12th Mar 2018
Embark on a journey of self-discovery to understand the essence of chakras and their role in restoring optimum holistic health and harmony.
Chakra, literally translated means â€œwheels of spinning energyâ€. Invisible to the eye, these spinning wheels of spiritual energy keep our bodies and spirits in balance. The chakras integrate the physical, psychological and spiritual facets of a person into a coherent whole.
The old scientific paradigm of relating health purely in terms of the â€˜visibleâ€™ is now being superceded by an understanding of â€˜truthsâ€™–that the mind, thoughts and actions create an aura that affect our functioning.
The aura is a surrounding field of energy, extending from the body. A smooth, steady flow of energy through the chakra system ensures a healthy aura.
THE RAINBOW SPECTRUM
Each chakra spins in a clockwise direction and is depicted by a colour. These whirling vortices of energy glow with the light of the spectrum, from red at the base to violet at the crown.
There are seven chakras that correspond to nerve plexuses and endocrine glands in the physical body. Six of them are found along the spine and the seventh is located at the crown of the head.
The senses, emotions and basic instincts are also divided into seven categories and are associated with each chakra.
Each of the seven chakras, has a unique characteristic and plays a vital functional role in our physical body as well as in our consciousness. The three lower chakras correlate to basic primary needs â€“ those of survival, procreation and will. The four higher chakras correlate to the psychological make up and represent higher spiritual qualities such as love, compassion, and understanding.
UNLOCK THE CHAKRAS
When in balance, life force flows freely in the system resulting in improved well-being. When unbalanced or blocked, the life force energy does not penetrate through that region resulting in physiological and psychological dysfunction.
Tension causes contraction of muscles, which leads to blocked energy pathways. Imbalances in these energy centers results in disease or ill-health. When you consciously start to release tension or stress, the pranic or vital energy flows more freely through the chakras.
As you begin to unlock the chakras, you will bring vitality and balance to the corresponding glands, nerve plexuses and mind.
Just as it is important to clear blockage from a pipe for the water to flow easily, so also it is essential to cleanse the channels of energy, for the life force to penetrate.
Awakening chakras is an attempt to remove negative energy, stress, tension and other obstacles from the system to bring the body, mind and emotions into a harmonious state.
When the subtle flow of energy through the chakras is undisturbed, the entire system functions better and can heal and replenish energy stores.
This energy can be chanellised for self-development, healing the body and mind and attaining attunement with the soul. This awakening of the chakras has a penetrating and regenerating effect on all systems.
In order to achieve spiritual progress it is necessary to awaken the chakras and release the cosmic energy present in them.
When all seven chakras are spinning in harmony, at the same speed, the whole system runs smoothly, as a single mechanism. These centres of â€œspinning energyâ€ help maintain mental, physical, emotional and spiritual balance.
According to yogic philosophy, a store of spiritual energy lies dormant at the base of the spine, at the location of the muladhara or base chakra. This is referred to as kundalini â€“ symbolizing a coiled serpent that rises up and travels through the chakras as we progress spiritually.
If this essential energy or kundalini is not awakened, spiritual evolution can come to a halt and can even regress.
This dynamic energy is known to the Yogis in India as Kundalini, to the Chinese asChi and to the Japanese as Ki.
Colour, mantras, meditation and asanas
Each chakra has a distinct vibration. Mantras, asanas, pranayamas, meditation, thoughts are some ways to unlock the chakras. The energy becomes subtler, finer and of a higher consciousness as it moves up from the base of the spine to the crown.
The following asanas help awaken each chakra, starting from the base, themuladhara; going up to the highest chakra, the sahasrara.
Upavista Konasana (seated wide-angle pose)
Sit against a wall and keep your shoulders and spine upright. Place your palms on the floor behind your hips and open your legs wide into a split.
Chakra activation: This pose stimulates energy of the organs of the reproductive system and the ovaries.
Salabhasana (locust pose)
Lie on your stomach with legs extended out. Place your hands below your thighs. Lift both legs up, off the floor, as high as possible without bending your knees.
Chakra activation: This stimulates energy flow into the stomach, liver, small intestine and bladder.
Ardha Matsyendrasana (Spinal twist)
Sit on your heels with your back tall. Lift the right knee off the floor and place it on the floor outside the left thigh. Raise the left arm and bring it over the right side of the right knee; reach your arm around to hold your ankle. Turn your head to look over your right shoulder and wrap your right hand around your waist.
Chakra activation: This pose stimulates energy flow into the liver, spleen, bowels, kidney and gall bladder.
Bhujangasana (The cobra)
Lie on your stomach with legs extended out. Place your palms downwards, directly below your shoulders. Keeping your shoulders relaxed and elbows slightly bent, lift your spine off the floor.
Chakra activation: This pose stimulates energy flow into the back, chest and lungs.
Sarvangasana (shoulder stand)
Lie on your back and raise both legs bringing them up at a 90-degree angle. Place your hands below your hips and lift the body off the floor. Continue this movement until your body is resting on your shoulders. Point your toes and straighten your back as much as possible.
Chakra activation: This pose stimulates energy flow into the neck and throat region.
Padmasana (lotus pose)
Sit cross-legged on the floor. Place your right foot on your left thigh and your left foot on your right thigh. Place your hands on your thighs in Chin Mudra (first finger and thumb should touch each other). Close your eyes and focus on the point in between your eyebrows (the spiritual eye).
Chakra activation: This is a meditation pose that awakens cosmic energy and develops intuitive powers.
Sit back and keep your elbows on the floor and clasp your hands. Place the back of your head on your firmly clasped hands. Now straighten your legs so that your body takes form of an inverted â€œVâ€. Slowly walk your feet towards your elbows and take your feet up towards the ceiling.
Chakra activation: This pose directs flow of energy to the crown of the head.
This is where the seventh or highest chakra is located.
THE SEVEN CHAKRAS
1. MULADHARA (BASE CHAKRA)
â€¢ Symbol: The 4-petaled lotus flower
â€¢ Location: Coccyx (base of the spine)
â€¢ Colour: Red
â€¢ Body system: Elimination, lymph system
â€¢ Emotion: Fear
â€¢ Endocrine gland: Ovaries and testes
â€¢ Stone: Garnet
â€¢ Asana: Upavista Konasana (seated wide-angle pose)
Affirmation: â€œI am connected to mother earth and feel secure and protected.â€
2. SVADHISTANA (SACRALCHAKRA)
â€¢ Symbol: The 6-petaled lotus flower
â€¢ Location: Sacrum
â€¢ Colour: Orange
â€¢ Body system: Digestive, reproductive system
â€¢ Emotion: Passion
â€¢ Endocrine gland: Adrenals
â€¢ Stone: Ruby
â€¢ Asana: Salabhasana (Locust pose)
Affirmation: â€œI am worthy of love and physical pleasures. Life offers me everything I need for that journeyâ€.
3. MANIPURA (SOLAR PLEXUSCHAKRA)
â€¢ Symbol: The 10-petaled lotus flower
â€¢ Location: lumbar region of spine opposite navel
â€¢ Colour: yellow
â€¢ Body system: intestines, liver
â€¢ Emotion: anger
â€¢ Endocrine gland: pancreas
â€¢ Stone: topaz
â€¢ Asana: Ardha matsyendrasana (spinal twist)
Affirmation: â€œI know I am becoming the best person I can be.â€
4. ANAHATA CHAKRA (HEART CHAKRA)
â€¢ Symbol: The 12-petaled lotus flower
â€¢ Location: Centre of chest
â€¢ Colour: green
â€¢ Body system: Heart and lungs
â€¢ Emotion: Love, compassion
â€¢ Endocrine gland: thymus
â€¢ Stone: emerald
â€¢ Mantra: Yam
â€¢ Asana: Bhujangasana (Cobra pose)
Affirmation: â€œI love myself for who I am and the potential within me.â€
5. VISHUDDHA CHAKRA (THROATCHAKRA)
â€¢ Symbol: The 16-petaled lotus flower
â€¢ Location: Base of throat
â€¢ Colour: blue
â€¢ Body system: throat
â€¢ Quality: introspection
â€¢ Endocrine gland: thyroid
â€¢ Stone: turquoise
â€¢ Asana: Sarvangasana (shoulder stand)
Affirmation: â€œMy voice, thoughts and speech are filled with conviction.â€
6. AJNA CHAKRA (THIRD EYE)
â€¢ Symbol: The 2-petaled lotus flower
â€¢ Location: Eyebrow centre
â€¢ Colour: indigo
â€¢ Body system: Forehead
â€¢ Quality: Focus
â€¢ Endocrine gland: pituary
â€¢ Stone: amethyst
â€¢ Asana: Padmasana (lotus pose) â€“ concentrate on eyebrow centre
Affirmation: â€œThe answers to all my questions lie within me.â€
7. SAHASRARA CHAKRA (CROWNCHAKRA)
â€¢ Symbol: The 1000-petaled lotus flower
â€¢ Location: Crown of head
â€¢ Colour: Violet
â€¢ Body system: Brain
â€¢ Quality: Bliss, peace
â€¢ Endocrine gland: pineal
â€¢ Stone: gold topaz, diamond
â€¢ Mantra: Silence
â€¢ Asana: Shirshasana (headstand)
Affirmation: â€œI release all limited thoughts and lift myself up to higher levels of awarenessâ€.