Prana, Nadis, Bandas and Mudras
The translation of the word "Prana" from sanskrit is "life force" or "vital principal."
Prana is the collection of all of the energy in the universe, living and inanimate. Cosmic energy. Things we'll never be able to reach or comprehend, and all that other stuff we do know about.
The breathing techniques used for expanding Prana. In Sanskrit "ayama" means expansion. So using breath to expand our life force. Pranayama is a tool we have to cleanse the nadis; allowing increased flow of prana. Knowing that our breath has an effect on the energy we give and receive is the first step to controlling that breath. And Swami always says,
Bandas, or muscular locks, are used along with breath control. This lock and breath are meant to isolate or flow energy through the body.
We have 3 Bandas in our bodies:
Mula Bandha- Associated with the root chakra and the lower body. Contracting the perineum muscles locks your Mula Bandha.
Uddiyana Bandha- Associated with the middle chakras. Pulling abdominal muscles towards the spine locks the Uddiyana Bandha.
Jalandhara Bandha- Associated with the throat chakra and the head, neck and chest. Contracting the neck and throat, while pulling the chin in towards the chest, and syncing with the suprasternal notch locks the Jalandhara Bandha.
Maha Bandha- A combination of all 3 bandas simultaneously. This practice with pranayama can help to restore energy and refresh the entire psyche.
Symbolic hand gestures associated with a mantra. It is the physical representation of a mantra. Each finger represents a body of energy, a planet, a chakra, a characteristic and an emotion.
Sanskrit meaning: Linking self with Universal Consciousness.
Mud= delight or pleasure
Dru= draw forth
Used together with Bandas and Pranayama, Mudras
Nadis are meridians or vessels for vital force (prana) to flow through the body. We all have 3 primary and 14 principal nadis in our bodies. Seven of primary nadis correspond with each chakra. The other seven are located in the hand and wrist. All the primary nadis that are associated with a chakra begin at the Muladhara Chakra.
SUSHUMNA- Runs along the center of the spine. It's the central channel; the river Saraswati. The connection to collective consciousness and the autonomous nervous system. Our Dharma and reflection of the universe.
IDA- Runs along the left side of the spine. Associated with the feminine being and the moon; the river Ganga. The Ida ends up in our left nostril, caters to the left sympathetic system. It is a channel for our emotional being and our past. The Ida is connected to the right side and the back of the brain. This is where our subconscious mind gets information.
PINGKALA- Runs along the right side of the spine. Associated with the masculine being and the sun; the river Yamuna. Pingkala ends up in our right nostril and caters to the right sympathetic nervous system. It is connected with the left side and the front of the brain. Pingkala is a channel for our supraconcious mind. It is where our mind stores thoughts we create about our future.
The nadis help to flow energy through to awaken the serpent that sleeps at the base of our spines (Kundalini). This helps to push out static energy built up from lack of movement throughout the day. The end goal is to tune into your conscious and subconscious mind; creating a deeper connection to the universe.
This is a very general introduction to the topics given. Each one could be studied in depth for months. If any of them spark your interest they each deserve the special attention. We just wanted to do a brief overview to introduce the terminology to help clarify the connection with our content.
Thanks for reading!