Vishuddhi Chakra

Visha = impurity,

poison Shuddhi = purification

 

Vishuddhi Chakra

VIshuddhi Chakra

 

 

Vishuddhi Chakra or throat chakra is the fifth primary chakra according to the Hindu tradition of tantra. It is located in the vicinity of the Larynx – and is therefore also known as the Throat Chakra. It is a center of physical and spiritual purification.

Location: the fifth energy center, Vishuddhi Chakra is located in the physical body in the area of the neck.

Represents: pure consciousness, creativity.

Symbolic representation: it is the dwelling of sound, dreams and the symbol of purity.

On the psychic level: it governs expression, awakening of inspiration, eloquence, archetypal models. This center of force is closely connected to the feeling of acceptance, superior receptivity, and subtle protection.

On the physical level: it coordinates the activity of the vocal cords, the hearing system, pharynges, oesophagus, as well as the spine. The corresponding glands are thyroid and parathyroid. This center of force is connected to the complex process of nourishment.

Specific reactions in the case of energetical disturbance: the person in which the energies characteristic to Vishuddhi Chakra are disturbed will have to face an imbalance at the level of the above-mentioned glands. The emotional factors are nonetheless extremely important in triggering this disease. These factors are translated in symptoms as insomnia, anxiety and depression.

Characteristic element: the subtle energies of ether.

Sense: hearing.

Intense focus and meditation on the subtle element corresponding to this center of force is defined in the Yoga texts as the special, beatific expansion Akashi Darana. The person who practises this form of meditation will not die, nor disappear at the dissolution of the world. This person obtains the knowledge of the past, present and future as well as the control of the mysterious energies of time.” (Swami Sivananda) – Meditation upon this chakra is said to bring about various siddhis or occult powers: vision of the three periods, past, present and future; freedom from disease and old age; destruction of dangers; and the ability to move the three worlds.

 

For the purification and balancing, the breath should flow through the chakra. Here at the throat it is a natural process. By using Prāna Shakti with help of the Yoga technique of Prānāyāma , one can have better breath control to remove the harmful residues from the breath and to clear thoughts as well. A wrong thought, emotion, idea, energy, or impulse can poison your life. An active Vishuddhi saves you from all these influences. In other words, once your Vishuddhi is active, whatever happens around you will not have an impact on you anymore. You will be established within yourself. And you tend to become a powerful being.

Vishuddhi Chakra 2

Lotus Blossom in VIshuddhi Chakra

The Lotus blossom in the Vishuddhi Chakra is described as having a “white color” with sixteen “purple” or “smoke-colored petals.”. These represent the sixteen Siddhis (supernatural powers) that a person can acquire through practising Yoga. Within the pericarp is a sky-blue downward pointing triangle containing a circular white region like the full moon. This represents the element of akasha or “aether.” The number 16 also refers to the sixteen days it takes for the half-moon to grow into the full moon. The moon denotes emotions, change and the female principle. In the Bhagavad Gita (15/13) the moon is described as “the giver of nectar” as it gives nourishment to vegetation. The colour of the Vishuddhi Chakra is VIOLET, the colour of wisdom and spirituality.

The element of the Vishuddhi Chakra is ĀKĀSHA (space). Space opens the possibility for expansion and distribution. This region is represented by the deity Ambara, who is also white in color and is depicted with four arms, holding a noose and a goad. He makes the gestures of granting boons and dispelling fear while seated upon a white elephant. 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.

Panchanana_SadaShiva

Sadashiva

The Lotus in the Vishuddhi Chakra carries the Bīja Mantra HAM – I am. SO HAM means “That am I”. In the Anāhata Chakra we frequently indulge in beautiful emotions, whereas in the Vishuddhi Chakra we begin to become conscious of who we really are. It is here that the real journey towards Self-Realisation and Self-knowledge starts. In the Bindu, or point above the mantra, resides the deity Sadashiva, who has 5 faces, representing the spectrum of smell, taste, sight, touch, and sound and 10 arms. The right half of his body is a white Shiva, and the left half of the body is a golden Shakti. He is holding a trident, chisel, sword, vajra, fire, a great snake, a bell, a goad, and a noose, and is making the gesture of dissipating fear. He is clad in a tiger skin. His Shakti is Shakini, who is shining white, seated on a red lotus, and with five faces, three eyes each, and four-armed, with a bow and arrow, noose, and goad.

The central symbol of the Vishuddhi Chakra is a peaceful white ELEPHANT. In India the white elephant is regarded as a symbol for luck, wealth, power, wisdom, purity and clarity.

Words are developed in three stages: ABDOMEN, THROAT & LIPS. The seat of sound is in the Manipūra Chakra; therefore the origin of speech is in the fire element. Through the energy of fire, sound manifests in the space of the Vishuddhi Chakra, and is articulated as words with the help of the lips (Vaikharī). Every thought, every emotion, should be filtered and purified by consciousness and clarity. In the lower Chakras we are led predominantly by our emotions; the real dawning of consciousness begins first in the Vishuddhi Chakra. In this Chakra we begin to articulate our emotions and desires and, at the same time, also learn how to control them. The process of maturation in the Vishuddhi Chakra governs the aptitude for patience. Through Prānāyāma and Āsanas that have an effect on the Vishuddhi Chakra we can quieten the thoughts and emotions and bring them into harmony. In this way we protect ourselves from rash actions and prevent our words being like knives or arrows and injuring others. Patanjali said that wise men formulate their words clearly and fully before speaking. The ability to be aware of words in their place of genesis – the Manipūra Chakra – is very valuable. Words possess a strong power regardless of whether the effect they create is intentional or not. We should speak fewer rather than too many words, and weigh them up in the heart and the Vishuddhi Chakra before we speak.A very effective Sādhana for learning control over words is silence (MAUNA). All exercises that have an effect on the Vishuddhi Chakra also have a beneficial influence on the voice and speech. That is why work on this Chakra is particularly recommended for writers, poets, journalists, teachers, politicians, actors and singers. VĀK SIDDHI, which bestows a remarkable influential power upon words, is hidden in the Vishuddhi Chakra. With the activation of the Vishuddhi Chakra and practising of the Hatha Yoga technique of TRĀTAKA (concentration on a point), one’s words and glances are given an effective and persuasive power.

Prānāyāma, Yoga & Mudra for Vishuddhi Chakra

  • Ujjāyī Prānāyāma
  • Jālandhara Bandha
  • SARVĀNGĀSANA Shoulderstand
  • MATSYĀSANA Fish
  • BHUJANGĀSANA Cobra
  • USHTRĀSANA Camel
  • SETU ĀSANA Bridge
  • SHĪRSHĀSANA Headstand
  • VIPARĪTKARANĪ MUDRĀ Half Shoulderstand
  • HALĀSANA Plough
  • YOGA MUDRĀ Forward Bend sitting on Heels
  • Khecharī Mudrā
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Anāhata Chakra

Anāhata Nāda = unlimited, infinite sound

anahat-chakra

Anāhata Chakra

Location: the fourth energy center, Anāhata Chakra is located in the physical body in the area of the cardiac plexus.

Represents: compassion, emotional tranquility, detachment and unconditional love.

Symbolic representation: the consciousness of love and empathic communion with other beings, abnegation, self-giving.

On the psychic level: endless and everlasting love for your fellows, compassion, altruism, empathy, acceptance, self-giving.

On the physical level: it coordinates the activity of the circulatory system, respiratory system and immune system.

Specific reactions in the case of energetical disturbance: the person in which the energies characteristic to Anāhata Chakra are disturbed will suffer because of dramatic, even tragic situations. Such people will have problems with the thymus, the endocrine gland corresponding to this center of force.

Characteristic element: the subtle energies of air.

Sense organ: skin.

Sense: tactile sense.

In Sanskrit, Anāhata means “unhurt, unstruck, and unbeaten”. Anāhata Nad refers to the Vedic concept of unstruck sound (the sound of the celestial realm). Anāhata is associated with balance, calmness, and serenity.

The Anāhata Chakra is the seat of love. When our heart opens to divine love, our love becomes infinite. Just as love is infinite, so also is the Anāhata Chakra. “The most beautiful love one can experience is the love of God. He is our eternal lover and our souls are his beloved’s, and when the soul meets the greatest lover in the whole universe, then the divine love begins.” (Paramahansa Yogananda)

The Anāhata Chakra is our inner temple in which the divine Ātmā, “the flame of life”, resides. In the Chandogya Upanishad it is written: “In the centre of the body there is a little shrine surrounded by a wall with eleven doors. Hidden within the shrine a Lotus blossoms, and within this there is a tiny, little room.” What does this tiny room in the heart of the Lotus mean? It is the Ātmā, our true Self. Just as the whole tree is already contained and present within a seed, the essence of the entire cosmos exists in the centre of the Heart Chakra.

Anāhata means “infinite” and “continuous”. In the Anāhata Chakra we hear Anāhata Nāda, SO HAM – “That I am, I am That”; the constant, fundamental sound of the Universe, the eternal vibration of the Self. The sound SO is produced when we inhale & HAM when we exhale.

anahat-chakra-2

Lotus with twelve petals in the Anāhata Chakra

We find a Lotus with twelve petals in the Anāhata Chakra. The twelve petals depict the twelve most important qualities that we are able to develop in the heart centre: Joy, peace, love, harmony, bliss, clarity, purity, compassion, understanding, forgiveness, patience and kindness. The twelve petals are inscribed with the syllables kam, kham, gam, gham, ngam, cham, chham, jam, jham, nyam, tam and tham in Sanskrit. They match the vrittis of lust, fraud, indecision, repentance, hope, anxiety, longing, impartiality, arrogance, incompetence, discrimination and defiance.

The divinities of the Anāhata Chakra are SHIVA and SHAKTI. Inside there is a smoky region at the intersection of two triangles, creating a shatkona. The shatkona is a symbol used in Hindu Yantra, representing the union of male (Purusha) and female (Prakriti). Shiva (or Purusha) is pure consciousness that steers us towards goodness and the Supreme Self. Shakti (or Prakriti) is the Divine power through which consciousness manifests.

The artistic talents like poetry, picture, sounds, etc. are coming through the awakened Anāhata Chakra in which continuous flow of universal love or the language of the heart manifests. The Anāhata Chakra bestows upon us the gift of expressing our thoughts and feelings in touching words, pictures or melodies and thus it is also known as CHINTĀ MANI.

Resentment, desire, obsession, fanaticism and dependency are negative qualities that also cause mischief in the Anāhata Chakra. Only when we have conquered these qualities does the entrance to divine love open for us.

While the Solar Plexus or Manipura chakra is self-oriented, the heart chakra is others-oriented. ‘Others-oriented’ can be explained as the predominant concern for what others want, feel and expect. To be successful and happy in life, both qualities are important. The Solar Plexus chakra and the Heart chakra need to be developed equally. This is called balancing loving-kindness with self-interest.

The gland related to the Anāhata Chakra is the THYMUS GLAND. It is located between the collarbones in the centre of the chest. If one taps this place lightly with the knuckles a few times, it quietens nerves affected by excitement or stress and brings us back into balance again.

The animal symbol of the Anāhata Chakra is a black ANTELOPE. The antelope is fast and powerful, and at the same time delicate and sensitive. With its refined senses it senses danger well in advance. It is vigilant day and night, just as we should be on our spiritual path – always attentive and careful.

In the Anāhata Chakra there are two more important symbols – a SIX-POINTED STAR together with a NEW MOON. Both relate to the changeability we experience in this Chakra. The six-pointed star is formed by two intersecting triangles. The triangle with the tip pointing upwards symbolises the energy (Shakti) that offers us the possibility of raising our state of consciousness. The inverted triangle implies that we can also very easily slip back into the lower Chakras again from the Heart Chakra.

The colour of the Anāhata Chakra is LIGHT BLUE. Blue means spirituality and unity. It is the colour of the clear, cloudless sky, the reflection of purity and infinity. Also, the colour of the flame of a candle is blue in the centre as it is not polluted by smoke. When we purify the fire of the Manipūra its reflection in the Anāhata Chakra is also clear and pure. Sometimes when we are meditating on the Anāhata Chakra we can perceive the radiance from the glow of the Manipūra Chakra as a yellowish-orange colour.

The Tattva of the Anāhata Chakra is VĀYU, the air element and who is smoke-like and four-armed, holding a kusha and riding an antelope. Air forms the basis for movement and expansion and symbolises the breadth and boundlessness of the heart, within which our consciousness is able to expand without restriction. Vāyu is connected physically to the sense of touch and the skin (the organ of touch), and emotionally to the level of feelings. When the heart is touched it can give us a feeling of becoming lost in an ocean of emotions or sinking into our feelings.

The Mantra of the Anāhata Chakra is YAM. It means to let go, to liberate, to give. By the grace of the Guru and through prayer, practising Mantra, Satsang and singing Bhajans we are not only able to clear blockages in the Anāhata Chakra, but also in the Manipūra Chakra and Vishuddhi Chakra.

Until the Anāhata Chakra opens it is not possible for the Āgyā Chakra, the centre of mental energy and power of thought, to develop its full potential. Every action, every word, all feelings and thoughts should be filtered through the Anāhata Chakra and be enlightened by Bhakti (Love) and Gyāna (Wisdom). Gyāna is unable to feel anything without Bhakti, and Bhakti is blind without Gyāna. Where love and knowledge join forces there is completeness. Understanding and kindness leads us directly to God, which is only possible by grace of a Guru.

Yoga & Mudra for Anāhata Chakra

Mountain Pose (Tadasana) With Hands in Anjali Mudra
Upward Salute Pose (Urdhva Hastasana)
Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
Child’s pose (Balasana)
Savasana
Cow Face (Gomukhasana)
Eagle (Garudasana)
Camel (Ustrasana)
Fish (Matsyasana)
Cat (Marjaryasana)

Manipūra Chakra

mani = jewel

pūra = place, city

Manipura-Chakra

Manipura Chakra

Location: the third energy center, Manipūra chakra is located in the physical body in the area of the solar plexus.

Represents: expansive consciousness, the will of power.

Symbolic representation: passionate consciousness, dynamism.

On the psychic level: it controls the will, the ego, the individuality, the expansiveness, self-control, practical intelligence.

On the physical level: it coordinates the digestive processes and the activity of the organs in the abdomen.

Specific reactions in the case of energetical disturbance: the person will strongly struggle for personal power and the recognition of one’s own rights even at the expense of other people’s well-being.

Characteristic element: the subtle energies of fire.

Sense organ: eyes.

Sense: sight.

Manipūra Chakra is Located above the navel or slightly below the solar plexus. Manipūra translates from Sanskrit as “resplendent gem” or “lustrous gem”. The qualities like clarity, self-confidence, bliss, wisdom and the ability to make correct decisions (popularly known as “Gut Feeling”)  are the jewels of Manipūra Chakra. It gives you the ability to rise to the occasion in times of need and difficulty or anytime you are challenged.

The person who focuses intensely and meditates on this chakra gains the capacity of discovering secret treasures. The great yogi Swami Shivananda says that “such a person will not be touched by any disease. He or she will not fear fire. Even if such a person stays in the middle of a burning fire, he or she will not die, nor fear death. His or her will and strength are amazing.”

7 chakra representation

Meditation and Chakra positions

The Manipūra Chakra is represented as being a vivid golden yellow in color. The vibrant yellow of this chakra is the magnetic core of the personality promotes creativity, self-confidence & personality, perfect health, increased awareness, intellect, clarity of thought, spirit of adventure, willpower, great curiosity, dynamism, correct assimilation of the food, a high energetic level and the capacity of working long without getting tired. The message of the third chakra is “I control”. The feelings of love and happiness that we feel in our heart actually originate in the Manipūra Chakra and rise from there to the Anāhata Chakra.

 

Element

The Tattva (element) of the Manipūra Chakra is TEJAS (fire), and therefore this Chakra is also known as the Fire or Sun Centre. It is said to govern digestion and metabolism as the home of Agni and the vital wind Samana Vāyu. The energies of Prāna Vāyu and Apāna Vāyu (inward and outward flowing energy) meet at the point in a balanced system. Manipūra is the home of the coeliac plexus, which innervates most of the digestive system. It promotes healthier digestion, elimination, pancreas-kidney and Adrenal function. Weak Agni (fire) in the coeliac plexus leads to incompletely digested food, thoughts and emotions, and is a source of ama (toxicity). The “firewood” for our digestive fire (Jatharāgni) is the food that we eat. Foods that have a strong, positive vibration are grains, nuts, fruit and vegetables. Apart from the fact that meat is detrimental for our physical health it is extremely harmful for our consciousness and has serious karmic consequences. Before we eat we should find out where the food has come from and what qualities it contains. It is not only the nutrients that are important but also the subtle vibrations of the food, which have a marked effect on the body, mind and our spiritual energy. These vibrations can considerably alter our physical wellbeing, our thoughts, feelings and vitality. Together with the meat that we consume we absorb the vibration of the fear of death, the pain and the despair of the animal. This fear sinks into the subconscious and comes to light again in our dreams and meditation.  A basic question we should put to ourselves is: “Is the food we are eating connected with the pain, suffering or death of any living being? A prayer said at the beginning of a meal still does not give us a “karmic licence”. It is unable to protect us from harmful substances or from the karmic consequences that arise from the consumption of meat, due to the slaughter, or from condoning the slaughter, of animals. God is the Creator of all living beings, so how can He be happy when we destroy His Creation?

With an active Manipūra Chakra the body is provided with sufficient energy, even if we have only eaten or slept a little. This is why the Manipūra Chakra is the most important energy centre for our physical well-being. ”

manipura chakra

Symbolic Representation of  Manipura Chakra

 

Symbol

A symbol of the Manipūra Chakra is the ten-petalled Lotus blossom. The petals represent the ten Prānas (currents and energy vibrations) that are regulated by the Manipūra Chakra. Here we are talking about Prāna in the first sense – life force, vitality, that we absorb with the oxygen that we breathe and the food that we eat. The ten Prānas are divided into five Prāna-Vāyus and five Upa Prānas. The five Prāna Vāyus are: PRĀNA, APĀNA, UDĀNA, SAMĀNA and VYĀNA. Prāna is responsible for inhalation, Apāna for exhalation, Udāna for ingestion of food, Samāna for digestion and Vyāna for circulation and nervous system. The five Upa Prānas are: NĀGA, KŪRMA, DEVADATTA, KRIKALA and DHANANJAYA. Nāga controls the function of burping, Kūrma the movement of the eyelids, Devadatta yawning, Krikala sneezing and Dhananjaya nourishes and strengthens the body and stabilises the function of the organs.

There are two basic functions within the body – reception of energy (Prāna) and elimination of waste (Apāna). Prāna is the “receiving power” that enables and controls the supply of energy to the body. Its seat is in the upper body. Through this Prāna we receive oxygen, which is essential for life, and the life force that exists within the air we breathe. Apāna is the “eliminating power” that brings about detoxification through excretion, secretion and exhalation. Its seat is in the lower abdomen. If Apāna Vāyu cannot flow freely then it results in toxicity within the body. The energies of Prāna and Apāna meet at the Manipūra Chakra. Both forces should be able to function freely; disturbances or blockages lead to illness and, in extreme cases, even to death. Through certain advanced Yoga techniques (Kriyās) the energy currents of Prāna and Apāna can be united in the Manipūra Chakra and guided into the Sushumnā Nādī (Central Nervous System). When this occurs the Kundalinī energy rises to the Sahasrāra Chakra and the meditator experiences the state of Samādhi, supreme consciousness.

The animal symbol of the Manipūra Chakra is the RAM, a fiery and lively animal. The animal symbol of a Chakra indicates that at this particular stage of development we are still connected to nature.

Another symbol of the Manipūra Chakra is an inverted TRIANGLE. This symbol is also encountered in the Mūlādhāra Chakra. The downward pointing tip of the triangle symbolises the origin, and the upward spreading sides of the triangle indicate growth and development. The triangle is also a symbol for the flame of the Manipūra Chakra that expands and rises upwards.

Divinities

VISHNU and LAKSHMĪ are the divinities that reside in the Manipūra Chakra. Here Vishnu personifies the progression towards human consciousness, spiritual growth and creativity. Lakshmī is the goddess of wealth and prosperity. This does not refer only to the material, but primarily to health and spiritual prosperity.

Colour

The colour of the Manipūra Chakra is YELLOW-ORANGE and its radiation is GREEN, the complimentary colour of red. It has the colour of a pure flame that gives light and energy and removes all pollutants.

Bīja Mantra

The Bīja Mantra of the Manipūra Chakra is RAM. This sound developed from the vibration caused by the meeting of the Nādīs in this centre. If we sing RAM for some time and specifically allow the “R” to vibrate, we become conscious of a pleasant feeling of warmth and the flow of energy.

The seat of words is in the Manipūra Chakra. The sound begins in the navel, rises to the larynx, and manifests as sound from the lips. Exercises that strengthen and harmonise the Manipūra Chakra are therefore also beneficial for all types of speech impediments.

Simple ways to balance the Manipura Chakra

  • Meditate on the colour yellow
  • Take in a teaspoon of ginger juice
  • Sun bathing or going for a morning walk
  • Learning new things as stimulates your mind
  • Express and don’t repress
  • Be aware when you need to exert and when you need to let go
  • Get on your yoga mats
  • Visualization techniques

Yoga postures to balance Manipura Chakra

  • Naukasana
  • Agnisarkriya
  • Dhanurasana
  • Ushtrasana
  • Chakrasana
  • Paschimottanasana
  • Twists such as Ardha matsyendrasana
  • Uddiyana and Maha Bandha
  • Surya mudra

Affirmations to a content Sense-of-self

Since the solar plexus chakra is closely tied with strength and a healthy sense of self, affirmations that focus on self-acceptance and boundaries are most useful. Some sample affirmations include:

  • I love and respect myself
  • I think, speak and act with wisdom, serenity and courage
  • I live with integrity and respect for myself and others.
  • I am in alignment with the abundant of the universe.
  • I am empowered and empower others.

The gut is the second brain of the body. As, about 90% of the serotonin for the entire body is made and found in the gut. At the beginning of your meditation always concentrate firstly on the Manipūra Chakra. If this energy centre is relaxed then the Mūlādhāra Chakra and Svādhishthāna Chakra will also automatically relax. Then the energy can flow upwards unhindered, streaming outwards and upwards to the heart. Through this you experience a happy and deep meditation. Thus, so much of importance to Manipūra!

 

Svadhishthāna Chakra

Svā = Self

Adhishthāna = seat, residence

Svadhishthāna Chakra is located two finger-widths above the Muladhara Chakra and to the lower belly, a few inches below the navel. “Svadhisthana” holds the energy related to money, relationships and demonstrates compassion and creativity. It corresponds to the sacral vertebrae and the nerve ganglion called the sacral plexus. This plexus hooks into the sciatic nerve and is a center of motion for the body.

It is often called the “seat of life.” It is connected with the sense of taste, (the tongue) and with reproduction (the genitals). Its element is water. Therefore, the chakra corresponds with bodily functions having to do with liquid: circulation, urinary elimination, sexuality and reproduction. With a balanced chakra you will have all these in good health while you will have difficulties in these with a imbalanced chakra.

Swadhisthana_Chakra_2
Svadhishthāna is illustrated as a white lotus (Nelumbo nucifera). It has six vermilion-colored petals inscribed with syllables: बं baṃ, भं bhaṃ, मं maṃ, यं yaṃ, रं raṃ and लं laṃ and these symbols represents the six obstacles on the path of development: Anger, hate, greed, jealousy, cruelty, laziness

Swadhisthana

Inside this lotus is a white crescent moon which represents the water region presided over by the deity Varuna (god of water). The seed mantra, located in the innermost circle, is a moon-white वं vaṃ. Above the mantra that is within the bind, or dot, is the deity Vishnu. He is dark blue and wears a yellow dhoti. He holds a conch, a mace, a wheel and a lotus. He wears the srivatsa mark, and the kaustubha gem. He is seated either on a pink lotus, or on the divine eagle, Garuda. His strength is the goddess Lakini. She is black, dressed in red or white and seated on a red lotus. She is commonly depicted with one face and two arms, holding a sword and a shield, or two faced and four armed, and holds a trident, lotus, drum and vajra, or an arrow, skull, drum and axe.

Svādhishthāna Chakra is represented by ORANGE color which is also the colour for fire and denotes purification, activity, joy, hope and self-confidence.

Svadhishthana_Chakra

The element (Tattva) of the Svādhishthāna Chakra is WATER. Like water, the Kundalinī energy rests in the Mūlādhāra Chakra stiff and motionless, as if “frozen”, and only begins to flow when it reaches the Svādhishthāna Chakra. We need to clear our thoughts and should think in a positive way once the energy starts to flow to protect us from the negativity of imbalance of the mind and other psychic disturbances like aggression, nervousness, restlessness, etc. The idea is to go ahead one step at a time.

The animal symbol of the Svādhishthāna Chakra is the CROCODILE. It represents the Karma lying dormant in the subconscious. The crocodile is lazy and lethargic, but once it becomes active it develops enormous power and speed and can be extremely dangerous. We also should set all our powers into motion when we have a strong desire or longing for something and  should continue with this practise even after we reach to our goal so to prevent ourselves to sink back into the earlier idleness.

The Bija Mantra, the subtle vibration, of the Svādhishthāna Chakra is VĀM. Through concentration on the sound of this Mantra and its inner repetition we are able to awaken the energy of the Chakra, and also bring it back into balance when it has become the victim of impetuosity.

There are two special “jewels” hidden in the Svādhishthāna Chakra that we are able to put to good use: ICCHĀ SHAKTI (willpower) and KRĪYA SHAKTI (vigour/drive). ICCHĀ SHAKTI and KRIYĀ SHAKTI can be awakened and strengthened by Yoga practices. The following powerful energies help us to cultivate these:

PRĀNA SHAKTI – life force, vital force

DHĀRANĀ SHAKTI – power of concentration

CHETANA SHAKTI – power of consciousness

When these three Shaktis combine we are able to turn all our ideas, intentions and wishes into reality. Even though they are purely mental powers, they originate in the body. The free flowing of the Nādīs and the activation of the nerve centres (Chakras) play a big part in this, and Prānāyāma and concentration (eg Trātaka ) are also helpful. Concentration strengthens the mind and Prānāyāma strengthens and purifies the Nervous System. Here, purification means to remove blockages and thus improve and ensure the flow of energy. Concentration acts like a magnet on our consciousness pulling it in one direction only. Through this it is possible to utilise and guide the Prāna Shakti at will. With this our physical and mental nourishment also become very important. Therefore we should foster positive thoughts and only eat wholesome and pure food – no meat, fish, eggs or alcohol, and naturally no drugs.

To control and consciously guide Prāna is a science, similar to higher Mathematics. This energy is like an instrument with whose help we can attain our goal. When the nerve centres have been purified the Chetana Shakti, it develops its full potential and enlightens our consciousness. Once we have awoken this power within us we should also put it to good use, aligning it with our willpower and actions towards the goal of Self-Realisation.

In the course of our life the Kundalinī occasionally awakens and rises to the Svādhishthāna Chakra. However, here it comes up against the barrier of our negative qualities such as envy, desire, jealousy, rage and greed. These block the energy so that it again returns to the Mūlādhāra Chakra. And in this way the consciousness of many people continues to oscillate between the two lowest Chakras without ever being able to rise higher.

People influenced mainly by Svadhishthāna chakra are quite impressionable, have an active and vivid imagination, as well as the aptitude of verbalizing their perceptions, which makes them excellent in the professions involving guiding and healing.

Basic Yoga Asanas, Pranayama, Mudra & Bandha for the Sacral Chakra

Yoga to stimulate and balance energy flow through the Sacral Chakra:

Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend (Upavistha Konasana) — As this pose stimulates the abdominal organs it also strengthens the spine.

Cow Face (Gomukhasana) — This seated and twist position stretches your chest, arms, shoulders, legs, and core.

One-Legged King Pigeon (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana) — This variation of the pigeon asana stimulates the abdominal organs while stretching the chest, shoulders, and abdomen. 

Bound Angle (Baddha Konasana) — Bound angle stimulates the abdominal organs to dispel energy imbalance.

Revolved Triangle (Parivrtta Trikonasana) — A variation of triangle, this asana stimulates the abdominal organs.

Full Boat (Paripurna Navasana) — This seated asana strengthens your core. 

Chair (Utkatasana) — Adopting this standing pose, which strengthens the abdomen and stimulates abdominal organ function, allows for the opening and activation of the Sacral Chakra.

Pranayama: Dirga (the three part breath) and Kapalabhati

Mudra: Yoni

Bandha: Uddiyana Bandha (upward flying)

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)

Chakras: 7 Chakra Basic Introduction

Chakras – Introduction

7 Chakra

A ‘Chakra’ is a Sanskrit word meaning a wheel or a disc. There are total 7 chakras present in our body which moves with the Prana – The Life Force. If you wonder why 7 and not 8 or 6 chakras then read about it at the end of this article. The locations of our chakras correspond with the places in our body where essential systems use a lot of energy which means Chakra provides energy to the part they are located in. So you can also say that the 7 Chakras means ‘Wheels of spinning Energy’.

The chakras themselves are not physical; you can’t see them on an X-ray. They are aspects of consciousness, and they interact with the physical and energetic body through the endocrine system and the nervous system. Each of the seven chakras is associated with one of the nine endocrine glands, and also with a particular group of nerves, called a plexus, making them important elements in healing. No one chakra is better than the others or more important than any other in the process of energy body balancing and chakra healing.

In case any of the chakra has a problem of either spinning too quickly or too slowly, then you will have some health issue. In other words, if you know how to control chakra ’s movement, you’ll master your health too. To learn about chakras, you first need to know what is Prana or the Life Force which moves them. Read about it in my previous blog – here.

Dormant chakras are energetic potentials in the same way a bud is the possibility of a flower. As with a flower, a dormant chakra, given the correct conditions, matures and blooms — but the absolute open, complete state of creative potential is the disappearance of the “bloom,” leaving only free-flowing nadis and fields of energy.

Which are The 7 Chakras, Where are they?

humanenergychakrasystem

The Root ChakraThe 1st Chakra or the Root Chakra, is located at the tailbone area. The Sanskrit name is Muladhara. It represents the foundation or the ground. We can link this with our financial stability which should be strong enough for our survival.

The Sacral Chakra – The 2nd Chakra or the Sacral Chakra, is located in the Lower abdomen, about 2 inches below the navel and 2 inches inside. The Sanskrit name is Svadhisthana. It is related to our ability to feel creative, sexual, and accept changes.

The  Solar Plexus Chakra – The 3rd Chakra or the Solar Plexus Chakra, is located in the upper abdomen in the stomach area. The Sanskrit name is Manipura. It is related to our ability to be confident and in control of our lives.

The Heart Chakra – The 4th Chakra or the Heart Chakra, is located in the center of chest just above the heart. The Sanskrit name is Anahata. It is related to our ability to love.

The Throat Chakra – The 5th Chakra or the Throat Chakra, is located in the throat. The Sanskrit name is Vishuddha. It is related to  our ability to communicate.

The Third Eye Chakra – The 6th Chakra or the Third Eye Chakra, is located in our forehead between the eyes. The Sanskrit name is Ajna. It is related for Intuition, imagination, wisdom and the ability to think and make decisions.

The Crown Chakra – The 7th Chakra or the Crown Chakra, is located at the top of the head. The Sanskrit name is Sahasrara. It is the highest chakra represents our ability to be fully connected spiritually.

Yoga is one way that we can work to strengthen and enhance the flow of our chakra systems. Clearing out clutter in our lives, physically and emotionally, helps to strengthen the flow of our energy. Forgiveness greatly enhances our energetic health. Reiki too helps to strengthen the body’s energetic flow to bring back balance and promotes well being on all levels.

Why 7 numbers of chakras

The number seven is a symbolic representation of the earthly plane. Hindu scriptures declare that our earth is but one in a series of several planes of existence, some belonging to the higher regions and some to the lower. In all there are said to be 14 planes or worlds of which six are above the earth and seven below the earth.

In Vedas, the explanation for all 14 planes are given.

  • the earth (bhur or bhuloka) inhabited by mortal beings,
  • the middle world of air (bhuvarloka) inhabited by celestial beings, and
  • the heavenly world of the sky (suva, svara or svargaloka) inhabited by devas or gods ruled by Indra.

the remaining four worlds, situated above the heavenly world of Indra. They are

  • maharloka (the world of radiant beings),
  • janaloka (the world of deities),
  • tapoloka (the world of pure souls) and
  • satyaloka or Brahmaloka (the world of Truth).

These seven worlds also said to correspond to the seven planes of consciousness or sheaths in our bodies: physical plane (annamayya) with earth, breath plane (pranamaya) with bhuva, mental plane (manomaya) with svarga, the plane of intelligence (vijnanamaya) with mahar, the plane of latent divinities with janah, the radiant plane of spiritual fire with tapo and the supreme consciousness of Atman itself with Brahma.

While there are six planes above the earth, there are seven below:

  • atala
  • vitala
  • sutala
  • mahatala
  • tatatala
  • rasatala 
  • patala

These are darker worlds inhabited by demons and dark forces.

In the human body, which is considered as a symbolic representation of the earth itself, we can find these 14 planes. The higher seven planes also correspond with the seven chakras in the body and seven planets in the solar system. We can see this relationship in the following table:

Chakra Higher World Lower World Body Sheath Higher Organ Lower Organ
Muladhara Earth Atala Anna Navel Hips
Svadhisthana Bhuvah Vitala Prana Abdomen Thighs
Manipura Suvah Sutala Mano Heart Knees
Anahata Mahar Talatala Vignana Throat Calves
Visuddha Jana Rasatala Janah Mouth Ankles
Ajna Tapah Mahatala Tapo Brain Feet
Sahasrara Satya Patala Brahma Top of the skull Soles of the feet

The number seven appears very frequently in Hindu scriptures. The Mundaka Upanishad refers seven tongues (sapta jivhas) or seven flames of Agni, which are Kaali (black), Karaali  (fierce), Manojava (swift as mind), Sulohita (red as iron), Sudhumravarna (smoke-colored), Vishwaruchi  (universally pleasing) and Sphulligini  (sparkling). They are depicted as the seven hands in the iconography of Agni and probably correspond to the seven dhatus (sapta dhatus) of the human body and seven energies (chakras) that awaken during our spiritual practice.

According to the Durga Saptashati, during a fight with one of the demons by name Raktabija, the Mother Goddess, Durga manifested herself into seven forms who are popularly known as saptamatrikas or seven little mothers. They are Brahmani, Maheswari or Sivani, Kaumari, Vaishnavi, Varahi, Chamundi or Narasimhi, and Aindri. As their names suggest they are the energies of Brahma, Siva, Skanda, Vishnu, Varaham, Narasimha and Indra respectively.

According to the tantras these seven shaktis correspond to seven subtle energies in our beings. They are shown below:

Deity or Shakti Energy Form
Brahmi The awakening power that is latent in the Pranava Nada or the primal sound AUM
Vaishnavi The organizing power that creates beauty and symmetry in the beings
Maheswari The concealing power that creates the sense of individuality in the beings
Kaumari The awakening power that creates aspiration for spiritual liberation in the beings and leads them to a guru for enlightenment
Varahi The assimilating power that lets beings enjoy foods and energies of all kinds
Aindri The conscientious power that destroys all the sensory opposition to the perceived moral code
Chamundi The controlling power that destroys all distractions of the mind and facilitates withdrawal and inward concentration.

More about Tantra will be taken in the coming up articles. Here I want you to understand that our body is connected with the Universe (Brahmand) with universal energy and this energy is channeled in our body through our 7 chakras. So to activate and balance these chakras, we need to understand each of them along with the universal energy more deeply. I will try to cover all these topics in my blog one after another.

Prana – Life Force

What does Prana or Life Force mean?

As per Yoga there are two types of energy that are present in all beings: 1) Prana or the Life Force & 2) the Mind or Consciousness

Prana is thought to be responsible for maintaining all the physical functions of the body including life, heat & health. It means when one’s body has plenty of Prana, it is in perfect health & Vice Versa. One of the earliest references to prana is from the 3,000-year-old Chandogya Upanishad. The other Hindu texts including other Upanishads and Vedas have described similar ancient concept of prana. The concept is elaborated upon in great detail in the literature of haṭha yoga tantra, and Ayurveda.

The yogic practice of pranayama is one way in which the Prana energy can be sustained and enhanced. Pranayama is one of the eight limbs of yoga and is a practice of specific and often intricate breath control techniques. Many pranayama techniques are designed to cleanse the nadis, allowing for greater movement of prana. Deep meditation is possible through pranayama effectively. Yoga postures like cat pose, cobra pose, etc. are all thought to stimulate more life force and leave the yogi feeling energized. Life force is also considered to be the body’s natural healing energy.

The image is a simplified diagram of the mode of action of Mudras and Bandhas on the Sushumna, leading to liberation in Hatha Yoga philosophy. The subtle fluids affected have numerous names including prana, bindu, and amrit.

Prana flows in nadis (channels). The three most important nadis are the Ida on the left, the Pingala on the right, and the Sushumna in the centre connecting the base chakra to the crown chakra, enabling prana to flow throughout the subtle body.

A simplified view of the subtle body of Indian philosophy, showing the three major nadis or channels, the Ida (B), Sushumna (C), and Pingala (D), which run vertically in the body

Divisions of Prana

Though the antahkarana, the inner instrument, is one, yet it assumes four forms: i) manas, the thinking mind, ii) buddhi, intellect, iii) chitta, memory or consciousness and iv) ahamkara, ego, according to the different functions it performs. Likewise, though prana is one, it assumes five forms: i) prana, ii) apana, iii) samana, iv) udana and v) vyana according to the different functions it performs – this division is termed as vritti bheda.

Of these five, prana and apana are the chief agents. The seat of prana is the heart, its function is respiration; of apana, the lower abdomen to the anus, its function is excretion; samana, in the region of the navel, performs digestion; udana, in the throat, is responsible for swallowing and takes the jiva, the living being, to sleep, and separates the astral body from the physical body at the time of death; while vyana is all-pervading, it moves all over the body and is responsible for the circulation of blood.

Naga, koorma, krikara, devadatta and dhananjaya are the five sub-pranas. Naga is responsible for the functions of eructation and hiccup. Koorma performs the functions of blinking and opening the eyes. Krikara induces hunger and thirst. Devadatta is the prana which causes the action of yawning. Dhananjaya causes decomposition of the body after death.

Use of Prana

The Sanskrit term Prana, often translated as “breath”, is considered the vital power of the Supreme Self that manifests everything in the universe and permeates all created things. This vital power is what gives rise to and sustains the incoming and outgoing rhythm of our physical breathing. The great sages of the Upanishads teach that by paying close attention to our breath, especially through a steady practice of meditation, we connect with prana. This vital power in turn, leads our mind into the luminous space of the Self, which is the Heart and essences of our being.

We use power of prana through nervous system by thinking, willing, acting, moving, talking and writing. The excess is stored in the brain and nerve centres. It is stored in the brain in the form of spiritual energy.

In Ayurveda and therapeutic yoga, pranayama is utilized for many tasks, including to affect mood and aid in digestion. A. G. Mohan stated that the physical goals of pranayama may be to recover from illness or the maintenance of health, while its mental goals are: “to remove mental disturbances and make the mind focused for meditation”.

In other cultures

Similar concepts exist in various cultures, including the Latin anima (“breath”, “vital force”, “animating principle”), Islamic and Sufic ruh, the Greek pneuma, the Chinese qi, the Polynesian mana, the Amerindian orenda, the German od, and the Hebrew ruah.