There are three fundamental nadis or energy channels in the human system according to yogic philosophy, the Idâ, Pingalâ and Sushumnâ. The 72,000 nadis in the body spring from these three basic nadis – the left, the right and the central – the Idâ, Pingalâ, and Sushumnâ. The word “nadi” shouldn't be confused with nerves. Nadis are pathways or channels of Prāṇa. Prāṇa means vitality, aliveness. Prāṇa is the subtle life force/breathe.
The Idâ and Pingalâ represent the basic duality in the existence. It is this duality which we traditionally personify as Shiva and Shakti. Day and night. Light and darkness. Without these two dualities, life wouldn’t exist as it does right now.
The Hatha Yoga Pradīpikā says that Hatha Yoga is the union of the two energy forces in the core of your body, the energy flowing in Idâ and Pingalâ nadis. Usually, these two forces do not operate simultaneously; either the mental force predominates or the vital energy is dominant. This creates an imbalance within the human system.
Hatha Yoga is the process of balancing the flow of these two alternating forces to bring perfect physical and mental equilibrium and awakening of sushumnâ and kundalini. Yoga aims to unite these two energies and channelise them through the third nadi, sushumnâ. When this happens, there is an awakening for the yogi. Kundalini is the dormant lifeforce energy which is located at the base of the spine, it is often represented as a coiled snake, once awakened the snake uncoils and travels up the spine, when the kundalini reaches the top of the spine the yogi is enlightened.
Idâ, lies to the left of the spine and is the feminine Shakti energy within. This is also lunar/moon energy. Idâ is connected to the left nostril and the right brain hemisphere. The right brain hemisphere governs the left side of the body, on a pranic level ida also controls the functions of the left side of the body.
Pingalâ, lies to the right of the spine and is the masculine Shiva energy within. This is also the solar/sun energy. Pingalâ is connected to the right nostril and the left brain hemisphere. Pingalâ and the left brain hemisphere govern the right side of the body.
Sushumnâ, the central nadi, is the most significant aspect of our physiology. This is where the kundalini energy travels. When there is a balance between Idâ and Pingalâ, Sushumnâ is activated.
The yogi searches for a balance between Idâ and Pingalâ. If a person’s Pingalâ is very pronounced, then outgoing, exploratory qualities will be dominant. If the ida is more pronounced, receptive and reflective qualities will be dominant. Whether one is a man or woman has nothing to do with this according to Sadhguru. Masculine and feminine energies are not referred to in terms of sex – about being male or female – but in terms of certain qualities in nature. Certain qualities in nature have been identified as masculine. Certain other qualities have been identified as feminine. You may be a man, but if your Idâ is more pronounced, the feminine may be dominant in you. You may be a woman, but if your Pingalâ is more pronounced, the masculine may be dominant in you.
The Hatha Yoga Pradīpikā says the object of Hatha Yoga practice is to increase the duration and flow of Sushumnâ and the period when both nostrils flow simultaneously so that a balance is created in the physical and mental functions. When the mind and body are not functioning in harmony, there is a division between the physical and mental rhythms, which inevitably leads to sickness.
The three nadis (Idâ, Pingalâ and Sushumnâ) are said to terminate in the Ājñā chakra, the psychic centre which is situated in the region of the medulla oblongata and the pineal gland. Through the practice of yoga, Idâ and Pingalâ are equalised, sushumna is activated and the Ājñā chakra is awakened.
* The following is excerpted from BKS Iyengar's — Yoga The Path to Holistic Health:
"Every person has two facets of energy: the Pingalâ or the surya nadi (masculine energy/sun) and the Idâ or the chandra nadi (feminine energy/moon). The sun is positive energy representing heat and daytime activity. The moon is negative energy representing coolness and nighttime restfulness. Mr Iyengar understood the importance of creating the perfect balance between the right (surya nadi) and left (chandra nadi) sides of the body. Alignment and precision allow the energies to work, interact, intermingle, and unite, bringing about health and balance. Optimum energy is used in the correct practice of yoga and leads the practitioner to a state of equilibrium (samatvam). The Bhagvad Gita scripture states: Samatvam yoga uchyate (Yoga is the state of equilibrium)."
* The following is excerpted from David Garrigues’ writings — Static vs Dynamic learning models of Iyengar and Ashtanga Yoga:
“The distinctly static approach of the Iyengar Yoga system stands in sharp contrast to the dynamism of the Ashtanga system. The two systems could be said to exist on opposites ends of the pole of static vs dynamic learning models. With Iyengar Yoga you go into your posture slowly enough to perform ‘error correction’ on the way into your posture. This means you can analyze and survey your position and thus correct errors before finally committing to a position. With Ashtanga Yoga, as a general rule, there is no time for ‘error correction’ on the way into your asana. Instead you commit to your position with the rhythm and surety of a dynamic gesture. The assessment and correction process happens after you execute and complete your movement into the position.”
Please note: I'm not teaching you how to become enlightened just how to live a more balanced, healthier and happier lifestyle. I no longer teach depth in asana or adhere to the 'traditional' ashtanga alignment, I take Iyengar's approach to asana as I have found it to be more accessible and sustainable for the majority of people who come to my shala, it also helped me heal from my injuries which I got from practicing Ashtanga 'traditionally' or maybe I should say 'dogmatically'. I used Akram Yoga. 2017, Oct 16. Ida, Pingala & Sushumna. Akram Yoga. www.akramyoga,co.uk as a reference to write this webpage.