The Main 3 Nadis – Ida, Pingala and Sushumna

Our spine is home to 3 nadis called Ida, Pingla, and Sushmna at the center of the spine. Our body consists of 72000 nadis and each of them has its own unique function. Nadi is a Sanskrit word that means ‘Channel’, through which prana or energy flows in our body. Just like the energy is not tangible similarly the nadis are not tangible too. If you cut open the human body you can’t see the nadis in there, as those are the subtle part of our subtle body.

Our human body has 72000 nadis in it with their unique functions. It is impossible to speak about all of those. So, here we will get to know about 3 principal nadis in our body.

Sushumna is in the middle and ida along with Pingala wraps around it. Just like the Greek symbol you have seen on a doctor’s car or on an ambulance namely the ‘caduceus’. It may represent something else but actually, except for the wings, it is exactly the Ida, Pingala, and Sushumna Nadi’s structure.

 Ida, Pingala and Sushumna
Image Courtesy – Google

The 3 Nadis

There are 3 principal nadis.

Ida Nadi

First, let us know about Ida Nadi. Ida means comfort in Sanskrit. This Nadi is associated with lunar energy, thus the lunar movements affect it. This is why in astrology Moon and certain lunar activities play vital roles. Just think if lunar movements can affect the rivers and the oceans with high and low tides then what to speak of our human body which is made up of 70% of water.

In our body also certain subtle changes occur due to the lunar movements, through this Nadi. This Nadi controls our mental and emotional state of being. Ida nadi is feminine in nature and connected with our left nostrils.

Perhaps you guys know that our right brain controls the left part of the body and vice versa. And in modern science, it’s been found that our right brain controls our emotions, passions, arts, etc. It is clear that ida connected with our left nostrils is controlled by our right brain hence, related to emotions. So, it is where modern science also supports our ancient science of nadis. 

Pingala Nadi

Pingala in Sanskrit means orange or tawny. This Nadi is just the opposite of ida and is associated with solar energy. As a result, solar activities affect pingala nadi which is masculine in nature. And this nadi is connected to our right nostril. Pingala nadi is responsible for our physical actions and reactions. It is controlled by our left brain and as a  result, the left brain is logical and reactive. 

Sushumna Nadi

Now the most important and the prime nadi among all the 72000 nadis, is the Sushumna nadi. Sushumna means most gracious or you can say bliss. Being the most important nadi among all, sushumna remains dormant within most human beings. It needs to be activated through various practices prescribed in the yoga system.

What happens after it gets activated? We will know it in a bit, while, let’s know about Sushumna Nadi’s structure. This Nadi extends from the Muladhara chakra from the pelvic floor to the Sahasrar chakra to the top of the brain through the spinal cord. It connects all the prime 7 chakras.

7 chakras

Inside the Sushumna nadi, there is another nadi known as Vajra nadi, and inside that, there’s another one known as Chitra. These 3 concentric nadis meaning the Sushumna, Vajra, and Chitra represent the gunas of tamas(mode of ignorance), rajas (mode of passion), and sattva (mode of goodness),  the three basic qualities in a human being.

Sushumna Nadi
Nadis and Chakras

It doesn’t end here….inside Chitra Nadi as well there’s a most subtle nadi known as Brahma nadi as subtle as a spider web. Through this Nadi, our soul enters and exits from the body. 

Now let us know what happens if we actually activate the Sushumna nadi. Activating sushumna nadi means awakening the kundalini energy. From the Muladhara chakra to the Sahasrar chakra kundalini energy travels through this Brahma Nadi. There is a point in our brain known as amrutam or nectar connected with Sushumna. This gland amrutam or nectar starts to flow in our whole body through Sushumna nadi and fills us with eternal bliss or paramananda which is normally dormant. Hence, the name Sushumna gets justified. 

How to Activate the 3 Fundamental Nadis?

You must have ever seen some monks meditating without clothes in the freezing cold or even in the scorching heat like a normal man. Some sages have different types of powers. Yogananda Paramhansa in his book “Autobiography of a Yogi” has also mentioned many saints and the strange incidents that happened with them. And he has also shared a mantra to get these powers in his book.

The meaning of the saying is that all the miraculous Babas you see around you are not any incarnation or God. But he is a normal human being just like you. The only difference is that they have activated all their three rivers. Activating these nadis means activating your 7 chakras and awakening the Kundalini Shakti.

You can also activate your nadis. All that is needed is by doing some yoga exercises and some meditation practices. Let us understand how you can tickle these Nadis.

Way to Activate the Nadis?

There might be different ways to activate these nadis but I am sharing the ways that I know till now.

Activation of Ida Nadi

As I had just mentioned that you must have seen some monks who remain normal even in the scorching heat. The answer is that he has activated this Nadi of his. We also call it the Chandra(Moon) Nadi. Moon means a symbol of coolness. This nadi helps you to keep your body cool in a scorching heat. It is also believed that those whose Chandra Nadi is active, their mind also remain calm.

This Nadi is present in the left side of your spine and connected to your left nostrils. To activate this nadi is very easy. You just need to do one regular breathing practice that will help you to activate this Nadi.

You just need to do a few steps:

  • First, sit in a calm and clean place especially a place with trees and plants as shown in the below picture.
  • Your spine should be straight. Now, close your right nostril with your thumb or finger.
  • Now, take a deep breath by your left nostril and hold it for a few seconds.
  • Now, exhale slowly.
Ida Nadi

Practice this regularly and after a few days you will feel the changes in you. You will feel calm and cool.

Activation of Pingala Nadi

This is just opposite the Chandra nadi. This is the Nadi that helps monks to control their body temperature in freezing cold. We also call it the Surya(Sun) Nadi. Sun means a symbol of Hotness. This nadi helps you to keep your body hot in a cold.

Steps to Activate this Nadi:-

  • First, sit in a calm and clean place especially a place with trees and plants.
  • Your spine should be straight. Now, close your left nostril with your thumb or finger.
  • Now, take a deep breath by your left nostril and hold it for a few seconds.
  • Now, exhale slowly.
Pingla Nadi

Practice this regularly and after a few days you will feel the changes in you.

Anulom Vilom

In the previous two practices, you are inhaling with one nostril and exhaling with the same nostril. But in anulom vilom pranayam, you do inhaling and exhale in the crossing nostril. Suppose you are inhaling by the left nostril and exhaling with the right nostril and vice versa.

You know that anulom vilom is one of the best pranayams in yoga practices. This might be the reason. This pranayam can help you to activate your 3 nadis. Yes, it can also help you to activate the sushamna nadi too.

Just by doing 5 to 10-minute practices, you will see a big change in your body and mind. You feel very light and calm. Suppose if you do it regularly then how much difference it will make.

Activation of Sushamna Nadi

This Nadi is the most important Nadi among all the three Nadis. If you activate it, then your seven chakras will open and Kundalini Shakti will also awaken inside you. There are many ways to activate this Nadi.

Firstly, there have been instances where Kundalini is accidentally awakened without a person’s knowledge or external factors.

The second method is through yogic practices, primarily Hatha Yoga.

The third method is through initiation by gurus who access the Shakti Path with Brahma Orja (cosmic energy) through their eyes or touch.

I am sharing with you a yogic practice that is also known as Kriya Yoga that can help you to activate the Sushamna Nadi. Kriya Yoga was founded by the Indian Yogi master Lahiri Mahasaya.

Steps to Activate this Nadi:-

  • First, sit in a calm and clean place.
  • Close your eyes and straighten your spine.
  • Now focus on the point between your eyes, as shown in the below Image. We also know this third eye. It is also called sushamna dwar. You can say it is the entry point where you can enter into your sushamna nadi.
  • While doing the above activities focus on your breath, and feel your body, and your existence simultaneously.
  • Slowly you will start entering into sushamna dwar, then Sushamna Nadi, after that Vajra Nadi, then Chitra Nadi, and last Brahma Nadi.
  • After reaching the Brahma Nadi your Sushamna Nadi will activate and you will achieve enlightenment.
Sushamna Nadi

Going from Sushamna Dwar to Brahma Nadi is the journey of enlightenment.

Importance of Sushamna Dwar

You must have seen women in Sanatan Dharma wearing bindi on their foreheads between their eyes. Must have seen men applying tika at the same place. In Sanatan Dharam, nothing is done without any reason. There is a special reason behind doing it. When bindi or tika is applied on the forehead, then our focus automatically is towards Sushamna Dwar.

Sushamna Dwar

You must have seen that even Lord Buddha used to wear a tika on his forehead. Lord Buddha is one of those who achieved Enlightenment.

Our body is full of so many secrets that we do not even know. The God we are trying to find outside is within us only. Adi Shankaracharya explained this to us and many great sages of India explained the same thing. There is no need to do anything special to do all these, just need to look within yourself.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1: What are Nadis?

Nadis are channels through which prana or energy flows in our body, according to ancient Indian philosophy. There are 72,000 nadis in the human body, each with its unique function, and they are considered part of the subtle body.

Q2: How many principal nadis are there?

There are three principal nadis: Ida, Pingala, and Sushumna. These nadis play a vital role in the flow of energy within the body.

Q3: What is Ida Nadi associated with?

Ida Nadi is associated with lunar energy and is influenced by lunar movements. It controls mental and emotional states, is feminine in nature, and is connected to the left nostril.

Q4: What is Pingala Nadi associated with?

Pingala Nadi is associated with solar energy and is influenced by solar activities. It controls physical actions and reactions, is masculine in nature, and is connected to the right nostril.

Q5: What is Sushumna Nadi, and why is it important?

Sushumna Nadi is the most important nadi among the three. It extends from the base of the spine to the top of the brain, connecting all seven prime chakras. Activating Sushumna Nadi is associated with the awakening of Kundalini energy and the attainment of higher states of consciousness.

Q6: How can I activate the 3 fundamental nadis?

You can activate Ida and Pingala nadis through specific breathing exercises. For Sushumna Nadi, various yogic practices such as Kriya Yoga or initiation by experienced gurus are recommended. Focusing on the point between the eyes, known as Sushamna Dwar, is a key aspect of Sushumna Nadi activation.

Q7: Are there any specific practices to activate Ida Nadi?

Yes, one can activate Ida Nadi through a simple breathing exercise. Close the right nostril and take a deep breath through the left nostril, holding it for a few seconds before exhaling slowly.

Q8: How can Pingala Nadi be activated?

Pingala Nadi can be activated by closing the left nostril and taking a deep breath through the right nostril, holding it briefly, and then exhaling slowly.

Q9: What is the significance of Sushamna Dwar?

Sushamna Dwar, or the point between the eyes, is considered the entry point into Sushumna Nadi. Focusing on this point during meditation or yogic practices is believed to aid in the activation of Sushumna Nadi and the journey toward enlightenment.

Q10: Why do people apply bindi or tika on their foreheads?

Applying bindi or tika on the forehead is believed to help focus on Sushamna Dwar. It is a symbolic practice in Sanatan Dharma to direct attention to the point between the eyes, associated with Sushumna Nadi and spiritual awakening.

Q11: Can Nadis be activated through meditation practices?

Yes, various meditation practices, including Kriya Yoga, focus on activating nadis, especially Sushumna Nadi. Meditation on the point between the eyes is considered beneficial for this purpose.

Q12: What is the journey of enlightenment through Sushumna Nadi?

The journey of enlightenment through Sushumna Nadi involves moving from Sushamna Dwar to Brahma Nadi. Activating Sushumna Nadi is associated with the flow of Kundalini energy, leading to the experience of eternal bliss or paramananda.


Saurabh Goel

Read more blogs on Kundalini Awakening: A Spiritual Awakening to the Secret Treasure within You, A Subtle Secret of Meditation: A Visual Journey in Meditation, Vipassana Meditation – A Self-Exploratory Journey, 3 Gunas or 3 Qualities of Nature

Saurabh Goel

Saurabh Goel

He is the Founder and CEO of the Training and Counselling Company ‘Brain Soul & You’. He is an NLP Wellness Coach, Life Coach, Brain analyst, and Trainer for Education, Corporate, and Entrepreneurship. For more than 7 years, he delivered presentations on entrepreneurship, mind programming, and motivation. He did his in IT and later choose to be a successful psychologist. He is helping people in various ways through his counseling and training sessions.

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