The Nadis’ come up quite a bit in yoga discussions – I wrote this post “What Are The Nadis’?” a little while ago and this is the follow up explaining why they are so important to Hatha Yoga.
Nadi = Energy Channel.
Yoga teaches that there are 72,000 nadis’, energy channels, in the body. Each of these energy channels are constantly picking up and processing data and have a part to play in our wellbeing, how our body and mind function.
Hatha yoga is strongly concerned with two nadis’ in particular, the pingala and ida nadis;’ The roots of the word are Ha = pingala or solar nidi. Tha = ida or lunar nadi. Hatha yoga aims at balancing the flow of prana (life force) in each nadi. Through moving the body in Hatha postures we are aiming to balance the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.
These systems influence how our organs, hormones, chemicals and limbs function. The sympathetic nervous system energizes the body, and is linked to the ida nadi. The parasympathetic nervous system relaxes us and helps us reflect. It is linked to the pingala nadi.
We aim to balance these systems through movement for a couple of reasons. Partly so that we are not thinking too much or directing our attention outside, we are focusing on our body, muscles, and breath. This helps free us from distractions. By doing this we are releasing physical tension in the body too. Healing physical problems, working on purifying and strengthening the physical body, using physical and calming movements.
B.S.K. Iyengar (“Light On Yoga”) teaches that Tree Pose “tones the leg muscles and gives one a sense of balance and poise.”
And that Easy Pose keeps the pubic region healthy, allows the body to rest whilst keeping the mind attentive and alert. He recommends this posture for meditation.
We know that physical distractions can create obstacles to meditation. In our Hatha yoga practice we are working with larger movements, gradually calming our focus throughout the practice and looking within. Going from gross to subtle movement. When we practice in this conscious way we are able to created an ideal condition for meditation, and our Kundalini is activated.
Our Kundalini is an energy represented by a serpent which lays coiled and dormant at our root chakra. When we activate our Kundalini it can start the journey up the spine, via our sushumna. When the sushumna and our chakras are free from blockages this energy can move freely and be released through our crown chakra. Brining a state of ultimate bliss, making meditation a natural state for us to exist in.