The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 30,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 7 Film Festivals
Raja Yoga – Vishuddha
Raja Yoga may be more commonly known as the yoga of the mind, and that it is. Here we find many methods of working with the mind through creative visualization and use of verbal and vocal process. There is a lot of learning about the functions of the mind followed by skilful use of mind energies to achieve certain results within the body; as in healing, and out in the world as in manifesting your dreams. Meditational practices that take you out of the normal world to explore the inner world are a large part of this Raja.
This type of Yoga awakens the power of the 5th Chakra: Vishuddha.
The element of ether is best translated today as that of electromagnetism. It is this energy, which sustains most others. In fact all of the lower energies are condensations of this one. In its free form it fills the universe, containing all those quantum frequencies of energy that we perceive as light and heat, as well as those we do not normally perceive at all. Radiant energy emanating from each of the billions of stars, and coming at us from all directions. By its very vibration it moves out in all directions, just as sound does.
The vibratory nature of this energy is indeed very much like sound. In your nervous system and brain it stimulates thinking as a verbal function while at the more physiological level it is most evidently flowing in the throat. As you might have guessed the voice is involved.
The sense plugged in at this level is hearing. Voice, hearing and sound are all connected don’t you think?
The endocrine gland in the throat area is the thyroid, while within it lies imbedded four smaller glands called the para-thyroids. These hormonal producers put out the chemical messengers that govern several functions. Of the most known is the influence on metabolism. The thyroid is in charge of the speed with which you metabolise food, the actual rate of the cell’s activity. This of course controls the body temperature as well.
The para-thyroids have to do with bone structure and the utilization of calcium by the bone cells. Whether or not you assimilate the calcium in your diet depends on these tiny little glands.
Mentally this fifth chakra energy influences the verbal thought process, whether this is voiced out loud or remains part of the internal dialogue it is still vibrating energy. This places it right back in the realm of electromagnetism. Now if you observe the speed at which you think and then change it by speeding it up a little you might notice that you can control it, kind of like with the accelerator on a car. All that has to do with vibration lies in this center but the actual control of it comes from the center above.
Blue is the essential colour of the energy, like the sky. Though talking and verbal thinking may not always be up there, the sky blue colour is an indication of how high the thoughts can be. In the electromagnetic spectrum (which are called the akashic records) are all the philosophical thoughts and the true knowledge about the universe. At this level one can see that the brain is just the radio, the universe is the broadcast and the communication is in the energy waves. You decide what station you want to be tuned in to.
North is the direction to face while looking into the realm of Vishuddha chakra as it helps line up our brain cells with the magnetic currents from north to south, making for an easier flow of energy through those cells and a resulting clarity of mind. The gateway to knowledge lies in this direction, but you need to be aware that knowledge comes in bits and pieces of information and does not necessarily lead to wisdom. Too much of this energy creates an overactive intellect, and that is probably white man’s greatest disease.
Karma Yoga – Anahata
Karma Yoga is a more subtle study of the laws of cause and effect as they apply to our personal life. In essence it is a study of how we have created the situation we are in now and subsequently look at what we would like to create in our upcoming years and lifetimes. Techniques involve self-analysis of thoughts, emotions and feelings, leading to insights about where it all comes from, and how to change the undesirable aspects. In practice it comes down to being helpful and compassionate with everyone, thereby creating positive karma.
Karma Yoga unfolds the 4th Chakra or Anahata.The element of Air and the force of expansion. This force can be found at many levels of life from the expanding universe to the growth of your own body. If you take the two north poles of a couple of magnets and try to push them together you will feel this energy. It is subtler than fire and invisible, yet a very powerful creative force in the scheme of life in the material world.
Lungs and heart both are connected to this energy and utilize it with every beat, with every breath and expansion and contraction. The endocrine gland plugged into it is the thymus. This gland is the center of the body’s immune response system; the energy spreading out from here sends out the white blood cells that sweep through the body looking for foreign invaders. If any are found they are systematically pushed out of the body, after being neutralized through whatever it takes. This system in itself is amazing and somewhat miraculous when it is functioning.
Developing the fourth chakra will bring the system to peak performance.
Touch and feeling is the sense related to this level of our being and this can become a very large arena when you consider all of the feelings we are capable of perceiving. When energy moves we can feel it. Energy in motion (E-motion). Any of these motions, which we deem unpleasant and do not want to feel, can be suppressed with the reaction of also suppressing the breath. At an unconscious level.
Green is the colour of this energy while a six pointed star lies in its center. This star is made of two triangles, representing two powers, which come together in this center, with every heartbeat and with every breath.
Physically this realm produces many of our feelings, from the most physical to the most sensual to the subtlest. All of those feelings which lie under the threshold of consciousness are also contained here – from your heartbeat to cellular metabolism. Etc.
Mentally we are still focused on feelings and also enter the realm of the subconscious where we may have stored years of unresolved events with all of the emotions involved. However, just as the breath is a subconscious process in the beginning, so also the whole realm of the unconscious opens up when we begin to take over the control of breathing. Be aware of what comes up for you.
West is the direction of this particular energy and introspection is its nature. By going in depth here it is possible to go beyond the normal bulk of one’s own stuff and to the level of intuition. Another chakra lies in this beyond, one called GURU HARIDYA MANAS, which translates as the “teacher within one’s own mind”. It is here that you can establish a direct link with the wisdom of the universe.
Hatha Yoga – Muladhara
Most people in the West consider Hatha Yoga to be yoga, this is what they refer to when they speak about yoga and it is also the most popular form of the whole yoga system. Hatha Yoga consists of physical asanas and movements designed to stimulate and rejuvenate the physical cells of our being.
Hatha Yoga involves a detailed knowledge of the physical form. This form of yoga forces the individual to consider the body and its chemistry and as such an understanding of how the body, glands and organs function and sometimes malfunction. As Hatha Yoga is the first step we take towards purification of the physical body in the West, it teaches us ways to influence our bodies, organs and glands in a positive way. We learn what to and how to correctly feed the body to strenghten, detox and stimulate it in a positive way. All of this and more is part of the first phase of yoga and as such connects us to our Muladhara Chakra or the root of all our future yogas.
Hatha Yoga empowers the Muladhara. The element of the Earth is that which is solid and resistant in you and as such Muladhara literally means the root support system, it is the energy that helps you to function in this world as a divine being moving around in a physical form. It is the Chakra where you are connected to the earth, it grounds you and provides the basis for your future support. In your energy system it represents the gravitational pull of the Earth which holds all together. At the molecular level it is the power that holds the atom together. At the planetary level it is the more obvious gravitational field. Obvious to us intellectually, yet invisible. Mentally this Chakra root our feelings as well as our perception of our physical being, right down to the cellular level.
Many asanas directly connect us to this Chakra point. For example Vishwamitrasana, Kashyapasana, Moolabandhasana, Gorakshasana, Merudandasana and a host of other asanas. These asanas are designed to put pressure on the Muldhara Chakra point and in doing so cultivate awareness of the energies and their flow in the physical body.
Muscles are an integral part of our organism and are directly linked to our Hatha Yoga practice as they contract or relax while we perform our asanas. This contraction or relaxation of the muscles bring awareness of the flow of energy in our bodies. Our muscles are the first aspect of our body to experience the purification of the physical body as they are the ones we most feel the next day after a class. Our muscles remind us of our connectedness to the Earth and to the Mother aspect. We talk of Mother Earth and through the Muladhara Charka we harness this Mother energy and use it to rejuvenate and balance our energy system.
Red is the colour associated with this chakra. Its energy is solid like a rock and forms the main illusion of this energy. Psychologically this Chakra deals with the Self and its attachments and desires. It deals with aspects such as how you are connected to and concerned with your thoughts and feelings. It is also the centre where your own survival comes first. Your fight or flight response is activated in this Chakra when you need it. From this perspective you see the world as a solid reality to be conquered and accumulated and not for what it really is: illusion or Maya.
Jnana Yoga – Swadhistana
Jnana Yoga has to do with achieving wisdom through the path of self-analysis and the right application of this gained knowledge which forms the basis of Jnana Yoga. In essence Jnana Yoga leads us to understand the emotional aspect of our being and its controling effect on our mind.
As a practice, it is the application of different relaxation techniques, along with introspective methods for studying the emotional motives for our actions and reactions in the social world. The practice of pratyahara, which is the withdrawal of the senses from the outer world of distractions and drama, refocuses the awareness of the yogi on the inner workings of the mind itself. It brings us Within and allow us to study how we are led around by our senses and desires, in other words not being in the Now. This becomes an in depth study of the psychology of the mind and how it entraps us into false beliefs or Maya. The philosophical principles of Samkhya are then realized followed by the application of yoga techniques for changing that situation around until consciousness leads, directs and transforms the mind into true understanding and wareness. This is when greater wisdom in the individual start to manifest as realising the thruth of our existence as Maya.
Jnana Yoga allows the second Chakra or Swadhistana to bloom into full realisation of Truth Divine. The element is water and as such connects us to the Great Ocean of divine Wisdom, but also dissolution. Water also represents that which is fluid in your physical being and flowing through your mind as well as your emotions. In the water molecule you have the atoms of hydrogen and oxygen joined together to form a unique substance, the human body. So is the energy of Swaidhistana Chakra also the union of two souls on a physical, mental and emotional level. It is the fluid aspect of water that makes organic life possible in that nothing could move at all without its fluidity.
There is also an element of instability at the core of this aspect in the sense that water is constantly in flux and change from one moment to the next. This characteristic is one which many yogis strive to attain while in incarnation, to be like water to just flow with things, neither to be stirred or troubled too much by obstacles in its path. If there is a rock or branch in the path of water, it just flows around this obstacle joining again on the other side without much effect on the fluidity of the water. So should be the aspiration of the yogi, to flow through life without getting emotionally too involved with what is happening around us. This is also the prakriti or nature of water, it is changeable from rockhard like ice to extremely fluid like water to be completely invisible like steam. In nature we find that the material components are continually re-arranged in the process of creation. For the yogi then union between knowlegde and wisdom becomes the right application, undertsanding and awareness that is connected to the powers of this Chakra.
The glands connected to this energy are the adrenal glands, while the organs are the kidneys. Other parts related are the bladder and the whole lymphatic system. One of the other major organs ruled by this power is the liver, though it is also influenced by the third chakra, many of the liver’s functions are in the re-arrangement of atoms into different molecular patterns. In this organ amino acids are arranged into vitamins, or combined into various proteins.
Orange is the colour of its energy in the world of sight and if you can feel it directly it has a strong emotional and even sexual flavour to it. Psychologically it has everything to do with our relations and the wisdom we gain from our interaction with tose we are in relation to. Just as the water molecule is the coming together of two particles, in the social world it signifies the coming together of or union of two people. That attraction you feel for another person when it is emotionally exciting is the feeling of this energy. At its strongest point this energy is perceived when building up to a sexual orgasm.
Mentally this Chakra is about the realisation of how many of our thoughts come from other people, we are like sponges, we absorb as far we travel along our path. Even the language you speak came from people who raised you. Much of what you learned came through teachers. Add to this the emotional side of all our relations and it makes quite a large realm of the mind that is governed by the energy of the second chakra. All the thoughts you have about or in relation to others come under this domain.
According to the Samkhya school, all knowledge is possible through the three pramanas (means of valid knowledge) – 1. Pratyaksha or Drishtam – direct sense perception, 2. Anumana – logical inference and 3. Sabda or Aptavacana – verbal testimony. Samkhya cites out two types of perceptions, a. Indeterminate (nirvikalpa) perceptions and b. determinate (savikalpa) perceptions.
(This article continues in Part 3)
This article is the first of a few parts as the topics are too long to post in one continuous post and I feel publishing it in parts makes digestion by the reader easier.
For many yogis the connection between the Chakras and yoga is an aspect that is a bit fuzzy. Some yogis are not exactly sure what yoga has to do with chakras or what chakras for that matter has to do with yoga.
When I first encountered the chakras system through yoga I always had the feeling that somehow the two must be more closely related as opposed to what most books and teachers described.
In this article I shall explore the rejuvenation and awakening aspects that exist as a connection between these vortexes of energy known as chakras and yoga and how they are all utilise to lead the individual soul to deeper understanding and awareness of “who am I”.
Mind is connected to the body through breath and it is the breath that carries this energy via our nervous system to the different energy points situated on our subtle body called the chakras and nadis. By learning how to work with these energies and how to operate and move in the limitation of the body and energy system, the mind is brought under control of the Atma and freed from the entrapment of the forced thinking process. The result is a consciousness that is free to embrace its own spiritual nature, a mind that is mindful and centred within and a body that maintains optimum health.
Bhakti Yoga is the umbrella
The overall umbrella under which all the other yogas and chakras operate is that of Bhakti. Bhakti yoga refers to the practise of devotion. Not only devotion to the Divine and the Self, but also devotion and commitment to one’s own ideals, goals and principles. Bhakti is the glue that hold it all together. Bhakti is also the inspiration and motivation for the individual soul to seek deeper and to discover “who am I”.
Without Bhakti very little can happen. Bhakti teaches the individual the persist no matter what, it cultivates endurance and allow the soul to flourish in the face of devotion and commitment. You need Bhakti to realise the other yogas and to effect their powers in the chakras they are associated with. Seen as such bhakti becomes the activator for all the other yogas.
If there is a sufficient orientation towards Bhakti in the yogi, he or she will have the necessary endurance to complete their sadhana or practice in life with great efficacy and success. Connected to Bhakti are the Yamas and Niyamas. By practicing the Yamas and Niyamas, the yogi reinforces his/her commitment and devotion to his or her path. Bhakti cultivates persistence through right observances and actions, which will lead the yogi to greater integration in his or her life.
(Article continues in part 2)
The system of the chakras and nadis came down from the cosmology of Samkhya. Samkhya philosophy heavily influenced the cosmology of yoga and tantrism. This is only a description of each chakra and its attributes.
A chakra is an energy center or vortex that exists in the pranic sheath of the ethereal body. A nadi is an ethereal tube that allows prana to move through the body, much like blood moves through the blood vessels. Chakras are located at nexus points where nadis intersect. Every point where nadis intersect with one another there is a chakra. There are 72,000 nadis throughout the body and thousands of chakras.
There are ten major nadis and fourteen major chakras. Yoga and tantra consider three nadis and seven chakras to be the most important. The three most important nadis are named Ida, Pingala, and Sushumna. The seven most important chakras are named Muladhara, Svadisthana, Manipura, Anahata, Vissudha, Ajna, and Sahsrara. The Sushumna, perhaps the most important nadi, is a hair-like ethereal tube that begins just below the base of the spine and extends through the middle of the spine, then up to the top center of the head. The Sushumna runs through the seven most important chakras, which are located each located along it’s path.
Chakra is a Sanskrit word for wheel or disk. They are called chakras because one of the ways that these energy centers were perceived by the ancient rishis and seers was as spinning disks. Sometimes a chakra is called a lotus because it can appear like a flower. A metaphor used to describe what happens when a chakra is energized is the opening of the lotus petals. Each chakra has a variety of individual characteristics and attributes. I will describe the major attributes of the seven most important chakras. I hope you find this information interesting and useful.
Explanation of the attributes
SANSKRIT NAME: The English transliteration of the Sanskrit names of some of the chakras vary a little from author to author. Some of the chakras have two common spellings. The first spelling is my personal preference, the spelling in parenthesis is another common spelling. The Sanskrit name is followed be a translation of the name.
COMMON NAME: Most of the chakras have a common name, like Base, Sacral, Solar Plexus, Heart, Throat, Third Eye and Crown Chakra.
LOCATION: There are a few differences between authors as to the exact location, shape and size of the chakras. Most authorities agree that the first five of the seven most important chakras are located along the spine. There is a school of thought that the chakras are located in specific organs. I believe that is a mistaken idea. The mistake comes from confusing the pranic sheath of the ethereal body with the physical body. Although there are some direct correlations between the physical body and the ethereal, and they do occupy the same physical space, they are organised independently of each other and their differences should not be overlooked. The chakras are not physical organs and the nadis are not the physical nervous system, however in order for us to understand their importance in our lives we as humans has ascribe them to specific places on the physical body. For example, thr Throat Chakra is associated with the thyriod gland and the Third Eye Chakra is associated with the pineal gland.
SEED SOUND: The Sanskrit word is Bija. Each chakra has a letter of the Sanskrit alphabet associated with it as it’s seed sound (Bija). The sound of the Bija has a distinct vibration. Repeating the Bija is one of the ways to energize the chakra and induce “the opening of the lotus petals.” Again, transliteration makes the exact English spelling of the Sanskrit sound questionable. I’ve chosen a spelling that I think is phonetically understandable.
COLOR: Each chakra has a color of the rainbow associated with it. This seems to have been first introduced by the Theosophist Society in the early twentieth century. This is a commonly accepted color scheme that is related to the vibrational frequencies of the different colors of light. The red light is a lower frequency than the blue light, so the red chakra must be at a lower frequency than the blue chakra.
OTHER ATTRIBUTES: Each chakra has a number of additional attributes. Every chakra has a certain number of nadis (rays) coming into it, a mythic animal and a god and goddess associated with it. The Muladhara (lowest chakra), the Anahata (Heart Chakra), and the Ajna (third eye) have mystical fertility symbols associated with them. Each chakra is also associated with a different sense, different organs and body parts, different personality attributes, etc. I will leave all of these topics for another time so as not to make this short description of the chakras too unwieldy.
Description of the Chakras
SANSKRIT NAME: Muladhara = Root of Tree
COMMON NAME: Root Chakra
LOCATION: Base of Spine
SEED SOUND: Lam
SANSKRIT NAME: Svadhisthana (also Swadhisthana,) = One’s Own Place
COMMON NAME: Sacral Chakra
LOCATION: Along the spine behind the genitals
SEED SOUND: Vam
SANSKRIT NAME: Manipura = Jewel City
COMMON NAME: Solar Plaxus Chakra
LOCATION: Along the spine behind the region four fingers above the navel
SEED SOUND: Ram
SANSKRIT NAME: Anahata = Un-struck Sound
COMMON NAME: Heart Chakra
LOCATION: Along the spine behind the heart region
SEED SOUND: Yam
SANSKRIT NAME: Vissudha (also Vishuda, Visuddha) = With Purity
COMMON NAME: Throat Chakra
LOCATION: Along the spine behind the pit of the throat
SEED SOUND: Ham
COLOR: Sky Blue
SANSKRIT NAME: Ajna = Wisdom Center
COMMON NAME: Third Eye
PLANET: Sun / Moon
LOCATION: Three fingers behind the center of the brow
SEED SOUND: Aum (Om)
SANSKRIT NAME: Sahasrara (also Sahashrara) = Thousand
COMMON NAME: Crown Chakra; The Thousand Petaled Lotus
LOCATION: Crown of head (Most authorities say the Lotus is located above the crown of the head. Some authorities say the Lotus petals are turned downward, covering the crown of the head.)
Here are links to other articles I wrote on the chakras: