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When traveling Canada doing yoga teacher training (ytt) – be it, Vancouver, Victoria , Kamloops, Banff, Jasper, Calgary, Edmonton, Hamilton, Regina, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, London , Halifax, St Johns – I sometime get asked what are Nadis.
Well the short answer is: The science of Yoga see’s the human form as one whole made from many parts. There are various levels of subtle bodies, as well as different compositional elements. One of the key components of the human form are the channels of Prana, or Nadis.
Prana is the life force, the animating power the moves all living creatures. We take in Prana through our breath, and its circulation in our bodies is responsible for our vital functions.
One’s level of Prana has a direct correlation to one’s level of awareness. The flow, or stagnation of Prana will show up as either strong or weak aspects of someone’s health.
Just like blood circulates through thousands of vessels stretching out over our body, so too does Prana. As Prana is a subtle energy, it travels through non-physical pathways both on the surface and deep within the body. These pathways are much like the meridians in Traditional Chinese Medicine.
There are both Major and Minor Nadis, much like there are creeks, streams, rivers and deltas of water. All Nadis meet along the central channel which travels through the spinal column and is called Shushumna Nadi.
This is the very same channel up which Kundalini Shakti rises upon awakening. Along this pathway are 7 energetic vortexes; The Chakras.
Chakra translates as wheel in Sanskrit as these vortexes spin much like a wheel. Through the practice of Pranayama, or breath work, one’s level of Prana is increased. Different Pranayama exercises can also help to clear any stagnation in specific Nadis.
An example of one such exercise would be Nadi Shoudan (Nadi clearing). Blockages in Nadis can show up as pain, mental blockages, or in extreme cases, disease.
These Nadis vibrate at various frequencies corresponding with the different subtle and gross bodies. Some Yogic texts, as well as Daoist scriptures say that there are 72000 of these pathways in the human body. Both an Ayurvedic Doctor, or one of Traditional Chinese medicine can diagnose the health of ones Nadis.
A daily practice of Pranayama is recommended for maintenance of good health and a happy mind.