Chakra: Understanding (Part 2)

7 Chakra

chakras_2
A chakra is like a whirling, vortex-like, powerhouse of energy. Since they are connected with the universal energy, they can be controlled or balanced by applying some laws and principles defined under spirituality. If you wonder what is spirituality then read below:

Spirituality Definition

  • Christina Puchalski, MD, Director of the George Washington Institute for Spirituality and Health, contends that “spirituality is the aspect of humanity that refers to the way individuals seek and express meaning and purpose and the way they experience their connectedness to the moment, to self, to others, to nature, and to the significant or sacred.”
  • According to Mario Beauregard and Denyse O’Leary, researchers and authors of The Spiritual Brain, “spirituality means any experience that is thought to bring the experiencer into contact with the divine (in other words, not just any experience that feels meaningful).”
  • Nurses Ruth Beckmann Murray and Judith Proctor Zenter write that “the spiritual dimension tries to be in harmony with the universe, and strives for answers about the infinite, and comes into focus when the person faces emotional stress, physical illness, or death.”

According to  Deepak Chopra each of the seven chakras are governed by understanding and practicing spiritual laws & principles of consciousness. When the chakra are balanced the internal energy known as Kundalini Shakti flows into them and meets the universal energy and affects us physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

The learning of balancing chakras includes understanding of our own energy, physical sensations, and emotional states. For this we need to know each chakra in detail and ways to control their spinning to balance them.

The awakening of the Chakras does not proceed in rigid, isolated steps, but takes place on all levels of consciousness simultaneously.

Chakra in details

Even though the 7 chakras are associated with specific parts of the body, they are not “physical” entities per se, but belong to the realm of “subtle energy”.  They can be described at the crossroad of the material and the immaterial, the biological and the spiritual, and pertain to the body, mind, and spirit all together. The mainstream chakra system is based on a Hindu chakra system that recognizes seven distinct “wheels” or “centers” of energy that are perpetually in motion along the human body’s spinal column. Each possessing its own color and vibrational frequency, these wheels are the catalysts of consciousness and human function. They govern various emotional issues, from our survival instincts and self-esteem to our ability to communicate and experience love. A large part of getting to know how to work with your chakras involves chakra balancing. A chakra blockage and imbalance in one or several of 7 chakras can initiate mental, emotional, physical and/or spiritual ailments. Regardless of whether you use chakra stones, crystals, reiki, or another form of vibrational healing to restore chakra balance, being well-versed about chakra systems, their function, and the areas they govern can be invaluable.

Balancing chakras and healing with the chakra energy system requires a working knowledge of chakras and their functions. So we shall start understanding one by one from this point and then in following blogs.

7 Chakra

The first Chakra: Mūlādhāra Chakra (root chakra) –

Mūla = Root, Origin, Essence, Ādhāra = Basis, Foundation

Symbolic representation: a four petals lotus flower, symbolizing the four nadis or energetical channels coming from here.

Controlled psychic function: the will to survive, controls the survival instinct, the inner state of safety, self-confidence on a physical level, desire for material possessions, the chosen profession or job, the feeling of security, the belonging to a group and the group (family) identity.

Essential fears: fear of physical survival; abandon from the part of the group, losing the physical order, fear of being attacked or aggressed.

Characteristic reactions in cases of energetical disturbances: fear or runaway.

The element resonating with: subtle energies of earth.

Sensorial organ: nose.

Sense: smell.

Characteristic color: clay-yellow.

The Sanskrit word Mūlādhāra is combination of ‘Mūlā’ & ‘Ādhāra’ words. ‘Mula’ meaning “root,” and ‘Adhara’ meaning “support” or “base.” This the foundation chakra, means it helps to build foundation for the higher spiritual development, just as the womb of the mother creates the basic requirement for the growth of the embryo.

Muladhara_Chakra

Muladhara Chakra is the center of self-preservation. Self preservation is an instinct required in every field of life. The Basic chakra or Root chakra is also the focal point of dynamic activities. To sum it up, the Basic chakra is the chakra of action. A person with a highly activated chakra will be successful in his business or whatever profession he embraces. A person with a depleted basic chakra on the other hand will only plan but not be able to implement. A Basic chakra plays a crucial role in one’s youthfulness and health.

In the Muladhara Chakra the form of divine energy (Shakti) is said to be located. This energy form is known as Kundalini (Sanskrit – kuṇḍalinī). Kundalini , or “coiled one”, in Hinduism refers to a form of divine energy (Shakti) said to be located at the base of the spine (muladhara). It is for the spiritual liberation. It can be cultivated and awakened through tantric practice. When awakened, Kundalini is said to rise up from the muladhara chakra, through the central nadi (called sushumna) inside or alongside the spine reaching the top of the head. The progress of Kundalini through the different chakras is believed to achieve different levels of awakening and a mystical experience, until Kundalini finally reaches the top of the head, Sahasrara or crown chakra, producing an extremely profound transformation of consciousness.

The existence of the Kundalini energy is further emphasized in this quote by John the Baptist’s statement (Matthew 3:11, Oxford Bible), “I baptize you with water…but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me…He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” The Holy Spirit symbolizes the divine energy that is coming down. And the fire stands for the fiery serpent at the base of the spine.

Energy is said to accumulate in the muladhara, and the yogi seeks to send it up to the brain transforming it into ‘Ojas’, the highest form of energy.

muladhara_chakra

The muladhara chakra is the foundation of the physical structure and the energy body. So stabilizing the foundation is important. Unless the muladhara is stabilized, one will not know health, wellbeing, and a sense of stability and completeness.

The Muladhara Chakra forms the border between animal and human consciousness. It is linked to the unconscious mind, where our actions and experience from past lives are stored. Therefore according to Karmic Law, this Chakra contains the course of our future destiny. This Chakra is also the foundation for the development of our personality.

The positive attributes of the Muladhara Chakra are vitality, vigour and growth. The negative qualities are laziness, inertia, self-centredness and domination by one’s physical desires.

The Bīja Mantra (Seed Mantra) of the Mūlādhāra Chakra is LĀM, the sound of spiritual awakening. It releases tensions and removes blockages in this Chakra and activates its energy.

The main symbol of the Mūlādhāra Chakra is an ELEPHANT WITH SEVEN TRUNKS. In Indian mythology the elephant is the carrier of Brahmā, the creator, who brought forth knowledge and creation. The seven trunks of the elephant represent the seven basic materials of the body, as well as the SAPTDHĀTUS, the seven minerals and the seven precious gems that are found in the earth .

The Lotus blossom of the Mūla Kamala has four petals depicting the four points of the compass. They represent the four fundamental psychic functions of mind (Manas), intellect (Buddhi), consciousness (Chitta) and ego (Ahamkara)  – all of which originate in this Chakra.

The divinity of the Mūlādhāra Chakra is Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva represents consciousness and liberation. Liberation can also mean the elimination and destruction of anything negative and harmful; Shiva destroys all negative tendencies. As “Lord of the Animals” Lord Shiva keeps the animal forces under control. At Shiva’s side there are two female divinities. Their names are ĀSURĪ SHAKTI and DEVĪ SHAKTI. Āsurī Shakti represents the destructive, divisive energy within us, and Devī Shakti the positive, constructive and uniting power. Through a positive lifestyle, confident attitude to life, keeping spiritual company (Satsang), good thoughts, understanding, forgiveness, helping and giving, Āsurī Shakti is gradually transformed into Devī Shakti.

shiva&shakti

An important symbol in the Mūlādhāra Chakra is the SHIVA LINGAM, an astral symbol for creativity, creative power and consciousness. In this symbol a snake winds around the Shiva Lingam three and a half times. The three rotations of the serpent represent the first three levels of consciousness – unconscious, subconscious and conscious; and the half turn refers to the awakened super-consciousness. As the head of the snake is pointing downwards this is an indication that the evolutionary process can also again go downwards. Wisdom does not develop by itself; it needs constant, conscious effort to purify the thoughts and steer the actions towards the good.

The evolution of consciousness is connected with time, and the snake is also known as KĀLA (time, past or death). Therefore, the winding of the snake around the Shiva Lingam can also represent time – past, present and future.

Another symbol of the Mūlādhāra Chakra is an inverted triangle, which has two meanings. One meaning suggests that the Cosmic energy is pulled in and guided downwards, as if into a funnel. The other meaning indicates an upward expansion of consciousness.  The tip pointing downwards indicates that we are at the beginning of our spiritual development; and the sides that spread upwards and outwards show the direction of the developing consciousness.

The Mūlādhāra Chakra is affiliated with the SENSE OF SMELL. The awakening of the Mūlādhāra Chakra can lead to a heightening of sensory perceptions, especially the refinement of the senses of smell and hearing, so that we become aware of aromas and sounds that are not perceptible to others. Some people can see auras or feel the thoughts and moods of others.

The colour assigned to the Mūlādhāra Chakra is RED, the colour of Shakti. Shakti means energy, movement, awakening and development. Red symbolises awakening of the sleeping consciousness to active, alert consciousness. It indicates the existence of a strong, dense energy and is connected to the earth. Our existence has its roots in the earth and therefore the EARTH element (Tattva) is assigned to the Mūlādhāra Chakra.

The Mūlādhāra Chakra is the mother who nourishes and raises us. It is the seat of our dormant wisdom, the stronghold of our hidden spiritual powers and abilities. By awakening this Chakra – under the care of the spiritual Master – we accomplish the first step on our path towards a fully developed human consciousness, and beyond to God-Realisation.

When the Mūlādhāra Chakra becomes active qualities that we had not suspected were within us, such as destructive rage, all-consuming passion, excessive desires or deep-seated anger, can surface and astound us. Or, on the other hand, we can also experience wonderful feelings of freedom, joy, harmony and closeness to God.

Yoga is the best method of taking the decisive step to work through the contents of our unconscious with complete awareness. One dimension of yoga that is related to the muladhara is referred to as kayakalpa. Kaya means body. Kalpa essentially means a long period of time – we could translate it as “eon.” Kayakalpa is either about establishing or stabilizing the body, or extending its lifespan, in such a way that the deterioration is at least slowed down to a point where it looks like you are ageless and timeless. The guidance of a Realised Master who has already successfully dealt with this process is essential. He knows the dangers and obstacles on the spiritual path, and also understands our feelings and is aware of our condition. He can make us attentive, advise and help us when we still do not know which way to go. Confidence in the Master (Shraddhā) is an essential requirement for success. At this stage of our spiritual development we are like tender little plants that must be supported and protected from the rigours of the weather. The Master gives us the necessary support, for he is as unshakeable and firm as the Mountains.

Spiritual_KayaKalpa

Exercises for the Mūlādhāra Chakra

Kriyā Yoga

is the best practice to awaken the Mūlādhāra Chakra and purify the Karmas. The initiation into Kriyā Yoga is given to the aspirant by the spiritual Master.

Āshvinī Mudrā

is a very effective exercise to raise the unconscious into consciousness. Āshva means horse, and Mudrā means a position of the body. With this exercise the anal muscles are repeatedly contracted and relaxed (just like a horse when it sheds its droppings).

Mahāmudrā

Starting Position: Sit on the floor. One leg is straight and the other leg is bent so the heel is beneath the buttock. Exhaling bend forward and take hold of the toes of the straight leg with both hands. Raise the head and look upwards. Remain in this position for a few minutes breathing normally.

Mandukī Mudrā (also known as Bhadrāsana)

Starting Position: Vajrāsana (sitting on the heels). Separate the legs far enough so that the buttocks can rest on the floor. Exhaling and keeping the back straight, bend forward and place the hands on the floor between the knees. Arms can be straight or bent – whatever is comfortable. The fingers point outwards and you look towards the tip of the nose. Remain in this position for a few minutes breathing normally.

This exercise protects us against harmful emissions, detoxifies the body and has a grounding influence, as well as improving the sense of smell and concentration.

Other helpful exercises are:

  • Mūla Bandha (Root Lock)
  • Yoga Mudrā
  • Shalabhāsana (Locust Pose)
  • Paschimottānāsana (Seated Forward Bend)
  • Dhanurāsana (Bow Pose)
  • Tādāgī Mudrā (Raised Lotus)
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