The word Nadi is derived from the sankrit word ” Nad” which means the flow or the movement; therefore nadi denotes the channel, the tube or the pathways through which the life energy or the Prana flows in the human body. Different traditions have quoted different figures for the nadis; however ancient ayurveda mentions about 72,000 nadis to be present in the human body. Amongst the huge number of nadis, there are three primary nadis and they are discussed below briefly :
Ida nadi – This nadi represents mental energy; it is the feminine energy .It is called the left channel, ida nadi starts in the muladhara (root) chakra, flowing to the left and weaving in and out of the chakras before ending in the left nostril and activating the right side of the brain. It nourishes and purifies the body and mind and therefore has been called the Ganga in the Tantric scriptures. It is denoted by colour white.
Pingala nadi – This nadi represents the vital energy and it is male in nature. Referred to as the right channel, pingala nadi also starts in the root chakra, but flows to the right, weaving in and out of the chakras in a mirror image of ida nadi and ending in the right nostril and activating the left brain. It is the carrier of Solar energy adding to vitality, strength and efficiency. It is denoted by colour red.
Sushumna nadi – The central channel, sushumna nadi runs straight up the spine and through the chakras originating from the Mooldhara Chakra (root chakra) to the sahasrara (crown) chakra. This nadi is mostly dormant when the other two are actively flowing. However, it is activated when breathing is happening from both the nostrils simultaneously. It operates on its own during dawn and dusk, thus making mediation more conducive.
In our day to day life, one of these nadis is always dominant. Although this dominance alternates throughout the day, if one nadi tends to be more dominant and active often and for longer periods than the other, it results in personality, behavior, and health issues that can be called ida-like or pingala-like.
Ida-like individuals have lunar qualities, quiet and gentle qualities but may lack the vigour to sustain a strong vital asana pratice. They are full of potential, but unless they develop their pingala side can never manifest their full potential in either personal or professional affairs or attaining spiritual development. Pingala-like individuals have solar qualities, lots of vitality and zeal but unless they develop their ida side, they may lack the tranquility and introspection which are the prerequisites of self realisation.
In yoga, it is believed that the asanas, the Pranayamas and the chanting of the mantras help accentuating the circulation of Prana throughout the body. The interaction between ida and pingala corresponds to the internal synchronisation between the creativity and vitality, the intuition and rationality, and the right and left of the brain’s hemispheres. A major focus of Hatha yoga is balancing the nadis, and one of the most effective methods of doing so is a form of pranayama called nadi shodhana, or alternate nostril breathing.
Happy Reading; Enjoy Practising!!