Monthly Archives: October 2018
The God of the Root Chakra
As per Kundalini Yoga Sutra, the human body receives its subtle cosmic energies from seven chakras that are ruled by different gods. The Muladhara is considered the “root” or “foundation” Chakra indicating “support” is one of the seven main chakras, located near the base end of the spinal column, primarily associated with the action of excretion. Muladhara Chakra is associated with survival and safety and teaches us the life lesson of standing up for ourselves.
An individual with a healthy Muladhara Chakra can be spotted out for a strong sense of security and practicality with a healthy physique. On the other hand, if this first Chakra is blocked, a person may lose the sense of belonging, have a weak physical structure, problematic bones, weight issues, and a fearful outlook towards life in general.
Lord Ganesha rules Muladhara Chakra, the root Chakra sssociated with family, stability and wealth. Mula means “main, root or original” and adhara means “base”, meaning that Lord Ganesha is the root cause of our familial happiness and domestic peace that are absent without his blessings.
Also in Ganapati Atharvashirsa it is given that “lord Ganesha continually dwells in the sacral plexus at the base of the spine, Muladhara Chakra. He resides permanently in every living being at the Muladhara. He guides all other chakras, thereby leading the forces that propel the wheel of life.”
Therefore, Lord Ganesha is the primal force that supports the foundation of every aspect of your life. He removes all the obstacles in all your undertakings. One should meditate on him every day in the morning. One can also use Ganesha Yantras or Rudraksha beads ruled by Lord Ganesha to strengthen your Root Chakra.
Source: The Rudra Centre
Kundalini and The Chakras
Chakras, meaning “wheel”, are psychic centers that lie along the axis of the spine as consciousness potentials. They are usually represented as lotuses. The chakras are not materially real and are to be understood as situated, not in the gross body, but in the subtle or etheric body. Repositories of psychic energies, they govern the whole condition of being.
What is most commonly known is a more recent system dating to around the eighth century C.E. with the main 7 chakras. But the ancient spiritual Indian texts refer to various other systems with variations in the number of chakras and their location.
When kundalini is struck, she awakens, uncoils and begin to rise upwards like a fiery serpent, breaking upon each chakra as she ascends, until the Shakti merges with Shiva in sahasrara chakra.
As kundalini reaches each chakra, that lotus opens and lift its flower; and as soon as she leaves for a higher chakra, the lotus closes its petals and hangs down, symbolizing the activation of the energies of the chakra and their assimilation to kundalini. The dynamization of kundalini when it passes from one chakra to another is an unfoldment of spiritual consciousness stage by stage and is said to enable the acquirement of yogic powers called siddhis.
The increasing number of lotus petals, in ascending order, may be taken to indicate the rising energy or vibration-frequencies of the respective chakras, each functioning as a transformer of energies from one potency to another. Each of the 50 petals of the first 6 chakras are associated with one of the letter of the Sanskrit alphabet.
Each of the chakras, according to the Tantras, corresponds to one of the elements of which the known world is compounded. Muladhara represents solidity; Svadhisthana, liquidity; Manipura, the gaseous; Anahata, the aerial; Vishuddha, the etheric, or space. One can see the whole process as a progressive transformation of the elements, with an increase of volatility. Each of the elements of the first five chakras are associated with a sound: Lam, Vam, Ram, Yam, Ham.
This ascent through the chakras can be viewed as an upward journey through the self which refines and subtilizes the energy that is the kundalini, until at the sixth chakra, the Ajna, center of command, a qualitative change has taken place. The chakras are centers of transformation of psychic or mental energy into spiritual energy.
The seventh Chakra, Sahaswara, is referred to as the thousand-petal lotus Chakra. This is the top Chakra of the seven and located at the crown of the head. Sahaswara is our source of enlightenment and spiritual connection to all that is. It is a connection to our higher selves, to every being on the planet, and ultimately the divine energy that creates everything in the universe.
True opening of Sahaswara means the realization that you are pure awareness. You are pure consciousness, undivided, and all expansive. Like a drop in the ocean, you are a part of that ocean that contains and encompasses every aspect of it.
Emerging From the Murky Waters
The lotus flower is a symbol in both the Hindu and Buddhist traditions. It is nurtured, grows, and emerges in muddy waters. It blooms where there is no clarity. The beauty of the lotus is unique to its environment, which appears monotonous and lacks vibrancy.
When you reach the unfurling of the seventh Chakra, you emerge through the confines of the physical body, the ego, mind, and intellect. You even push beyond the individual soul that ties you to Samsara, the endless cycle of birth and rebirth. You are freed from the shackles of desire. White light surrounds your body and you appear to stand out in your murky surroundings.
Is This an Unattainable Beauty?
After reading the description of the seventh Chakra, it may seem out of reach. You may think, “Well, that sounds nice for monks and gurus, but not for me. I’m just an ordinary person with a normal life.”
While we have the demands of daily living and the busy minds that accompany these demands, reaching enlightenment may not be as far off as it appears. A worthy goal may be to live in a constant state of pure awareness. But how about living with moments of pure awareness? We have all experienced these moments at one time or another. Have you ever felt unconditional love for someone? Have you ever experienced a miracle?
Practicing meditation, prayer, and daily silence are disciplines that lead to increased moments of spiritual connection. In fact, these are the only means by which you will experience the essence of Sahaswara. Just as you would go to school for hours a day and study for exams to obtain a degree, meditation, prayer, and silence are your studies to obtain a spiritual degree.
Once you’ve established a daily practice of these activities that connect you to universal consciousness, you will see expansion of spiritual awareness in your outer world. You will begin to experience unconditional love on a consistent basis. You will be more compassionate, kind, and forgiving, and you will show more humility. Life will no longer be solely about you and your desires. Your life will become more about serving others because when you serve others, you are serving yourself.
Asanas, Sounds, Colors, and Gems
While silence is the most powerful and important way to opening the seventh Chakra, there are some other practices that support this Chakra.
Two Pranayama breathing techniques you can do before meditation include Nadi Shodhana, or alternate nostril breathing, and Kapalabhati, or the skull shining breath.
Inverted yoga asanas such as headstand (Salamba Sirsasana) and down dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) can help stimulate the seventh Chakra, as well as any posture that brings the crown of the head to the floor such as fish pose (Matsyasana).
The color for the crown Chakra is violet or white and the mantra sound is the universal sound of OM. Gems you can wear or have in your environment to help open and align the seventh Chakra are amethyst, selenite, and sugilite.
Symbolism of the Image
Sahasrara, meaning thousand, is the “Lotus of the Thousand Petals” located four finger-breadths above the crown of the head. Sahasrara Chakra is the upper terminal point of Sushumna nadi, the central channel. From Saharara the nectar of immortality (Amrita) flows in a constant stream.
- Location: Top of the cranium
- Name: Thousand petaled
- Plane: Truth and reality
Sahasrara Chakra is the seat of the parabindu (supreme bindu). It is the location of the merging of Kundalini Shakti and Shiva. By this union the adept attains liberation while living which is considered in Indian life to be the highest experience: an union of the individual with the universe.
Sahasrara Chakra is located above Brahma-randhra, “the cave of Brahma”. It is a hole in the crown of the head through which the soul is said to escape at death. When the Yogi separates himself from the physical body at the time of death, this Brahma-randhra bursts open and the soul comes out through this opening (Kapala Moksha). This opening is also called the ‘Door to Pure Consciousness’ or door of liberation.
Once the Kundalini Shakti, also called “Serpent Power”, has ascended through Sushumna to Sahasrara, it is made to reverse its course and return to rest in the base center again. Immortality is achieved within Sahasrara Chakra. Before attaining to this Chakra the yogi is unable to reach the unconscious conscious state called asama-prajnata-samadhi. In this state there is no activity of the mind and no knower, no knowledge, nothing to be known: knowledge, knower, and known all become unified and liberated.
When the Kundalini is raised up to Sahasrara Chakra, the illusion of individual self is dissolved. The yogi becomes realized, one with the cosmic principles that govern the entire universe within the body. One is no longer subjected to birth or death.
Samadhi is the pure bliss of total inactivity. Up to the sixth Chakra the yogi may enter a trance in which activity or form still remains within the consciousness.
In Sahasrara Chakra the prana moves upward and reaches the highest point. The mind establishes itself in the pure void of Shunya Mandala, the space between the hemispheres.
At this time all feelings, emotions and desires, which are the activities of the mind, are dissolved into their primary cause. The union is achieved. The yogi is sat-chit-ananda, truth-being-bliss.
He is his own real self, and as long as he stays in his physical body he retains nondual consciousness, enjoying the play of lila without becoming troubled by pleasure and pain, honors and humiliations.
The sixth Chakra, Ajna, is in the area of the third eye, which is found in the space between the eyebrows. It encompasses the pituitary gland, eyes, head, and lower part of the brain. An invisible yet powerful third eye, this is your center of intuition. A spiritual Chakra, which means “beyond wisdom,” Ajna leads you to an inner knowledge that will guide you if you let it. An open sixth Chakra can enable clairvoyance, telepathy, lucid dreaming, expanded imagination, and visualization.
The Sixth Sense
Your world is experienced through the five senses. Even before you passed through the womb, you heard noises like your mother’s voice and heartbeat, and listened to muffled sounds outside. You experienced touch, taste, and even perceived light. And since the moment of birth, you’ve attributed your experiences to what you perceive through the senses. You’ve learned to trust your senses in what you can taste, smell, touch, see, and hear. While sense perception is great in life experience, it limits you when it comes to expanding your awareness.
At one time, you had to count on your sense of intuition and inner knowing. Before modern technology, we had to rely on signals from the environment and a more primal instinct to guide us. Just like birds can sense when a tsunami might hit, or squirrels know when it’s time to gather food for the winter, humans too have an intuitive sense. We’ve simply lost touch with it as well as our ability to trust in it.
Feeling Your Way to Intuition
Your physical senses can give you clues as to how to follow your intuition. For example, have you ever had the feeling that a carton of milk was bad? You smell the milk, look at the expiration date that’s still a couple weeks away, and even ask everyone in the house, “Is this milk bad?” Then, not detecting anything concrete, you go ahead and drink it but experience severe stomach pain as a result? That’s because on a very subtle level, your sense of smell detected something wasn’t right and gave you a cue that you doubted.
Here’s another example: you’re making a business deal with someone and everything adds up. The person seems great and honest. But when you shake hands you feel something just isn’t right. When the deal goes through, you find out it was corrupt.
You receive these clues through your senses, but when something isn’t visible you tend to ignore it. The good news is that you can learn to trust these clues and make better decisions based on your intuitive sense. When your decisions turns out right, write them down to reinforce that your intuition guided you in the right direction. Remember that just like the animals in the forest, you too have always had this sixth sense; you simply need to find it again.
Ask Your Inner Knower for Guidance
You can also use your inner sense to ask for guidance to make the right decisions. Taking into account your mind, intellect, and ego, you are now including your soul in the decision making process. Just as you turned to the third Chakra in the area of the solar plexus to guide you with comfort or discomfort, you will pay attention to a hunch or a subtle feeling of moving forward or holding back. If you are conflicted, ask for your sense of intuition to be opened to you in order to help you make the right choice.
How to Balance Ajna
Just like any of the spiritual chakras, Ajna is best balanced through meditation. Often, new meditators will report having a tingling feeling in the third eye or equate it to a headache. A tingling or pulsating sensation around the area of the third eye during or after meditation is a sign that you are opening this blocked Chakra.
A great Pranayama breathing technique is called Brahmari or the bee breath. Bring both hands to your face. Place the two middle fingers over your eyes. Allow the index fingers to rest on the eyebrow line and the pinky fingers under the cheekbones. Close your ears with your thumbs. Take a deep inhalation and exhale the word AUM with the emphasis on the “M” sound while creating a buzzing sound like a bee. Do this for two minutes or more. You can alleviate tension in the head and it works to open the sixth Chakra.
Asanas, Sounds, Colors, and Gems
Any yoga Asana where the forehead is pressed down is a good one for the sixth Chakra. Try child’s pose (Balasana) with your forehead pressed to the floor or a yoga block. Dolphin pose is another helpful pose when you lift the head up to look toward the floor.
The color for the sixth Chakra is indigo and the mantra sound is SHAM. Gems that help open the Ajna Chakra are amethyst, lapis lazuli, and azurite.
Ajna Chakra is the location of the third eye which is the conscience. The two physical eyes see the past and the present, while the third eye reveals the insight of the future. The seed syllable is Aum, or “Pranava Om”, the supreme sound.
- Number of petals: 2
- Location: Between the eyebrows
- Name: Command, authority
- Plane: Plane of austerity
- Sound: AUM
When one establishes himself in the place between the eyebrows he goes beyond all the kinds of desires that motivate life and impel one to move in many directions. All experience and ideas serve only to clarify one’s perceptions in Ajna Chakra. The plane of neutrality (Sarasvati) appears as a balance between solar and lunar energy within the body.
Ida (river Ganga, feminine, lunar) and Pingala (river Jamuna, masculine, solar) nerve energies separate from the Sushumna channel at the Muladhara Chakra, intertwine up through all chakras and meet with the Sarasvati, becoming one at Ajna Chakra. This brings the sense of oneness and of unity with the cosmic laws that appear in the plane of austerity. They then again separate, running into the left and right nostrils. Negative and positive, the components of duality, become equalized in Sarasvati, leaving a state of pure music and neutrality. One now becomes one-pointed; he becomes knower of past, present and future.
Ida and Pingala are time-bound; up to the fifth Chakra the yogi also is time bound, but as Ida and Pingala end here, the yogi moves into Sushumna, beyond time. He is now in a state of nondual consciousness. The activation of Ajna Chakra is said to lead to psychic powers (siddhis) such as clairvoyance.
The presiding deity is Ardhanarishvara, the half-male, half-female Shiva-Shakti, symbolic of basic polarity; the right side is male and the left side, female. Ardhanarishvara stands in a lingam known as Itara Lingam. The lingam is shining white, like the color of light. The male half of Ardhanarishvara has camphor-blue skin. He holds a trident in his right hand, representing the three aspects of consciousness: cognition, conation, and affection.
The female side of Ardhanarishvara is pink. She wears a red sari, and about her neck and arms are wound shining golden ornaments. She holds a pink lotus, a symbol of purity. All duality has ceased. Shiva has total command over all aspects of the self in this plane of liberation, or moksha.
The third eye of Shiva is called sva-netra, the organ of clairvoyance. Becoming Sada-Shiva, the eternal one, Shiva is no longer separate from Shakti as a separate male entity. Devata Shiva is the granter of knowledge. This knowledge brings the breath (prana) and the mind under control of Ardhanarishvara.
The energy is Hakini. Hakini Shakti has four arms and six heads. Her skin is pale pink, and her jewelry is golden and shines with gems. Wearing a red sari, she sits on a pink lotus with her left foot raised. She imparts theknowledge of unconditional truth, the awareness of nonduality. In her hands she holds the following objects: Shiva’s damaru drum, which maintains a steady drone and leads the aspirant in his way, a skull, as symbol of detachment, a mala for japa as a centering device. her remaining right hand is posed in the mudra of granting fearlessness.
The fifth Chakra, Vishuddha, is the first of the three spiritual chakras. In the area of the throat, it governs the anatomical regions of the thyroid, parathyroid, jaw, neck, mouth, tongue, and larynx. To be open and aligned in the fifth Chakra is to speak, listen, and express yourself from a higher form of communication. Faith and understanding combine the essence of the Vishuddha Chakra. The element corresponding to the fifth Chakra is ether or space, and the sense is hearing.
Determine Your Highest Truth
Authentic expression is not something that comes easily. There’s a delicate dance between saying what you mean and staying tactful or diplomatic. Often it’s easier to say what the other person may want to hear instead of speaking your truth. Fear of not being accepted, or judgment from the other may hinder your truthful verbal expression.
Work on the lower chakras will help prepare you for this level of communication. For example, when you align the first and second chakras, it helps with overcoming fear. Opening the third Chakra helps you to feel your personal power and have the confidence to express yourself. Knowing what’s in your heart comes when you align the fourth Chakra. Then, when it comes to verbalizing your needs, desires, and opinions you’re better able to determine how to be truthful to yourself and others.
Express Your Truth
If you’re used to being accommodating, rather than saying what you want, you may have to practice out loud to yourself. Affirmations are useful in making what you desire reality. Write down what you might want to express to others. Let’s suppose you’d like to ask your boss if you can work from home two days per week but you haven’t had the courage to ask. Write out the phrase you will say when you are with him. Practice it in front of your mirror.
Maybe you’d like it if your mother-in-law would call before dropping over but you’ve feared confrontation. Write down the request, practice it, and maybe include a couple of responses should she push back on your request.
Speak and Listen With Compassion
Dr. David Simon often refers to the following ancient wisdom. He says that there are three gateways you should cross before speaking.
- First, ask yourself, “Is what I am about to say true?”
- If so, proceed to the second gateway and ask, “Is what I am about to say necessary?”
- If the answer is yes, go to the third gateway and ask yourself, “Is what I am about to say kind?”
- Speaking your highest truth doesn’t mean you’re allowed to be hurtful or critical. The truth from your spiritual essence will come across as kind and compassionate.
Listening is another aspect of the fifth Chakra. The highest form of listening includes giving the other person your full attention. This means putting away electronic devices or turning them off and waiting to hear the other person completely before responding.
Open and Align the Vishuddha Chakra
Chanting, singing, humming, and reading aloud are wonderful ways to open the fifth Chakra. In fact, the mantra sound for this Chakra is HUM. Two Pranayama exercises that bring heat and stimulate the throat Chakra are the Ujjayi breath and the lion’s breath.
In your yoga practice, you can do camel pose (Ustrasana), bridge pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana), shoulder stand (Salamba Sarvangasana), and plow (Halasana). These poses will stimulate the thyroid and parathyroid glands as well as bring energy to the area of the throat.
The color corresponding to the fifth Chakra is blue, and gems to balance this Chakra are sapphire, blue topaz, lapis lazuli, aquamarine, and turquoise.
Symbolism of the Image
The Yantra of Vishuddha Chakra is a silver crescent within a white circle shining as a full moon surrounded by sixteen petals.The silver crescent is the lunar symbol of nada, pure cosmic sound. The crescent is symbolic of purity, and purification is a vital aspect of Vishuddha Chakra.
- Number of petals: 16
- Location: Behind the throat
- Name: Pure
- Plane: Human plane
- Sense Organ: Ears
- Work Organ: vocal cords
- Sense: Hearing
- Element: Ether
- Shape: Crescent
- Sound: Hang
Located at the throat level, Vishuddha Chakra is associated with the element ether (Akasha) and controls the principle of sound related to the sense of hearing. The seed mantra is Ham and the vital breath is Udana.
In Vishuddha Chakra the nectar amrita drips down the chitrini nadi, and is split into a pure form and a poison.
Through practices such as Khechari Mudra and Jalandhara Bandha the nectar reaching Vishuddha is purified, the poison from the body is cleansed and amrita becomes the nectar of immortality. The nectar and poison symbolism originate from the Hindu episode of the churning of the Ocean of Milk in which gods and demons churn the ocean to obtain Amrita, the nectar of immortal life.
In Vishuddha Chakra, all the elements of the lower chakras – earth, water, fire and air – are refined to their purest essence and dissolve into akasha.
The presiding deity is Panchavaktra Shiva. He has a camphor-blue skin and five heads, representing the spectrum of smell, taste, sight, touch and sound, as well as the union of all five elements in their purest forms.
He holds a mala (rosary), a drum which drones continually, manifesting the sound AUM, and a trident. The fourth hand is in Abhaya mudra, the gesture of dispelling fear. The faces of Shiva symbolize the following aspects: Aghora, Ishana, Mahadeva, Sadashiva and Rudra.
The energy is Shakini. She has a pale rose skin and wears a sky-blue sari with a green bodice. She sits on a pink lotus and holds the following objects: a skull, which is a symbol of detachment from the illusory world of sense perceptions, an ankusha, an elephant staff used to control Gaja, the scriptures, representing knowledge and the mala (rosary).
Shakini Shakti is the bestower of all higher knowledge and siddhis (powers). The Chakra’s associated animal is the elephant Airavata, supreme lord of herbivorous animals, vehicle of the Vedic god Indra. It is of smoky grey color, the color of clouds.
The fourth Chakra is at the center of the seven chakras with three below and three above. This is the area where physical and spiritual meet. The fourth Chakra, also referred to as the heart Chakra, is located at the center of the chest and includes the heart, cardiac plexus, thymus gland, lungs, and breasts. It also rules the lymphatic system.
The Sanskrit word for the fourth Chakra is Anahata, which means “unstruck” or “unhurt.” The name implies that beneath the hurts and grievances of past experiences lies a pure and spiritual place where no hurt exists.
When your heart Chakra is open, you are flowing with love and compassion, you are quick to forgive, and you accept others and yourself. A closed heart Chakra can give way to grief, anger, jealousy, fear of betrayal, and hatred toward yourself and others.
Choose the Essence of Anahata
Some people choose to live in the place of grievances. They’ve been hurt in the past by parents, siblings, classmates, or loves. Maybe you’ve been there too. It’s impossible to avoid situations where someone may try to hurt you. But you get to choose what to do with that hurt. Some people might try to hurt the other person back. Yet, that is not living from a place of Anahata. The person who inflicts pain on others is coming from a place of fear, ignorance or hatred, all of which represent a closed heart Chakra.
When you encounter hurt feelings from your past or present, you can choose to feel them fully and let them go or hold onto them. By letting them go, you’re able to open your heart to new people and new experiences with compassion, love, and understanding.
Holding onto hurt harbors negative feelings and cuts you off from opportunities to love and serve. Letting go is as easy as making a choice. Your mind and your ego may tell you otherwise but it’s as simple as choosing to let go and move on.
Empathy and Compassion Create Openness
Walking in another person’s shoes is not easy to do, but can be helpful in fostering a sense of empathy. To help create empathy and compassion, I like to play a game called, “the what if scenarios.” When encountering a person who is being unpleasant or who has treated me poorly in the past, I quickly take my mind through a host of what ifs. For example, ask yourself, “What if that person is just having a bad day?” or “What if that person just lost his job?” “What if she just learned her husband was having an affair?” “What if he was just diagnosed with an illness?” As you create these stories, of which the possibilities are endless, you begin to empathize with the other person and his or her situation. This method takes you away from yourself and self-pity and places compassion onto the other person.
Now, let’s suppose that there’s a family member or close friend who just repeats a pattern of inflicting hurt on a constant basis. You can still offer love and compassion either from a distance or by setting boundaries. In any case, know that when someone chooses to hurt you, it’s almost never about you. It’s about them.
Give Love to Receive Love
The best way to receive love is to give it. Author and motivational speaker, Leo Buscaglia, used to teach that we should give and receive 12 hugs a day for optimal health. So give hugs and kisses. Other ways you can give love:
- Smile at everyone you see daily, even if you don’t feel like smiling. It’s contagious.
- Forgive and move on. Life is too short to hold grudges.
- Give friends, family and co-workers positive affirmations and feedback.
- Try to go one day a week without criticizing anyone or anything, including yourself.
- Take any opportunity you can to foster love and loving feelings. Love is a currency and whatever you give will come back to you.
Asanas, Sounds, Colors, and Gems to Balance the Fourth Chakra
Any yoga pose that opens the area of the chest will help to balance the heart Chakra. Some poses include camel, standing bow pose, and cow face pose.
The mantra sound corresponding to the fourth Chakra is the sound YUM. A special mantra to help expand love and compassion is OM MANI PADME HUM. You can repeat this mantra in meditation to gain greater access to these qualities.
The color is emerald green and the gemstones associated with the heart are emerald, malachite, jade, and rose quartz.
Symbolism of the Image
Anahata, the heart Chakra, has twelve vermillion petals. The Yantra in the centre of the Chakra is composed of two overlapping, intersecting triangles. One triangle, facing upward symbolizes Shiva, the male principle. The other triangle, facing downward, symbolizes Shakti, the female principle. A balance is attained when these two forces are joined in harmony.
- Number of petals: 12
- Location: The Heart
- Name: The Heart
- Plane: Plane of Balance
- Sense Organ: Skin
- Work Organ: Hand
- Sense: Touch
- Element: Air
- Shape: Hexagram
- Sound: Yang
The seed mantra is Yam and the vital breath is Prana. The presiding deity is Ishana Rudra Shiva. He has a camphor-blue skin, he is two-armed. The nature of Ishana is peaceful and beneficent. He holds the trident in his right hand and a damaru drum in his left. The holy Ganga (river Ganges) flowing from his hairlocks is a cooling and purifying stream of self-knowledge: the knowledge that “I am That”. The snakes coiled around his body are the passions, which he has tamed.
His energy is Kakini Shakti, her skin is rose-colored. Her sari is sky-blue and she is seated upon a pink lotus. In her four hands Kakini Shakti holds the implements necessary for one to attain balance: the sword, the shield, the skull and the trident symbolizing the balance of the three forces of preservation, creation and destruction.
It is in Anahata Chakra that Kundalini Shakti appears for the first time as a beautiful goddess. She sits in lotus posture within a triangle. The triangle is pointing upward, showing the tendency of Shakti to move upward and carry the aspirant into the higher planes of existence. Dressed in a white sari, Kundalini Shakti is serene and centered within herself. She is the virgin mother and is synonymous with Shakti, selfless spiritual devotion. No longer is she personified as a destructive serpentine force, as is typified by the first Chakra. Kundalini Shakti now becomes a goddess and one may communicate with her, the upward-moving energy.
She is no longer coiled around the lingam, but sits independently in a yogic posture. She embodies anahata nada, the cosmic sound, which is present everywhere and is known as “white noise”. This sound begins in the heart as AUM, the seed of all sounds.
Behind Kundalini Shakti stands a lingam in which Rudra Shiva appears as Sadashiva (sada: “eternal”, shiva: “benefactor”). He is Shabda Brahma, or the eternal Logos. As such he is Omkara, the combination of the three gunas, sattva, rajas and tamas, which are represented by the sounds A, U, and M, respectively, combining to form the sacred syllable AUM or OM.
He stands with a trident, symbolic of the three gunas. This shivalingam is the second lingam in the body, and is known as Bana (arrow) Lingam, the first being the Svayambhu Lingam of the first Chakra, around which the Kundalini serpent is wrapped. The lingam of Anahata Chakra is synonymous with conscience.
The Chakra’s associated animal is the black antelope or gazelle, symbolizing the lightness of physical substance.
Ishana Rudra Shiva
The third Chakra is called Manipura, which means “lustrous gem.” Located around the navel in the area of the solar plexus and up to the breastbone, it is a source of personal power and governs self-esteem, warrior energy, and the power of transformation. The Manipura Chakra also controls metabolism and digestion.
When you feel self-confident, have a strong sense of purpose, and are self-motivated, your third Chakra is open and healthy. If your third Chakra is out of balance, you can suffer from low self-esteem, have difficulty making decisions, and may have anger or control issues. The element is fire and the color is yellow, bright like the sun.
When you have clear goals, desires, and intentions, you can move forward to achieve them. Each small step you take while honoring the larger intention helps to strengthen your third Chakra. The fire within, called Tejas in Sanskrit, is the same fire in the Ayurvedic dosha Pitta. A person with strong Pitta has that inner drive to propel them forward toward their goals.
No matter which dominant dosha type you have, you can harness the power of Manipura to assert your will in a healthy way and achieve any goal you set out to accomplish. If you find you are stuck with a decision or are at a crossroads and aren’t sure which way to go, look to a gut feeling in your solar plexus for guidance.
Close your eyes, place your hand over the area slightly above your belly button.
- Bring to mind the problem or dilemma.
- Notice how your third Chakra feels when you give it choices regarding the subject you’re struggling with. A sinking or nauseated feeling may tell you that the decision is wrong.
- If you present your solar plexus with the right choice, you may feel lightness in the area or you may even feel like you can breathe easier.
Strengthen Your Digestive Fire
The digestive fire, called Agni, is also present in the third Chakra. To help the Manipura Chakra remain open and aligned, keep your digestive fire healthy. Follow these guidelines for more powerful Agni:
- Drink beverages at room temperature or slightly warmed; avoid adding ice.
- Eat about two cupped handfuls of food at every meal to avoid overeating.
- Stay away from spicy foods if you are a Pitta type.
- Take small sips of water while eating, and avoid soda, alcohol, and fruit juice. Drinking a lot while eating tends to dilute the digestive acids, while drinking alcohol tends to give you excess acid.
- Let your stomach rest between meals. Grazing and frequent snacking don’t give your body time to replenish Agni, which happens when the stomach is resting.
Enhance Digestion and Increase Metabolism With Bhastrika Breath
Since the third Chakra governs both digestion and metabolism, you can easily awaken both with breathing exercises. Make sure your stomach is not full before starting this breathing pattern.
- Sit comfortably with the spine tall and the shoulders relaxed.
- Start by taking a few deep breaths in and out the nose with the lips closed.
- Then, forcefully inhale through the nose while inflating the lower abdomen and forcefully exhale through the nose while pressing the lower abdomen toward the spine.
- Use one-half count on the inhalation and one-half count on the exhalation at a rapid pace. You will feel like you’re getting an abdominal workout.
- Try for 10 repetitions and then work it up to 15 or 20. After you’re finished, you will feel a tingling or glowing feeling around the navel.
Balance the Third Chakra With Asanas, Sounds, Colors, and Gems
Any yoga pose that brings heat to the area of the solar plexus is good for stimulating a sluggish third Chakra. These poses include Navasana (boat pose), Matsyandrasana (seated spinal twist), and warrior.
The mantra sound for the third Chakra is RAM. Chanting this sound will help to open and align the Chakra.
Since the color of this Chakra is yellow or gold, any gem corresponding to these colors will help to open the solar plexus area and bring energy to the spleen, liver, pancreas, and stomach. Yellow topaz, golden yellow labradorite, and tiger-eye stones are all great gems to enhance your sense of personal power.
The Symbolism of the Image
The Manipura Chakra, the gem center is at the level of the solar plexus. It is the seat of the fire within the body. Located at the navel, this is the Chakra of the life force. A downward-pointing red triangle is located in a circle surrounded by ten petals.
- Number of petals: 10
- Location: Solar Plexus
- Name: The city of Gems
- Plane: Celestial plane
- Sense Organ: Eyes
- Work Organ: Feet and legs
- Sense: Sight
- Element: Fire
- Shape: Triangle
- Sound: Rang
The Manipura is related to the principle of sight. According to the Shiva Samhita, the adept who contemplates Manipura Chakra not only conquers disease and death but also acquires the ability to enter another body.
The seed mantra is Ram. The Chakra’s vital breath is Samana. Samana vayu is one of the currents of prana, the life force, which pervades all limbs and is responsible for nourishing the body by distributing food as rasa.
The presiding deity of this Chakra, Braddha Rudra, represents the power of destruction. All that exists returns to him. He has camphor-blue skin smeared wit ashes and a silver beard, and sits in his wrathful form on a golden tiger skin symbolic of the tiger of the mind that dwells in the forest of desires.
The tiger represents manas, the mind. When Rudra manifests his supreme power, he is Ishvara and is the creator, maintainer and destroyer of the universe. Rudra is he who causes the disappearance of sorrow or who bestows knowledge.
The energy generated by him is Lakini Shakti, four-armed, three-faced. In one of her four hands she holds the thunderbolt, or vajra. In her second hand, she holds the arrow that is shot from the bow of Kama, the Lord of Sex, in the second Chakra.
Her third hand holds fire. With the fourth hand Lakini Shakti forms the mudra (hand gesture) of granting boons and dispelling fear.
The Chakra’s associated animal is the ram, vehicle of the fire-god Agni.
The second Chakra, Svadhisthana, is also known as the creativity and sexual Chakra. It is located above the pubic bone and below the navel, and encompasses the genital region and the hypogastric plexus. The word svadhisthana can be translated as “the dwelling place of the self,” and the element of the second Chakra is water, which equals cohesiveness.
A balanced second Chakra leads to feelings of wellness, abundance, pleasure, and joy. When this Chakra is out of balance, a person may experience emotional instability, fear of change, sexual dysfunction, depression, or addictions.
You can open this Chakra with creative expression and by honoring your body. The energy of this Chakra is feminine, passive, and lunar.
Creativity: The Focus of The Second Chakra
As humans, it is part of our nature to create. This creativity can be expressed as procreation but the second Chakra energy is certainly not limited to making babies. When we cook, bake, or garden, we are creating. We create when we find a new solution to an old problem. Any time we take raw materials, physical or mental, and transform them into something new, we are using our creative energy.
The problem with creativity is that we are often discouraged from creative efforts, starting with education. Once we pass through the phase where coloring, painting, or cutting paper is completely acceptable, it seems that we must mold into less creative beings. In order to conform, follow the rules and fit in, we sometimes lose our creative energy and thus, our unique ideas in the process. Adults become used to following what’s right, the latest trend, or what’s acceptable to others. Then, when asked to abstractly invent something new, we might have a difficult time doing it.
Play Like a Child to Awaken Your Creative Energy
We might feel open and creative in some aspects of life, while self-conscious in others. Ask me to write a book or essay and I can perform with ease. But if you ask me to draw a picture, paint, or even create a great meal without a recipe to follow, I feel much less than skilled. But, if you told me I had to paint a nice picture because my life depended on it, I would most likely rise to the occasion. Why? Because I would take the risk to get the job done.
The reason, that we stopped being creative or stopped taking risks creatively, is because along the way, someone told us that we weren’t good or that we couldn’t do it. In opening your second Chakra energy, you must take risks and not be afraid of failure.
Play is a great way to begin this opening. Have you ever watched a child play? A child will spend several hours building a Lego tower, a sandcastle, or an exquisite dollhouse. Then, the same child will smash their masterpiece in an instant and start over from scratch as if it was no big deal.
Start to play like a child. If your gourmet meal doesn’t turn out, so what? If your potted plant dies in a week, plant another one. And yes, if your work project is a flop, it doesn’t mean your career is over. Like the child at play, start again. You have an infinite amount of creative energy within you, so use it.
How to Balance Svadhisthana
Besides being open to creativity in your daily life, you can balance the second Chakra by maintaining a healthy sexual life and honoring and respecting your body. Get in touch with your emotions and see if there are any feelings you’re holding onto. Make a commitment to process those emotions in a healthy way.
Left nostril breathing called Ida Nadi breathing will help to open up the second Chakra as it brings forth lunar energy. Simply close your right nostril with the first two fingers of your right hand and inhale and exhale through the left nostril, only for 8 to 10 breaths.
Meditation with focus on the second Chakra brings about personal magnetism, refinement in behavior, freedom from diseases, and longevity.
Asanas, Sounds, Colors, and Gems
Other ways to open a blocked Chakra include using yoga, mantras, colors, and gems.
Yoga asanas that help to open and align Svadhisthana are …
- Seated pelvic circles: Sitting in a cross-legged or half-lotus pose with your hands on your knees, make circles with your torso. Go around in one direction 5 or 6 times and then switch directions.
- Baddha konasana (butterfly pose) with forward fold: In a seated position, bring the bottoms of your feet together. Let your knees drop to the sides and bring your heels in close to your pelvis. Lengthen the torso and fold forward.
- Bhujangasana (cobra pose): Lie on your stomach with your feet flat on the floor. Place your hands under your shoulders and slowly lift your head, chest, and abdomen while keeping your naval on the floor. Be sure to press down through the pubic bone toward the mat.
The mantra sound that corresponds to the Sacral Chakra is the sound VAM. By chanting VAM, the vibrations will open and align this Chakra. The color for the second Chakra is orange and the gemstones for this Chakra are amber, calcite orange, carnelian, or hematite.
Symbolism of the Image
Svadhisthana, the second Chakra, is situated in the genital region, it has six vermillion lotus petals. The moon-shaped crescent is the yantra of this Chakra. The Chakra governs the principle of taste, Its element is water.The vital relationship between water and the moon is shown by the crescent yantra within the white circle of the water Chakra.
The seed mantra is Vam and the vital breath of the Chakra is Prana.
Above the mantra is seated the presiding deity Vishnu, the lord of preservation, the all-pervading life-force in the universe. Vishnu is in shining dark-blue, and he wears a dhoti of golden yellow. A green silk scarf covers his four arms. He is seated on a pink lotus, four-armed, holding a conch, a mace, a wheel and a lotus. He is ornamented with the crown, jeweled earrings, anklets and wears the wanamala on his neck.
- Number of petals: 6
- Location: Above the genitals
- Name: Dwelling place of the self
- Plane: The Astral plane
- Sense Organ: Tongue
- Work Organ: Genitals
- Sense: Taste
- Element: Water
- Shape: Circle
- Sound: Vang
Vishnu is seated on the Garuda, the king of birds. Garuda is the concentrated vayu power developed from the highest form of kumbhaka (breath-suspension) which is under full control of Vishnu. Garuda represents the five vayus within us: Apana, Prana, Samana, Udana and Vyana. From the Garuda process has been developed the practice of Uddiyana control, the control of the lower abdomen.
This means the Great bird of Prana, the life force is constantly forced to fly upward, ascending along Sushumna nadi the central channel. By concentration, control over the five prana forces is increased through the release of Kundalini Power, and consequently pranayama develops. Then Lord Vishnu begins to be awakened.
His energy is Rakini or Chakini Shakti, two-headed, four armed, holding an arrow, a skull, a drum, and an ax, seated on a red lotus. Rakini is one of the forms of Kundalini Shakti. She wears a red sari, and jewels encircle her neck and four arms.
The Chakra’s associated animal is the light grey or green makara (crocodile), an emblem of the waters and the vehicle of the god Varuna, lord of the sea. Varuna has full control over the water principle and the celestial ocean (the milky way), the medium through which the five prana forces exhibit their functional activities.
This subtle water in its essence is Amrita, the deathless substance, and in its gross form is blood and various external and internal secretions.
Located at the base of the spine, the pelvic floor, and the first three vertebrae, the root Chakra is responsible for your sense of safety and security on this earthly journey. The word Muladhara breaks down into two Sanskrit words: Mula meaning “root” and Adhara, which means “support” or “base.”
This is the first of the chakras of matter. Balancing the root Chakra creates the solid foundation for opening the chakras above. Imagine that you’re laying the foundation for a house in which you’re going to live for a long time. A solid foundation embedded in firm soil will provide the stability you need to create a home filled with joy for years to come.
The root Chakra is comprised of whatever grounds you to stability in your life. This includes your basic needs such as food, water, shelter, and safety, as well as your more emotional needs such as letting go of fear. When these needs are met, you feel grounded and safe, and you tend to worry less day to day.
Whether or not you feel secure now often has less to do with what you have at your disposal and more to do with how safe you felt as a small child. When you consider psychologist Erik Erickson’s stages of development, the first stage—trust versus mistrust—is closely related to your root Chakra development. As infants, if your caregivers readily gave you what you needed to survive with consistency, you felt secure in the world. You felt that the world was a place that could be trusted to provide your basic needs. Yet, if your caregivers withheld or delayed in giving you what you needed, or if that giving was inconsistent, you may find yourself with first Chakra blockages.
Imbalances in the Root Chakra
If there is an imbalance in the root Chakra you may experience anxiety disorders, fears, or nightmares. Physical imbalances may manifest as problems in the colon, with the bladder, with elimination, or with lower back, leg, or feet issues. In men, prostate problems may occur. Eating disorders may also be a sign of a root Chakra imbalance.
How to Balance Muladhara
While meditation does connect you to a higher spiritual plane, it also serves to ground you. You may not always be able to trust that the world will give you what you need to survive, but connection to your higher self and trust in a power higher than yourself will give you what you need to feel safe.
It does not matter if you call that higher power Consciousness, Mother Nature, God, or Spirit. Connection to universal energy will bring you a sense of peace and stability. The animals in the forest have no idea if and when they will find food each day, yet somehow they trust in nature to provide for them.
The sense organ that corresponds to the first Chakra is smell. While meditating, focus on the tip of your nose to help align the root and bring forth the qualities you need to balance your root Chakra.
Asanas, Sounds, Colors, and Gems
Other ways to open a blocked chakra include using yoga, mantras, colors, and gems.
Yoga Asanas that help to open and align Muladhara are…
- Pavanamuktasana, knee to chest pose
- Janu Sirsansana, head to knee Pose
- Padmasana, lotus flexion
- Malasana, squatting pose
Women can also practice Kegel exercises, and both men and women can do Bandha yoga—where you lock or tighten certain areas of your body—to help bring strong energy and strength to the area of the first chakra.
Chanting or toning sounds can also help bring you back to balance just like music brings people together. Sounds create vibrations in the body, and these vibrations help the cells work together in synchronistic harmony. The mantra sound that corresponds to the root chakra is LAM.
Finally, colors and gems can help bring a chakra into balance. The root chakra’s color is red. Gemstones for the first chakra include garnet, red jasper, black tourmaline, and bloodstone. You can place the gemstone on the area of the chakra while lying down to help open and align it.
Symbolism of the Image
Muladhara Chakra is the meeting place of the three main nadis: Ida, Pingala and Sushumna. The downward-pointing triangle indicates the downward movement of energy and the three main nadis.
Muladhara is the root center of physical experience, located at the base of the spine, the sacral plexus. The square represents the earth itself, the four dimensions and the four directions. Four allows for completion, and earth embodies the elements and conditions for human completion on all levels.
The seed mantra is Lam, the yellow square represents the earth element. The Muladhara Chakra governs the vital breath Apana. An inverted triangle in the centre of the square encloses the unmanifest Kundalini, represented as a snake wrapped in three and a half coils around the svayambhu (self born) linga. Because her mouth faces downward, the flow of energy is downward.
- Number of petals: 4
- Location: Base of the spine
- Name: Foundation
- Plane: Physical plane
- Sense Organ: Nose
- Work Organ: Anus
- Sense: Smell
- Element: Earth
- Shape: Square
- Sound: Lang
The opening at the entrance of the sushumna is called brahma-dvara, the door of Brahma, which is closed by the coils of the sleeping Kundalini. As soon as one begins working with Muladhara Chakra, this dormant energy awakens, raises its head and flows freely into the channel of Sushumna, the central nerve canal that runs along the spine.
These two aspects of the kundalini: sleeping and waking, are identified as her “poison” and her “nectar.” The kundalini is poison when she remains asleep in the lower abdomen; she is nectar when she rises up through Sushumna, the medial channel, to reunite with Siva, the Absolute, in the yogin’s cranial vault.
In the pericarp is found the presiding deity Brahma, the lord of creation. His skin is the color of wheat, he wears a yellow dhoti and a green scarf. Brahma is four-faced, four-armed, holding in his upper left hand a lotus flower, the symbol of purity.
In his second left hand he holds the sacred scriptures. In one right hand he has a vase containing nectar, this is amrita the precious fluid of vital potency. The fourth hand is in Abhaya mudra, the gesture of dispelling fear.
The Chakra’s associated animal is Ganesha, the elephant headed god. Ganesha is the lord of all beginnings and is invoked to bestow protection over all undertakings. His skin is coral orange. He wears a dhoti of lemon yellow color. A green silk scarf drapes his shoulders. He has four arms to serve him while he acts as the destroyer of obstacles. Ganesha is the son of shiva and parvati. He holds a fragrant ladu, a lotus flower, a hatchet. The fourth hand is raised in the mudra of dispelling fear.
The energy, or shakti, of Brahma is called Dakini. She is in shining pink with four arms holding a skull, a sword, a shield and a trident symbolizing the forces of the creator, the preserver and the destroyer.