Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Back to chakras on day five of yoga therapy training.  I’ve been there and done that but I must admit this time I have a much better understanding of chakras and also nadis, which was an entirely new concept to me. 

Nadis are the channels which connect the chakras and through which all of our energy flows -
Ida; the left nostril/right brain
Pimgala; the right nostril/left brain
Susumna; the central channel creating ‘oneness’

In the picture to the left you can see them as three lines, with the Ida and Pimgala intersecting through Susumna at the chakras. 

For those who aren’t crash-hot-up-to-speed on chakras, here’s a quick summary of the system and how we affect our chakras –

Muladhara – the ‘root’ chakra, closely associated with the organs of excretion.  Muladhara is associated with our basic need and is influenced heavily by our diet, mula bandha and asana such as child’s pose, twists and lotus. 

Svadhisthana – the sacral chakra, closely associated with the organs of reproduction.  This chakra, associated with our sexuality, is influenced by our hormone levels, pranayama practice, and asana such as twists, forward lying backbends such as cobra and locust, and supine butterfly.  Any reproductive organ disorder or issues with menstrual flow could be linked to Svadhisthana.   

Manipura – the navel chakra, closely associated with the digestive system.  Manipura can be influenced by diet, exercise, any form of stress relief, and asana such as backbends, twists, lunges and happy baby.  Any digestive problem, diabetes, hernias, liver and kidney disorders, reflux and nausea may all be linked to Manipura.

Anahata – the heart chakra, closely associated (obviously!) with the heart and lungs.  This chakra is influenced heavily by pranayama, meditation and asana such as inversions, forward folds and child’s pose.  Autoimmune conditions, asthma, lung and breast cancer, heart disease, anxiety and tension may all be linked to Anahata.

Vishuddha – the throat chakra, associated with voice and hearing.  Vishudda is influenced by chanting, singing and asanas such as shoulder stand, bridge, and fish.  Stuttering, thyroid disorders, a sore throat, tonsillitis, and issues with the mouth and teeth may all be linked to Vishudda. 

Ajina – the ‘third-eye’ chakra, closely associated with our brain, eyes and consciousness.  Ajina is influenced by drishti (point of focus), pranayama and asana such as child’s pose and inversions.  Any eye condition, headaches, balance problems and nausea may be linked to this chakra. 

Sahasrara – the ‘crown’ chakra, associated with the highest state of enlightenment and facilitating our spiritual development.  This chakra is associated with the highest functions of the mind and is heavily influenced by meditation, pranayama and inversions such as headstand. 

I should point out here, that when I say ‘may be linked to’, what I mean is that the symptoms of physical and psychological disorders may benefit from stimulating or working to clear a certain chakra.  Of course you don’t have IBS or diabetes because your Manipura chakra is blocked, nor will these conditions be cured by stimulating this chakra.  I support the idea that practicing asana, meditating or practicing pranayama to clear or stimulate a chakra, whilst also enjoying a good diet and other exercise, can definitely help to relieve symptoms of physical and psychological ailments.  Practicing yoga will not cure you of cancer, but in employing the benefits of the asana and other yogic traditions, in conjunction with medical treatment prescribed by a physician, a patient’s quality of life may certainly be improved. 

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