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Roga Chikitsa

Nadi Shodana

Ashtanga Yoga Encyclopedia

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Nadi Shodana (Nerve Cleansing) 

Ashtanga Yoga is divided into different series of asanas (yoga postures):

  • Roga chikitsa (Disease Treatment, Primary or First Series)
  • Nadi shodana (Nerve Cleansing, Intermediate or Second Series) and
  • Sthira bhaga (Divine Steadiness, Advanced Series A, B, C, D)

The Primary and Intermediate Series have been taught without too many changes for decades, only the Advanced Series have undergone major changes. Initially, there were only three series. Then the third series was split into the Advanced Series A and B. Later, the Advanced Series A and B were rearranged and now form the Advanced Series A, B, C, D. The modification of the arrangement did not add anything new.

The Intermediate (Second) Series of Ashtanga Yoga is nadi shodana, that is, "Nerve Cleansing". It bears this name because of the many asanas that bend and twist the spine, the largest nerve channel in the body. And many yogi(ni)s did, in fact, experience increased sensitivity, intensive dreams and emotions, the return of old memories etc. - just as if the nerves were cleansed. These effects of the Intermediate Series can be very strong. One should not start practising it too early. Anyway, you should be able to practise the Primary Series without support or stopping. It does not have to be perfect, though...

The Intermediate Series takes proficient yogi(ni)s about 100 minutes to complete at regular speed (five breaths per side and asana).

The asanas of the Intermediate Series comprise: (asanas that have not always been taught appear in brackets):  

surya namaskar A, B
padangushtasana

padahastasana
trikonasana
parivritta trikonasana

parsvakonasana
(parivritta parsvakonasana)

prasarita padottanasana A, B, C, D
parsvottanasana

utthita hasta padangushtasana A, B, C

ardha baddha padmottanasana
utkatasana
virabadhrasana A, B

pashasana
krounchasana
shalabhasana A, B

bhekasana
dhanurasana
parsva dhanurasana

dhanurasana
ushtrasana
laghuvajrasana
kapotasana
supta vajrasana

bakasana A, B
bharadvajasana

ardha matsyendrasana

(End of "Half Intermediate")

eka pada sirsasana A, B, C
dwi pada sirsasana A, B
yoganidrasana

tittibhasana A, B, C, D

pincha mayurasana
karandavasana

mayurasana
nakrasana
vatayanasana
parighasana
gomukhasana 

supta urdhva pada vajrasana
(baddha hasta sirsasana  
mukta hasta sirsasana) 
(End of "Full Intermediate")

urdhva dhanurasana
paschimottanasana 
salamba sarvangasana
halasana

karnapidasana
urdhva padmasana

pindasana
matsyasana
uttana padasana
baddha hasta sirsasana

urdhva dandasana (= ardha chandrasana)
balasana
baddha padmasana

yogamudrasana
parvathasana
padmasana

(utpluthihih)
sukhasana
(= savasana)


"Primary Series - very important!
Intermediate Series - some important!
Advanced Series - only for demonstration!"

Shri K. Pattabhi Jois
(quoted according to David Swenson)



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Manju Pattabhi Jois, Pincha Mayurasana
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