The central Sushumna is the subtlest naadi in your body, next are the Ida and Pingala. All three start at the Muladhar chakra, this point is the Trikut (tri-junction). Ida and Pingala twine around the Sushumna but do not intersect anywhere during their lengths. These two terminate at the third eye Ajnya chakra this point is called the Bhrukut. From this point only Sushumna i.e. the Brahmanadi travels upwards to the top of the head. There are more naadis parallel to the Sushumna. Other smaller naadis are created at the interval (Kanda) between the Swadhisthan and the Muladhar chakra.
All of us breathe, but have you ever observed that both your nostrils are not equally open always, one of the two feels ‘blocked’. Try closing them alternately to see which one is ‘open’, and check again after one hour or so to recheck. If you pay attention to your breathing pattern you just might notice that both are ‘open’ only for a few minutes in intervals of about 1hr. When you do pranayam, you are forcing both the nostrils to ‘open’ by the breathing exercise. And when you are doing Dhyan or jaap both remain ‘open’. When both nostrils are open, it seems that the air you breathe is somehow more ‘fresh’ more ‘bright’.
We pull in pran from the Universe (Hiranyagarbha/Samashti pran), through our skin and maximum through our nose/air. When your right nostril is open your Ajnya chakra is allocating the pran you receive from the Universe to the Muladhar chakra via the Pingala naadi. When your left nostril is open, you are sending pran down via the Ida naadi. And when both are open for 2-3 mins every 1hr or so, you are sending the pran via the Sushumna naadi. Ajnya chakra is called so, because ajnya means to ‘order’ or ‘control’. When the pran reaches the Muladhar chakra it is further sent to all the naadis of your energy body and your body survives. You can survive without oxygen but not without pran. (In deep samadhi state the pran is allocated only to the Sushumna, so the body will appear dead.)
Pran ‘looks’ shimmery golden silvery milky. It ‘feels’ cool. It is ‘thicker’ in nature, places where human habitation is less, like Himalayas, oceans, sea shores and near the mighty rivers e.g. Ganga, near waterbodies and temples which are considered to be auspicious.
For spiritual growth we focus only on the Sushumna. The Ida, Pingala and all the others are concerned with the activities of physical life.
When the pran is being sent through your Ida nadi, your left nostril is active and you use the energy for your body’s and mind’s nutrition, maintenance and growth. Ida is called the lunar channel. Lunar doesn’t mean the ‘moon’ as such, it means the qualities of the Moon, nourishment, protection, comfort, maternal love, stability and security. You are utilizing the pran to maintain yourself in every way. You are nourishing yourself, maintaining your Creation.
- Simple example, do your make-up and dress while Ida is active, it will feel more satisfing!
- Setting up shop and arranging the displays will be more creative.
- Start a long journey when your Ida is active for a successful travel experience.
- Or a visit to a temple or giving charity or peforming a selfless service.
- Starting constructions, any engineering or landscaping projects. Even getting married is starting a new project!
- If you take your medicine when Ida is active, will improve its efficacy.
- Meeting your boss or giving interviews or presentations, social interactions and meeting friends all these activities will be just a bit better if you are breathing through your left nostril.
Now your Pingala, when the right nostril is active. You are now ‘burning’ pran for expressions of your ego and personality. The ‘fire’, ‘heat’ in your body is more, so perform actions which create the force of your personality. It is also called the solar naadi.
- If you eat your food while the internal fire is on, the food will be digested more effectively.
- Strenuous movements, hiking, trekking, gym, difficult yogic postures like the Shatkarma of Hathayog.
- Learning new physical skills, learning self-defence will be better if you start them when your Pingala is active.
- Learning or even teaching technical subjects, scientific stuff, machinery related things.
- Doing tantric sadhana and manipulating pran in your naadis by diverting the ‘heat’ to ‘burn’ the obstacles within your Brahmanadi are some of the things done better with the Pingala on.
- Going to war!, or arguing, doing your karma, influencing others and your environment needs heat.
- Coming back home from a long journey with your pingala active will make the experience more pleasurable.
- Actual trading, i.e. the action of buying and selling will be more profitable with your Pingala active.
When these 2 aspects of your personality are balanced, they shut down briefly and all the pran is channelised through the real You, the Sushumna. In deep Dhyan pran moves only through Sushumna and it can go on for hours in the samadhi state). But in the awake life, this happens only for a few minutes, then again the Ida/Pingala are activated and the Sushumna shuts down.
These 2-3 mins of Sushumna are very precious, use them well. When it gets active, stop all your work, take a deep breath and focus on your third eye. Say a mental prayer, or any mantra 12 or 27 times (will take 2-3 mins) or at least recite Om a few times. Practising your spiritual practice, dhyan, jaap, mantra, yog etc during the Sushumna phase gives you a power boost. Prayers, blessings and even curses are more effective in this phase.
Will continue in my next post on this same Ida/Pingala theme.