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The Nadis

I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about the nadis, the 72,000 pranic channels that carry salty liquids like blood and lymph and elements like oxygen and carbon dioxide through the body.

They run to the finger tips and toes, from the ears and eyes, through the muscles and organs. They send messages from the left brain to the right, from the back to the front, from the middle to the extremities and back again. Some are coated in insulation and contain positive and negative electrical impulses. They carry secretions and nutrients. They vibrate.

They number so many that it is impossible to keep track of them all. Lately I use yoga, Tai Chi, pranayama and meditation to open them one by one. It’s like picking brambles off a wooded path. With the help of others I slowly do heavier work, lifting the bigger boulders that block the capacity for safe passage.

In a class I’m taking on the History of Om, the teacher quotes from the Chandogya Upanishad about the orange, blue, red, yellow and white veins of the heart. They descend from the sun to the heart and back again. Like a rainbowed highway to eternity.

“One hundred and one, the veins of the heart.

One of them runs up to the crown of the head.

Going up by it, he reaches the immortal.

The rest, in their ascent, spread out in all directions.”

Earlier in the Chandogya Upanishad, a student wanders from place to place wanting know Brahman. He eventually goes to the “fires” for instruction. They explain to him that breath, space and joy are all one. He doesn’t quite understand this but with more wandering and questioning he eventually uncovers the secrets of prana for himself and shines.

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