Updated: Dec 6, 2022
The term Nadi is a Sanskrit word which can be translated to mean Flow. There are thought to be over 72,000 nadis in the body. Nadis are energy channels within which prana flows. Prana also known as Chi (Pronounce Qi) in Chinese Medicine is our life force energy. It is the energy that drives all existence. Prana is not air, it is a subtle energy that enters the body through the breath on the inhale. Subsequently, Apana is the waste energy that leaves the body through the breath on the exhale but we may delve into that a little deeper in the future. If you like, you can visualise nadis as a road map through which prana travels throughout the subtle body.
There are 3 major Nadis. These are Ida, Pingala and Sushumna.
Ida Nadi sits to the left and carries feminine, lunar energy - associated with the moon.
Pingala Nadi sits to the right and carries masculine, solar energy - associated with the sun.
Sushumna Nadi is the central line in the body. It is the most important Nadi which runs right down the centre of the body through the spinal cord.
Ida and Pingala Nadi both originate at the base of Sushumna at Muladhara Chakra, the root chakra. They crisscross over the central line and at each of these junctions there is a Chakra - an energy centre.
The word Chakra can be translated as Wheel. These wheels spin with prana energy.
Only when prana flows freely through Sushumna is it thought that we can achieve a pure and blissful state. If any of our Chakras become blocked or spin in the wrong direction it disrupts the flow of energy and prevents us from achieving complete bliss (a calm, relaxed and balanced state of mind).
There are many chakras throughout the body. You could visualise these as small villages, points where smaller channels or roads of energy connect however, the 7 main Chakras are major centres where the larger channels (ida, pingala & sushumna) along the central line in the body meet. You can visualise these as the major cities on your road map.
Chakras correspond to nerve bundles, organs, functions and areas of the body but also to our emotions. They affect our behaviour, our desires and our needs. They are based on the endocrine system and our hormones. Their healthy functioning creates balance in our lives.