When you think of yoga and the word “balance,” postures that improve your physical balance are the first things that come to mind. Poses like 1 Foot or Dancer Pose.
Balance postures are great ways to improve your physical balance while toning and stabilizing your hips and gluteal muscles. But did you know these postures can also balance your energy?
Hang with me while I explain how it works, and then I’ll get to how you can use them in your day-to-day life.
Yoga teaches that we all have 8 main chakras (vital points of energy) and thousands of energy channels called “nadis” that influence our physical, mental, and emotional energy. Some say that there are as many as 70,000 nadis!
Neither the nadis nor the chakras are physical locations, though. You can’t see them just by looking, even if you use a microscope. Instead, they’re thought to be part of the subtle or psychic body that has a very real affect on how we feel energetically.
The three main nadis are:
- Ida—Ida nadi begins on the left side of sushumna nadi and is the source of female or moon energy.
- Pingala— Pingala nadi is associated with male or sun energy. It begins and ends on the right side of sushumna nadi.
- Sushumna— Sushumna nadi flows upward along your spine from mooladhara (your root chakra located in your perineal area) to ajna (the chakra at your eyebrow center) and is associated with creativity, intuition, and potential enlightenment!
These three psychic energy centers flow around and through your spine. They move in a figure eight pattern between mooladhara and ajna.
Yoga theory says that you balance ida and pingala nadi, sushumna will flow freely and your physical, mental, and emotional life will be in balance.
Everyone wants a balanced life, right?
The energy flow of your body changes every 1-2 hours. When you’re low on energy or tired, your ida nadi (moon energy) is flowing more freely.
If you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep, your pingala nadi (sun energy) is probably wide open. Instead of tossing and turning, it might be a better idea to just get out of bed and do some work.
If you have an amazing idea that comes to you, seemingly out of nowhere, or you solved a problem that’s been bothering you for a while, your sushumna nadi is flowing well.
Theory Is Great, But What’s That Got To Do With Real Life?
If you know how your nadis are flowing, you can use yoga to restore any imbalance. For example, you can calm yourself or give a bump to your energy. The “nadi test” shows you if you’re balanced.
Take The “Nadi Test”
Using your right hand, place your index finger and thumb on the right and left sides of your nose. Using your thumb, close your right nostril, and continue to breathe through the left nostril. How is the air flowing? Easily or is with some difficulty?
Make a mental note and repeat by using the index finger to close the left nostril. Ideally, especially if it is the middle of the day, both nostrils will flow freely. Both flowing freely indicates that sushumna is flowing and you are at your most creative.
If one nostril is blocked or restricted, you have some nadi imbalance. By the way, don’t use this test if you have a head cold because the flow of air in the nostrils is likely impaired anyway.
How Do You Balance Your Energy?
Try Alternate Nostril breathing. This exercise not only brings your body, mind and spirit into balance, but it also has a calming effect and reduces physical, mental, and emotional stress.
Alternate Nostril Breathing
- Begin in a comfortable seated position with your spine straight, head to the center, and your hands resting gently on your knees or in your lap.
- Once still, shift your attention to your breath and begin to follow your natural breath.
- Notice the flow of your breath into your nostrils.
- Bring your right hand up to the center of your forehead placing your index and middle finger between your eye brows. Your right thumb rests lightly on your right nostril.
- Begin Alternate Nostril breathing by closing your right nostril with your right thumb. Take 5 breaths in and out through your left nostril.
- Using your ring finger of your left hand close your left nostril and take 5 breaths in and out through your right nostril.
- Release your hands back to your knees or lap and take 5 breaths through both nostrils.
- Bring your right hand back into position and begin again by closing your right nostril with your left thumb.
- Continue the above process for a total of 3-5 rounds.
Benefits: Alternate Nostril Breathing is a balancing breath practice that has a calming effect on your brain. It facilitates the flow of breath in your nostrils and helps to bring your breath and body into balance.
You can also experiment with asanas (yoga postures), especially those that alternate between the right and left sides of your body, to change the flow of energy and induce a state of balance.
Begin with the “nadi test.” Then pick a yoga posture and begin the posture on the same side where air didn’t flow freely.
If you feel sluggish and don’t want to try the nadi test, pick a yoga posture and start on your right side. That stimulates pingala nadi, or your sun side, to increase your physical or mental energy.
The opposite is true if you feel anxious, hyperactive, or need to focus for a big presentation later in the day. For those cases, begin the yoga posture on the left side of your body to activate ida nadi, your moon side.
Are both nostrils wide open and with the breath flowing freely? Lucky you! This is a sign that your creative juices are flowing, and now is the best time for you to create. Get to work on that project you’ve been putting off or begin writing that book you’ve always wanted to write!
Along with a healthy diet and enough rest, the above exercises will help you take an active role in managing your energy.
Practice them regularly to hone your physical, mental, and emotional awareness. You’ll also improve your outlook and pave the way for optimal life experiences and a better, more balanced ‘you.’
If you’re ready for yoga to revitalize your life and body, love knowing that you can practice Kris’s yoga anywhere, would like to bring your sexy body back, and you want even more great movements and postures, try her Shapeshifter Yoga HERE!