Purifying the Nadis
Nadi shuddhi is performed as a method to cleanse the Nadis and is said to remove:
- Kapha (sluggishness).
- Bring balance between the opposites of the left and right brain
- Balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems
- Balance between the sensory neurons that carry nerve impulses to the central nervous system and brain (afferent), and motor neurons (efferent) that carry nerve impulses away from the central system to muscle for movement.
In the Samkhya model above, afferent relates to the Tanmatras, and efferent relates to the Karmendriyas.
Swara yoga defines two kinds of energies which regulate our total being and when balanced create a harmonious existence. The two energies of consciousness and action infuse our entire system through the Nadis (subtle energy channels). The two main energy channels of Ida nadi (Solar) and Pingala nadi (Solar) need to be in balance to drive Prana through Shushmna nadi (the central and neutral subtle nerve channel) Swara yoga is the practice to harmonise the energies carried through Ida and Pingla.
SYMPATHETIC & PARASYMPATHETIC NERVOUS SYSTEM
The sympathetic nervous system is powered through stress and adrenalin and apart from organising the flight and fight response, also ensures homeostasis. This is a system to ensure certain bodily systems are maintained, such as a regular heartbeat and body temperature.
The parasympathetic nervous system is the bodies rest, relax and digest control system. The heart rate is lowered when the parasympathetic nervous system is active, and digestion is more effective.
The two systems are opposites and need to be balanced.
As already stated, the two opposites of the afferent and efferent nerve impulses work better when balanced.
Take an upright seated posture that ensures the spine is erect, and the shoulders and head are straight.
- Begin with an easy Samavritti (equal breath or a 1-1 ratio)
- Practice for several minutes
- Begin with a count that is sustainable, for example 4 in and 4 out
- Gradually increase up to 10 in and 10 out
- Be careful not to force the breath, and only increase if comfortable
- Now with the right hand, place the ring and pointing finger at the eyebrow centre
- The thumb closes the right nostril
- The 4th finger closes the left nostril
- Begin by inhaling through the left nostril and exhale through the right
- It’s important to begin with the left nostril as this will stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system
- Now inhale through the right nostril and exhale through left
- Continue to breathe as above with the 1-1 ratio, and take the count back to 4 in and 4 out
- Gradually increase as above and add one or two counts to both breaths, up to about 10 or fifteen each side. Its important to make the number of counts sustainable, and it should be stated, the count is classically accurate.
The practice stage 1.
- Inhale left nostril and exhale right nostril and maintain the 1-1 ratio
- This is the lunar cycle (parasympathetic system)
- Inhale right nostril and exhale left and maintain the 1-1ratio
- solar system (sympathetic system)
- Practice until comfortable
- Now add a visualisation to both rounds
- On the inhale starting with the left nostril visualise an inverted silver
- crescent at the pelvis
- This is the water sign and one of the 5 Tattwas or elements
- On the inhale begin the solar round by inhaling through the right nostril and visualise a red inverted triangle at the navel
- This is the fire sign and one of the 5 Tattwas or elements
Practice daily gradually increasing the number of counts to about 20 each side.
The practice stage 2.
Once proficient add mantras to your practice
- On the lunar cycle add the mantra Vam – water
- On the solar cycle add the mantra Ram – fire
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