This blog is the second in a series about yogic principles focused on the body.
Let us dive deeper into the energy layer of the body, the prānamaya kosha. ‘Prāna’ means “life force energy’. As mentioned in the previous blog, prāna is the fuel that makes the body work. The prāna flows through a network of ‘nādis’ (streams) and ‘chakras’ (nerve centres) within the body. In this blog we’ll focus on the 7 major chakras.
Ancient scientists have determined that the human body has 109 of these nerve centres, out of which 7 ones are found to be of major importance. When electricity flows through different parts of a machine, each part is able to transform the electricity into something that is desired. It may be movement, light, heat, sound, etc. Similarly, the chakras express the prāna into different aspects. The direction of the prāna flow, whether it’s upward or downward, also is found to influence the outcome of the aspect.
The 7 major chakras from bottom to top with their respective aspects are listed below.
The first one is the ‘Mulādhāra’ (Root chakra), literally meaning ‘root foundation’. It is located at the base of the spine. The energy is expressed into either enthusiasm or inertia (the feeling of not wanting to do anything), depending on whether the prāna is flowing upward or downward.
The second one is the ‘Svādishthāna’ (Sacral chakra), literally meaning ‘place of the self’. It is located 5-10 cm above the base of the spine, just behind the genitals. The same energy is expressed as either creativity or procreativity (the craving for sex). When the craving for sex is high, a person is not able to be creative. And the other way around as well, of course. When you are doing something creative, then lust is not a problem.
The third one is ‘Manipura’ (Navel/ Solar Plexus chakra), literally meaning ‘wealth city’. It is located at the navel region. Wealthy and joyful characters are often depicted with a big stomach. Think of Santa Claus, Laughing Buddha, Ganesha, etc. The flow of energy results in the emotions generosity, joy, greed or jealousy.
The fourth one is ‘Anāhata’ (Heart chakra), literally meaning ‘unstruck sound’. It is located at the heart region. The flow of energy results in the emotions love, fear or hatred. Only one of these emotions can be dominant at a time. So when there is hatred, a person is not afraid to take action and also love moves to the background.
The fifth one is ‘Vishuddhi’ (Throat chakra), literally meaning ‘special pure’. It is located at the throat. Whenever you’re feeling grateful for something or sad, you feel a sensation in the throat. Your throat tends to choke and talking becomes difficult. The energy is expressed as either gratitude or grief.
The sixth one is ‘Ajñā’ (Third-eye chakra), literally meaning ‘command’. It is located in between the eyebrows on the forehead. The energy is expressed as either awareness/ alertness or anger.
The seventh one is ‘Sahasrāra’ (Crown chakra), literally meaning ‘thousand petaled’. It is located at the top of the head. One's, whose energy is flowing through this chakra, experiences bliss. In our previous blog, bliss is defined as that joy, love and peace that does not depend on any mental stimulus.
So, when you feel enthusiastic about something, your creativity will blossom, generosity and contentment will come up and result in love. Love will cause gratitude, which will bring wisdom and lead to bliss. This is linked to the upward moving energy through the chakras. Upward and downward movement of the energy happens naturally in life all the time and should not necessarily be labeled as ‘good’ or ‘bad’. They are both part of life.
Chakras might get blocked due to stress. For the prāna to be able to flow through them, they need to get unblocked and activated. We should understand that the movement of our energy is well within our influence of will or action. We can choose to change the way we feel, the way we express or generally go through our life. It is because of this knowledge and skill that we can do that.
The science of Yoga has many specific ways of activating each chakra through a combination of physical postures, devotion, music, actions, knowledge, sports, etc.
Come and experience the different aspects of yoga at Yoga Peetha Happiness Centre.