Take your Yoga practice a stage further by working with awareness of the Chakras.
The chakras are centres of energy and Yoga exercises can activate and strengthen these centres. Energy is brought into the body by means of prana, from the breath.
The chakras are part of the astral or subtle body, which is invisible and parallel to the physical body.
The yoga asanas along with other practices such as mudras, bandhas and cleansing techniques, relieve blockages and allow the energy to flow through the body via the channels known as nadis. Blockages and the inability of the life force, prana to flow freely through the body, can result in ill health and dissatisfaction with life.
The main energy channel is known as Sushumna and this lies along the spinal cord. Along this channel or nadi there are six chakras. The seventh chakra is at the crown of the head.
Kundalini is a static or cosmic energy that sits in the lowest chakra and can be made, through determined practice and dedication, to pass up through the chakras to the seventh chakra, Sahasrara where Samadhi or complete union with the universal power, cosmic life force or God is achieved.
Even if we do not expect to achieve Samadhi, the chakra balance and activity can affect our survival, wellbeing and interactions in life. Although energy travels upwards and vibrates differently at each charka, it is important to realise each chakra energy has equal value and it is how that energy is used that is important.
We need to balance the energy, our creativity and receptivity at each level.
The chakras are depicted by lotus flowers with different numbers of petals and relate to different areas of the body.
They are allotted different colours and different symbols. They are associated with individual sounds, elements and social systems.
We can use yoga asanas to balance and stimulate the different centres.
Working with awareness of the chakras in our hatha yoga practice can be of great physical, mental and spiritual benefit.