What is Ida Nadi?

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Ida Nadi (comfort river)

Ida Nadi Definition

इडा – Ida: translates to “comfort”, represents the left of the body, the lunar, the feminine

नाड़ी – Nāḍī: translates to “river’, energy channels within the body

Ida Nāḍī = the energy channel on the left of the spine

In yoga, the Ida Nadi is one of the three main energy channels or nadis that run throughout the body. It is said to be the lunar channel, associated with the qualities of the moon, such as calmness, receptivity, and coolness.

illustration of the spiritual body with the ida nadi, shushuma nadi and pingala nadi
The subtle energy system”, Scot Nelson, licensed under CCC0 1.0

Ida Nadi Deep Dive

The Ida Nadi begins at the base of the spine (the Root Chakra) and runs up the left side of the body to the top of the head (the Crown Chakra) and down the front, crossing with the Pingala Nadi at the center of the forehead, or the third eye/ Ajna Chakra and ending at the left nostril.

It is believed to be connected to the parasympathetic nervous system and is associated with the cooling and calming ‘yin’ aspects of the body.

The Ida Nadi is one of three energy channels that are often mentioned within yogic texts:

  1. The Ida Nadi
  2. The Pingala Nadi
  3. The Sushumna Nadi

The Pingala, meaning “tawny”, begins at the right of the Sushumna at the base of the spine, running up the right side of the spine and down the front of the body. The Pingala Nadi is associated with the sympathetic nervous system.

The Sushumna, meaning “most gracious”, is the largest energy channel sitting in the central channel at the spine, connecting the root chakra to the crown chakra. It is here that kundalini energy is said to rise from the base of the spine to the crown.

The Ida and Pingala Nadis spiral around the Sushumna where they cross at each chakra point. These two nadis can be linked with the two hemispheres of the brain.

When the Nadi channels are clear, we can experience energy and vitality in the body and mind.

Balancing the Ida Nadi is said to help bring about a state of relaxation, calmness, and peace. Practices that are said to stimulate and balance the Ida Nadi include pranayama (breathing exercises), meditation, and asanas (yoga postures) that emphasize the left side of the body.

a woman seated on her bed practicing nadi shodhana

Ida Nadi in Your Life

There are a number of yoga and pranayama techniques you can use to stimulate and balance the Ida Nadi. Here are some examples:

Nadi Shodhana Pranayama

Also known as alternate nostril breathing, this pranayama practice is said to balance both the Ida and Pingala Nadis.

To perform this practice, sit comfortably and close your right nostril with your thumb. Inhale deeply through your left nostril, then close your left nostril with your ring finger and exhale through your right nostril.

Inhale through your right nostril, close it with your thumb, and exhale through your left nostril. Repeat for several rounds.

Chandra Namaskar

This is a series of yoga postures that are said to stimulate the Ida Nadi and calm the mind. This sequence is also known as Moon Salutation, as it is associated with the moon’s energy.

It typically includes postures like Mountain Pose, Forward Fold, Low Lunge, and Warrior II, performed in a flowing sequence.

Meditative practices

Practices like mindfulness meditation, yoga nidra, and guided relaxation are also said to stimulate the Ida Nadi and promote relaxation and calmness.

Cooling Asanas

Asanas that emphasize the left side of the body are also said to stimulate the Ida Nadi. These include poses such as Trikonasana (Triangle Pose), Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose), and Viparita Karani (Legs-Up-The-Wall Pose).

These poses can be held for a few breaths to several minutes, depending on your comfort level.

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To go deep and expand your yogic knowledge, access our free Yoga Terms Encyclopedia, where we host a profound wealth of ancient and timeless yogic wisdom in an accessible modern format.

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Amy is a yoga teacher and practitioner based in Brighton.

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