Vishuddha chakra (Expression Chakra), fifth chakra in Yoga

The throat chakra, called Vishuddha in Sanskrit, is the center of expression. When it is open and flowing, you have the confidence that you are capable of communicating

your needs. Where, the first 3 chakras represent the lower earth plane and the 4th is where we balance the lower and higher planes, the 5th Chakra is where we begin to focus on the higher(spiritual) plane. Moving to rhythm, the vibration of sound, communication through writing and speaking are all functions of the Vishuddha Chakra. Literally “deep or extreme purification”, this chakra brings together the “Jiva,” individual consciousness with the “Atman,” universal consciousness, allowing us to tap into our creativity and intention to bring about an underlying vibrational harmony to our entire being. It is like the brain of all the chakras as it controls all of the elements and allows them to work in unison.  When the Anahata (Heart) Chakra, is balanced, the Vishuddha Chakra automatically communicates from the higher plane and unconditional love unfolds.

 

Physical location: throat

Element: Space

Color: Blue

Sense: Sound

Force: Vibration

Areas of the body:    throat, mouth, neck, shoulders

Mudra: Shunya(Heaven)

Bandha: Jalandhara

Mantra: Hum I speak and follow my truth.

When unbalanced/ blocked can manifest in:       

Too little: have difficulty finding the right words; fear of speaking; secretive; shy;         can’t find your own voice; are overshadowed by other’s truths; unable to reach full potential

Too much: loud; talk too much; aggressive; lie without lying-; gossip; very critical; unable to listen

Health issues: ear, nose, throat problems; stiff neck; TMJ-teeth grinding, jaw problems; thyroid problems

When balanced/not blocked can manifest in:

Being in tune with surroundings Coinciding principle working  Communications are clear

Able to speak own truth. Can see yourself clearly & able to listen to and follow the Universe Live in harmony Hearing what has not been said.

Asana examples that balance the throat chakra:

Neck Postures

Shoulder Postures

Chanting/singing

Chest expansion

Forward bends Yoga Mudra

Upward Plank

Bridge/Wheel

Back bends Reverse Table Camel Plow
Shoulder Stand Fish

   Downward Dog

Rabbit

Anahata Chakra, The heart chakra in Yoga

The 4th Chakra or Anahata Chakra is the halfway point between the 3 lower chakras and the 3 higher chakras. It literally means “unstuck sound” and is where we begin to tune into the subtle sound of the pulse of life. It is associated with the element of air and relates to our emotional thoughts, ideas and inspirations. Balancing the Anahata chakra allows us to release our emotional pain through unconditional love. The fourth chakra represents the unifying energy of love and compassion. When the heart center is blocked, there is a sense of alienation from others. When the heart center is open and flowing, you feel connected at a deep level to all beings in your life. The ancient Yogis believed that your “jiva atman” –personal spirit(soul)- resides in the heart chakra. It is where we begin to move beyond our material self to the divine self, connecting ourselves to the universe. As the heart center expands our seed of inner peace and harmony is able to open and grow. The color of the fourth energy center is green. When flowing, it is the green of nourishment; when congested, it can be green with envy.

 

PHYSICAL LOCATION: center of the chest

ELEMENT: Air

COLOR: Green

SENSE: Touch

FORCE: Equilibrium

AREAS OF THE BODY:    heart, lungs, shoulders, arms

MUDRA: Lotus @ heart

BANDHA: Maha

MANTRA: Yum  “I open my heart to——.

 

When unbalanced/ blocked can manifest in:

Too little: loneliness, jealousy, bitterness, inability to forgive, pessimism, alienation,  attachment, passive aggression, inability  to love, judgmental,  lack empathy , Too much: emotional flamboyance, overly dramatic, smothering behavior

Health issues: asthma, heart problems, circulatory system, and respiratory system

When balanced/not blocked can manifest in:  Unconditional love, Harmony with nature, Positive neutrality, Harmonious relationships, Nonjudgmental of self or others, Compassionate and Peaceful

Asana examples that balance the heart chakra:

Heart openers

Triangle Dolphin Chest expansion

Lateral bends

 Crescent Warrior

Upward Plank Wheel

Back bends

Downward Dog

Camel Bow pose

 

Third chakra, Manipura Chakra in Yoga

The third chakra, Manipura, is localized in your solar plexus.3rd Chakra, literally means “city of the jewel”. The Law of Intention and Desire governs the third chakra. It is the seat of your power in the world. When this center is open and flowing, you are capable of translating your intentions and desires into manifestation.  When it is blocked, you feel frustrated and ineffectual. Fire is the element and with it comes choice, action, vitality and will. This chakra has been compared to the power of the sun as it warms, moves and activates us. Because of the intensity of the pranic energy contained in this chakra, it also refers to “tapas”, the fire in the belly that brings forth transformation. With the right balance, this chakra gives you your “glow, burns your ego and illuminates your mind. Without it, you would have no life, no energy.

 

PHYSICAL LOCATION: the solar plexus; just above the naval

ELEMENT: Fire

COLOR: Yellow

SENSE: Sight

FORCE: Combustion

AREAS OF THE BODY:    stomach, liver, small intestine, middle spine

MUDRA: Naga

BANDHA: Uddiana

MANTRA: RamI stand in my personal power”

When unbalanced/ blocked can manifest in: Too little: insecure, oversensitivity,need external validation,fear rejection,dogmatic conformity, allow people to walk over you /or take advantage, can become introverted and/or depressed, Too much: controlling, think you are always right, self centered, everything is me,me,me greedy, power hungry, blind to own faults .

Health issues: diabetes, hepatitis, ulcers indigestion, more digestion in general

 

When balanced/not blocked can manifest in:  Sense of self worth: Practical Control over actions, Have will power, Can handle crises, generate action, Develop strength through courage/  able to stand in own truth and Have transformative power
 

ASANA EXAMPLES THAT BALANCE THE NAVEL CHAKRA:

Twists

 Triangle  Seated Forward Fold Pyramid

Lateral bends

Warrior poses

Plank            Wheel

Back bends

 Downward Dog

Camel Bow pose

 

Svadhisthana Chakra, second chakra in Yoga

The second chakra, called Svadhisthana, is associated with creativity in all its expressions. It literally means “one’s own dwelling place”. It is regarded as the basis of all human existence. Without water, nothing could exist. This chakra brings movement to the other elements and mixes them together to create life. When channeled into higher energy centers, it fuels the creative force that enables you to paint a beautiful picture, write a

novel, play music, build a business, or create a life of love and abundance. It is about fluidity, the flow of life and dealing with change. Like the ebb and flow of the tides, this chakra holds tremendous power that if harnessed and channeled correctly can help one overcome the patterns of the unconscious mind and find great fulfillment in life.

 

PHYSICAL LOCATION: the sacral spine, approximately 4 fingers below the navel

ELEMENT: Water

COLOR: Orange

SENSE: Touch

FORCE: Magnetism

AREAS OF THE BODY:    Hips, inner thighs, bladder, kidneys, sexual organs,

MUDRA: Apana

MANTRA: VamI flow with the rhythm of life.

When unbalanced/ blocked can manifest in following: Never having enough; tries to buy happiness Trying to “keep up with the Jones” Shallow Relationships Shame of sexuality/body or exhibitionism Health issues: frigidity, impotence low back pain, urinary problems Feelings: possessiveness, seek satisfaction through senses, food, material possessions, status, craves stimulation; inadequacy

When balanced/not blocked can manifest in: Creativity Empathy for others Able to have genuine intimacy Able to “Go with the Flow” Able to have passion for life Able to truly enjoy Able to share knowledge Able to give generously

Examples of Asana that balance the Svadhisthana chakra:

Hip openers Wide leg forward folds

Reverse Table

Cat pose

 Fish pose Supine Cobblers pose Cobra

Scales pose

Short flows Chair pose Warrior II

Bow pose

Muladhara chakra, the root chakra in Ayurveda

The 1st Chakra, or root chakra is the foundation of our system. This root chakra, known in Sanskrit as Muladhara, is located at the base of the spine.It relates to the Earth(prithvi), our feeling of being grounded and our sense of security. It is the building block of all the other chakras-built from the bottom or “foundation” up. The root chakra governs your most basic survival needs like it controls how you deal with family, money, basic needs, and survival.

Thw physical location of Muladhara Chakra is at the perineum, at the base of the spine between the coccyx, pubic bone and sitting bone.

Element: Earth

Color: Red

Sense: Smell

Force: Gravity

Areas of the body: Bones; Feet; Legs; Elimination system; Immune system

Mudra: Earth bandha: Mula

Mantra: “I am safe.”

When unbalanced/ blocked it can manifest in additive behavior Intimacy avoidance, Self Centeredness Distrustful, fearful Workaholsim, driven by lack of self worth . And in health issues like constipation, hemorrhoids, obesity, sciatica, low back pain, bulimia Feeling: out of control, unable to make decisions, financial irresponsibility, family problems

 

When balanced/not blocked can manifest in Valuing oneself. One can have self confidence and able to trust. One shall never be afraid of change. One will to be in the present movement and to trust the universe. He/She will able to learn from adversity, feel secure and feel grounded.

 

Types of asana that balance the root chakra:

Mountain pose, Seated Forward Fold, Staff pose, Bridge pose, Cobblers pose, Boat pose, Sun Salutations(सुर्य नमस्कार), Childs pose, Wind Release Pose, Hero pose, Chair pose, Splits, Hindi Squat, Cow Faces pose and Swan Pose.

The Law of Karma governs the first energy center. On the physical plane, every action you perform results in a corresponding reaction. To maximize the possibility that your actions generate evolutionary reactions, you can use your body as a choice-determining instrument. Consider the possibilities in front of you and listen to the signals from your   body. These sensations generating from the root chakra are either comfortable or uncomfortable.

Your body evaluates every possible decision in terms of its likelihood to meet your needs for safety or increase the level of threat you experience. The first chakra, which connects you with the earth, provides essential information as to the potential nourishment or toxicity that is available to you as a result of the actions you are taking. Keeping energy open and flowing in this source chakra is key to both physical and emotional abundance.

The color for this energy center is red. It is associated with the element earth and the sense of smell. The mantra for the first chakra is Lam.

Yoga for Healthy life

What might be the cause of disease? Most of the diseases take their origin in over-eating, sexual excess and outbursts of anger and hatred. If the mind is kept cool and calm at all times, you will have wonderful health, strength and vitality. Energy is depleted by fits of anger. The cells and tissues are filled with morbid, poisonous materials, when one loses his temper and entertains deep hatred. Various sorts of physical ailments crop up. The blood becomes hot and thin and consequently night pollution results. Various kinds of nervous diseases are attributable to excessive loss of the seminal energy and frequent fits of explosive anger or wrath.

Let any disease remain in your body. Do not bother too much. Do not fret and fume. Develop the powers of endurance and resistance. Strengthen your body, mind and nerves. Take plenty of open-air exercises, substantial nutritious food, medicated oil bath and plenty of rest. Have mental and physical recreation. Lead a well-regulated life. Be moderate in food, drink and enjoyments. Lead a spiritual life. All diseases will leave your body by themselves. All microbes will die, when your vitality, vigor and strength are at a flood tide. This is the secret of health and happiness.

Do not be carried away by the pompous advertisements made by quacks and charlatans. Lead a simple natural life. You will become all right soon. Do not spend any money in purchasing the so-called patent medicines and specifics. They are worthless. Do not go to the doctors very often. Endeavour to qualify yourself as your own doctor. Understand the laws of nature and the principles of hygiene and health. Do not trespass against the laws of health.

Bask in the sun. Expose your body to the rays of the sun for a short time daily. This is heliotherapy or sun-treatment. Sun is the source of energy and power. You will derive energy and power from the sun.

Soak 12 almonds at night. Remove the skin and take the almonds with some sugar candy in the early morning. Or you can make a refreshing beverage by grinding these almonds with a little black pepper and sugar candy. This is called ‘thandai’ by the Punjabis. This is a fine, cooling and strength-giving tonic.

Rest in bed is necessary. Adjust your diet. Take simple, wholesome, easily digestible, bland and non-irritating food. Give up hot, pungent curries, chutneys and chilliest Rest the stomach and the small bowels by taking recourse to partial fasts. If you can fast for a whole day, it is all the better. Fasting eliminates poisons and overhauls the system thoroughly. You can take sago and milk barley water and fruits like sweet oranges, grapes, etc. If you are thirsty, you can take lemon or orange juice with sugarcandy.

Observe Brahmacharya. Get up at 4 a.m. and practice Japa of ‘Hari Om’ or any other Mantra and also meditation for one hour. The Name of the Lord is the best medicine or tonic in the world. You should have intense faith in the power of the Names of the Lord. Incurable diseases are cured by Japa or singing Hari’s Name. Meditation creates new, healthy vibrations in all the cells of the body and removes any kind of disease. All the tissues are bathed in the nectar that flows during meditation. All germs that cause diseases are destroyed. The rationale of this kind of Yogic or spiritual treatment is yet unknown to the medical profession.

Why do you unnecessarily introduce foreign drugs into the system? Resort to Nature Cure and Yogic Chikitsa. Practice regularly Pranayama, breathing exercises, Asanas, concentration and meditation. This is the ideal treatment. Do not think too much of the disease and too much of the body. Too much thinking of the disease will intensify the malady. Keep the mind fully occupied in some way or the other. This is very important. Take away the mind from the body and think of the diseaseless Atma or Soul within, the bed-rock or substratum for the body and mind. Friend, cultivate this kind of Atma-chintana and attain the Anamayapada or the Painless State Param Dhama or Immortal Brahman. Cheer yourself up. Have a cheerful countenance always. Meditate on Om. Think of Om. Sing Om. Om is thy real name. Om is the best tonic, specific or sheet anchor, panacea or cure-all, ‘pick-me-up’ or sovereign remedy for all diseases. Smile and laugh. Thou art bodiless, undying Soul. Never, ever forget this.

Follow ayurveda and yoga, be healthy and happy.

Six Chakras (षडचक्र) in Yoga

There are many formulas, mantras and theories of Ancient time in Yoga, Ayurveda and other such fields which are beyond the normal thoughts. In present days people are following the rule of back to nature. But time has changed so people are lacking the power to understand the rule of nature. One of such important topic is chakra. Basically Chakra are described from the angle of Yoga. Here I have just introduced Chakra, but I shall post more about this exploring the depth in upcoming articles.

Chakras are centers of spiritual energy. They are located in the astral body, but they have corresponding centers in the physical body also. They can hardly be seen by the naked eyes. Only a clairvoyant can see with his astral eyes. Tentatively they correspond to certain plexuses in the physical body.

There are six important Chakras.

(*From bottom to top the 6 chakras:)

1. Muladhara chakra – at the anus (containing 4 petals)

2. Svadhishthana chakra – at the genitals (6 petals)

3. Manipura chakra – at the navel (10 petals)

4. Anahata chakra – at the heart (12 petals)

5. Vishuddha chakra – at the throat (16 petals)

6. Ajna chakra- between and behind the eyebrows (2 petals)

another charka is

Sahasrara chakra – at the crown of the head (contains a thousand petals)

 

And their tentatively correspondence is:-

-Sacral plexus tentatively corresponds to Muladhara Chakra;

-Prostatic plexus to Svadhishthana,

-Solar plexus to Manipura,

-Cardiac plexus to Anahata Chakra,

-Laryngal plexus to Visuddha Chakra and

-Cavernous plexus to Ajna Chakra.

Vision (Drishti) in Yoga

Vision (Drishti) in Yoga has a great importance. The gaze is a focusing technique. The concentrating power is effected by gaze. By directing the gaze at specific points (the space just beyond the tip of the nose, between the eyebrows) the focus is directed inward. This brings more concentration and awareness into the movement. Keep the gaze soft.

Drishti

1. Pay attention to your wandering eyes. What distracts you?

2. Try to control the urge to look toward something moving in the distance.

3. Gaze at the space just beyond the tip of your nose for one minute.

4. Does sound distract your eye gaze? Smell? Notice how your senses direct

your focus.

5. At different times during the day focus your gaze at specific points (the

space just beyond the tip of your nose, navel, a spot on the wall) and see

what it takes to make you look away.

 

The nine looking places are called nava drishtis

1. Nasagrai – the space just beyond the tip of the nose. This is used most often and is the primary drishti in the sitting postures.

2. Ajña chakra – the space between the eyebrows (ex. Purvottanasana/intense east stretch)

3. Nabi chakra – navel center (ex . Adho Mukha Svanasana/downward dog)

4. Hastagrai – hand (ex. Trikonasana/ triangle)

5. Padhayoragrai – toes (ex. Savangasana/ shoulderstand)

6. Parshva – far to the right (ex. Supta Padangusthasana/reclining big toe posture)

7. Parshva – far to the left (ex. Marichyasana C/Marchi’s posture)

8. Angushtha ma dyai – thumbs (beginning of Suryanamaskara/sun salutation)

9. Úrdhva drishti ou antara drishti – up to the sky ( Virabhadrasana A/warrior)

Astanga Yoga,Not just physical Exercise

Yoga is not just a physical exercise. Yoga is a physical, mental and spiritual exercise.  In fact Asana is just a branch of Yoga. Including other 7 branches makes a complete Astanga Yoga.

According to Patanjali there are eight steps to walk for in the Astanga yoga which lead to the destination. Yoga comes from ‘Yuj’ root word meaning to unite: to unite with goal, to achieve what one is looking for.  For Patanjali, the yoga is the process of controlling mind: “Mana prashamano upaya yogah”,  or “Yogah chitta vritti nirodha”. Bhagavad Gita says that Mind is as strong as uncontrollable wind. The Yogic philosophy teaches to be master of one’s own senses first before being master of any other thing. Lord Krishna in Gita says that “Samatvam yoga uchetye” i.e. to yoga is to remain balanced or unbiased or steady even in ups and downs of life. He further says that “Yoga karmashu kaushala” – to follow yoga is to be an excellent doer of the duty or work.

Yoga seems to summarize not only best parts of Eastern philosophy (like Buddhism, Hinduism etc) but also other philosophies of the world.

The eight steps as given by Lord Patanjali are:

1.   Yama: Rules to be followed for welfare of society.

a. Ahimsa: Non-violence (not harming others by mind, words and actions)

b. Satya: Truthfulness

c. Asteya: Non-stealing, moderation

d. Bramcharya: Self disciplined, or to be Controller of one’s own senses

e. Aprigraha: Non-hording

2.    Niyam: Rules to be followed for welfare of oneself.

a. Saucha: Cleaniless

b. Santosha: Contement

c. Tapa: Austerity

d. Swadhya: Self-study

e. Ishwor pranidhan: Srevice to God

3.Asana: Postures, major exercises of Yoga

4.PranayamBreathing Exercises

5.Pratyhara: Keeping mind and senses in  prime objectives, removing from insignificant ones

6.Dharana: Absorbance to the divine goal

7.DhyanMeditation on the divine goal

8.Samadhi: Being united with the divine goal.

We should never try not to forget the  primary steps for the better foundation of our Sadhana while doing yoga. We are mostly aware of the physical exercises which, for us, provide some visible benefits. But we have problem appreciating the benefits for which we may not have instruments to visualize and measure. Can we visualize and measure some important things like- thoughts, love, hatred etc. by some physical procedure?

Yoga is not always good for the body as there are many limitation of postures of yoga in a person with disease. So I request everybody to follow a good yoga instructor. It is a powerful tool so handle the yoga with care.

 

 

Yoga Nidra

Yoga Nidra Method

Do exercise as

  1. Lie on your back, in shavasana, the corpse posture. Lie in such a way that your spine is aligned, and your feet and arms are a comfortable distance to your sides. It is best to have a thin pillow under your head and a shawl or blanket over your body so you do not become cold. Systematically move your attention through each of the points below.
  2. Forehead, throat
  3. Right shoulder, right elbow, right wrist, tip of right thumb, tip of right index finger, tip of right middle finger, tip of right ring finger, tip of right little finger, right wrist, right elbow, right shoulder, throat
  4. Left shoulder, left elbow, left wrist, tip of left thumb, tip of left index finger, tip of left middle finger, tip of left ring finger, tip of left little finger, left wrist, left elbow, left shoulder
  5. Throat, space between the breasts, right breast, space between the breasts, left breast, space between the breasts, navel, lower abdomen
  6. Right hip, right knee, right ankle, tip of the right big toe, tip of the right second toe, tip of the right middle toe, tip of the right fourth toe, tip of the right little toe, right ankle, right knee, right hip, lower abdomen
  7. Left hip, left knee, left ankle, tip of the left big toe, tip of the left second toe, tip of the left middle toe, tip of the left fourth toe, tip of the left little toe, left ankle, left knee, left hip
  8. Lower abdomen, navel, space between the breasts, throat, forehead

Next, do Spinal Breath practice

  1. Exhale as though you are breathing from the top of the head down to the perineum at the base of the spine.
  2. Inhale as though you are breathing from the perineum at the base of the spine, up to the top of the head.
  3. Exhale and inhale many times in this way, exhaling down and inhaling up. 
  4. Imagine that the breath is flowing in a thin, milky white stream from top to bottom, and bottom to top. It does not matter whether or not you literally see the stream with your inner eye, but know that this stream of energy is actually there in the subtle body, and will someday be experienced directly.

Next, enter into Yoga Nidra through chakras

  1. Bring your attention to the space between the eyebrows. Remain in that space for several breaths, or up to a couple minutes.
  2. Bring your attention to the throat center and visual there a moon. Remain in that space for up to a couple minutes.
  3. Bring your attention to the space between the breasts, the heart center, and allow your awareness to empty completely of any images, impressions, thoughts, sensations, or other experiences. Just go deep into the stillness and silence.
  4. Remain in that deep stillness and silence for up to 10 minutes, but no more initially. With practice, the length of time may lengthen some, though this is not too important.
  5. After remaining in the stillness and silence for some period, there will likely come a moment when thoughts, impressions, or sensations return. They may return smoothly and gradually, or there may be a sudden jolt. When this happens, it is a natural sign that this session of Yoga Nidra is completed.
  6. Systematically bring your attention back outward from the stillness and silence, through the awareness of the relative quietness of the mind, the awareness of the smoothness of the breath, and this stillness of the physical body.
  7. Bring the deep stillness and silence with you, as you gently wiggle your fingers and toes, then gradually move as you wish, and open your eyes.
  8. After the Yoga Nidra, you might quietly return to your daily activities, or take a few minutes for meditation, contemplation, or prayer.