We know that 72,000 Nadis in our body are responsible for conveying Prana (vital life force) to different parts of the body but due to impurities in some Nadis, not all the Nadis participate in it.
Nadis need to be activated first in order to purify them and carry Prana in it to awaken kundalini.
Ida and Pingala Nadi can be activated by the voluntary breathing method.
- When we inhale and exhale only through the right nostril, it activates Pingala Nadi.
- Similarly, when we breathe through the left nostril Ida Nadi gets activated.
The awakening of Sushmna can be performed only when the equilibrium of these 2 Nadis are achieved.
Once the perfect balance of these 2 Nadis is achieved, it facilitates the awakening of Kundalini. Unless the perfect balance is achieved, Sushumna stays closed and the power of Kundalini lies dormant.
The equilibrium state of these 2 Nadis is possible only when small Nadis, often called as Nadikas, attached to each Ida and Pingala get purified by some means.
Purification of Nadis
Gheranda Samhitha explains that Nadi Shuddhi Pranayama has to be practiced prior to the practice of Yoga, especially Pranayama, so as to cleanse the Nadis. As long as the Nadis are blocked due to impurities, the Prana Shakti won’t be able to move with ease through the Nadis by Pranayama.
Hence the purification of Nadis is very important before Pranayama.
Purification of nadis is done by 2 means;
- Samanu – It’s done by a mental process with the pronunciation of the Bija mantra.
- Nirmanu – The Nirmanu is performed by the physical cleansing of Shatkarmas such as Dhauti kriya.
Samanu is the advanced method of flushing out the impurities of Nadis, thus purifying it.
Performing Samanu Purification
Samanu is performed by sitting in Padmasana posture. Remembering the teacher, one should contemplate on Vayu Bija Mantra (yam यं) full of energy and of smoke color,
- Inhale through left nostril repeating the Vayu Bija Mantra for 16 times. This is called as Pooraka.
- Later the breath should be restrained for a period of 64 repetitions of the Mantra. This is called Kumbhaka.
- Exhalation of the breath should be done through the right nostril slowly by repeating the Bija Mantra for 32 times. This is called Rechaka.
The root of the navel is the seat of Agni tattva (fire element). Raising the fire from that place one has to join the Prithvi tattva (earth element) with it and has to contemplate on the mixed light.
- By repeating the Agni Bija Mantra (ram रं) for 16 times, inhalation should be done through the right nostril.
- Retention of breath is performed for 64 repetitions of the same Bija Mantra.
- Exhalation of breath is to be done through the left nostril with the repetition of Bija Mantra for 32 times.
Then one should fix the gaze on the tip of the nose and contemplate on luminous reflection of the moon while chanting the Bija mantra (Tham ठं).
- Inhalation through the left nostril repeating the Bija mantra (Tham ठं) for 16 times;
- later breath is to be retained by repeating the Bija Mantra for 64 times;
- Meanwhile one has to imagine or contemplate that the nectar flowing from the moon at the tip of the nose flows through all the Nadi and thus purifies them.
- Later exhalation of the breath is to be done through the right nostril contemplating on Prithvi bija mantra (lam लं) repeating for 32 times.
By these 3 Pranayamas, it is explained that Nadis get purified.
Hathayoga Pradeepika, a treatise on Hathayoga explains the sign of Nadi Shuddhi as follows;
The body becomes slender and bright, the person will be able to retain the breath for a longer duration, the gastric fire becomes more active, the inner sound can be heard from within and the individual can enjoy the perfect health.
If the process is not practiced in a proper method then it will end up in various disturbances in the Prana leading to many types of illnesses.
Sushumna Nadi Awakening
The word Sushumna signifies the ultimate bliss and undisturbed state of mind.
The awareness of self-breath is of primordial importance for the awakening of Sushumna. This state of blissful mind can be achieved only when the breath flows through both the nostrils undisturbed, balanced, and with ease.Swami Rama School of meditation
For the awakening of Sushumna;
- A person should be free of external attachments, the senses should be withdrawn to within self by detaching from their objects of perception.
- Then Ida Pingala and Sushumna Nadis should not be disturbed so one sits comfortably keeping the neck, head, and trunk straight.
- The steps involve concentrating on the bridge between the eyebrows (Bhrikuti) and perform Pranayama along with Jalandhara Bandha and meditate on the Chakras one by one starting from Mooladhara to Sahasrara Chakra along with chanting of Bija Mantras.
According to Swara Yoga, the first step of the awakening of Sushumna involves learning to change the flow of breath with our mental ability according to our wish without the fingers placed on the nose. This can be only achieved by regular practice of concentration and Sadhana for a certain duration.
Once the concentration of such level is achieved there will be a free flow of breath in both the nostrils evenly and it attains a state of bliss called Sukha mana, mind free of worries.
In this state, the practitioner can feel the sensation of fire as if a hot current of air is blown through the channels. The Chakras vibrate with Pranic energy, and the prime force gets awakened. Later on, by regular practice, this state will help in going further to the level of attaining the higher stages of self-awareness, knowledge of absolute truth and finally reaching salvation which is the ultimate purpose of Yoga.
Swami Satyananda Saraswathi explains even practicing of some specific Asanas stimulates the Chakras. For example;
- Chakrasana stimulates Manipura Chakra
- Sarvangasana for Vishuddhi Chakra
- Sirshasana for Sahasrara Chakra, etc.
Other Asanas regulate and purify the Nadis, facilitates the proper conduction of Prana throughout the body. Stimulated Chakras generates impulses that thereby awaken the Sushumna Nadi.
All these practices should be followed under the guidance of a renowned Guru.
Yoga explains strict food restriction when you’re in practice. Moderation of diet is advised. Skipping the meals is not advised. Sattvika Ahara and food items like ghee, milk, rice, barley, green gram, black gram, plantain, jackfruit, cucumber, green leafy vegetables, should be consumed only. Rajasika and Tamasika ahara, food items which are spicy, salty, pungent, roasted fried items, curd, whey, and palm are to be restricted in the Nadi purification practice.