· Chakra means “wheel.” Chakras are energy centers, or energy vortices. In studying and teaching Kundalini Yoga, we focus on the eight major chakras.
· Seven of the chakras correspond to areas of the endocrine system or to nerve plexes in the physical body, and the eighth corresponds to the aura or magnetic field of the body.
· The first three chakras are known as the Lower Triangle and the Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh chakras are known as the Upper Triangle. The Fourth chakra, the Heart chakra is the point of balance between them, where experience shifts from “me to Thee,” or from “me to we.”
· No chakra stands alone. When exploring Yogic Anatomy, we need to shift our understanding from the need to analyze and separate, to a more holistic approach that recognizes that everything works in unison. The chakras are all part of a larger cycle of evolution and devolution, manifestation and sublimation. The Lower Triangle chakras focus on elimination and reduction, and are balanced by the Upper Triangle chakras, which accumulate, create and refine.
· Prana, the life force, powers the chakras, by clearing the blocks to the free, natural flow of energy through them. Kundalini Yoga facilitates this clearing, balancing, and maximizing of the functioning of body, mind, and spirit.
· The chakras affect our perceptions, feeling, and choices. They affect the flow and types of thoughts we have, and the energies we can gather to act upon them, and manifest our thoughts. In all of our behaviors, they affect the relationship between the conscious and the subconscious. Opening and balancing the chakras opens the senses, and integrates them into a responsive network that can relate to the larger source field source field source field of energy from which we come and to which we return.
First (Root) Chakra – Muladhara
SECURITY & SERVIVAL
Foundations, survival, security, habit, self-acceptance
LOCATION: The end of the spine between the anus and the sex organs.
ORGAN/GLAND: Organs of elimination.
QUALITIES: Grounded, centered, secure, loyal, stable. Healthy functions of elimination.
SHADOW: Fear, insecurity. Life feels like a burden; feeling of not really belonging on Earth or in one’s own culture or family. Weak constitution, elimination problems, reduced physical and mental resistance, sexual perversions.
YOGA EXERCISES: Crow Pose, Chair Pose, Body Drops, Frog Pose, Mulbhandh, Front Stretches, and lying on the stomach with feet kicking the buttocks.
Second Chakra – Svadisthana
To feel, to desire, to create
LOCATION: The sexual organs.
ORGAN/GLAND: Sexual organs, reproductive glands, kidneys, bladder.
QUALITIES: Positive, relaxed attitude to sexual functions, patience, creativity, responsible relationships.
SHADOW: Rigid emotions, frigidity, guilt, no boundaries, irresponsible relationships. Problems with reproductive organs, or kidneys.
YOGA EXERCISES: Frog Pose, Cobra Pose, Butterfly, Sat Kriya, Cat Cow, Maha Mudra, Pelvic Lifts.
Third (Navel) Chakra – Manipura
ACTION & BALANCE
The will of the spiritual warrior
LOCATION: The area of the navel Point, solar plexus.
ORGAN/GLAND: Navel plexus, livr, gall bladder, splen, digestive organs, pancreas, adrenals.
QUALITIES: The center of personal power and commitment. Self-esteem, identity, judgment. This is where the strength for inner balance, inspiration and good health is developed.
SHADOW: Anger, greed, shame, despair. Obstacles everywhere. Not enough strength and spontaneity. Conforming in order to be recognized. Refuting ones own wishes and emotions. Problems with digestion, the liver, the gall bladder, and the pancreas.
YOGA EXERCISES: Stretch Pose, Sat Kriya, Peacock Pose, Bow Pose, Fish Pose, Diaphragm Lock, Breath of Fire; all exercises which train the abdominal muscles.
Fourth (Heart) Chakra – Anahata
LOVE & COMPASSION
Love and awakening. From “me to we.”
LOCATION: The middle of the chest on the breast bone at the level of the nipples.
ORGAN/GLAND: Heart, lungs, thymus gland.
QUALITIES: Compassion; kindness; forgiveness; service; love. Recognizing and understanding these qualities in others. Sacred transformation. Awakening to spiritual awareness.
SHADOW: Grief. Attachment. Closed to surroundings. Easily hurt. Dependent on love and affection from others. Fear of rejection. Helper syndrome. Heartlessness.
YOGA EXERCISES: Ego Eradicator, Yoga Mudra, Bear Grip, Baby Pose (strengthens heart muscles). All arm exercises, and exercise which twist the upper torso. All Pranayam.
Fifth (Throat) Chakra – Vishuddha
PROJECTION & POWER OF THE WORD
Hearing and speaking the Truth, The Teacher
LOCATION: The throat.
ORGAN/GLAND: Trachea, throat, cervical vertebrae, thyroid
COLOUR: Light blue
QUALITIES: The center for truth, language, knowledge and the ability to communicate effectively. Authenticity. Healthy self-expression and interactions, inspiring, teaching. Embodying God’s Will.
SHADOW: Lethargy, weakness in expressive descriptive abilities. Shyness, voice problems, insecurity, fear of other people’s opinions and judgments. Throat problems, neck problems, thyroid problems.
YOGA EXERCISES: All chanting. Shoulder Stand, Cobra Pose, Plow Pose, Camel Pose, Cat-Cow, Neck Rolls, Neck Lock, nose to knees.
Sixth (Third Eye) Chakra – Ajna
INTUITION, WISDOM & IDENTITY
The union of opposites
LOCATION: Between the eyebrows.
ORGAN/GLAND: Brain; pituitary gland
QUALITIES: Center of intuition, clairvoyance; visualizing; fantasizing; concentration and determination, Self-initiation. Power of projection. Understanding your purpose.
SHADOW: Confusion, depression. Rejection of spirituality. Over-intellectualizing.
YOGA EXERCISES: Meditating on the Third Eye, Long Chant (Ashtang Mantra), Kirtan Kriya. Archer Pose. Whistle Breaths. Yoga Mudra. All exercises where the forehead rests on the floor.
Seventh (Crown) Chakra – Sahasrara
HUMILITY & VASTNESS
Transcendence. The Tenth Gate
LOCATION: Crown of the head.
ORGAN/GLAND: Brain; pituitary gland
QUALITIES: The seat of the soul. Connection to the Highest Self. Enlightenment. Unity. Elevation. Relationshi to the unknown..
SHADOW: Grief. The feeling of being separated from existence and from abundance. Fear of death.
YOGA EXERCISES: Ego Eradicator, Mahabandha, Sat Kriya. Concentrating on the tip of the nose. All meditation.