Definition - What does Sushumna mean?
Sushumna is a Sanskrit word meaning "very gracious" or "kind" and is also the name for the central nadi in the body. Anatomically, the sushumna runs down the central axis of the body, through the spinal cord.
The sushumna nadi is the most important nadi of the astral (emotional) body. When prana flows freely through the sushumna, the yogi can attain a still mind; however, when impurities exist in the other nadis of the body, prana is not able to freely flow through the sushumna.
Yogapedia explains Sushumna
The sushumna nadi connects the muladhara chakra to the sahasrara chakra, and is the path for the ascent of kundalini energy up the base of the spine into the sahasrara. It is considered the central channel for the flow of prana throughout the body, and unites all other chakras in the body.
On either side of the sushumna nadi, are two other nadis that partner together and cross over the spine, meeting in the center of the sushumna nadi:
- Ida nadi – located to the left of the spine and carries feminine lunar energy. Starts in the muladhara chakra and ends in the left nostril.
- Pingala nadi – located to the left of the spine and carries masculine solar energy. Starts in the muladhara chakra and ends in the right nostril.
Within a yoga practice, some yogis may have the goal of a spiritual awakening and increased spiritual energy flow. By being aware of the sushumna and how it affects the flow of prana throughout the body, yogis can concentrate on distributing energy throughout the chakras. Chakra meditation is used to stimulate the sushumna from it's resting state.