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The main nadis include Shushumna, Ida and Pingala, but there are sometimes believed to be 72,000 of them. They all start from the central channel of the chakras to the periphery where they gradually become thinner.
Nadis are thought to carry a life force energy known as prana in Sanskrit, or qi in Chinese-based systems. They are also said to have an extrasensory function, playing a part in empathic and instinctive responses.
Nadis are sometimes viewed as extending only to the skin of the body, but are often thought to extend to the boundary of the aura.
The Ida and Pingala nadis are often seen as referring to the two hemispheres of the brain. Pingala is the extroverted(Active), solar nadi, and corresponds to the left hand side of the brain. Ida is the introverted, lunar nadi, and corresponds to the right hand side of the brain.
The two nadis are are believed to be stimulated through different practices, including Pranayama, which involves alternate breathing through left and right nostrils, which would alternately stimulate respectively the left and right sides of the brain.
The word nadi comes from the Sanskrit root nad meaning "channel", "stream", or "flow".
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