After our discussion in the class about breathing techniques and mentioning swara, I decided to write few words about swara and the three major nadis and I hope this will be sufficient for this assignment.
Swara is an ancient breathing science which unites the different vibrations created from the sound and rhythms of breathing and alters our psycho-physiological activity. Swara can help in all aspects of life and practically explains what one should do in order to make life harmonious and healthy. It can also be very powerful and it is very important to practice it with good intentions as otherwise it could be possible to harm yourself or someone else (maybe not so easy for this to happen in the modern world we live where the subtle vibrations most of the times maybe extremely low).
This ancient science is extremely broad and realizes the cosmic consciousness through the control and manipulation of breath (prana). It associates the breath with the activities of sun, moon, the various seasons, the physical and mental conditions of individuals etc. This valuable science enables us to enrich our lives physiologically, mentally and spiritually with full awareness. It actually aims to directly awaking the highest human potential.
It is important to understand that most of the time breathing occurs only through one nostril. Sometimes the left nostril is active and sometimes the right. In rare times both nostrils are active. Physiologically it has a particular effect on the nervous system, producing a certain type of stimulus and has a specific influence on brain which requires very systematic regulation. Usually, every hour or so, the active nostril changes and this rhythm regulates all the psychological and physiological processes.
The flow of breath creates a flow of energy (prana) in the body. It is important though not to confuse swara breathing with pranayama, which involves a different aspect of breath. Although both deal with prana, swara emphasizes the analysis of the breath and the significance of different pranic rhythms and understanding their effects in body and mind. The different patterns of the breath either in right, left or both nostrils can influence our worldly affairs, either positively or negatively. It also influences the spiritual aspect of life. This science of breath, deals with the interaction between cosmic rhythm and individual pranic patterns in each person. Different rhythms create specific physical, mental, and emotional patterns and alter the state of consciousness at all levels i.e. conscious, subconscious and unconscious, which are experienced in daily life. Pranayama involves techniques to redirect, store and control prana or even strengthen, purify and balance the nadis.
This flow of energy passes through energy channels that we have in our body and which are called nadis. The subtle body has many thousands nadis and the most important that are known is ida, pingala, and sushumna. Ida or Chandra (cold/blue) is frequently called the moon or Prakriti channel and is situated on the left side of the spine and so it rules all the nadis of the left half of the body. Pingala or Surya (hot/red) called the sun channel and the symbol of the Purusha principle and is situated in the right side of the spine and so it rules the nadis on the right side of the body. The third and the most important nadi of the subtle body is the sushumna nadi. Sushumna joins the center of the skull to the pelvic plexus and is known as the meru danda, the axis of the human body. Sushumna represents the perfect balance between the two polarities, the right and left, sun and moon, consciousness and energy. Hidden inside the core of the sushumna nadi is an extra subtle channel called the vajrani which runs the entire length of the sushumna. Within the vajrani is another subtle pathway known as the chitrani through which runs the shining Brahma nadi, the cause of yogic samadhi and enlightenment. The Shat Chakra Nirupana, beautifully described these extra subtle pathways as follows:
“She ( Chitrani and the Brahma nadi) is beautiful like a chain of lightning and fine like a lotus fiber, and shines in the minds of sages. She is subtle; the awakener of pure knowledge; the embodiment of bliss and pure consciousness. The Brahma-dvara, entrance to the region of ambrosia, shines in her mouth.”
When breathing through the left nostril we activate ida and the right brain hemisphere is also activated. When breathing through the right nostril we activate pingala and the left brain hemisphere is activated as well. When both nostrils function together equally then the sushumna (the main channel) is activated.
When the left nostril (ida) remains active, prana moves in a particular direction and the mental energy is predominant, and the pranic energy is weak.
When the right nostril flows (pingala), the pranic forces are stronger and the mental aspect is weak. Thus by making the prana flow through the right nostril during the night, one can have a good sleep, work the whole day without becoming tired, and can easily digest food.
When both nostrils operate together (Sushamna) it indicates that the spiritual energy, the force of atma, is in power. Therefore equalizing the breath is important.
Generally, when the ida nadi (breath through the left nostril) is active you can take important decisions, plan for something that has long-term effects, do wise thinking, a thorough study, drawing an architectural plan, plan a journey, selecting a career, buy a house or a jewelry, do a research, study, practice spiritual exercises etc. A creative, calm and thoughtful state of the mind associated with supportive endocrine activity implies upward flow of prana from the corresponding extrasensory charkas. A harmonious breathing through the left nostril in this case also indicates that the brain and the molecular, cellular components and organs of the body are receiving adequate amounts of the subtle currents of vital energy. That is why the ida is referred as auspicious for the above kinds of constructive, beneficial, provident and intellectual actions.
When breathing through the right nostril and therefore the pingala nadi is active, activities which are violent, invigorating, aggressive and strong like fighting, struggling against a barrier, forceful debating or arguing, hunting, sexual coupling, practicing a tantra, do tough/hard works in general, difficult physical exercises, etc, can be performed more successfully. The intense, rapid, energizing flow of prana associated with this nadi is essential for awakening the mental and bodily faculties.
The moments when both ida and pingala are active and therefore the prana flows through the sushumna nadi are of great importance for spiritual endeavors. This duration is referred as sandhikla, a junction. For example evening is the sandhikla between a day and night. Similarly the phase of about early hours of morning till the dawn of the new day is the sandhikla between a night and the next day. During these time-intervals is the best time to do devotional practices like Pranayama, meditation etc. Eating, sleeping, or any worldly activity during these hours is harmful for our physical and mental fitness. The equilibrium state of swaras when the prana flows through the sushumna is like a blessed opportunity for the individual self to leap forward in spiritual elevation. These are the moments when all vices, illusions, attachments and ego are naturally pacified and the divine inspirations and enlightened thoughts are awakened. Any spiritual determination, saintly thought or feeling occurred in these rare moments is inspired by the soul and therefore proves to be absolute. It is said that blessings and curses said in these moments surely materialize.
Sushumna is a powerful channel which can act like fire and is said to burn all worldly pursuits. It is best to use it only for meditation and other spiritual practices. When this vital breath flows through this nadi, suspend all secular occupations. Do not curse or bless anyone. Just sit in a quiet, clean place and meditate on your chosen deity or on the formless, transcendental Reality. It is said in the ancient svarodaya texts that even rituals and pilgrimages are useless during the flow of the sushumna. This channel brings either death or spiritual bliss. There is no need to take the word death here too literally. It is likely that the death referred to in the svarodaya texts is the end of the ego and not the death of the physical body. According to the Tantras, death of the "ego" is always considered to be the real death. Once the sense of "I-ness"-the sense that I am different from the cosmos has gone, physical life or death loses its meaning. Death is no longer looked upon as annihilation, but as change from one level of consciousness to another.
The mystic knowledge of the sadhanas of swara is activating the sublime energy vibrations in the pancha tattvas and awakening the supernatural potentials. Those who are awaken, many times are found having clairvoyance, clairaudience, prophetic precognition and other supra mental faculties. They can grasp the subtle vibrations of ether and can therefore sense the happening of events much before their materialization in the sentient world.
When we apply the swara science, the three nadis mentioned and described above in combination with the chakras, the pancha tattvas and other elements, we can become aware of subtle changes which take place all the time in our body and mind and we can achieve a lot for our physiological, mental and spiritual evolvement. I understand that this science have much more qualities that I could not examine yet in order to elaborate in more detail. Just to mention that each nadi has its own name, planet, nature, gender, deity, color, time, element, sign, day, direction, number etc. It can be used through different techniques for specific purpose during different times, days, periods of the year etc. You may even regulate what gender will be the child you will born and what type of life will have. You may be able to predict death or you can extend the lifespan to many more years. You can use elevated energy to heal directly or you can energize natural herbs that can be used as medicines.
Finally, through my research I came across some interview where it was said that studies have indicated that the performance efficiencies of verbal and spatial tasks during both phases of the nasal cycle demonstrated that verbal efficiency is greater while the subjects were breathing primarily in the right and that spatial skills were enhanced during left nostril dominance. This supports the theory of contralateral dominance in the nostril/hemisphere relationship, and the different functions of nadi.
Studies have also shown that schizophrenia is associated with greater left brain hemisphere dysfunction and that depression and the other affective disorders are associated with greater right hemisphere dysfunction. This also justifies the theory that blockages in the pingala nadi lead to schizophrenia, and that blockages in the ida nadi lead to depression. Depression is the result of emotional blockage, which is controlled by the ida nadi. It has been suggested that the pituitary hormonal secretions, cardiovascular function, and fuel regulation are associated with the nasal cycle. Dominance by the left nostril improves the functioning of the immune system. Swara justifies this concept as it states that the left nadi provides nectar and strength for the body.
The fascinating thing about this science is that is suggesting that by being aware of the dominant nostril you can manipulate the results of what you are about to do and ensure in advance the success and positive outcome of any action that follows.
Step by step class
Pranayama & The Art Of Breathing
by Christine Breese, D.D., Ph.D.
Nature's Finer Forces & The Science of Breath (Pranayama Yoga)
by Rama Prasad
SECRET POWER OF TANTRIK BREATHING
By Swami Sivapriyananda
by RAM VAKKALANKA
Diagnose, Cure and Empower Yourself By Currents of Breath
by Pandit Shriram Sharma Acharya
The mysteries of fire kundalini yoga
By Samael Aun Weor