This type of Pranayama, i.e., method of controlling the body’s energetic channels through breath, is meant to balance out the Ida and Pingala Nadis in order to provide enlightened energy to Shushumna Nadi. This week’s full moon has my energy levels thrown all out of wack, so I’ve been doing this exercise daily to try to find alignment.
Prana, literally meaning ‘always moving’, is the body’s electrical energy. Prana is similar to electricity because in its natural form, it is wild and unpredictable. However, we can use wires to harness electricity and make it useful. The Nadis are the body’s wires through which prana flows. There are over 72,000 Nadis in the body, but there are three that are most easily accessible.
Ida Nadi, Pingala Nadi, and Shushumna Nadi are the three most important Nadis for a yogi to understand. Shushumna Nadi resides within the spinal cord and carries only enlightened energy. It is represented with a bright, white, illuminated light. Ida Nadi begins at the base of the spine on the left side and spirals up and around the spinal cord until it ends at the left nostril. It represents the moon, feminine energy, water, and the power of intuition. Because Ida controls the left side of the body, it controls the right side of the brain, which is highly associated with creativity and intuition. A poorly functioning Ida Nadi could be indicated by extreme coldness, depression, low mental energy, sluggish digestion, and a blocked left nostril.
Pingala Nadi begins at the base of the spine on the right side and spirals up the spinal cord until it reaches the right nostril. It represents the sun, masculine energy, fire, and the power of reason. Since Ida Nadi controls the right side of the body, it controls the left side of the brain, which is highly associated with language and logic. Excessive body heat, dry skin/throat, excessive appetite/energy could be indicative of a poorly functioning Pingala Nadi.
Often times, these types of energy can be thrown off balance. This exercise can help keep prana flowing freely through the nadis in order to avoid or counteract an imbalance. Here’s what to do:
1. Find a comfortable seat.
2. Take Vishnu Mudra (pointer and middle finger reach back to the pad of the thumb) with your right hand. Use your ring finger to block off your left nostril and your thumb to block off your right nostril.
3. Block off one nostril at a time and take an inhale through the open nostril followed by an exhale out the open nostril. Then, switch sides. Continue for ten rounds.
4. Notice any imbalances and explore the potential reasons behind the blockage.