One of the most comprehensive systems for describing man in all his dimensions in the seven chakra model of kundalini yoga. The model not only helps us understand the total human being, but also gives us a framework from which we can work towards our spiritual evolution.
In this article I want to give a brief overview of the chakra system, but more importantly I want to explain what the psychic channels (nadis) are, how we can use that knowledge to help us make progress on our journey towards enlightenment.
Chakras are essentially multidimensional energy vortexes that help transmute and conduct energy between the different bodies that make up a human being. These three bodies are the physical, emotional and mental sheaths and the chakas move energy between them. There are seven important chakras in all and they lie in the emotional body, also sometimes called the energetic body. The first chakra resides at the base of the spine, while the seventh lies at the crown of the head. The other five reside in between.
In this energetic body also lies a vast network of fine channels which are called nadis. These nadis, or psychic channels, carry prana or life-force throughout the system, and prana nourishes and sustains the person. Blockages in the nadis disrupts this flow of prana, prevents the chakras from working at optimum capacity, which in turn creates imbalances and problems for the body and personality.
Of all the nadis (a reputed 72,000) of the network of psychic channels, there are three that are most important. These three are the ida, pingala and shushumna. The shushumna is the central channel that run through the center of the spine, with the ida starting from the left of it and the pingala starting from the right of it. The ida and pingala then intertwine the shushumna crossing over at each chakra point up to when they reach the Third Eye Chakra in the center of the brain. Here all three nadis end.
The ida nadi is the ying energy of the body. It is responsible for cooling, passive, meditative, feminine energy, while the pingala nadi is the yang energy of the body. It is responsible for the hot, active, masculine energy of the body. Normally, one of these channels is more active than the other at any given time of the day and prana is flowing through this more active channel at that time.
The key to opening, healing and balancing the chakras lies in having prana flow through shushumna. This happens when ida and pingala are brought into immaculate balance. Kundalini yoga can be thought of nothing more than a science to activate flow of prana though shushumna. All the famous kundalini yoga sets (kriyas), pranayamas (breathing exercises), mantras and meditations are designed to clear blockages in the nadi system, balance ida and pingala and cause shushumna to flow.
As prana flows through shushumna, it activates each of the chakras, which in turn bestows health to the physical region where that chakra lies. In addition, having the chakras open also bestows emotional and mental balance for the emotions that that particular chakra is responsible for. Once the system is brought to an optimal level, energy (kundalini shakti) can flow freely up and down the central channel and finally up into the crown chakra. This then brings about a transformation of consciousness and the yogi penetrates the veil of separate existence and experiences enlightenment.
Anmol Mehta is a Yoga Teacher & Zen Expert. See Free Online Yoga Videos and explore Free Kundalini Yoga Poses & Exercises on his extensive Meditation and Yoga site, Free Online Guided Meditation Techniques.