Nadis and Chakras work together and are closely interlinked and so it’s best to learn about both instead of one or the other. In brief, the Chakras are the energy centres that absorb life force (Prana) from the universe and distribute it to the nervous system, endocrine glands and circulatory system and the Nadis are the “wires” connecting them all. Here’s a deeper look.
In Sanskrit, “Chakra” means wheel. Although there are plenty of smaller Chakras in the body, there are seven primary Chakras that run up the spine that we can learn to work with. Each Chakra has its own colour, gland, mantra, and location. Here’s a break down of each Chakra.
1. Mooladhara – Root Chakra
Location: Pelvic floor
Usage: Grounding, acceptance, confidence, security
Symbol: Four-petal lotus
Essential Oils: Vetiver, pasouli, Myrrh and frankincense
2. Svadhisthana – Sacral Chakra
Location: Pelvic bowl/sacrum
Usage: Moving fluidly and noticing sensations
Symbol: six-petal lotus
Essential Oils: Ylang ylang, sandalwood, jasmine and orange
3. Manipura – Navel or Solar Chakra
Location: Naval and stomach
Usage: Movement, energising limbs and abs
Symbol: Ten-petal lotus
Essential Oils: Eucalyptus, lemon, grapefruit, vetiver
4. Anahata – Heart Chakra
Usage: Deep breath, love, compassion, understanding
Symbol: Twelve-petal lotus
Essential Oils: Geranium, palmarosa, lavender, rose
5. Vishuddi – Throat Chakra
Usage: Using chanting and mantras
Symbol: 16-petal lotus
Essential Oils: Vanilla, peppermint, sandalwood, lavender
6. Ajna – Third Eye Chakra
Location: Middle of forehead, third eye
Usage: Intuition, movement, visualisation, imagination
Symbol: two-petal lotus
Element: No element
Essential Oils: Rosemary, lemon and pine
7. Sahasrara – Crown Chakra
Location: Space above head
Usage: Connecting with higher spiritual self
Symbol: 1000-petalled lotus
Element: No element
Essential Oils: Vanilla, neroli, jasmine, frankincense
Nadis are the channels along with the Prana flows through the astral body (learn about the different “bodies” here). Although we have 72,000 nadis running through our body ebbing and flowing along with our health, there are three main ones we should know about.
1. Sushumna Nadi
Sushumna Nadi passes through the spinal column, starting at the base of the spine and ending at the top of the head. It is the main Nadi although it mainly remains dormant while the other nadis do the ebbing and flowing. Sushumna Nadi will only come to life when the other two main Nadis, Ida and Pingala, are perfectly balanced, in which case, Samadhi (enlightenment) would occur.
2. Ida Nadi
Ida Nadi starts and ends at the left of the body and the Sushumna Nadi. It begins at the very bottom chakra, Muladhara, and weaves its way up left and right through the chakras, till it ends in the left nostril, stimulating the right side of the brain. It is feminine energy and is great for facilitating meditation by getting the breath to flow more freely in the left nostril.
3. Pingala Nadi
Pingala Nadi starts and ends at the right of the body and the Sushumna Nadi. It carries solar, male energy and brings vitality, strength and efficiency. It is activated by the breath in the right nostril where it stimulates the left side of the brain. This Nadi is recommended for physical activities and debates. To activate this Nadi you can focus the breath through the right nostril.
Learn more about the history, philosophy and teachings of yoga here!
Learn about the different traditional paths of yoga; Raja Yoga (royal yoga), Jnana Yoga (yoga of knowledge), Bhakti Yoga (yoga of devotion), Karma Yoga (yoga of selfless action), Hatha Yoga (yoga of forceful effort), Mantra Yoga (yoga of sound), and Tantra Yoga (yoga of technology).
Learn about the 8 steps of yoga or the 8 limbs of yoga; The Yamas and Niyamas (ethical considerations and self-observations), Pranayama (breath control), Pratyahara (sense withdrawal), Dharana (concentration), Dhyana (meditation), and Samadhi (enlightenment).
Learn about the five layers of the body and soul, which comprise of not only the physical body of muscles, bones and organs but also an energy body and various levels of the mind. Each separate layer or sheath, interacts with the others.