Central to all the practices of Yoga is the movement of Prana, life force or vital energy. Prana is in matter, but it is not matter. It is in air but it is not oxygen. Through the practice of asanas and pranayama, more prana is taken in and stored in the body, bringing great vitality and strength. Prana flows though the body by way of the Nadis, energy channels. According to the ancient yogis, there are about 72,000 nadis. There are 3 main nadis, the most important is Sushumna which runs through the very core of the body from the perineum to the crown of the head. On either side of Sushumna are Pingala nadi and Ida nadi.
Ida is the left channel. Ida is white, feminine, cold, represents the moon and is associated with the river Ganga (Ganges). Originating in Muladhara (the base chakra), Ida ends up in the left nostril.
Pingala is the right channel. Pingala is red, masculine, hot, represents the sun and is associated with the river Yamuna. Originating in Muladhara (the base chakra), Pingala ends up in the right nostril.
Sushumna is the central channel passing through the main chakras and is associated with the river Saraswati. Running up the body from just below Muladhara chakra, the base chakra to Sahasrara chakra at the crown of the head.
Chakra is the Sanskrit word for 'Wheel of Light or Energy'. We have seven major chakras, the highest is Sahasrara Chakra, beyond Sushumna at the crown of the head.
Muladhara Chakra, (the base chakra) is the meeting place of the three main nadis and is known as Yukta Triveni meaning Three Streams. In Muladhara Chakra, Shakti, the static unmanifested Kundalini, is symbolized by a serpent coiled into three and a half circles around the central axis Svayambhu-linga at the base of the spine. The serpent lies blocking the entrance to Sushumna with his mouth. Sushumna remains closed at its lower end as long as Kundalini is not awakened.
The techniques of Hatha Yoga consists of using Prana to awaken kundalini, by guiding its circulatory movement through Ida and Pingala down to the base of the spine into the space where Kundalini lies coiled. The asanas help to purify the body, speech and mind so that when Shakti Kundalini awakens it rises up Sushumna, energizing the seven chakras.
As Kundalini passes through each of the main chakras, different states of consciousness are experienced. When Kundalini reaches the Sahasrara Chakra the yogi attains samadhi, the liberation of the bondage of the ego or 'I' illusion. This means to become master of the body and emotions, no longer the slave. A liberated being still operates on the material plane but has reached a level of consciousness and existence beyond time, space and causation of negative karma...