June 2012 – Chakras

TOPIC OF THE MONTH
MARCH 2005 & JUNE 2012

CHAKRAS

Chakra means “wheel” or “circle” (like chakrasana 😉 and is used in this term to mean “wheel of light”.  The chakra system is an Indian philosophy that we have 7 major energy centers within our body (there are 21 minor chakras, animals have up to three chakras), they are points or vortices at which energy is filtered through our system. They act as data collectors, collecting and storing  our life stories.  The chakras are based on the ancient knowledge that all life is energetic and spiritual in origin.  Each chakra relates among other things to a particular area and emotional state.

Our chakra centers align with the major plexus in the body, ex. the solar plexus is our 3rd chakra, the heart plexus is our 4th chakra, etc.  The plexus are NOT the chakra — nor are the chakras of our physical body (a surgeon would not see them during surgery); these areas where the plexus of nerves are in our body contain a lot of energy from all the nerves and their transmissions (synapses) — these nerve crossings create energy fields.  Chakras are our energetic body so it makes sense the chakra centers align in areas of our body where there is more energy.  Even though our chakras are intangible, they effect our physical, emotional, and mental body to a great degree,

The chakras fall along the spinal column and upward to the brow center and crown of the head. The lower three chakras are below the diaphragm and are receptive in nature.  They link us with Mother Earth and the events and qualities that tie us to family and community.  They are responsible our instincts, these chakras also carry the patterns for dis-ease and health, as well as  the courage and stealth required to stay alive.
The upper four chakras are primarily concerned with giving energy out in the form of love, communication, healthy attitudes, and inner reflection.  These chakras become more active as we become more spiritual.

The chakras are all interdependent.  When one energy center is shut down, others will have to compensate in maintaining our life force (prana).  When working together the chakras help keep our prana free flowing upward, we are “economical” and fluid — highly functional.  When something happens to impede the flow of life energy, the chakras slow down and energy becomes sluggish and even stagnant.  When this happens our minds feel dull and our body feels sluggish.  If the situation is temporary, and we recover from it, energy flow resumes.  If the situation continues our health and well being will be compromised.  The health and integrity of the chakras are maintained through a grounded lifestyle and positive and loving thoughts toward the self and surrounding world.

As we begin the journey through our chakras, please remember our chakras work fine on their own.  It is good to be aware of this energy and how our attitudes and thoughts affect us; but we are perfect just as we are.  Our chakras operate perfectly — we don’t try to fix them.

How can we use this knowledge of the Chakras?
Our Biography becomes our Biology

The issues are in the tissues . .  .  Our Thoughts Effect Us
Our thoughts travel through our biological system and activate a physiological response.  Fear for example, activates a physiological response, your heart rate increases, your stomach tightens, your breath changes, your mouth gets dry.
When you feel love, you relax and feel at ease, maybe you smile.
It’s nice to remember that in many circumstances when you feel fear or something similar you can choose to feel love instead . . .

In this way our biographies (lives) are woven into our biological system (physical bodies) at a cellular level gradually, slowly every day.

This implies that we participate to some degree in the creation or healing of diseases.  And we do — but not all negative thoughts or feelings are toxic and many we don’t realize are toxic until they become so.  It’s when you hold on to negative thoughts and give them energy and brew on them day after day they become toxic.  With the awareness of the chakras you can use this catch yourself in these negative thoughts and change them to love.

Understanding how energy and attitudes and thoughts filter through our chakra system is another tool we have to understand and heal the issues that are in our tissues . . . it is another tool we have to remain healthy and to create our own healing when necessary.

The Lower Three Chakras

The first, second, and third chakra are the chakras govern how we get along in this world.

  1. The Root Chakra deals with our family, survival, and shelter.  It is located at the root of the spine, the perineum, at the anal plexus.
  2. The Sacral Chakra is our partnership chakra.  This chakra is concerned with our 1:1 relationships– how we deal with other people in the world, sex, and feel good stimuli such as food.   This is also where we “give birth” not just do babies, but to ideas, art, or creativity.  Job and money related issues can be related to the first or second chakra.  The second chakra is located in the center of the abdomen, at the sacral plexus.
  3. The Solar Plexus Chakra is the face we show to the world; our identity.  Power, control, and the ease with which we can be ourselves; ease of being, are the feelings associated with this chakra.

As Children we are born into our first chakra, and it serves us well, our family nurtures us, provides home and shelter, and teaches us to be “part of the tribe”. However, we must follow the tribal rules if we want to remain part of the tribe.

As we grow older we start to develop relationships outside of the tribe, relationships with other people.  Now we need to get along with others, be it in a childhood friendship, then a relationship, and on to our job.  We grow into our second chakra.

As we enter our profession and “what we want to be when we grow up” we are showing the world our face, who we are.  We want to have power and control and want everyone to think well of us.  This is the magnetic core of our personality.  This is our third chakra.

The process of spiritual development challenges us to retain the family influences, social influences, and those parts of ourselves that are positive and discard those that are not. As we grow through the chakras, it does not mean we abandon the lessons we have learned, we want to take what works for us without being fearful of leaving behind those parts of our lives that no longer suit us.

As we move toward living in our upper 4 chakras, this does not mean the lower 3 chakras are bad or we are trying to live without them.  Our lower chakras provide our foundation — our grounding — our family, food, and shelter.  As we shift to operating through our upper 4 chakras we want to stay firmly  grounded through our lower 3 chakras.  Without grounding we can become too ethereal and spin off into la la land.  With our feet firmly grounded we can reach for the stars.

The Upper Four Chakras
The upper four chakras raise our consciousness and how we behave in this world.

4.  The heart chakra, or fourth chakra leads us to the path.  We must first pass through the chakra of love, responding to all beings with love and compassion, to continue the journey upward of higher consciousness.  Our heart chakra energy is our most powerful energy.  When we learn how to operate through our heart chakra we have more passion and energy.  People who have passion about what they are doing have a magnetism about them. With heart chakra energy you get more emotion in what you are doing and creating.
5.  The fifth chakra, at the throat governs what we put in our mouths and what we send out.  This is also the chakra of will and will power.  The challenge of the fifth chakra is learning to surrender to divine will–and to recognize the difference between self will and Divine will.
6.  The sixth chakra, located at the brow center is the chakra of wisdom and intellect.  The challenge here is to remain open minded and seek the truth, or the ability to see through the illusions of the mind.
7.  The seventh chakra is the highest chakra both in location and consciousness.  It is located at the crown of the head.  The seventh chakra is our connection to our spiritual nature and our capacity to allow our spirituality to guide us.  (This is not religion, religion is of the first chakra, it is a tribal act, seventh chakra spirituality is 1:1 with your Higher Power. )

Operating our daily lives in the upper four chakras require constant awareness and daily maintenance.  In the early part of our years we are conditioned to live in the lower three chakras, so this becomes our habit.  The process of spiritual growth requires us to break this habit.  I like the following guidelines to sum up living in the upper chakras.

  • Make no Judgments
  • Have no expectations
  • Give up the need to know why things happen as they do.
  • Trust that the unscheduled events of our lives are a form of spiritual direction.
  • Have the courage to make the choices we need to make, accept what we cannot change, and the wisdom to know the difference.

How to use this!

Here is a daily (or even hourly when in times of crisis) chakra meditation where you can evaluate the health of your body, mind, and spirit and use this as a tool to notice when you are getting out of balance.  With it you can increase your awareness of the balance of power within your energy system.

This little meditation will also increase your awareness to when something psychological or emotional is manifesting into something physical.  Knowing the physical location of your chakras and what emotions and energies each chakra balances will help you to detect where your prana may be leaking.

Through this self evaluation you will develop the skill of reading energy and sensing intuitive guidance. This simple act of awareness, coupled with a conscious commitment to learn from your experiences, will weaken your fears and strengthen your spirit.

A Chakra Meditation
I used to do this meditation a.m. and p.m., I would run my day through my chakras evaluating how I handled my day and where I could have responded better — and where I needed to pull my energy back from!  It was very helpful in integrating lessons and understanding myself.
During stressful times or a challenging event you can pause and run what is happening through your chakras helping you detect which energy center is being affected.  This will help you bring more understanding and clarity into the situation so you can see the big picture.  Or help your adjust your attitude and respond from a place of love instead of fear.
As a daily act of meditation, draw your attention consciously into each of your chakras, beginning with the first and working your way up.

For chakra one: All is one.  Feel yourself connected to all of life, bless the life you have agreed to live, and the family both personal and extended that make up your life.
For chakra two: Honor One Another.  Focus and sense the energy you have released from this area of your body into acts of creation. If your energy is filled with negativity, reexamine your intention. See each person in your life as having a Divine purpose. Wherever you cannot see that Divinity clearly, ask for the energy to see through the illusions that are controlling you.
For chakra three:   Honor Oneself.  Focus on integrity and endurance. Evaluate your own code of behavior and whether you have compromised your honor in any way. Commit to yourself to honor your own dignity.
For chakra four: Love is Divine Power.  Focus on the energy of love and compassion. Evaluate how well you extend love to others as well as to yourself, including the loving energy contained within acts of forgiveness.  Remember Unconditional love does not mean to let someone walk all over you, UNCONDITIONAL LOVE means not to have a private agenda with someone.
For chakra five: Surrender Personal Will to Divine Will.  Focus on mercy and judgment. Evaluate the quality of the thoughts you are holding about other people, as well as yourself. Evaluate the words you have shared with others, if you have expressed harmful words, send positive energy to those people. If you have expressed false words, consciously acknowledge that you have acted to deceive others, and examine the fear that exists within you. Ask for guidance and the wisdom to see Divine Will.  In surrendering to Divine will you are not giving up pleasures and comforts of life, you are saying that I am tired of working within human limitations.  The universe has an amazing way of making things happen far beyond what we thought was possible.  In surrendering to divine will your response is not to say how — say yes, the universe will take care of the how.
For chakra six: Seek Only the Truth.  Focus on the energy of Divine wisdom and understanding. Continue to evaluate your daily life. Request wisdom and insight for the situations in which you feel confused or frightened. Remind yourself each of us has a special gift to give to this life and that each of us is inevitably led to that path. It is impossible to miss our life’s purpose.
For chakra seven: Live in the Present Moment.  Focus on your connection with the divine, consciously completing and releasing your unfinished business. Allow the energy of God to enter into your mind, body, and spirit, and breathe that energy into your being.

Here is a nice youtube link of Carolyn Myss leading you through the chakras:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lpfLDDODN0k&feature=results_video&playnext=1&list=PL43F51B31B2827FD6

If you are interested in learning more about your spirit this meditation is from the book:
“Anatomy of the Spirit” by Caroline Myss, PH.D.
Three Rivers Press New York
Available at www.soundstrue.com

Ashtanga Yoga Primary and Second Series poses and Chakra Affected

It is nice to have a physical tool such as asana to help balance a chakra, as we learn which postures affect which chakras please remember chakras are energetic in nature and are best balanced energetically all day long by working with our thoughts, attitudes, and emotions; living a grounded lifestyle and holding positive and loving thoughts about ourselves and our world around us.

Although certain postures affect certain chakras, each asana effects every chakra to some degree.  In researching this, the most common chakra to balance with asana is the heart chakra; when we catch ourselves with our shoulders slumped forward in poor posture this is a sign we are guarding our heart and may need some asanas that help us lift and open our hearts along with our spirit.

Pose Chakra Affected
Surya Namaskar Solar Plexus Chakra
Standing Poses
Padangusthasana Sacral Chakra
Padahastasana Sacral Chakra
Utthita Trikonasana Solar Plexus Chakra
Parivritta Trikonasana Solar Plexus Chakra
Utthita Parsvakonasana
Parivritta Parsvakonasana
Prasarita Padottanasana A,B,C,D Heart Chakra
Parsvottanasana Heart Chakra
Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana Root and Sacral Chakra
Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana Sacral Chakra
Utkatasana
Virabhadrasana I
Virabhadrasana II
Primary Series – Yoga Chikitsa
Dandasana Sacral Chakra
Paschimattanasana A & B Solar Plexus Chakra
Ardha Baddha Padma

Paschimottanasana

Sacral Plexus Chakra
Triang Mukhaekapada

Paschimattanasana

Janu Sirsasana A / B / C Sacral Chakra
Marichyasana Series
Navasana Solar Plexus Chakra
Bhujapidasana Throat Chakra
Kurmasana / Supta Kurmasana Sacral and Solar Plexus
Chakras
Garbha Pindasana Solar Plexus Chakra
Kukkutasana Root Chakra
Baddha Konasana Root Chakra
Upavistha Konasana
Supta Konasana
Supta Padangusthasana
Ubhaya Padangusthasana Sacral Chakra
Urdhva Mukha Paschimattanasana Sacral Chakra
Setu Bandhasana Solar Plexus Chakra
Setu Bandhasana B Hearth and Throat Chakra
Urdhva Dhanurasana Solar Plexus Chakra
Finishing Asanas
Sarvangasana Throat Chakra
Halasana Solar Plexus, Heart, and Throat Chakra
Karnapidasana Throat Chakra
Urdhva Padmasana Throat Chakra
Pindasana
Mathsyasana Solar Plexus and Heart Chakra
Uttana Padasana Solar Plexus and Heart Chakra
Sirsasana Crown Chakra
Baddha Padmasana Solar Plexus and Heart Chakra
Padmasana
Tolasana – Utpluthih Heart Chakra

 

Pose Chakra Affected
Intermediate Series – Nadi Sodhana
Pasasana
Krounchasana Solar Plexus Chakra
Salabhasana Throat Chakra
Bhekasana
Dhanurasana / Parsva Dhanurasana Solar Plexus, Heart, & Throat
Ustrasana Sacral and Throat Chakras
Laghuvajrasana
Kapotasana
Supta Vajrasana Sacral, Heart, and Throat
Bakasana
Bharadvajasana
Ardha Matsyendrasana Eyebrow Center
Eka Pada Sirsasana Heart Chakra
Dwi Pada Sirsasana Sacral Chakra
Yoganidrasana Sacral Chakra
Tittibhasana
Pincha Mayurasana
Karandavasana
Mayurasana Solar Plexus Chakra
Nakrasana
Vatayanasana Sacral Chakra
Parighasana Solar Plexus and Eyebrow Center
Gomukhasana Heart & Eyebrow Center
Supta Urdhva Pada Vajrasana
Mukta Hasta Sirsasana
Baddha Hasta Sirsasana
Urdhva Dhanurasana

And lastly, I have read in Yoga Rahasya that Handstand balances all 7 chakras 🙂
Vrschikasana balances the eyebrow center.

More detailed meditation on the chakras from Carolyn Myss’s lectures and books.

The First Chakra
The first chakra is located at the base of your spine (coccyx).  The first chakra is the root of foundation that supports our structure.  It is our center of community, where you store energy about your family, culture, and social habits.  Our first chakra grounds us it is our connection to traditional family beliefs.  It supports the formation of our identity and sense of belonging to a group.  The emphasis is on loyalty and physical survival.

As tribal beings we are designed to live together, to create together, to learn together, to be together, and to need one another.
Difficult family challenges cause us to lose power primarily from our first chakra, making us susceptible to immune related diseases from the common cold to lupus.

You lose energy from your first chakra when you:

  • Try to hold on to family or social beliefs that no longer serve you.
  • Consider your religion, politics, beliefs, social class, etc to be better than others.
  • Hold on to negative past experiences with your family.

Maintaining the health of our individual first chakra depends upon addressing our personal family issues.

You reinforce energy at first chakra when you:

  • Recognize and nurture your connection with the natural world.
  • Maintain a sense of pride in your ancestry and family traditions.
  • Draw on your family for love and support.

The process of spiritual development challenges us to retain the family influences that are positive and discard those that are not.

When this center is balanced and filled with prana we will feel secure, calm, and connected to the earth.  We will be grounded within ourselves, without depending on external objects for our sense of security.

The theme of the first chakra:  ALL IS ONE

The Second Chakra
The second chakra is the partnership chakra.  Location is from the lower abdomen to navel area.  This chakra is not only the source of our physical, sexual, and creative energy, but also our financial concerns.  It is our center of control.  It resonates our need for relationships with other people and our need to control our own environment.

With the second chakra energy shifts from obeying tribal authority to discovering other relationships that satisfy personal or physical needs.

The attachments by which we maintain control over our lives, such as having authority, our relationships, or money, are linked through this chakra.  The illnesses that originate in the energy center are activated by fear of losing control, or being controlled by another.

You lose energy from your second Chakra when you:

  • Try to control others in relationships
  • Hold onto feelings like jealousy, anger, promiscuous behaviors, or use sex as the basis for relationships.
  • If you have fears about making or losing money.
  • Gossip and manipulation drain power from our second chakra.

Second chakra energy is one of the primary resources we have for coping with the day to day events of our lives, providing creative solutions to mental, physical, and spiritual problems or issues.

You reinforce energy at the second chakra when you:

  • Nurture supportive relationships.
  • Let go of past sexual traumas
  • Give up addictions.

The ability and stamina to survive financially and physically on one’s own and to defend and protect oneself are strengths of the second chakra.

When this center is truly flowing there is unlimited creativity and love.  We are in touch with our intuitive voice and indecision gives way to certainty.

The truth of the second chakra:  HONOR ONE ANOTHER

The Third Chakra
The third chakra is located at the navel (solar plexus).  This is our center of personal power, the magnetic core of our personality and ego.  You house feelings of self esteem, confidence, and honor in your third chakra. Where the first chakra resonates to group or tribal power, the second resonates the flow of power between the self and others, the third chakra relates to our personal power in relation to the external world.

You lose energy at the third chakra when you:

  • Break commitments to yourself
  • Manipulate others to gain approval
  • Fail to maintain clear personal boundaries.

This is also where you house your fears of rejection, criticism, looking foolish, and all fears related to appearance such as obesity, baldness or aging.

Ways to reinforce energy in your third chakra are to:

  • Take pride in your work
  • Trust your intuition
  • Keep your word.

When you are strong in this chakra you have self esteem, self respect, and self discipline, ambition, the ability to handle a crisis, the courage to take risks, generosity, and strength of character.

Our third chakra is filled with the energy of our personal ambitions, our sense of responsibility, and our respect for our strengths and weaknesses, as well as our fears and secrets that we are not yet ready to face.

The theme of the Third Chakra:  Honor One-self

Life relentlessly brings us to realize the importance of these words: “To thine own self be true.”  For without personal power, life is a frightening, painful experience.

The Fourth Chakra
This chakra is situated at the heart. This is your center of compassion and unconditional love.  Love for everyone, everything regardless of color, background, species, or form.  It is your emotional center.  This chakra stores information about harmony, love, and forgiveness.

The fourth chakra is the central powerhouse of the human energy system.  The middle chakra, it mediates between the body and spirit.  Fourth chakra energy is emotional in nature and helps propel our emotional development.  This chakra embodies the spiritual lesson that teaches us how to act out of love and compassion and recognize that the most powerful energy we have is love.

We are not born fluent in love but spend our life learning about it.  Its energy is pure power.  We are as attracted to love as we are intimidated by it.  We are motivated by love, controlled by it, inspired by it, healed by it, and destroyed by it.  Each of life’s challenges is a lesson in some aspect of love.

You lose energy at the fourth chakra when you:

  • Allow past negative experiences to limit your choices
  • When you hold onto resentments
  • When you don’t allow others to love you.

Loss of energy can give rise to jealousy, bitterness, anger, hatred, and an inability to forgive others as well as yourself.  If you feel these emotions it is a sign that you need to check your attitudes and what you are sending out from your heart chakra.

Everything in and about our lives runs off the fuel of our hearts.  We will all have experiences meant to break our hearts, not in half, but wide open.  Regardless of how your heart is broken, your choice is always the same:  what will you do with your pain?  Will you use it as an excuse?  Or can learn the lesson and accept the pain and use that pain as motivation to move upward with your life.

Ways to reinforce energy at the fourth chakra:

  • Forgive others
  • Love yourself
  • Love others enough to let them experience the world in their own way

According to the yogis, when you connect with life around you through the heart center, your love will flow like air.

Truth of the fourth chakra:  LOVE IS DIVINE POWER

The Fifth Chakra
Is located at your throat it embodies the challenges of surrendering our own willpower and spirits to the will of God.  At the fifth chakra you learn how to generate the power to move yourself out of energetically stuck places.  Your ability to speak up and define your own needs is housed at this level, this chakra is affected by what goes in and out of our mouth.

Our fifth chakra and its spiritual lessons show us that personal power lies in our thoughts and attitudes.  It is the center of choice and consequence.  Every choice we make, every thought and feeling we have is an act of power that has biological, environmental, social, personal, and global consequences.  We are everywhere our thoughts are.

You lose energy at this level when you:

  • Let others define your needs and wants
  • When you experience shame
  • When you tell lies.

Our fears within this chakra lie within having no control over ourselves, being out of control with regard to substances, money, power, and another person’s emotional control over us.  We fear the will of God; the notion of releasing our power of choice to a Divine force remains the greatest struggle for the individual seeking to become conscious.  Surrender to Divine Will means liberation from physical illusions–the illusions that tell us we can not do something because it is not appropriate . . .  Surrendering to divine will does not mean giving up the delights and comforts of physical life.

You reinforce energy here when you:

  • Exercise self control
  • Empower others
  • Speak honestly.

When you are strong in this chakra you have the capacity to make decisions knowing that no matter what decisions we make we can keep our word to ourselves or to another person.

Truth of the fifth chakra:  SURRENDER PERSONAL WILL TO DIVINE WILL

The Sixth Chakra
This is the chakra of wisdom.  It is located at the center of the eyebrows and is said to control both incoming and outgoing thought.  It is your center of intellect and reasoning, and involves your psychological skill at evaluating your beliefs and attitudes.  A closed mind can jam your progress by insisting on rational reasons for your choices.

You lose energy at the sixth chakra when you:

  • Hold onto grief
  • Insist on rational explanations for your internal experiences
  • When you close your mind to possibilities

The challenges of the sixth chakra are opening your mind, developing an impersonal mind, retrieving your power from “false truths”, learning to act on internal direction, and discriminating between thoughts motivated by strength and those by fear or illusion.

You reinforce your sixth chakra when you:

  • Take emotional risks
  • When you open your mind to extravagant possibilities
  • When you follow your hunches.

Search continually for the difference between truth and illusion, and for the ability to see through an illusion and grasp the deeper meaning behind the scenes.  In becoming conscious one is able to detach from subjective perceptions and see the truth or symbolic meaning of a situation.  Detachment does not mean ceasing to care.  It means quieting your fear driven voices, not allowing external influences to negatively affect your consciousness.  Detachment is the realization that no one person or group can determine your life’s path.  Such clarity of mind and self is the essence of wisdom.

Becoming conscious means living fully in the present moment, knowing that no situation or person will be exactly the same tomorrow.  Change is constant; we need to learn it is a natural part of life and to “flow with it”.

Theme of the sixth chakra:  SEEK ONLY THE TRUTH

The Seventh Chakra
The Sanskrit name for the seventh chakra is sahasrara, which means a thousand petals.  It is the highest chakra in terms of location and consciousness; it is located at the crown of the head.  The seventh chakra is our connection to our spiritual nature and our capacity to allow our spirituality to guide us.  It is your center of mysticism and grace.  When you experience connection with the divine, it is at the level of the seventh chakra.

The seventh chakra contains the purest form of energy.  It is the energy center for spiritual insight, vision, and intuition far beyond ordinary human consciousness.  It is the mystical realm, a dimension of conscious rapport with the divine.

You lose energy at the seventh chakra when you:

  • Live a life without faith
  • When you put conditions on your spiritual experiences
  • When you reject guidance unless it comes in a form you approve

You reinforce energy when you:

  • Pray consciously
  • When you express gratitude
  • When you regard your life as a vehicle for spiritual development.

Seventh chakra energy motivates us to seek an intimate connection with the Divine.  This is different from a connection to a religion.  Religion is a group exercise; it is rooted in your first chakra.  Spirituality on the other hand is an individual experience directed toward releasing fears of the physical world and pursuing a relationship with the Divine.

Truth of the seventh charka:  LIVE IN THE PRESENT MOMENT

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