PRANA, VAYUS, NADIS & KUNDALINI
PRANA IS THE LIFE FORCE INTERPENETRATING EVERY ATOM of your form and indeed the universe. Apana refers to the eliminative functions of the body. These functions operate at all levels, both gross and subtle to expel negative energy and waste. For the purpose of raising kundalini, let us describe prana as the “vital air” above the navel, and apana as the “vital air” below the navel.
There are 72,000 currents or nadis which emanate from the Navel Point and end in the hands and feet. It is through these that the prana is carried to all the parts of the body. Of these 72,000 nadis there are three which are most important: the ida, the pingala, and the sushmuna. The ida and pingala travel the distance between the nostrils (ida, left, and pingala, right) and the base of the spine. The sushmuna originates from the base of the spine where the three nadis meet, and travels up the center of the spine to the top of the head. This center at the base of the spine is called the seat of the kundalini and is the place where the kundalini energy lies dormant. The ida represents the negatively charged energy (apana) or lunar energy which eliminates body wastes and has a calming, cooling and restorative effect upon the body and mind. The pingala carries the positively charged energy (prana) which has an energizing and heat producing effect on the body and mind.
The kundalini will not awaken and rise until these two energies—prana (positive) and apana (negative)—are integrated and balanced in the Root Chakra. This pressure is required to raise the kundalini and cause its ascendance through sushmuna, also called the Silver Cord.
Thus, through inhalation and retention, prana is directed down to the Navel Chakra, while the apana, through exhalation and retention, is drawn upward from the Root Chakra to the Navel Point. The meeting and uniting of the two forces in the pranic cavity creates tremendous heat in the Navel Chakra—not hot heat, but white heat. The combined energies are often described as energizing the filament of sushmuna, meaning that sushmuna lights up like the filament in a light globe suddenly plugged into its source of electric power.
Responding to breath control and mental direction, the integrated energies depart the Navel Chakra and descend to the Root Chakra where they stimulate the kundalini. Further breath and the application of the will causes the kundalini energy to rise, charging the higher centers of consciousness. In this way the lower forms of energy can be transmuted into higher forms.
The first law of thermodynamics is that energy can neither be created nor destroyed, but rather, it can be changed from one form to another. In order for this energy to flow, certain blockages and impurities in the nerves have to be removed and the channels must be cleansed. This is most effectively done through the power of the breath and mantra in conjunction with various postures and locks.
Kundalini Yoga teaches that to raise the energy through the sushmuna, the student can apply hydraulic locks, which implies the conscious application of pressure. It requires such pressure to raise kundalini and the prana-apana of the lower chakras and send them ascending up the sushmuna. Pressure in the Root Chakra sends apana-ida force up to the Navel Chakra. Applying the hydraulic lock in the diaphragm sends it further upwards to the Throat Chakra. From there, the Neck Lock takes it into the brain to complete its journey.
In order to stimulate the pineal gland, or the seat of the soul, the Tenth Gate or Crown Chakra at the top of the head must be “unsealed.” Under normal circumstances the gate remains sealed. But when kundalini heat rises, the pineal begins to transmit a beam of radiation and project it toward the pituitary. The pituitary, in turn, projects impulsations, and something like a “cosmic color vision.” When both the pituitary and pineal are aroused and unite in their mystic marriage union in the third ventricle, the majestic Third Eye, the gate to the Crown Chakra opens."