CHAKRAS – MAPPING OUR ENERGY FLOW
The extended body, its energy and the mind, all veil and conceal the light of consciousness. These sheaths do not function independently; they are connected and co-ordinated by the chakras. Each chakra depending on the state of the person’s nervous system will give a framework from which the person will experience the world. The object of Kundalini Yoga is the joining of Shakti (energy) with Shiva (consciousness). The reason why the world is experienced differently from person to person is because people usually have their attention in only one chakra at a time and often this varies between individuals. Also, the level of consciousness at the particular chakra is also flowing differently. For most, though, their nervous systems have only the minimum amount of Shakti moving through them so as to be able to carry out the minimum function to stay alive. The energy found in the chakra determines the personality and level of awareness of each individual. As the practitioner evolves the personality gradually becomes more refined and purified.
“Everything is emptiness and form is condensed emptiness.” - Einstein
In Yogacoach, we use the Chakras to understand our clients and to measure presence on a physical, emotional, mental and spiritual level. On a practical level, they are a personal growth system. All life is energy. If we look under a microscope at a sub-atomic level, we will just see swirling energy. Matter is just condensed energy. Chakras are organizing centres for the reception, assimilation and transmission of these life energies. When we are connected to our life-force, our “TRUE NATURE” is flowing; we vibrate at a higher level and feel “connected”. When we deny our life-force, we vibrate at a slower level and therefore feel more dense and disconnected from our “TRUE NATURE”. This is the source of suffering. Our job is to teach/coach our students with the necessary life skills to remove the obstacles in body, breath and mind so that we can connect to our centre.
The Yogacoach system is used to activate the areas that are unconscious or unbalanced – to bring presence to these areas, which is absolutely essential. As teachers, we are measuring presence, not how flexible or strong someone is. Without presence nothing else will proceed as far as the goal of Yoga, and the mastery of the modifications of the mind. The way we measure presence is through the charkas. When we understand these energy systems, we can understand our students. Feelings and emotions are energy and we are an energetic system. Working with the chakras is an excellent way to work with the Samskaras and the resultant karmas that arise. These old habits are just conditioned responses that bind energy. Through applying practices for the chakras, we can get the energy to flow again and move towards expansion.
PROCESS OF KUNDALINI
As we know, all life is energy. We are an energetic system and conductors of energy. The Nadis are the energy pathways. Ida and Pingala are the two main pathways. Usually we flow in one or the other. Where they cross at the spine is the chakras. The role of Yoga is to balance these flows so that Prana and then Kundalini can travel up the central channel, Sushumna. All Yoga has to do with the raising of Kundalini because all Yoga is designed to raise our consciousness.
When the Prana operates in the body, it divides into five major flows called Vayus. These can be thought of as somewhat like major currents in one of the large oceans of the world, while there may be thousands of smaller currents. These five Vayus are the major currents that contain thousands of smaller currents.
PRANA VAYU operates from the heart area, and is an upward flowing energy, having to do with vitalizing life forces.
APANA VAYU operates from the base of the torso, in the rectum area, is a downward flowing energy, and has to do with eliminating or throwing off what is no longer needed.
SAMANA VAYU operates from the navel area, deals with digestion, and allows the mental discrimination between useful and not useful thoughts.
UDANA VAYU operates from the throat and drives exhalation, operating in conjunction with Prana Vayu, which deals with inhalation.
VYANA VAYU operates throughout the whole body, having no particular centre, and is a coordinating energy throughout the various systems.
REVERSING PRANA AND APANA VAYU
Most significant about the five Vayus are Prana Vayu and Apana Vayu. As mentioned above, Prana Vayu is an upward flowing energy and Apana Vayu is a downward flowing energy. One of the ways of describing the process of intentional Kundalini Awakening is that these two energies are intentionally reversed through a variety of practices. Reversing the energy causes the Kundalini at the base of the subtle spine to awaken, and to begin to arise. Although this is not necessarily an easy thing to do, it is very useful to know that there is a basic simplicity to this process, which of reversing these two energy flows. – Swamij.com
At birth when then prana enters the being it splits into 5 functions called Vayus.
According to the yogic point of view, the body is made up of 5 elements: ether, air, fire, water, and earth. All these are associated with the 5 prana Vayus. The five prana Vayus are like the limbs of a man which comprise the one body.
It is this prana which moves in the body like energy waves and can be likened to an electromagnetic field where the energy is in constant motion. Prana is the basis of life and can be controlled through breath. It is through the breath that prana and consciousness are essentially linked.
From the time of conception up until 4 months, the foetus survives on mother’s prana.
After 4 months it is said the prana enters the foetus and then its bodily functions are active and an individual life begins. However the child becomes independent only when it starts breathing.
When death occurs the physical body dies, the mind dies, but not the soul. Death is a process of disintegration in which all the 5 elements go back to their original source-water to water, earth to earth etc.
When prana leaves the body there is no force to animate it. On death when prana leaves, the consciousness departs; the magnetic force which held the body together deteriorates and hence the body.
It is Yoga which works on this vital life force, ‘the prana’ to bring harmony into our lives.
– Catherine Carrigan in ‘Breath and the five Vayus