Taking The Mystery Out of Yoga

By Gretchen Karros


The topic of this month is;


and Chakras


Yoga has many different areas of practice but all of them involve body, mind and spirit.  For instance, if you are practicing Patanjali’s Eightfold Path or any other Yogic practice, the objective is still the same – develop flexibility in the body, go inside to learn about yourself, quiet the mind, and meditate.  In contrast, Kundalini practices includes all of this but, in addition, the postures (asanas) are designed to stimulate this special energy that lies dormant in the sacrum.  One of the major differences in this practice is that, for some, the Asanas become less important to their spiritual development as the Yogi (one who does Yoga) progresses on his path of moksha/liberation/self-realization.

Kundalini is a part of the Tantric tradition that has its roots in ancient philosophy and science.  It recognizes that there is a very powerful force within the body called Kundalini (energy) that is located in a small gland in the perineal body at the base of the spine.  The symbol for this is a sleeping, coiled serpent and this represents the unconscious.  The movement and release of this primal power if done systematically and always with a Guru who guides you along the way of awakening this very powerful energy.  One of the purposes of Kundali is raising ones consciousness until finally it reaches a special area of the brain.  Along the way upward, certain methods are employed that unlock or even dissolve any blockages.  There are seven areas where energy paths cross each other (called chakras). These blockages are what  may be keeping a Yogi from reaching his or her highest potential: Samadhi/Nirvana, Unity Consciousness, Illumination, Cosmic Consciousness, etc.

Visualization helps the Yogi “see” the chakras because each has a color, a particular shape in the center, a different number of lotus petals around them, a sound (mantra), and a movement (either clockwise or counterclockwise.)  Each chakra represents a different part of the endocrine system and they are made up of nerve channels that sit on the anterior wall of the spinal column.  The energy starts at the tail bone and proceeds up to the top of the head (the crown chakra.)  There are images of these chakras but anatomically; they do not “exist”.

There are a few gentle things to do to accelerate this flow of energy besides Yoga. One is a regular practice of a mantra, doing the Visualization of the energy flowing; giving up undesirable habits; and certain pranayama practices.



Thought for the day:

“True love exists when the heart is so broadly trained that it can embrace all human beings and all living creatures”      Ayya Khema