The Nadis or Psychic Passages. Part I

Continued from: Different Methods of Regulating Prana

The nadis are pathways along which prana or bioplasmic energy travels. In acupuncture these pathways are known as meridians (at least in modern western terminology). Various ancient yogis said that there are seventy two thousand nadis in the psychic body. Others said the number is in the region of three hundred and twenty thousand. Whatever the number, we can definitely say that they are numerous.

Of these nadis three are particularly important. They are known as the ida, pingala and sushumna. The most important one is the sushumna, which runs within the spine2. It should not be confused with or identified with the physical spine that we are normally aware of. This nadi runs from the region of the perineum (between the anus and sexual organs) to the region of the brain. It connects the mooladhara chakra (chakra meaning pranic or psychic centre) in the perineum to ajna (mid-brain) chakra at the top of the spine passing through various other chakras en-route. Again these chakras should not be regarded as physical entities; they are part of the bioplasmic or pranic body. As such they are located within but are not of the physical body.

Emanating from the left side of the mooladhara chakra and passing through the intervening chakras in turn in a curving, crisscrossing path, finally ending up on the left side of the ajna chakra, is the ida nadi. Emerging from the right side of the mooladhara chakra and passing in a similar but opposite sense to that of the ida nadi, up to the right side of ajna, is the pingala nadi.

The ida and pingala nadis are the pathways of the two different aspects of prana. They represent the two opposite poles of the same energy. The ida is denoted as being negative and is also known as the chandra (moon) nadi. The pingala, on the other hand, is positive and is often called the surya (sun) nadi. Associated with these two nadis are various attributes or qualities. Some of these are as follows:





left nostril

right nostril



















These two nadis are associated with the two nostrils: pingala with the right and ida with the left. The ancient yogis, with their detailed awareness of the human body, found that the flow of breath did not pass equally through each nostril. In fact at any given time it was more than likely that the flow of air through one nostril would be greater than the other nostril. This is an aspect of our body that even physiologists have never seriously researched. No one seems to have asked the question: “Why have we got two nostrils?” There should be a good reason and perhaps it is directly related to ida and pingala. Incidentally, the reader can test this for himself taking care to remove all mucus from the nose. Merely block each of the nostrils in turn and you should find that the flow is greater through one than the other. If you don’t find this to be so, then try at a later time for occasionally the flows are equal.

Continue to: The Nadis or Psychic Passages. Part II

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