Yoga is for everyone!
This will be a short introduction to the Chakras. In the following posts I will present each chakra individually, with a short video practice to help balance each one.
Chakra is the place where several Nadis come together, and there are seven main Chakras in the model that is most popular in the West. Originally there were many chakra models, with different number of chakras, from three main ones - lower belly, heart center, and the crown of the head, to models that have 16 chakras (or more). A chakra can be any energetic point in the body. The most popular chakra model that has become popular in the West has also taken a lot of Western influence, and for our purposes I will be talk about it, but wanted to let you know that over the decades it has been taught in the West, it has changed significantly from its origial model.
For more information about the history of the chakra model, read this fascinating piece by Christopher Wallis, who is a Sanskrit scholar and studied the scripture that actually talks about the chakras: The Real Story on the Chakras.
The first thing to understand about the chakras is that they are points where Nadis, channels for Prana, intersect and converge, like two streams or rivers, creating an eddy, a swirl, that goes in a circle. Prana is awareness, it gives animation to form, wind, breath. Some ancient texts say that there are 72 thousand Nadis, but for our discussion 3 are most important:
Energy is a collection of traits that tend to go together. It is not a given that all of these traits must always go together, but there is a tendency that ancient Yogis have observed for certain qualities to go together. However, some deviations and variations are normal, and if you don’t box yourself into a rigid form of thinking, but rather employ a more intuitive approach that allows for sometimes surprising manifestations, you would be able to open yourself to perceiving energy in a much more holistic, subtle way.
In a metaphysical way, the chakras represent the journey of the soul through form to a realization of itself as form, transformation and enlightenment – seeing itself as the divine. From the gross, the soul transcends to the subtle.
Here are the main seven chakras that we will discuss.
Chakra 1. Muladhara. Translation:
Root support. Location: just
below perineum. Earth, Root, Solidity –
embodiment of it in us. Our right to be here, on this earth, in this body, to
have the life we are having. Symbolizes
delight in concentration and controlling compassion. Alignment: pubic bone and
tailbone moving towards each other with equal amount of energy. Perineum floor lifts and tones. Neutral Pelvis. Bija sound: Lang/Lam.
Chakra 2. Svadishthana. Translation: That which cannot be controlled. Location: lower pelvis. Sexual organs. Tailbone curve, Water,
fluidity, emotion. The right to feel emotions, to have feelings even though
they are inconvenient, unpredictable, uncontrollable. Bija sound: Vang/Vam. Color: Orange.
Alignment: hip points towards each other (lower belly tone), top of
sacrum coming in towards the backbone.
Chakra 3. Manipura. Translation: The city of many jewels. That, which is precious. Fire, will, direction, what we put out into
the world, our fire within, heat potential, Ego. It is the many labels we
assign to ourselves, the way we describe ourselves, and the attachments to
ideas that we form. The right to act and self-define. Located in the stomach, solar plexus. Bija sound: Rang/Ram. Color: Yellow. Alignment: full diaphragmatic breath evenly
in all directions in neutral pelvis.
Chakra 4. Anahata. Translation: The unstruck, pure, or enternal
sound. Location: heart center, back
heart in particular. Seat of many
things, our true consciousness, transition place between the subtle body and
the gross body, the coming together of the male and female principles in the
body, the Ida and the Pingala. The right to love and to be loved. Bija sound: yang/yam. Color: Green. Alignment:
bottom tips of the shoulder blades towards each other and down the back, as
well as sternum softening downward and lower ribs firming in.
Chakra 5. Vishuddha. Translation: Pure. Communication, sound expression of the mind,
our inner sound, deluded inner sound vs. non-deluded. Communication without words. Located in the throat. The right to express. Bija sound: Hang/hum. Color: Blue. Alignment: hyoid bone moving back and up,
while the jaw releases out and downward.
Speaks for all the chakras.
Chakra 6. Ajna. Translation: Command. Third eye, center of cranium, mind (citta),
the first veil, the most subtle veil, psychic energy, pure enlightenment and
higher wisdom, connection to one’s inner teacher. Dreams.
The right to perceive. Bija
sound: Aum/Om. Color: Indigo. Alignment: eyes
gazing softly, occipital nodes softening.
Cultivating your intuition.
Chakra 7. Sahasrara. Translation: Thousandfold. Above the crown of the head, connection to the divine, Samadhi, our true nature, OM. The right to know. Color: White or lavender. Alignment: crown of the head opening as the seams at the tip of the scull feel open. Meditation.
There is much more about the Chakras, with this intro I only scratched the surface, but let this be a little teaser for you and awaken your interest in them. Follow me next into Chakra One.