We all have thousands of nadis circulating energy throughout our body. These are not in the physical body. A surgeon would not be able to locate the sushumna channel for you but the great internal scientists, the yogis, can help you find it!
There are 3 main energy channels in the body. The left channel is called ida, the right is pingala and the main central channel is sushumna. In order to go into deep meditation, we must be able to balance the energy in our body and access sushumna.
Pingala represents solar energy. It is active energy best used when we require linear, assertive action. Ida represents a more receptive, lunar energy. Scientists are now confirming what yogis have been working with for thousands of years.
Sit straight for a moment and bring your hand up to your face. Block off one nostril then the other and see if you can observe a difference in strength of air flow between the two. When your right nostril is stronger, more open, your solar energy is more dominant. It is a good idea to have your right nostril open when you need lots of active energy, eg for teaching a class, digesting food, waking up from sleep or working on an engineering problem. When your left nostril is flowing strongly, your more creative energy is dominant. This is great for music or art, integration of new ideas, intuitive insights and interpersonal communications. It is also easier to go to sleep when the left nostril is open.
In a healthy person, the nostrils normally switch dominance every couple of hours. You can check this for yourself throughout the day. The breath and energy balances for a few breaths as it makes the switch between ida and pingala. During a yoga practice, it is fascinating to observe how the nostril dominance changes from side to side as you work with the asanas. One of the reasons we feel so calmly energized after yoga class is because the energy and the breath flow in the nostrils is more balanced.
Nadi shodhanam means channel purification. Sometimes called alternate nostril breathing, it is a practice where we balance the energies through balancing the flow of the breath. It is an excellent way to bring yourself to center no matter if you are agitated, depressed, over-excited or angry. The Himalayan Tradition recommends a regular practice of three rounds/ three or four times a day.
Meditation is only possible when your energy is balanced and flowing evenly. Nadi shodhanam is the best way to prepare yourself for meditation.
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