The term “nadi” in its original form generally means flow, coming from its Sanskrit root “nad.” Having to do with an understanding of the body in Indian (continental Indian, not Native American Indian) cultural and spiritual practices such as yoga that is intended to increase healthy physical and metaphysical self-awareness, the nadi is part of what is known as the “subtle yogic body” which is a metaphysical/spiritual level understanding of energy flows of one’s (sub)conscious existence. The nadi(s) serve as main channels (or conduits, streams, etc.) that moves energies between vital focal points of the subtle body called “chakras” that define and explain the existence of the physical and metaphysical bodies.
(Nadi is correctly pronounced “naRdi”–the “R” sound is not like the American english long “r” as in “are.” Rather, it is formed by the bottom of the tongue tip flicking from the front of the mouth’s roof toward the front teeth, almost making a soft “d” sound. It almost sounds like “nerdy” in American english, but with a longer “a” sound.)
Why name my company after a complex Hindi cultural and religious term such as Nadi? It has to do with the convergence of many factors: an ongoing interest in yoga and meditation that started back in 2000-2001 when I was a visiting assistant professor in Ethnic Studies at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota; the introduction to fly fishing by co-workers, friends, and expert fly anglers Shad “Rack” Thomas and Craig “Stormin” Norman when I was working at Hobble Creek Golf Course about ten years ago; and my desire a few years ago to learn how to build fly rods, something I could do at home while simultaneously care giving an ailing sister and my aging father full-time.
My understanding and practice of yoga and meditation seemed to fit neatly with my development as a fly angler and the meditative practice and “flow” of fly fishing, the instrument of “flow” that is the fly rod and its motion, and the literalness of being in the water that is the stream or still water and it’s energy as it moves. The Nadi as a conduit connected perfectly with fly fishing as a practice as it does with yoga because to increase healthy self-awareness in both activities one must access and encourage the free flows of physical and conscious energies in performing the asanas or positions in yoga and in understanding existing fly fishing conditions, what kind of fly might be suitable to present to the fish, and how one casts or presents the fly to the fish in fly fishing. To achieve maximum fulfillment/self-awareness in yoga, meditation, or fly fishing the key is opening the channels of the body and conscious mind so the energy flows are at full function and this means paying attention and being open.
This is what the nadi in Nadi Fly Rods means to me. It is the act or state of being of aware and open so that energy can move and circulate as it will. It is using the instruments we have, our bodies, our consciousness, and fly rods (for fly anglers) to access and increase our self-understanding and relationships to our surroundings. This is what the “flow” is about in the nadi.