The chakras and channels of energy

Inside every human being there is a network of nerves and sensory organs that interprets the outside physical world. At the same time, within us resides a subtle system of channels (nadis) and centers of energy (chakras) which look after our physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual being.  Each of the seven chakras has several spiritual qualities. These qualities are intact within us, and even though they might not always be manifest, they can never be destroyed. When the Kundalini is awakened, these qualities start manifesting spontaneously and express themselves in our life. Thus, through regular meditation, we become automatically very dynamic, creative, confident and at the same time very humble, loving and compassionate. It is a process which starts to develop by itself when the Kundalini rises and starts to nourish our chakras. 


Mooladhara Chakra

The first chakra is located at the base of the spine below the sacrum bone and is called muladhara chakra (mula means "root") in this chakra resides the Kundalini. It is represented by the letter "lam".The first chakra is symbolized by a lotus flower with four petals, and its shape is triangular. Its main aspect is innocence. Innocence is the quality by which we experience pure, childlike joy, without the limitations of prejudice or conditionings. Innocence gives us dignity, balance, and a tremendous sense of direction and purpose in life This is the chakra which is connected to survival on the material plane. When this chakra is disturbed one has fear about survival. When this chakra is ballenced then one feels that one belongs on the earth, and is connected with its bounty. 

 It is the inner wisdom that is ever present in the little children, and gets sometimes clouded by our modern lifestyles. But it is a quality which exists eternally within us and cannot be destroyed, waiting to be manifest as pure joy when the Kundalini rises. 

Swadishthana Chakra

The second chakra is represented by a six-petaled lotus and it is circular in shape. It is located in the area of the genital organs and is called swadhisthana chakra from "sva" or vital force and "adhisthana" meaning abode. The seed letter is "vam". Balance in this chakra is manifested by balance and appropriateness in sexual activity, as well as by fertility (when appropriate) and creativity.This is the center of pure, steady attention and power of concentration. It is the one which connects us to the inner source of inspiration, and enables us to experience the beauty around us. The pure knowledge given by this chakra is not mental, but it is direct perception of the Reality, that can be felt in our palms and indicates our subtle blockages.  

On the physical level it looks after our liver, kidneys, and the lower abdomen.
 
 

Nabhi Chakra

Manipura chakra, the third chakra, is located in the region of the navel, and is represented by the element of fire . The form is again triangular, the seed syllable is ram. It is a ten-petaled lotus. This is the chakra of digestion, manifestation and power. The ego can manifest itself for good or harm through the power of the navel chakra. It is the one that gives us the sense of generosity, complete satisfaction and contentment. On the left side, the main quality of this center is peace - clearing this chakra can relieve stress and tensions. On the right side, it looks after our liver which is the organ of our attention and power of concentration. 

 When enlightened by the Kundalini, the Nabhi chakra gives us our spiritual ascent, righteousness and inner sense of morality, and complete balance at all levels in our life. 

The Void

Surrounding the second and the third chakra is the Void which stands for the principle of mastery (guru principle) within us. In many spiritual traditions, this area is the "ocean of illusions" that needs to be crossed with the help of a spiritual guide. When the Kundalini is awakened and passes through the Void, this principle of mastery is established within us. Thus, you become your own guru, your own spiritual guide since you can feel on your fingertips all your subtle problems and have the power to cure them using your own Kundalini. Moreover, establishing this center helps us get rid of all our habits, laziness, gross attachments, and everything that enslaves us in a way or another: we become our own master. 

Following false "gurus" who are more interested in power tricks or your purse can damage very much the Void area. But after Self Realization, everything can be cured through the purifying power of the Kundalini in meditation. 
 
 

The Heart Chakra or Anahata Chakra

There is a shift at the level of the fourth chakra. While the first three chakras are associated with survival, regeneration and power in the world, the heart chakra or anahata chakra is the site of the beginnings of compassion for others. Anahata means the unstruck sound. Meditation on this chakra is said to reveal the underlying sound of the universe.It is the place where resides our Spirit, our true Self, which is eternally pure and unaffected by anything, like a shining diamond hidden within us which witnesses all our actions.It is a twelve-petaled lotus and its syllable is "yam". Balance in this chakra is expressed by empathy and caring for the suffering in the world. This is represented by the shape of two triangles in the chakra, one pointing up, the other down. This symbolizes being equally connected to the earth and heaven.

After Self Realization, our attention becomes for the first time connected to our Spirit and we gradually become aware of it. Our misidentifications with our ego or conditionings drop and we start becoming identified with our Spirit, which is our true nature. 

It is from our heart that the compassion and love manifests, and also the heart chakra is the one that gives us the sense of responsibility and pure behaviour towards others. The heart chakra manifests in the center (at the level of the sternum bone) as complete security and confidence. All our worries, doubts and fears are destroyed when the heart chakra is fully enlightened by the Kundalini. 

 On the physical level, this chakra looks after our heart and lungs.

Vishuddhi Chakra

The throat is the region of the fifth chakra, which is called vishudha, meaning "pure" and the seed is "ham." It has a sixteen-petaled lotus as a symbol. This is the chakra which has the power of speech and manifestation through words It is the chakra of diplomacy. Balance here is expressed by clarity in speech, thought and action. It removes all our guilts and remorses when it is opened by the Kundalini, and gives us a kind and compassionate voice. The tendencies to dominate others or to feel dominated by others, the feelings of superiority or inferiority and all jealousies are removed when this chakra is nourished by the Kundalini.

The Vishuddhi is the chakra which gives us the connection with the whole, enabling us to feel our oneness and the fact that we are all part and parcel of the whole. 

The Agnya Chakra

The sixth chakra is termed agnya (command) chakra and is located between the eyebrows; it has two petals. The seed symbols for meditation on this chakra are "ham" and "ksham".Ajna is the site of intuitive wisdom. This chakra may be associated with the pituitary gland. When this chakra is balanced, one intuitively understands the nature and truth of reality. It is the chakra of forgiveness and compassion. Forgiveness is the power to let go of anger, hatred and resentment and to discover, in humility, the nobility and generosity of the Spirit. It is the one that dissolves all our ego, conditionings, habits, false ideas of racialism, and all our misidentifications. It is the narrow gate which opens the way for our consciousness to ascend to its final destination, which is the seventh center. 

Roving eyes, watching impure things, or self-centeredness damage this chakra. Watching the sky, earth or nature can help cleanse it. 
 
 

The Sahasrara Chakra

The crown chakra, or thousand-petaled lotus, is called sahasrara chakra; located at the top of the head.When the coiled serpent of kundalini energy is moved upward from the base of the spine and unites with this chakra, then all duality is banished and the yogi exists in deep connection with all that is. The seventh center integrates all the chakras with their respective qualities. It is the last milestone of the evolution of human awareness. Nowadays, we are at a level which corresponds to this chakra, and our consciousness is able to easily enter into this new realm of perception, which is beyond our limited mind and concepts, and which becomes absolute at the level of the Sahasrara. This chakra gives us the direct, absolute perception of Reality on our central nervous system. 

 This is precisely what is achieved by Self Realization, through the spontaneous awakening of the Kundalini through daily yoga.


A word about the three channels of energy. The left channel (blue) corresponds to our past, emotions, desires, affectivity. Its termination is the superego, which is the storehouse of all our memories, habits and conditionings. The right channel (yellow) corresponds to our actions and planning, to our physical and mental activity. Its termination is the ego, which gives us the idea of I-ness, the sense that we are separate from the world. The central channel is the channel of ascent, it is the power which sustains our evolution and guides us, consciously or unconsciously, towards the higher awareness of the Sahasrara (seventh chakra). 

The idea of nadis - variously translated as "nerves" or "veins" but more properly channels of subtle vital force (prana) is there in the earliest Upanishads (7th-8th century b.c.e.).  The heart was said to be the centre of the 72,000 nadis.

The concept was developed in the later Upanishads - from 2nd century b.c.e. to the 2nd century c.e. and later - and the nascent Yoga and Tantric schools.  The Kshurika-Upanishad mentions the 72,000 nadis, especially the Ida (lunar), Pingala (solar), and Sushumna (central) channels.

In the later Shakta Tantra and Kundalini/Laya Yoga traditions emphasis was placed on the central nadis which represented concentric (hence increasingly subtle) channels located vertically along or in front of the spine or backbone, and along which are strung seven (or however many) chakras.  These main nadis are:

Sushumna-nadi starts from the Kanda-mula, lying just below the Muladhara chakra, and goes upward centrally within the vertebral column.
Vajra-nadi  starts from the starting point of Sushumna and goes upward, lying within Sushumna.
Chitrini-nadi starts at the starting point of the Vajra nadi and goes upward, liying within the Vajra nadi.
Brahma nadi or Brahmarandhra nadi starts from the orifice of Swayambhu-linga in the Muladhara and goes upwards, lying within Chitrini


A more indepth explination on chakras and energy channels is available on audio cassette from the Yoga Boutique.
 
 

 

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