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The knowledge of Prana and Nadis in Yoga helps to understand the basics of Pranayama. Nadis play a vital role in the practice of Shatkarma, Mudras, Bandhas which constitute the technique of Pranayama. Also, Nadis and Chakras are inherent parts of Kundalini Yoga. Thinking about its significance in Pranayama and Kundalini Yoga, a yogi ought to have exhaustive information on Nadis
The purpose of this article is to help the yogi to have every piece of information about the Nadis in Yoga.
Nadi Meaning in English
नाडी (Nāḍī ) is a Sanskrit term and it means a nerve. The term is widely used in Yoga, Ayurveda, and other traditional Indian medicines.
In the physical body, it means a nerve channel that transports blood; whereas, in the Psychic body, it means a nerve channel that transports the life energy or Prana.
However, in Indian Astrology, it has a different meaning. Nadi Astrology is a branch of Astrology that is popular in South India.
In our context, we take the meaning in English as nerve channel.
What are Nadis?
Just like the blood is distributed through Nerves, Prana or life force is supplied through Nadis. Hence Nadis are the nerve like channels that transport the Prana or the life energy.
Nadis are the carriers of the life force.Goraksha Paddati
According to Goraksha Paddati, Nadis originate from Kanda which resembles an egg and located below the naval and above the genitals. 72000 Nadis originate from Kanda. Of these 72000 channels, only 72 are described. Again, among these seventy-two Nadis, ten are more important.
Ida, Pingala, and Sushumna are the primary channels.
Ten Important Nadis in Yoga
The following is the list of ten important Nadis.
Sushumna is the most important of all Nadis and plays a vital role in Pranayama and Kundalini Yoga techniques.
It is connected in the path of Prana and is associated with Agni, the deity of fire.
Sushumna Nadi percolates into the cerebrospinal axis of Pranamaya Kosha or the Pranic body. You could not find this in your physical body. It is the central channel that interpenetrates the spine and cerebral region.
Ida and Pingala
Both Ida and Pingala Nadis go along with Sushumna. Ida is on the left side and Pingala is on the right side of it. Ida and Pingala are associated with Moon and Sun respectively. Thus they get the name Lunar and Solar Nadis individually.
Other Nadis in Yoga
Gandhari is on the left eye; whereas Hasti-jihva is on the right eye.
Likewise, Pusha is on the right ear, Yasasvini is on the right one, and Alambusa is on the mouth.
Similarly, Kuhu is on the genitals and Sankhini is on the anus.
This is according to the yogic text Goraksha Paddati.
Varaha Upanishad gives a different account of Nadis. As per this Upanishad, the location of Ida, Pingala, and Sushumna are similar to other accounts. However, the other channels are described in a different way.
It describes 14 Nadis. Alambusa is parallel to Kuhu. Varuni and Yasasvini are parallel. Likewise, Pusa and Payasvini are between Sushumna and Pingala, whereas Saraswati is behind. Similarly, Gandhari and Sankhini are between Saraswati and Susumna. Also, Hati-jihva and Visvodhari are on the top-side of the network.
They originate from Khanda Sthana which is two Angulas above the anus and two Angulas below the genitals.
One Angula is 1/96th part of the height of the body. It is equal to a measure or a thumb.
Also, Darshana Upanishad describes 14 Nadis. This text gives the following list of nerve channels.
Can You Find the Nadis in Physical Body?
No. You could not find them in the physical body. Yet, if you take the practice of breath control techniques correctly, you could sense them. You could the flow of energy in them. Hence, they are not imaginary. They have an existence in the psychic body and yet you could not find them in the physical body.
Though different yoga texts describe different accounts of Nerve Channels except for the description of primary channels. For a beginner in yoga, this may seem contradictory.
Yet, we can take these differences as different views. For example, Goraksha Paddati describes the endpoints of the nerve channels and Varaha Upanishad describes the starting points. Hence, it is obvious that the descriptions would be different. We should not take this as an anomaly.