You may be familiar with the chakras, but you may not know the complex and interconnected energetic system within us expanding way beyond the chakras, often referred to as the energetic highway. Primarily made up of three components – chakras, nadis, and prana –these different components serve their own function within this energetic highway system, contributing to our overall well being and functioning in their own unique way. Let’s take a look at each of these components a little bit closer.
Chakra – pronounced Chalk-Rah – means “wheel” or “disc”. An energy center in the body resembling a swirling wheel, these invisible chakras connect with different parts of our physical, mental, and emotional body. There are seven major chakras in our body, commonly depicted by their unique color sequence, and they must be kept in balance to maintain optimal health.
Nadi means “channel”, “stream”, or “flow”. Energy moves through the energetic, casual, and subtle bodies via these channels or tubes. There are three main nadis and thousands of smaller, minor nadis or pathways. You need to be aware of three main nadis: Ida, Pingala and Sushumna. Each of these nadis have their own unique purpose and energy.
Ida is the left channel for energy to pass through. Energy or prana passes through this feminine, cool, moon stream. Think of Ida energy as the moon energy, and Pingala on the other hand as the sun energy. Pingala is the red, masculine, fiery hot stream in which energy or prana passes. Sushumna is neither masculine or feminine, but instead the central channel running from the base of the spine to the crown of the head, connecting the base and crown chakra. Kundalini energy can rise in this channel.
Together these three main nadis create the major pathways for prana to travel through. Ideally, we would be balanced between the Ida and Pingala energies, and prana would flow freely up and down Sushumna. Prana is a Sanskrit term translated as life force energy or vital energy. The energy flowing through us, prana activates through breath and many mind/body practices like yoga, acupuncture and pranayama.
The chakras, nadis, and prana all work together to create the energetic highway which flows through all of us. If you think of all of these things as a highway system, Sushumna would be the major highway. Ida and Pingala would be two frontage roads running on either side of Sushumna, and the chakras would be the exits on the highway. Prana is the traffic or cars using this highway to get from point A to point B within our bodies.
In an ideal world, traffic would be free flowing in all directions without any issue, but sometimes we can get a traffic jam at a particular exit (chakra) or nadi, which can disrupt the entire system. A few common signs of a chakra imbalance include fatigue, feeling “off,” anxiety, irritability, moodiness, aches and pain in the body, and an inability to focus. Although a chakra or energetic imbalance isn’t uncommon, it can be unpleasant, and there are many ways you can bring balance and harmony to the energetic highway within you.
Common balancing practices include yoga postures, pranayama practice, acupuncture, reiki or energy work, cupping, sound baths, and chakra meditation focusing on the name or color of each chakra. In their own unique ways, each of these modalities stimulate, balance, and bring harmony to the chakras, nadis, and the prana flowing through you. So maybe the next time you practice pranayama or yoga, focus on this energetic highway, or find a local sound bath or community acupuncture space to cultivate balance within your energetic highway.
Kelly Smith is a globally celebrated yoga and meditation teacher based in the Twin Cities. An E-RYT 500 and founder of Yoga For You, Kelly hosts the iTunes chart topping podcast Mindful in Minutes. Beside her podcast, Kelly is best known for her master trainings in meditation, restorative yoga, yoga nidra, and her yoga retreats as well as popup sound baths and meditation events in the Twin Cities. You can learn more about Kelly on her website yogaforyouonline.com or follow her on instagram @yogaforyouonline. You can listen to Mindful in Minutes anywhere you get your podcasts.