Chakra Meditation

My fellow blogger Eklavya is happy to share one of his  comprehensive posts on Chakra Meditation with us.

You can access more posts on meditation by visiting his website at http://www.meditationiseasy.com/

Link to chakra meditation http://meditationiseasy.com/blog/meditation-techniques/chakra-meditation

or read here

Chakra Meditation : A Definitive Guide for Absolute Beginners

Chakra Meditation is quickly gaining ground as one of the most popular forms of meditation. In this post, I am going to explain Chakra Meditation in a beginner’s friendly language covering all the relevant aspects of this topic.  In this article, I shall try to explain in details the concept of Chakras, Kundalini  and the simplest method to utilize them in your meditation practice.

Table of Contents :

What is Chakra Meditation
Understanding the Chakras
Chakras in Indian & Tibetan perspective
The Nadis : Channels that passes through Chakra
The Seven Chakras of Human Body- Explained in detail
The Concept of Kundalini
The Big Picture : Applying the concepts of Chakra and Kundalini in your life
Risk Involved (Don’t play with the serpent)
What if you can’t awaken it due to risk involved?
The safest path : Mantra
Technique of Chakra Meditation
Correct Pronunciation of Seed Mantras
Conclusion

What is Chakra Meditation

Before trying any kind of meditation using Chakras, we need to have a clear understanding of  Chakras. Once you understand this,  doing the  Chakra meditation will be easy and effortless. While I will be explaining the entire process of Chakra Meditation in the later part of this article,  for all of you who are curious, it would be suffice to say that Chakra meditation is quite similar to Mantra Meditation that I explained here. However, before learning the technique of Chakra Meditation, we need to have a basic understanding of what exactly are the Chakras.

Understanding the Chakras

The word chakra is a Sanskrit word which is derived from the verb car (“to move”). There are several literal meanings of chakra:

* wheel
* circle
* Center

Besides the literal meaning, there are also some esoteric meanings:

* The Chakra denotes the “wheel of becoming” (bhavacakra), or “round of existence” (samsara), which is the phenomenal cosmos.

* The word Chakra is used to refer to a circle of initiates in a Tantric ritual.

* A Chakra is a diagram used to determine the right kind of mantra for a particular situation or student.

* The word Chakra refers to the psychoenergetic vortices forming the major “organs” of the body composed of life energy (prana). These esoteric structures are also often referred to and graphically depicted as “lotuses” (padma, kamala).

As per the ancient Hindu belief, Chakras are energy centers of circular shape present inside our body. While there has been some disputes on the number of Chakras, in most of the belief systems there are seven chakras. These Chakras are believed to be situated inside our bodies at a  particular distance from each other, the lowest being at the base of the spine and the topmost between the center of our skull. The five lower chakras are believed to be associated with one of the 5 basic elements that constitute this universe which are Earth (prithivi), Water (apas/jala), Fire (tejas/agni), Air (vayu) and Ether/Space (akasha). The remaining two higher chakras i.e. Aagya (Third Eye) Chakra and Sahasrara (Crown) Chakra do not contain any specific element. The Third Eye Chakra is believed to contain Maha Tatva- the supreme element which is the source of all other elements. The Crown Chakra, on the other hand, is considered beyond all elements.

Here is a symbolic representation of Seven Chakras in our bodies.

 

Chakra Meditation -Image of 7 Chakras in Human Body

Chakras in Indian & Tibetan perspective

Chakras as per Buddhism(Tibet)

Chakras are seven energy points in human body and denote various characteristics of our spiritual development in this world. It is believed that right from our journey from the physical world to the highest position in spiritual word, a person passes through seven bodies. Every chakra in our body denotes one such body. Read more : The mystery of the seven bodies

The original models of the chakras from the Brahma and Yogatattva Upanishadswere adapted in Tibetan Buddhism as Vajrayana theory and as the Tantric Shakta theory. Vajrayana Buddhism aims to assist the student in achieving full enlightenment or Buddhahood in  just a single lifetime. Using techniques based on ancient scriptures known as the Tantras, the practitioner tries to identify with and practice the enlightened ways of the Buddha. Tantric techniques include the repetition of mantras, the use of breath control, healing mudras (or hand positions) and the use of mandalas (circular symbols of the universe) for meditation. In the Tibetan Buddhist tradition only five chakras are identified.

Chakras as per  Shaktism (India)

Shaktism arose as an organized sect in India in the 5th century AD, and it is this sect’s interpretation of the chakras that has most influenced the Western understanding of them. Shaktism describes the seven major chakras that we recognize today. In Shakta theory the chakras are viewed as centers of pure consciousness and are focal points for meditation. Shakta theory firmly established symbolic associations and correspondences for each chakra: its element, visual symbol, mantra sound, deity, color and animal. The Shakta way also teaches us about kundalini energy: the energy that was unleashed during the creation of the world; Tantric practice focuses our attention on awakening this energy at the base of the spine for a specific purpose.

The Nadis : Channels that passes through Chakra

The Tantric texts refer to the nadis (or  channels) of vital life-force (or prana), which passes throughout the body and link with the chakras. According to Shakta theory, the seven chakras are strung along the primary nadi in the body-the Sushumna Nadi-like pearls or jewels. It is also believed that there are two secondary nadis on either side of the sushumna: Ida on the left (containing descending life-force or vitality); and Pingala on the right (containing ascending vitality). Their aim is to direct the energy of each secondary nadi into the central nadi, where it then ascends through each chakra in turn. When kundalini energy reaches the highest chakra (the Crown Chakra), the yogi (or master of yoga who has achieved a high level of spiritual insight) achieves a state of oneness with God.

Let us learn each of these chakras and bodies in some details :

The Seven Chakras of Human Body: Explained in Details

First Chakra – Muladhara (Root)

Chakra Meditation : Image of Muladhara Chakra

Literal Meaning: “root-foundation wheel”
Location: Base of the Spine (Perineum area)
Color: Red
No. of Petals : 4
Element: Prithivi (Earth)
Mantra: LAM

The first chakra is the root chakra, called Muladhara in Sanskrit. The root chakra is believed to be located at the base of the spine at the tailbone in back, and the pubic bone in front which primarily consist of Perineum area.  The root chakra is closely related to one’s contact with the Mother Earth, improving our ability to be grounded into the earth plane. Muladhara is also the center of manifestation. When you are trying to achieve something in the material world, business or possessions, the energy to succeed is supposed to come from the first chakra. If this base chakra is blocked, an individual may feel fearful, anxious, insecure and frustrated.

A man’s sexual organs are located primarily in his first chakra, so male sexual energy is usually experienced primarily as physical. A women’s sexual organs are primarily in her second chakra, so female sexual energy is usually experienced primarily as emotional. Both chakras are associated with sexual energy.

Second Chakra – Belly (Sacral)/ Swadhisthana

Chakra Meditation : Image of Swadishtan (Sacral) Chakra

Literal Meaning: “Wheel of the self-base”
Location: Two inches below the navel (area of Clitoris in women/ Base of Penis in men)
Color: Vermilion, white
No. of Petals : 6
Element: Apas (Water)
Mantra: VAM

The next chakra or second chakra is the Svadhisthana – often referred to as the sacral. It is located two inches below the navel around area of Clitoris in women/ Base of Penis in men). This chakra is believed to hold the basic needs for sexuality, creativity, intuition, and self-worth. It also denotes friendliness, creativity, and emotions. It is also believed to govern a person’s  sense of self-worth, his/her confidence in his/her own creativity, and his/her ability to relate to others in a friendly way.

Third Chakra – Solar Plexus ( Manipura)

Chakra Meditation : Image of Manipura (Solar Plexus) Chakra

Literal Meaning: “Wheel of the jeweled city”
Location: Navel
Color: Dark grey, red, blue (also gold)
No. of Petals : 10
Element: Tejas (Fire)
Mantra: RAM

The third chakra is called Manipura (in Sanskrit) – also referred to as the Solar Plexus Chakra in English. It is located in the navel area. The Manipura chakra is considered as the center of personal power, the place of ego, of passions, impulses, anger and strength. It is also considered the center for astral travel and astral influences, receptivity of spirit guides and for psychic development. When the Third Chakra is out of balance you may lack confidence, be confused, worry about what others think, feel that others are controlling your life, and may be depressed.

Fourth Chakra – Heart (Anahata)

Chakra Meditation : Image of Anahata (Heart) Chakra

Literal Meaning: “Wheel of the unstruck sound”
Location: Chest (center of two breasts)
Color: Deep red, gold, smoke
No. of Petals : 12
Element: Prana (Air)
Mantra: YAM

The fourth chakra is the Heart (Anahata) chakra.It is located in the central of the spine near the heart, with its exact location between the center of two breasts. This Chakra is the center for love, compassion and spirituality. It directs one’s ability to love themselves and others, to give and to receive love. This is also the chakra connecting body and mind with spirit. When this chakra is out of balance you may feel sorry for yourself, paranoid, indecisive, afraid of letting go, afraid of getting hurt, or unworthy of love.

Fifth Chakra – Vishuddhi Chakra (Throat)

Chakra Meditation : Image of Vishuddhi (Throat) Chakra

Literal Meaning: “Pure wheel”
Location: Throat
Color: Smoky purple, Blue, White
No. of Petals : 16
Element: Akasha (Space)
Mantra: HAM

The fifth chakra is the Throat Chakra also known as Vishuddhi Chakra in Sanskrit. It is located at the throat and is the center of communication, sounds, and expression of creativity via thought , speech, and writing. The possibility for change, transformation and healing in a person are located here. When this chakra is out of balance you may want to hold back, feel timid, be quiet, feel weak, or can’t express your thoughts.

Sixth Chakra – Third Eye (Ajna or Aagya Chakra)

Chakra Meditation : Image of Aagya (Third Eye) Chakra

Literal Meaning: “Command wheel”
Location: Forehead ( Between eyebrows)
Color: White
No. of Petals : 2
Element: Manas (Mind)
Mantra: OM

The sixth chakra is referred to as the Third Eye Chakra. In Sanskrit it is known as Aagya Chakra i,e. Command wheel. It is located above the area of physical eyes on the center of the forehead. This is the center for psychic ability, higher intuition, the energies of spirit and light. It also assists in the purification of negative tendencies and in the elimination of selfish attitudes. Through the power of the sixth chakra, one can receive guidance, channel, and tune into your Higher Self. When this chakra is not balanced you may feel non-assertive, afraid of success, or go the opposite way and be egotistical. Please also read Third Eye Meditation.

Seventh Chakra – Crown (Sahasrara)

Chakra Meditation : Image of Sahasrara (Crown) Chakra

Literal Meaning: “Thousand-petaled Lotus”
Location: Above head, facing down
Color: White
No. of Petals : 1,000

The seventh chakra is referred to as the Crown.

It is the upper terminal point of the central channel (sushumna-nadi) and the final destination for the awakened serpent-power (kundalini-shakti). When the kundalini, the force of Devi, reaches this center, this signals the merging of Shiva and Shakti.

It is the center of spirituality, enlightenment, dynamic thought and energy. It allows for the inward flow of wisdom, and brings the gift of cosmic consciousness. This is also the center of connectedness with the Goddess (God), the place where life animates the physical body. The silver cord that connects the aura bodies extends from the crown. The soul comes into the body through the crown at birth and leaves from the crown at death. When this chakra is unbalanced there may be a constant sense of frustration, no spark of joy, and destructive feelings. Illnesses may include migraine headaches and depression. Balanced energy in this chakra may include the ability to open up to the Divine and total access to the unconscious and subconscious.

The Concept of Kundalini

The topic of Chakras will be incomplete if the concept of Kundalini is not described here. The Chakras are essentially the milestones through which the kundalini travels to reach at the highest abode in the 7th Chakra.

Chakra Meditation : Image of Kundalini as it arises in Chakra Meditation

`Kundalini” literally means coiling, like a snake. The word kundalini comes from the Sanskrit word kundal, which means a ‘spiral’ or ‘coil.’ In Yoga, Kundalini Shakti means the ‘coiled power.’ It is compared to a serpent that lies coiled while resting or sleeping. It essentially denotes a primal life force that animates all living entities and is the source of all creative energy. As the kundalini moves upwards in the spine, it results in an upward shift in our consciousness. There are three nadis (energy channel) in the body known as Ida, Pingala and Sushumna. When awakens the kundalini is believed to travel from Sushumna Nadi through various chakras.

In Hindu scriptures, Kundalini is also described as the feminine power – the Shakti- at the base of the spine, which travels up the spine to unite with the masculine power, her consort, Lord Shiva (Shakta), in the seventh chakra, Sahasrara.

Symbolism apart, Kundalini power has found a mention in almost all the spiritual traditions of the world in some way or other ( Read more here ) . While there has been a number of spiritual paths like Vipassana, Zen etc which gave no specific stress upon kundalini, there are a number of paths wherein the spiritual progress of a person runs parallel with his level of Kundalini awakeness.

Further, all the spiritual paths which give emphasis to Kundalini awakening can also be divided into two major groups. The first group is consist of the practitioners of Mantra Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Laya Yoga or Raja Yoga etc wherein the kundalini is awakened through the effort of the individual (often under the guidance of a guru or master). The second group is of those representing Sahaja Yoga, Kundalini Yoga or Siddha Mahayoga wherein the kundalini is spontaneously awakened by the grace of the Siddha guru in a process which is called ‘Shaktipat’. In this tradition, the Siddha Guru/Master conveys shaktipat initiation to the disciple by means of touch, word or intention which results in an instant awakening of  kundalini. Both of these paths of Kundalini awakening have their advantages and disadvantages.

The first path of individual effort is considered the difficult path as the person has to work hard on his practice and the  progress is often very slow. However, as everything depends upon the individual effort, the consistent efforts results in permanent  progress and the Sadhak (the person who tread the path) becomes supreme confidence in his efforts. Further, slow awakening of kundalini allows proper control over the excess energy it produces and the chance of damage or of negative effects are minimized. However, even in the individual approach, the guidance of a guru/master is a must. In the absence of an experienced person to guide the Sadhak, he may face a sudden uprising of the Kundalini which will be difficult to control.

One such real life incident happened in the winter of 1937 when an Indian man by the name Gopi Krishna experienced a sudden and forceful awakening of kundalini in the state of deep meditation in his room at Jammu, India. His life after the Kundalini awakening was both blessed by ecstatic bliss and tormented by physical and mental discomfort. Here is the description of his experience in his own words taken from his autobiography ‘Living With the Kundalini’

“The illumination grew brighter and brighter, the roaring louder, I experienced a rocking sensation and then felt myself slipping out of my body, entirely enveloped in a halo of light…I felt the point of consciousness that was myself growing wider, surrounded by waves of light…I was now all consciousness, without any outline, without any idea of a corporeal appendage, without any feeling or sensation coming from the senses, immersed in a sea of light simultaneously conscious and aware of every point, spread out, as it were, in all directions without any barrier or material obstruction…bathed in light and in a state of exaltation and happiness impossible to describe.”

Another disadvantage of individual effort in Kundalini Awakening is the fact that the Sadhak who succeed in this endeavor may become egoist due to his achievement. The awakening of Kundalini and its control is considered as one of the most difficult feat to achieve. As such, those who have some worldly desires in them, will feel elated and somewhat special on achieving this feat. From spiritual point of view, this egoism hinders the progress of the Sadhak.

The second path of Kundalini awakening through Shaktipat also has its merits and demerit. On the one hand, it is a short path where the blessing of a Guru is enough to initiate the disciple and awakening his Kundalini. On the other hand, this sudden rise in consciousness may prove difficult to the unprepared Sadhaks. Further, the Sadhak becomes too much dependent on his Guru and live his life depending upon the borrowed experience of his Guru’s grace. An independent awakening of an individual sadhak through is own  effort is thus missing in this second method.

The Big Picture : How you can utilize the concepts of Chakra and Kundalini in your daily life ?

What I have discussed in the preceding paras is a brief outline of the concept of Chakras and Kundalini as they exist in various belief systems. However, this will be of no value if I don’t tell you the way to adopt these concept in your daily meditation practice. As already stated in the beginning of this article, this guide is for absolute beginners who are living a busy urban life and don’t have time to fully devote themselves to the spiritual path – but still they want to adopt the practice of meditation in their life for inner peace and personal growth.

Risk Involved (Don’t play with the serpent)

Since we are discussing the concept of Kundalini Awakening, I want to clarify one thing loud and clear. The Kundalini is not something to play with. Never, never try to play with the Kundalini. Kundalini Awakening is a high risk subject which may wreak havoc on the subject if done in haste without preparation.

Please read this advice of Swami Yatiswarananda in his book ‘Meditation and spiritual Life’  about the danger of Kundalini :

Those who practise spiritual disciplines without physical and mental purity are not only wasting their energy from the spiritual point of view, but are also running the risk of gathering too much energy, which, flowing through the worldly channels, might intensify their worldly life, including sex life, and thus harm them greatly.

Sometimes some take it seriously, and try to awaken the kundalini without undergoing the purification of mind. The practice of concentration without sufficient purity is dangerous. If the energy that is increased through concentration cannot  move along the spiritual channel, it may express itself outwardly in the form of violent passions in an extrovert, harming him as well as others. In the introvert the gathered-up energy may not find an outward expression. In that case it may form an awful whirlpool in the individual, shattering his nerves and mind and making him a complete wreck.

In some cases, as the mind is stirred through meditation, all the good and evil things lying hidden in it may come to the surface with tremendous force and bring about a physical and mental collapse. Those impure souls who want to play with the ‘serpent’ always come to grief. In some others again, the stored-up energy may manifest itself as cheap psychic powers such as clairvoyance, thought-reading, and such powers which make those persons egoistic and spiritually bankrupt. In some cases again, there may be a partial awakening of the latent power. The spiritual power may rise to a higher center but may fall down with disastrous results, stimulating worldly desires.

One thing which I want to make clear is that when you are doing anything with the Chakra, you are actually tinkering with the Kundalini – the dormant energy lying at the base of your spine. Without the able guidance of a Guru, the awakening of the Kundalini can have serious negative consequence as the sudden burst of energy, if not controlled properly, can harm the Sadhak. The part of the consciousness which normally remains  hidden in the subconscious mind become available after awakening of the Kundalini. The untrained extrovert may waste the excess of energy on on sex and violence whereas the untrained introvert can stuck themselves in a whirlwind of cyclone of the void. (Read more about this concept here and here )

What if you can’t awaken it due to risk involved?

Again the words of Swami Yatiswarananda will give you solace and show a way :

The description of the rise of the Kundalini appears to be simple and easy enough. But actually, it is all very, very difficult. Out of a thousand people who struggle for it, only one may get the awakening. But there is no need to get discouraged. From the way most people live we find that it is only good that in their case the Kundalini awakens very slowly or does not awaken at all. Most people are not at all ready for the rise. They can not face the tremendous reaction that it produces. In fact, in the beginning of one’s spiritual life, it is better to  forget all about Kundalini and think only about God. Let the love for your Ista Devata (term denoting a worshipper’s favourite deity within Hinduism. Read more here)  absorb all your attention and energies. Leave the Kundalini to Him. He will look after your spiritual welfare. God will grant you awakening at the right time.

As I have repeatedly said, it is better to follow the path of synthesis – a combination of Karma, Gyana (Knowledge) and Bhakti (Devotion). Let selfless work go hand in hand with your meditation. That purifies and strengthens the mind, Practice self-analysis and make the mind detached and calm. And then japa (the repetition of the Mantra) does the rest. When properly done, japa creates an inner harmony which gradually flows along the susumna making it active.

In view of the risk involved, we need to adopt a path which uses the concept of Chakra & Kundalini in its meditation practice but does not involve the high risk mentioned above.

The safest path : Mantra

Whatever be our spiritual path, be it Hindu’s, Buddhists, Christians or Sufi’s, the three stages we all have to pass through are purification, meditation and experience of the divine Reality or Godhead. Here arises the question : how are we to begin meditation with a view to awakening our spiritual consciousness? One disciple once asked the spiritual teacher, Swami Brahmananda,’ Sir, how can the Kundalini, the latent spiritual consciousness, be awakened?

This is what Swami replied:

“According to some there are special exercises by which the kundalini can be awakened, but I believe it can best be awakened by the practice of japa and meditation. The practice of japa is specially suited to this present age; and there is no spiritual practice easier than this, but meditation must accompany the repetition of the mantra.”

So what is the path. It is very simple, very powerful yet relatively very safe. Simply speaking it is Mantra Meditation.

As explained above in the section of individual 7 Chakras, the lower 5 chakras have 5 elements attached with them. These 5 elements have their respective seed (Bija) Mantras. We use these seed mantras to balance the elements in the respective Chakras. For the two higher Chakras ( Aagya/Third Eye & Sahsrar /Crown) the divine Mantra ‘OM’ is used.

So, in short, the Chakra Meditation, in its safest form, is the repetition of Bija Mantras related to the respective elements of 5 lower Chakras  which in turn helps in balancing the Chakras.

Technique of Chakra Meditation :

If you ask me to define the exact method of doing Chakra Meditation, it will be like this :-

(1) Sit in the lotus pose. Take some deep breaths.

(2)  We will be focusing on various Chakras of our body one by one, starting from the lowermost Muladhara to the uppermost Sahsrara. While we focus on the Chakra, we will recite the Seed Mantra associated with its elements. It will go like this:

a)      Focus your attention on the place where Muladhara the base Chakra (representing the Earth element) is located in your body. Now repeat thrice : LAM…. LAM … LAM ….

b)      Now bring your attention on the place where Swadhishtan the Sacral Chakra (representing the Water element) is located in your body. Now repeat thrice : VAM …. VAM … VAM ….

c)       Now bring your attention on the place where Manipura, the Solar Plexus Chakra (representing the Fire element), is located in your body. Now repeat thrice : RAM …. RAM … RAM ….

d)      Now bring your attention on the place where Anahata, the Heart Chakra (representing the Air element), is located in your body. Now repeat thrice : YAM …. YAM … YAM ….

e)      Now bring your attention on the place where Vishuddha, the Throat Chakra (representing the Akasha/Space element), is located in your body. Now repeat thrice : HAM …. HAM … HAM ….

f)       Now bring your attention on the place where Aagya, the Third Eye Chakra (representing the Supreme element comprising all the basic elements), is located in your body. Now repeat thrice : AUM …. AUM … AUM ….

g)      Now bring your attention on the place where Sahasrara, the Crown Chakra (Considered to be beyond all elements), is located in your body. Now repeat thrice : AUM …. AUM … AUM ….

(3)   Once you complete the above steps, you will be having two options: (i) Either repeat the above cycle by following all the seven steps mentioned above or (ii) Repeat any of your chosen Mantra of your liking (as explained in the Mantra section here).

I would advise you not to do the first option in excess. Instead please follow a combination of the 3 steps as below:

Suppose you have chosen the Mantra ‘OM Namah Shivay’ for repetition. Therefore, do the combination like this:-

(3.1)  Recite the cycle of 7 seed Mantras as explained above. Then recite the Mantra ‘Om Namah Shivay’ three times.

(3.2)  Repeat the above (i.e. one cycle of 7 seed mantras and 1 main mantra) two times more.

(3.3) Now stop the cycle of 7 seed mantra and only recite the main Mantra (Om Namah Shivay in this case) continuously for 5-10 minutes.

This, in nutshell, is the entire technique of Chakra Meditation.

Another Method of Chakra Meditation :

Another method of Chakra Meditation which is equally good but adopt a slight different approach is this:-

Instead of focusing on the seven chakras one by one and repeating their Seed Mantras one by one, you can focus on just one Chakra in one session. What you will be doing is to focus on just one Chakra in your body and repeating the Mantras related to its element. Apart from repeating the Seed Mantra of that Chakra, you can also visualize the colour related to that Chakra.

(Thanks to Giovanni Dienstmann from Liveandare for suggesting this method)

While you focus your attention on one particular Chakra, you must repeat one of the main mantras after this method. It will help in balancing any sudden force of energy that may arise within you. Main Mantras are important medium to control the power of Kundalini)

Important things to be kept in mind :

(1)    While repeating the mantras, the instructions as explained here should be kept in view.

(2)    While the main mantra should be repeated contemplating its meaning in your heart, the same will not be possible in the case of seed Mantras as they don’t have any particular meaning. So while reciting them you should focus on their respective chakras.

Correct Pronunciation of Seed Mantras

Watch this video by MC-yogi:

Then this one by Heart Alchemy Yoga

Watching carefully the way in which all the seed mantras have been pronounced in the above two videos. After browsing through numerous videos, I have selected the above two videos as in both of them the seed mantras have been pronounced correctly that is the way they should be pronounced.

Conclusion

This ends my detailed explanation of Chakra Meditation comprising the concept of seven chakras in human body, the three Nadis, the concept of Kundalini, dangers involved in the practice and the safest way to perform Chakra Meditation. I hope all people interested in the Chakra Meditation will like it beneficial for their practice.

Related:

Chakras and Supernatural Powers

Chakras

Root Chakra

The Seven Chakras of the Human Body

The Miraculous Sudarshan Kriya- For Depression and Anxiety

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Quotes

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Quotes

In today’s post I’ll be sharing something quite personal.  It is difficult, but the reason why I started this blog was not to just share articles that sound great in theory, but also to share personal stories of struggle and solutions I found that helped me overcome these challenges; to help anyone going through similar struggles.

Last September I read an article about a young woman who had suffered from a tumor. After 3 months of practicing the Sudrashan kriya as taught at the Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Art of Living program, her tumor had disappeared.  You can read her full story here:

http://artoflivinglifestories.blogspot.com/2011/01/kamlesh-barwal-art-of-living-experience.html?m=1

At the time I had been suffering from severe depression, severe insomnia resulting from traumatized nerve cells, and horrible panic disorder for 7-8 months which started in early 2014. I had dealt with anxiety disorder in the past, 15 yrs ago and had overcome it with the help of Ayurvedic (Indian herbal) medicines.  This time around the problem was exacerbated due to the severe insomnia, leaving me with no respite or temporary escape.  I lost 13 pounds in 4 weeks.  I couldn’t swallow food and had to force food down by washing whatever little I could chew on with some juice or milk or water. Even prescription sleep meds failed to give me sound sleep. My own doctors didn’t handle my case properly.  They were just interested in putting me on a long term anxiety med, which did not address my severe sleep situation that needed immediate help. I had no energy and couldn’t function at all.  I was utterly confused and couldn’t understand what was even wrong with me from a medical stand point. I displayed symptoms that mimicked symptoms of other auto immune and neurological illnesses but all test came back normal. But it kept eating into my subconscious that something was wrong and doctors were taking it too lightly resulting in me spiraling into a deep depression.  Four months of this torment continued, until one of our family friends who is also a doctor prescribed me something to take at night to help with the sleep and anxiety.  For the first time in months I woke up feeling rested mentally and physically. I continued taking the medicine to get to a stabilizing point.  But after months of not being able to function normally I was in a hurry to get back to my normal self. I would get off the medicine and then find that I was back on again which is what (I believe) caused me to develop a tolerance to this medicine.  I had to increase the dosage and even that barely helped me with my sleep. I was still very depressed and hopeless about my condition and worried if it would ever really go away.  I spent a lot of money on things like acupuncture and other therapies hoping and praying they would help.

Two months into my health crisis I had attended an Art of Living Program upon my sister and brother in law’s behest. It was a very difficult period for me as I barely had the strength. A complete stranger (now a friend) who was also attending the program and lived close to me drove me to the center and back 40 minutes away for the 3-4 days. I learned the kriya/technique but wasn’t able to practice it as recommended at the time due to too much weakness.  In June I made a trip to India and sought Homeopathic and Ayurvedic treatment.  The herbal preparations helped pry me out of the deep well of darkness that I was in.  It strengthened my nerves, but the insomnia prevailed and I was still struggling with the decision of whether or not to take the prescribed medicine for insomnia. It was as if my nerves had snapped after being stretched to their maximum limit. I decided to take the prescribed medicine for insomnia and anxiety regularly, but I continued to feel hopeless that this waking hellish nightmare would never end.  The panic disorder symptoms had gone down considerably, but were still present. It was like after some steady improvement with the herbs, my progress plateaued and I was ‘stuck’.

After I read the article about the young woman mentioned above, I told myself I would do the kriya also for a period of 3 months and see if it made a difference. I religiously practiced the kriya without analyzing it or judging it. I noticed a subtle difference the very first time.  It was small but it was there.  For the first time I found myself laughing and cracking a joke in months. As time went by I found that I was returning to normal routines and day to day tasks, laughing, socializing.  Slowly the dosage of my sleep meds went down. After 3 months I stopped taking the meds completely and switched to over the counter milder forms. After a month I stopped even that and survived with just minimal, poor but natural sleep which left me feeling tired. But I continued with kriya.  My nerves are now almost back to their normal state.  I have been getting naturally drowsy and been sleeping at first just 4 hrs/night then 5-7 hrs/night.  Mentally I feel happy, strong, confident and positive like never before. This Sudrashan kriya has really been a blessing, miraculously improving my health.  It is the best gift for people in this time and age when there is so much stress and worry.

I have always been a health conscious person and strived to lead a healthy life, physically and spiritually. But sometime a problem creeps into our life and before we realize it takes over and devours us.  Everything that I had learned and that had helped me in the past just seemed to be having system failures. Meditations, mudras pranayams all just failed. I couldn’t understand why.  Looking back I realize my problem had become too big. I had also stopped my meditation process for several month prior to this, due to a bad job of prioritizing and at the same time I was taking on excessive worry and imagining fearful outcomes. So consumed was I that I didn’t even realizing the damage I was unleashing on myself.

Anxiety disorder and depression carry a lot of stigma in places like India even in this day and age, where people are quick to mock and judge attributing this illness to weakness. It is not considered a real problem by people who have never suffered from it. Sooner or later we all go through it but in varying degrees because sooner or later we all go through some tragic or traumatic life changing event, whether it is a job loss, loss of a loved one, loss of health or financial insecurity.  If the emotions associated with such loss persists for a few months it manifests as depression and panic disorder. No human being is immune to the lows of life.

This ordeal made me more spiritual, more empathetic and compassionate (not that I wasn’t before, but it took me farther and deeper). I leaned heavily for support on my family, parents, sisters and brothers-in-law, mother in law and select friends. They were my rock.  It brought me even closer to the Universal Spirit/God and my loved ones. I read the famous religious texts Ramayan and Bhagvad Puran (as translated by Kamala Subramaniyam) from which I derived immense strength. I am even more hungry for spiritual evolution than I’ve ever been).

If you are suffering from anxiety/panic disorder, depression, stress, excess worry, negative thought don’t be hopeless. There is CERTAIN help.  You will get better. You will laugh again. The dark clouds inside will disperse and the sun will shine again and your world will be a beautiful place once again. Please give this Sudrashan kriya a try.  It’s the BEST GIFT you can give yourself. It is not meditation. Just a technique which involves repeated sets of breathing at different rhythms. Very Simple; Even a child can do it.

Ayurveda ascribes anxiety disorder/depression etc. to three factors:

Poor diet/nutrition, poor lifestyle that increases the element of air/vayu and mental agitation and weakness and also astrological reasons.  In the past I have shared my experience with astrology (not your daily horoscope as printed in magazines and newspapers, but your customized horoscope based on your personal birth details). The shadowy planet called Rahu (the head/dragons head) is responsible for all sickness and disease above the neck which I know now. My horoscope shown to few astrologers by my dad in India and upon my request indicated a severely bad phase of mental stress due to Rahu.

You can read more about the Ayurvedic Approach to Anxiety at this link:

http://drrajeshshrotriya.com/anti-anxiety-drugs-in-ayurveda/

http://ayurveda.md/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=126&Itemid=1

http://ayurveda.md/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=126&Itemid=1

Please feel free to share your questions either in the comment box or privately through the Contact Me form. I’d be happy to help and answer your questions.

How Mental and Physical Diseases Arise and How They are Destroyed

How mental diseases arise and how they are destroyed?

Sage Vashishtha, spiritual seer instructing Lord Rama on the Methods to obtain Self Realization

In response to Rama’s inquiry about the cause of mental and physical diseases, Vashishtha responds:

“When the fixed Mind is agitated, then this body is agitated. Then there is no proper perception of things and Prana (life force) deviates from its  even path. It will stagger from its proper path like an animal hit by, and reeling from the wound of an arrow. Through such an agitation, Prana (life force) instead of pervading the whole body, steadily, equally and evenly, will vibrate everywhere at an unequal/ uneven rate.

Thereby the Nadis (subtle energy channels) will not maintain a steady position, but will quiver. Then to the body (which is the receptacle of food digested partially or completely), the Nadis are simply death, due to the imbalance/ fluctuation of the Pranas. The food which settles itself down in this body amidst such a commotion is transformed into incurable diseases. Thus through the primary cause (of the mind) is the disease of the body generated. If this primary cause be annihilated at its root then all diseases will be destroyed.

When the intense desires of a person begin to manifest themselves externally and the ignorance in him preponderates, he performs fearful karmas and these in their turn breed bodily diseases. Again, the body is further subject to diseases through such actions as the eating of unwholesome food, living in unhealthy countries, and doing things at unreasonable hours, injuries inflicted, association with the wicked, longing after improper things, evil desires, bad thoughts, the distention and contraction of the orifices of the Nadis in the joints, and the interrupted flow of the beneficial Pranas throughout the body, cause the body to shrink away.  Then these blossom in the form of diseases in the body, waxing and waning- like the floods in a river during the long seasons of autumn and winter. Thus do we see that diseases, primary and secondary arise through the five-fold Bhutas (elements-air, fire, earth, water, ether).

Like base gold, which when placed in the crucible is transmuted through alchemical processes into pure gold, the mind is unfailingly rendered pure through true, virtuous and pure actions and through dependence upon the wise. In the mind purified thus there will be unalloyed bliss. If the mind becomes purified with true Satwaguna (virtuous thoughts/actions), then Prana-Vayu (life force) will begin to circulate freely throughout the body, the food taken in will be digested properly and hence no diseases will arise. If the diseases which afflict this body return to their primal cause, then they are destroyed. Their primary cause being (bad) thoughts, if these thoughts are destroyed, all bodily diseases will vanish.”

An excerpt from Yoga Vashishth, The Art of Self-Realization written roughly around 7500 B.C.E

How Yoga Empowers Your Voice

Amanda Clarke

Todays post is a guest article by Amanda Clarke at Gloc Media.

Yoga is an ancient art of restoring peace to the body and mind. It’s calm, relaxing, and a perfect way to wake up in the morning or decompress after a long day. Yoga is typically thought of as a way to strengthen your muscles, so you may not know that yoga is also perfect for those who need good, strong voices. If you’re a singer, an actor working for a voice over agency, or a professor giving lectures multiple times a week, practicing yoga will help strengthen your vocal chords so you can always be at your best.

Yoga is an aerobic activity, which means it’s incredibly beneficial for your lungs and heart. You may not be running, but your body does work hard when it contorts into various poses. The healthier your heart, the lower your risk of high cholesterol and heart disease. Pair that with healthy lungs, and you’ll feel less fatigued after prolonged or rigorous activities, such as singing or giving speeches.

Yoga breathing exercises, called Pranayama, are at the core of building strong voices. Slow breathing is the most effective for singers, and uses the lower part of the lungs and chest. Just as choirs and vocal coaches often take special care to emphasize proper breathing, yoga instructors guide you in exercises to help you breathe through your diaphragm, allowing you to have relaxed and controlled breaths.

As we spend our days hunched over our computer screens and mobiles, our posture strongly suffers. Yoga restores alignment to the vertical column, which means your body can breathe more deeply and your blood circulates more efficiently. Professionals who rely on their voices also need strong pectoral and abdominal muscles. Regularly practicing yoga with the correct posture tones these muscles, and gives the professional a stronger voice.

If you’re a person who would like to try singing and yoga at the same time, there are classes of voice yoga being offered across the globe. Search the web and see if there is a session being offered in your area. If you want to stick to traditional yoga, that’s all right too. It doesn’t matter if you practice yoga with an instructor or on your own. The bottom line is: the more you practice yoga, the stronger your voice will be.

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Happy New Year 2014!!!

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How to Measure and Increase Brain and Body Oxygenation

How to Measure and Increase Brain and Body Oxygenation

http://www.slideshare.net/ArtourRakhimov/how-to-increase-brain-and-body-oxygenation

How do People Just Fall Asleep???

Anyone who has ever suffered from insomnia has probably asked themselves that question.  I know I have.  My husband stays up late playing x-box, watching Godfather, comes to bed, lays his head on the pillow and within seconds (and I am not joking) I hear his deep restful snores while I (who came to bed 2 hours before him) am still fighting for sleep to arrive. 

But that was two years ago.  For many years I suffered from terrible insomnia. I dreaded bed time, because it meant that slowly everyone would fall asleep, and I would just be staring in the dark waiting for sleep to descend, waiting for heavy eyelids; shutting my eyes hoping to get some sleep and forcing relaxation techniques that didn’t work, finally getting out of bed and reaching in the dark for the sleep aid, waking up 3 hours later and carrying on through my day all groggy, lethargic, yawning, tired and irritable only to repeat all of this the following night. 

In my past articles I have strongly recommended meditation for the insomniacs.  It is a sure fire, fail safe method.  It helped me tremendously and immediately after my first session I slept like I had never slept before.  No more waking up in the middle of the night; no more trips to the bathroom.  I would actually start falling asleep on the couch (before my husband  🙂 ) 

But what if one can’t meditate or what if one just can’t find the time to do it?

There is one other sure fire fail safe solution.

Wait for it…..wait for it……

The Frolov Breathing Device. 

I purchased this device to help me with a health condition related to breathing difficulty and in the process benefitted from it not just with my health issue, but in so many other ways.  One of the things I noticed immediately was that my sleep became even deeper.  The device has been proven to be helpful in a wide range of diseases. The benefits are too many for me to list here so I have included links below. 

http://www.normalbreathing.com/frolov-breathing-device.php and

http://www.normalbreathing.com/frolov-device-work.php

A short breathing session (e.g., 3-5 minutes) with the Frolov breathing device leads to quick reduction in acute symptoms of many chronic diseases (including exacerbation of asthma, bronchitis, headache, chest pain due to angina, blocked nose, chronic coughing, pain due to arthritis, dyspnea, constipation, shortness of breath, and seizures). Typical breathing sessions (15 min or longer) produce a profound and lasting rejuvenating effect with a feeling of increased energy; improved focus, sleep, digestion; and many other positive physiological and biochemical changes.” ~ www.normalbreathing.com 

Modern man (due to stress, anxiety, overeating, deep breathing etc) breathes twice more air than the medical norm (hyperventilation).  The ideal breathing pattern for super healthy individuals (which is extremely rare and found in hard core yogis and advanced practitioners of meditation) is 3 breaths/minute.  The established medical norm for breathing is 12 breaths/ minute or a volume of 6L/minute, the average modern individual is 6-7L/minute in comparison to sick individuals who breathe in an average volume of 15L ±/minute.   We don’t realize but we are hyperventilating, mouth breathing or chest breathing.  This causes loss of CO2 which results in constriction of arteries and alveoli.  This constriction results in poor flow of blood, a suppression of Bohr’s effect (which means hemoglobin refuses to release oxygen in cells which have low carbon dioxide concentrations) which in turn reduces oxygen supply to the brain and other tissues and organs.  Reduces levels of oxygen in our body leads to chronic diseases like asthma, COPD, heart disease, diabetes, cancer (cancer is an anaerobic disease that cannot survive in conditions of high oxygen.  Over breathing/deep breathing/hyperventilation leads to poor oxygenation of cells and tissues, and results in disease.). Just remember, the deeper and harder you breathe the more carbon dioxide you lose, and the less oxygen delivered to cells and tissues.  

Carbon dioxide is a powerful natural sedative and so is oxygen.  It helps calm our nerves, but when we hyperventilate or breathe more than the healthy norm it reduces the amount of carbon dioxide and oxygen in our brain cells.  This in turn also leads to anxiety, depression, panic attacks, negative thinking etc. 

Before you purchase this device (or its equivalent-Breathslim) you might try the Butyeko breathing method first, since the Frolov Device is based on the principles of Butyeko breathing technique and produces the same results which is it increases your body cell oxygen level.  With the Butyeko method the practitioner breathes in less air to create air hunger and maintains this hunger for a few minutes.  This helps increase the carbon dioxide level in the arterial blood which in turn increases the delivery of oxygen to cells, tissues and all vital organs.  I prefer the device because it is easier to follow on a daily basis.

This is how to fall asleep fast using the Butyeko Method:  

http://www.normalbreathing.com/how-to/how-to-fall-asleep-fast.php 

http://artour.hubpages.com/hub/Why-Correct-Breathing-Pattern-Eliminates-Insomnia 

http://www.normalbreathing.com/CO2-stabilizer.php 

Chronic Diseases caused by low body oxygen: http://www.normalbreathing.com/diseases.php

 Excerpts from www.normalbreathing.com

“Many people believe that breathing more air (as in deep breathing) increases oxygen content in cells. This is not true. Generally, breathing more reduces oxygen content even in the arterial blood.” 

“The change in air composition during human evolution and evolution of animals on the Earth was the key factor that led to appearance of chronic diseases. This is because hyperventilation was beneficial for creatures living in primitive air with very low O2 content and high CO2 content 1-2 millions of years ago, but over breathing destroys health now.” 

“Easier and lighter breathing after the breathing session will last for many hours due to the adaptation of the breathing centre to slower and more relaxed breathing with higher CO2 levels in body cells and improved body-oxygen content, which can be easily measured using the body-oxygen test. Systematic applications of the Frolov breathing device, combined with healthy lifestyle changes, lead to clinical remission of many chronic diseases.” 

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a potent natural muscle relaxant. It is also among the strongest and best muscle relaxers as well. Once people have normal CO2 in their cells, they do not need over the counter muscle relaxers. 

“One may spend years practicing asanas and thousands of hours doing breathing exercises, but if his or her body-oxygen levels remain unchanged, he or she will suffer from the same health problems. Essence of yoga is in correct (or ideal) automatic breathing day and night for maximum oxygenation of the body cells. This breathing pattern is diaphragmatic, very slow and light. It ensures up to 2-3 minutes for the body-oxygen test and over 7-8 minutes for maximum breath holding time due to highest possible body-O2 levels.”

There are several websites that sell the Frolov Device.

http://www.intellectbreathing.com/

I purchased mine from www.legacyacupuncture.com as it is local to where I live.

This past weekend I came across the most important website I ever visited.  It has been life changing for me and I hope you will find it equally useful.  Majority of us consider carbon dioxide to be a toxic gas and the general perception is that it should be eliminated. But carbon dioxide plays a very essential role in our  physical and mental health and is key in the prevention and elimination of anxiety, stress, insomnia, etc. The owner of the website Dr. Artour Rakhimov also shares a breathing technique called Butyeko Breathing Technique that stresses the importance of reduced breathing for the healthy concentrations of carbon dioxide and oxygen in our cells. It is  a very simple, but highly effective technique. I strongly recommend reading this information as this could be life changing for you or someone you know.

http://www.normalbreathing.com/CO2-stabilizer.php

http://www.normalbreathing.com/CO2.php

http://www.normalbreathing.com/CO2-deep-breathing-myth.php

Aside

Suryabhedi Pranayam-For diseases such as Hiccups, Arthritis, Asthma, Parkinson’s, Memory loss, Stroke, Paralysis, Anxiety, cold hands and feet and Negative Emotions,

sunriseSuryabhedi pranayam has been praised in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika as the pranayam that cleanses the skull, destroys wind related diseases and removes worms (microorganisms like bacteria and viruses).  Diseases such as hiccups, arthritis, asthma, Parkinson’s, memory loss, stroke, paralysis, anxiety, depression, cold hands and feet and negative emotions, nervousness, fear, anger, suspicion, jealousy etc are attributed to an imbalance in vayu (wind) element.

Close your left nostril by applying gentle but firm pressure on the left side of your nose with the help of the little and ring fingerof your right hand.  Inhale steadily through the right nadi (right nostril)  then slowly exhale through the left nadi (left nostril) while closing your right nostril with your thumb. Repeat several times.  Another variation is to hold the breath per capacity upon inhalation through right nostril, followed by exhalation through the left nostril.

According to the Gherand Samhita, practicing Suryabheda pranayam helps awaken Kundalini energy and destroys feebleness and death.

NOTE:

Suryabehdi pranayam increases heat in the body; hence one should avoid doing too much in the summer time.

Foods that bring warmth to the body should be consumed if one is afflicted with an imbalanced wind element.  Hence consuming foods that are inherently and temperature warm/moderately hot can help restore balance in people with wind/vata imbalance related disorders. Examples: Hot cereals, warm teas, warm milk, nuts, honey, sweet fruits, ginger, cloves, peppers, sesame oils, almond oils, olive oils.  Self massage with these oils is also highly beneficial.

How to Effortlessly Increase your Threshold for Anger and Stress

yachnayoga

yachnayoga.wordpress.com

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