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Ida, Pingala, Sushumna, and Duality: Moving Energy into the Spine for Inner Strength

Indian tradition teaches that our Prana, or life force, is delivered through energetic pathways, or Nadis, in the body. The human body has 72,000 Nadis which converge in the 7 chakras. with the most predominant being the Ida and Pingala.

The Ida Nadi is the feminine, creative, moon, receptive energy conduit, running from the base of the spine, alongside the spinal column, up the back of the skull, and culminating in the left nostril. The Pingala nano is the more masculine Nadi, channeling action-oriented, sun, directive energy throughout the body, This Nadi also runs from the base of the spine up the spin and head, and culminates in the right nostril. Ida is the Shakti, Pingala the Shive. Ida is the right brain, Pingala is the left brain. In this visible world, the duality of Ida and Pingala, masculine-feminine, sun-moon, dark-light are woven into everything we see.

However, humans also have a central nadi, the Sushumna, or spinal column, which is empty, neutral. As Sadhguru teaches,

"Fundamentally, Sushumna is attribute-less, it has no quality of its own. It is like empty space. If there is empty space, you can create anything you want...Wherever you are, you become a part of that, but nothing sticks to you. Only if you are like this, only if you are in a state of Vairag, then you will dare to explore all dimensions of life when you live here."

When our Nadis are imbalanced, we become reactive to external stimuli and circumstances. When we train ourselves through yoga to balance our Prana  and move the Prana into the Sushumna, or neutral spine, we gain inner strength. Sadhguru continues,

"Bringing a balance between the Ida and Pingala will make you effective in the world, it will make you handle life aspects well. Most people live and die in Ida and Pingala; Sushumna, the central space, remains dormant. But Sushumna is the most significant aspect of human physiology. Only when energies enter into Sushumna, life really begins."

In your yoga practices, whether in asana (body shapes) or pranayama (breathing) we can learn to bring balance to our Nadis. Nadi-Shodhana breathing (alternate nostril) can bring an almost immediate balance to our Shiva/Shakti energies. And spinal bending and twisting in yoga asanas h to keep our spinal column clear, neutral, and open to information. We gain a sense of equanimity, curiosity, and creativity. It is from this energetic space that we move from reaction (fear) to creation (love). 

If you would like to join us for one of our yoga teacher trainings at Amaser, go to and find more information on our 250 hr foundation teacher training and our 300 hr advance teacher training (Yoga Alliance). 


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