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WHAT IS THE LITERAL MEANING OF NADI SHUDDHI ?------- NADI SHUDDHI is a term that refers to the cleansing of the subtle channels through which life-force energy (prana) travels in the body.A literal translation of the term Nadi Suddhi means, ‘the purification of the invisible energy channels.’ The term comes from the Sanskrit nadi, which roughly translates as “nerves,” “channels” or “flow or vein for the passage of air or energy.,” . Shuddhi, which means “cleansing” or “purifying.” The cleansing is performed via a pranayama or yogic breathing exercise. The whole process of cleaning and purifying of nerves in the body is called “nadi suddhi pranayama.” This exercise cleans arteries, veins, arterioles, and capillaries. The whole air passage is purified and high oxygen intake is initiated in this process. PREPARATION & PURIFICATION---- It is essential to prepare the body-prana-mind complex to an optimum level before embarking upon higher yogic sadhanas or trying to realize one's potential. The preparation includes purifying the body of various dietary and metabolic waste products and the mind of impurities such as-- the six enemies of passion, anger, pride, delusion, jealousy and greed. Then one has to control vikshepa, the oscillating nature of the mind, and remove avarana, wrong understanding. Wrong understanding is due to the kleshas,the five afflictions: ---- 1-Ignorance, 2-I-ness, 3-Attachment, 4-Repulsion (a feeling of intense distaste) 5-Fear of loss. There are many important purification practices in yoga, including the shatkarmas and the yamas and niyamas,as well as pranayamas. These practices work variously on the physical, mental and pranic dimensions of the human being, but the effects are experienced at all levels.Nadi shodhana pranayama, , is the most commonly practiced pranayama. It is an important purification practice because it clears obstructions in the flow of prana in the nadis. According to the Hatha Yoga Pradipika and Gheranda Samhita ,the yogi is ready to practice kumbhaka, breath retention, only after the nadis and chakras are purified. In raja yoga and hatha yoga, pranayama practices always precede meditation practices. This implies that every hatha and raja yoga aspirant has to practice and perfect nadi shodhana pranayama on the yogic journey. CAUSE OF OBSTRUCTION IN THE NADIS--- When a person knowingly or unknowingly misuses the body-mind apparatus for a considerable period of time, the three doshas or humours, kapha, vata and pitta, become imbalanced, blocking the free flow of prana in the nadis. These impurities are the waste and residue of sensual living and over-indulgence in desires. Blockages in the nadis result from:----- 1. Lack of adequate physical movement 2. Incorrect posture 3. Pooling of prana in one area depriving the other areas, e.g. in occupations demanding intense and prolonged mental activity or only a set pattern of movement or posture 4. Harmful diet and products of digestion, e.g. acidic diet 5. Excessive accumulation of metabolic waste products .. 6. Unbalanced and unharmonious lifestyle and misuse of the body-mind apparatus, leading to the accumulation of toxic products, e.g. inadequate sleep, intense physical activity after food, excessive or wrongly timed mental or sexual activities, failure to adapt to the rhythms of nature 7. Mental impurities, as described above 8. Direct intake of toxins, e.g. addictive substances. The practice of nadi shodhana pranayama will help to clear the accumulated pranic blockages, purifying the nadis. WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THESE NADIS ARE BLOCKED?----- Ida, Pingala and Sushumna are three of the most important nadis in the human body. When the Ida nadi is not functioning smoothly or is blocked, one experiences cold, depression, low mental energy and sluggish digestion, blocked left nostril. Whereas when the Pingala nadi is not smoothly functioning or is blocked, one will experience heat, quick temper and irritation, itching body, dry skin and throat, excessive appetite, excessive physical or sexual energy, and blocked right nostril. WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF PURIFICATION ?---- The signs of purification of the nadis are the same as the indicators of balance in the three doshas. Symptoms of physical disorder or disease disappear and there is a feeling of lightness in the body and the mind. Excessive fat and mucus disappear, indicating balance in kapha, stability and firmness in the body and mind become noticeable with balance in vata, and the internal organs, especially the digestive system and the intellect, start functioning efficiently when pitta is balanced. The urge to eat lessens, excretion is regular and efficient, the voice becomes deeper, steadier and sweeter, the need for sleep is reduced, and the quality of thoughts and meditation improve. The Hatha Yoga Pradipika (2:19_20) says that when the nadis are purified, the body becomes thin and glows, the digestive power increases, the inner sound or nadaawakens and one becomes free from disease. BENEFITS OF NADI SHUDDHI--------- Besides cleansing the nadis, nadi shuddhi is believed to balance the right and left sides of the brain and is thought to have these additional benefits: 1-Strengthens the lungs 2-Improves blood circulation, thereby improving the function of the rest of the body's organs 3-Increases energy 4-Calms the nervous system, reducing stress and anxiety 5-Helps remove excess body heat 6-Reduces body odor 7-Boosts the immune system 8-Stills the mind 9-Balance the swara 10- Stimulate ajna and mooladhara chakras. 11-Improve the speed of performing repetitive mathematical tasks accurately 12- Increase breath holding time. 13- Increase peak expiratory flow rate. 14-. Normalize pulse rate and set it at a reduced normal value 15- Normalize systolic and diastolic blood pressure (SBP & DBP) and set them at reduced normal values WHAT IS THE PROCESS OF NADI SHUDDHI ?--- Nadi shodhana pranayama, with its various stages and combinations, is a unique practice that covers the full spectrum of applications, starting from the basic application of purification to preparing pranamaya kosha, the pranic body, for higher spiritual progress NADI SHODHAN PRANAYAMA-- (YOGIC SUBTLE NERVE PURIFICATION )---- 3- Naadi Shodhan Pranayama (Yogic subtle nerve purification). Three times while inhaling and exhaling from the left nostril meditate on the cool radiant moon on the Navel Chakra. Three times while inhaling and exhaling from the right nostril meditate on the warm radiant sun on the Navel Chakra. Once inhale from both nostrils, shut the nostrils and exhale slowly from the mouth. All these 7 steps put together makes 1 Naadi Shodhan Pranayama (Yogic subtle nerve purification). 1- In predawn hours facing the east, with spine erect sit cross legged. Keep the eye lids half shut. Keep a gentle smile on your face. Place your left hand on the left knee, palms open to the sky or in Chin Mudra (thumb and index finger gently touching at the tips). 2- Close the right nostril. Inhale air from the left nostril and keep on pulling it till the Navel Chakra.We will use the ring finger and middle finger to open or close the left nostril and thumb for the right nostril. 3- Meditate on the fact that in the navel area is present the full moon like cool light. The inhaled air is touching it. 4- Stop the breath from going out for as long as you had inhaled it. Meditate that the inhaled air which touched the cool full moon like light of Navel Chakra is itself becoming cool and radiant. 5- Now exhale air from the same nostril from which you inhaled air. Meditate that the air (exhalation) which has become cool and radiant on touching the Navel Chakra is making the Ida subtle nerve (from which it is exhaled) cool and radiant while exhaling. 6- For sometime let the exhaled air remain outside (do not inhale) and again start the above mentioned process. From the left nostril inhale air and from it, exhale too. Close the right nostril with the right thumb. Do this cycle 3 times. 7-Just as you had done Poorak, Kumbhak, Rechak, Bahya Kumbhak from the left nostril in the same way do it from the right nostril. In the Navel Chakra meditate on the sun instead of the moon. While exhaling air think that the air being exhaled while touching the sun in the navel is rendering the breathing tube warm and radiant. 8- While closing the left nostril, perform the above action 3 times. 9- Now open both nostrils. Inhale air simultaneously from both nostrils and do not let it go out (do not exhale). While opening the mouth exhale air from it. This action should be carried out only once. After practicing the above the aspirant or Sadhak will get divine experiences. CAUTIONS to be Taken While Practicing Nadi Shodhan Pranayama ------ 1-Do not force the breathing, and keep the flow gentle and natural. Do not breathe from the mouth or make any sound while breathing. 2-Place the fingers very lightly .There is no need to apply any pressure.There should be no forced or strained breathing during the exercise, as this can prove harmful to the body 3-In case you feel dull and are yawning after practicing Nadi Shodhan pranayama, check the time you take to inhale and exhale. Your exhalation should be longer than inhalation. 4-If you suffer from high blood pressure, you should avoid .. 5-It is a good idea to do a short meditation after doing Nadi Shodhan pranayama. .............SHIVOHAM...........