000 Nadis in the human body from which energy flows to and from the chakra centres. The chakras are the energy centres along your spine that receive, transform and transmit the energy back to the body, keeping your health in a harmonious dynamic balance.
Prana, Nadis and Chakras are the fundamental elements you need to understand in yoga. By understanding these elements, you will know how yoga practices work and how they can affect your body to bring balance to your life.
What is prana?
The word prana is a Sanskrit word meaning life force. Prana is present in every form of energy manifested in the universe. It is the sum of all of this energy, either life or inert. Prana is the vibration in everything that exists.
Prana is the energy that is in every single thing in the universe. Prana forms part of our bodies and moves through channels or nadis. You can think of different physical types of energy like electricity, heat, gravity, or magnetism; they are all manifestations of prana. But other more subtle energies like your mental energy are also prana.
Prana enters your body mainly through your mouth and your nose. Breathing and eating are the two primary sources of prana. For this reason keeping attention to what you eat, drink and the way you breath can have a considerable effect in your life.
There are techniques in yoga that teach you how to control the breath; this is Pranayama. Pranayama breathing is the control of the life force or the expansion of the life force through the breath. The practice of Pranayama breathing brings awareness to your body and mind.
You can also control the prana that enters your body through the food you eat. In yoga, there are three types of food positive pranic food, negative pranic and neutral pranic food.
Positive pranic food brings prana to your body like organic fruits and vegetables. Negative pranic food is those which use energy from your body for their digestion such as processed foods, highly refined sugar and flour. Neutral pranic food is those foods that do not bring energy, nor take energy from us such as potatoes and tomatoes.
You can control the prana energy that goes into your body by choosing the food you eat and learning to pranayama techniques.
What are nadis?
Nadis are energy channels that carry prana through your body. When the energy of prana runs through your body, it creates an electric current. This pranic energy is known as the pranic body. The pranic body is the life force that brings life to the body and mind.
There are 72000 nadis in the human body. Three of those nadis are the most important ones, Ida, Pingala and Sushumna. They flow along the spine, from the root chakra to the crown chakra.
When the prana energy flows through the nadis correctly, the channels are open. They nourish every part of your body, keeping you healthy. When you don’t receive the right amount of prana in your body and mind, you start experiencing imbalances and ailments. If the Ida and Pingala are in balance, you are healthy.
Ida Nadi locates in the left side of your spine influencing your parasympathetic nervous system. Ida has the moon element and brings a calming energy to your body.
Pingala Nadi locates in the right side of your spine influencing your sympathetic nervous system. Pingala has the sun element and brings a vibrant energy to your body.
Sushumna Nadi locates in the centre of your spine. Ida runs at the lefts side and Pingala to the right side. When Ida and Pingala flow of energy is free from obstructions, Sushumna becomes active, and it can lead to what is known as the Kundalini rising, conscious awakening or enlightenment.
What are nadis and their relationship to chakras?
Nadis form an energy network throughout your body. When the right amount of energy flows freely, your body and mind are healthy. Suppose your nadis are not carrying enough energy or are blocked. In that case, they can’t move the energy needed to your body and mind, so you may start experiencing some health issues.
Nadis bring and take energy to and from your chakras. Chakras are energy centres or vortexes of energy along your spine—the chakras located at almost the same places that the major endocrine glands in your body.
You can imagine chakras like main train stations where all other train networks arrive and depart from. Nadis bring cargo to the chakras and takes an additional load to transport to other parts of the body.
Nadis have a similar function than the veins and the arteries in your body. They bring oxygen and nutrients to all cells and take away waste. When the arteries are healthy without any cholesterol blockages, the blood flows freely. Still, if the cholesterol accumulates, it can stop the flow and create a blood clot that can cause you a stroke.
The difference here is that nadis are not physical entities in your body; they are just energy channels flowing in your body. Emotions, physical and emotional trauma can generate disturbances to the flow of energy and cause the energy to become stagnant in an area or stimulate the flow of too much energy passing.
In both cases, your chakras won’t have the right amount of energy flowing through them, and a knock-on effect will take place. One chakra would be affected; this one will not pass enough energy to another one, and so on, and the whole body will be out of balance.
You can learn to control the flow of energy that runs throughout your body. When you know how to manage your breathing, you can unblock stagnant energy in your body.
If you eat positive pranic food that brings energy to your body, you can keep the nadis and the chakras fully active. For this reason, the movement of prana in your body is so important. It keeps your chakras active and in harmony.
By controlling your breath, you can to influence the flow of prana. There are two main ways you can get prana into your body, through food and breathing. Every time you breath Prana energy flows into your body through the 72000 channels of energy or Nadis.
Chakras meridians and nadis
Chakras are the energy vortexes where energy from the nadis converge. This energy is assimilated, transformed and send away again to other parts of your body. Each chakra in your body vibrates to one or the harmony of specific frequencies. The energy it receives resonates to those frequencies.
The most known chakras are the seven chakras. These chakras are the most important ones as they concentrate the most energy. However, there are around 108 chakras in the human body. So the other 101 chakras are mini energy centres along your body that connect to the main seven chakras.
The seven chakras, starting from the bottom of your spine in the perineum area is the root chakra or Mooladhara in Sanskrit, followed just below the navel in the pelvis area the sacral chakra or Swadhistana. Then the solar plexus above the navel and below the diaphragm. These three are the lower chakras.
After these three chakras, is the heart chakra in the cardiac plexus area, the heart chakra connects the lower chakras with the upper chakras. It’s the connection between the physical body, the mind and the spiritual wisdom.
The fifth chakra is the throat chakra or Vishuddhi at the neck area. Then at the pineal gland area is the third eye chakra. Finally, the seventh chakra is the crown chakra or Sahasrara at the top of the head.
What are Meridians, and how do they relate to nadis?
Meridians in Chinese medicine are a network of energy flowing through the body. The energy flowing is called Chi or Qi. This energy is the equivalent of Prana. There are specific points through the meridians that can be stimulated.
In yoga and the Hindu tradition the meridians are the equivalent in function to the Nadis, but not in location. Meridians are the energy pathway in which Chi energy flows throughout the body. There are 14 main meridians in the human body and 72000 nadis.
Ida and Pingala nadis
The Ida Nadi is one of the main three nadis. Ida Nadi is the channel of energy on the left side of your spine. This channel of prana energy has feminine qualities, and it is associated with the Moon.
Ida is the energy within the personality which is passive, receptive, feminine, negative, yin. At the physical level, it’s dark, cold, lunar, energy dissipating, disorganising, entropic, expansive(centrifugal) and relaxing. Ida controls the sense organs, gives us knowledge and awareness of the world we live.
The Pingala Nadi is one of the main three nadis. Pingala Nadi is the channel of energy on the right side of your spine. This channel of prana energy has masculine qualities, and it is associated with the Sun.
Pingala is the dynamic, active, masculine, positive, yang energy of your personality. It has a physical and a mental side. Its material qualities are light, heat, solar energy, accumulating, creative, organising, focused and contractive. Pingala motivates the organs into action.
Ida and Pingala belong to the autonomic nervous system. Ida corresponds to the parasympathetic nervous system and Pingala to the sympathetic nervous system. The flow of prana in Ida and Pingala is entirely involuntary and unconscious until controlled by yogic practices.
The pranic currents through Ida, Pingala and Sushumna operate alternately. When the left nostril has a greater flow of air, the Ida Nadi is predominant and, if the right nostril has a greater flow of energy Pingala, is dominant.
Ida and Pingala influence all the activities we do during the day. Their impact alternates approximately every 60 to 90 minutes. Through yoga practice of asana and pranayama is possible to control their flow and choose to use either Ida or Pingala depending on our intention.
For example, if we need more energy to do physical work, we need to re-direct the flow to Pingala Nadi. So, you can do the right nostril breathing to give you more energy.
When the right nostril flows (Pingala), there’s more vital energy for physical work, digestion of food, the mind is extroverted and the body generates more heat.
When the left nostril (Ida) is flowing mental energy is dominant, the mind is introverted, and you can do any mental work. During sleep, Ida Nadi flows predominantly, if Pingala flows at night sleep will be restless and disturbed. Likewise, if Ida flows while taking food, the digestive process may be slow, causing indigestion.
Sushumna Nadi is one of the main three nadis together with Ida and Pingala. Shusumna energy channel runs in the middle of the spinal cord. This channel of energy is usually dormant in human beings. You need to activate it to get energy flow through it.
You can get the flow of prana going through Sushumna by balancing the energy flow through Ida and Pingala. Once you activate Shusumna Nadi, you attain a state of inner balance and have access to universal wisdom.
Nadis, Kundalini and the chakras
Kundalini is the energy that lies dormant at the base of the spine. You can awaken your Kundalini energy by asana practices, kriya, pranayama, mudras, mantras and meditation. Once Ida and Pingala Nadis have been cleared, the energy is ready to flow from the bottom of the spine through Sushumna Nadi and the Chakras.
The purification of the nadis and balance of chakras allows the awakening of Kundalini energy and the uplifting of the human consciousness. Your perception changes when Kundalini awakens. Once the chakras and nadis are regulated, your awareness of the subtle dimensions is stimulated, and your spiritual vision opens.
As Kundalini rises, it passes through each of the chakras. Each chakra is interconnected with the different areas of the brain. The Kundalini awakening is like an explosion in the brain; dormant sleeping areas start blossoming like flowers.
Hopefully, by now you have a better understanding of what chakras, nadis and prana are. Prana flows through the nadis or energy channels to keep your chakras active and radiate overall health in your body.
When the three main nadis Ida, Pingala are cleared the energy can flow freely through Sushumna Nadi. Through the practices of yoga asanas, kriyas, pranayama, meditation, mantras and mudras, you can clear your nadis and chakras.
Once the energy is flowing through Shusumna, the Kundalini energy can awake. The kundalini awakening leads to a higher understanding, a union with the Divine consciousness.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the three main Nadis?
The three main nadis in the human body are Ida, Pingala and Shusumna.
How many Nadis are there in the human body?
There are 72000 nadis or energy channels in the human body.
Are Nadis and Meridians the same?
Nadis and meridians are very similar; they refer to an energy pathway in the human body. They come from different traditions of the Chinese medicine system and the Ayurvedic health system from India. These systems look at the body as energy, there are 14 main meridians in the body, and there are 72000 nadis.
Are Nadis nerves?
Nadis are energy channels forming a pathway throughout your body. They don’t have a physical representation in the body. They are the energy body that interacts with your physical body.
Are Prana and Chi the same?
Prana and Chi come from two different traditions. Prana comes from the Ayurveda tradition and Chi from the Tibetan, Buddhist and Chinese tradition. Prana and Chi are the same in the sense of both being the energy force. The understanding of how prana and chi works depend on the tradition they come from.
What are Nadis and their relationship to chakras?
Nadis are energy channels forming a pathway throughout your body. Nadis energy flows from the chakras and comes back to the chakras. When the flow of energy is balanced, the chakras are active, and you are healthy.
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