PRANA - Life Force

The whole cosmos is made of energy. It is everywhere, in water, air, fire, earth, inanimate objects and all living things. Ancient Indian texts called this universal life force, prana and Far Eastern cultures called it chi, qi, ki. It is a natural electrical energy associated with the element of air, unseen but felt, existing within and out everywhere. Prana energises all internal functions and movements of the body and the thoughts and emotions of the mind, therefore, it is important to keep the inner life force strongly flowing unrestricted for the best health.

Mind-body connection exercises, involving movements of the hand and body help to re-energise the chakras and flow of prana, like qi gong and tai chi. Hypnosis and emotional freedom technique (tapping) help in removing emotional blocks and restrictions resulting in  a greater flow of prana for a lighter and healthier body. Specific asanas ( yoga postures) and breathing exercises of pranayam are also excellent for increasing the vital life force, as is meditation in which the sahasrara (crown) chakra opens more to allow greater cosmic prana to enter our body, likewise the muladhara (root) chakra grounds our energy to the Earth allowing negatively charged ions to flow back up keeping us healthy in a world of electronic devices constantly emitting positive ions.

NADIS/ NADHIS - Energy Channels

Prana flows inside the pranamaya kosha (energy body) along a vast network of subtle tubular structures called 'nadis', a sanskrit word that literally translates to 'river' describing a flowing course or pathway. The ancient Indians used this analogy to explain how prana circulates around the body. 

This image shows water tributaries resembling nadis/meridians channels.

In this image, different coloured lines indicate energy meridians specific to organs

  • Orange - Spleen and Stomach meridian

  • Blue - Kidney & Bladder meridian

  • Red - Heart & Small Intestine

  • Green - Liver & Gallbladder

In the Far East, nadhis are called meridians, the basis of traditional Chinese medicine along which acupuncturists insert steel needles on specific meridians points conducting prana from the air into the area being treated, allowing more prana to efficiently flow in the nadis, resulting in the relief and eventual healing of the ailment. 

The nadis of the subtle chakra system run parallel to the physical capillaries, nerves, veins and the spine,connecting at certain points, integrating the spiritual to the physical. The rhythm of your breathe and the physical up and down movement of the diaphragm have an affect on the subtle energy flow in the nadis, and the way you breath is affected by your emotional state of the mind.

Every thought has an emotion attached to it whether we are consciously aware, or it happens reflexively so fast that it bypasses our awareness. Thought energy is transmitted by the nadis and affects the chakras and the aura. Depending on concentration and the numerous times the thought occurs, the subtle body makes the changes which are reflected by the physical body. For example: the basic emotion of fear can be felt as doubt, frustration, lack, low self-esteem and other such like feelings. If a person pushes down, ignores or intensifies by habit these fear feelings the subtle body changes its frequency more and more, manifesting physically as aches and/or di-ease in a body part. It is therefore essential to be mindful of your thoughts at all times, and to work out such feelings as soon as possible using any of the suggestions given  under the paragraph of 'prana', or any other alternative method.

There are said to be around 72,000 prominent nadhis throughout the pranamaya kosha of different sizes depending on the amount of energy passing through. For instance the ​Anahata (heart) chakra is connected by one hundred and one nadis that diverse into hundred nadis each of which branch of into tens of thousands. There are even more complex around the gut. The prominent nadis originate from the three primary nadis, the sushumna is in the middle of the spine with ida on the left and pingala on the right. The nadis start at the muladhara chakra, the seat of kundalini shakti (power) and meet at all the chakras until the ajna chakra (third eye) where they cross each other to the opposite side, ending at the sushumna chakra.

It is quite normal to find one of your nostrils a little blocked than the other at different times of the day. If one side is mostly open it is said that the person will have more of that nadi's characteristics. To balance both ida and pingala energies it is beneficial to practice pranayama (yogic breathing) exercises such as anulom vilom, also called nadi shodhana pranayama or  alternate nostril breathing.

Sushumna Nadi

(yellow centre)

The central subtle energy channel also known as 'brahma nadi' is positioned in the physical spine, beginning  at the muladhara chakra. and flowing straight up through all the chakras ending at the sahasrara chakra. When the sun and moon energies of the ida and pingala become balanced, they flow into the sushumna nadi and merge to become neutral. This begins the activation of the massive shakti (power) of the kundalini energy, which up to this point lies dormant curled up in base of the spine. The journey of inner awakening/self-realization begins. The kundalini is a very strong subtle energy and should be raised consciously under the careful guidance of a master.

Pingala Nadi
(red right-side)

  • Associated with sun energy

  • Also called suraya/solar nadi or translated, the 'tawny energy channel'

  • Depicted as red in colour, it is warm, active, stimulating, motivational and rational. 

  • Qualities are logical left brain thinking and vital power

  • Considered to be a masculine (yang) type of energy

  • When exhaling energy moves down the pingala nadi

  • Active in right nostril

Ida Nadi 
(white left-side)

  • Associated with moon energy

  • Also called chandra/lunar nadi or translated from sanskrit Ida is the comfort energy channel

  • Depicted as white in colour

  • It has nurturing, inspirational, visionary, calming, sensitive, emotional, receptive, creative, passive and cooling characteristics identified as feminine

  • Right brain intuitive thinking

  • When inhaling, energy moves up the ida nadi

  • Active  in left nostril

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