Activate your chakras with mudras, mantras, visualisations, and special techniques, to enjoy an optimum experience of life, says Jamuna Rangachari
“Two years ago, my mother was complaining of a stubborn throat infection which wasn’t responding to medication. I didn’t know which medicine to give her as I am not a qualified doctor. But since I knew that trouble in the throat region meant a problem in self-expression and blockage in the Vishuddha chakra, I advised her to do throat chakra meditation and gave her some positive affirmations to repeat like 'I express myself clearly, confidently and fearlessly to my loved ones. I am loved and supported by the Universe at all times.'
"She did it in addition to soothing her sore throat by taking herbal concoctions, and soon her problem vanished,” says Arunima Behl, a Nagpur based seeker and homemaker.
Knowing the key principles on which actual life runs can pretty much simplify our life. The very knowledge that the software governing the hardware of our body and brain is energetic in nature, is distributed evenly within our body, and can be regulated and reset with minimum effort, is empowering.
The movement of wheels turns potential energy into kinetic energy. In short, a wheel is a chakra in motion that releases enough energy for any system to function optimally. Similarly, there are invisible chakras or energy centres in our body, which channel energy to various organs to help them function in a well- oiled way.
“The chakras are present not in the physical body but in the subtle (etheric body) of an individual. In most people, they lie dormant but can be activated through yoga and chakra meditation,” says Smita Jayakar, well-known actor and chakra healer.
“If a person faces physical, mental, emotional, or financial turbulence in life it simply means that their chakras are not in balance,” she adds.
When all the chakras are in perfect balance and alignment, a person becomes healthy, happy, prosperous, and can even attain spiritual liberation. Each chakra of the body vibrates at a certain frequency, which corresponds to the vibrational frequency of each type of element in the cosmos.
For example, the Mooladhara chakra vibrates at a frequency that coincides with the earth element and is related to security and survival. Therefore, if your Root chakra is functioning optimally, you will attract material prosperity and will confidently take steps to enhance your sense of security and well-being. You will know how to stand up for yourself and have a generous disposition, just like mother earth.
Even though there are hundreds of chakras in the human body there are seven main ones, each of which is located in a specific area, has a specific name, and a specific set of functions. The chakras begin at the bottom of your spinal cord, at the point of the coccyx bone and then travel up along the spinal cord to the very top of our head.
Their names in ascending order are:
Root chakra (Mooladhara chakra): This chakra is located at the base of the coccyx. It is related to our basic survival needs—food, water, shelter, and air. When this chakra is balanced, we feel stable, safe, supported, and grounded.
Sacral chakra (Svadhishthana chakra): This chakra is located above the pubic bone and below the navel. At this energetic centre, we experience creativity, sexuality, playfulness, joy, abundance, and a connection to desire.
Solar plexus chakra (Manipura chakra): This chakra is located at the navel centre. It is the home of our personal power, motivation, will, and ability to manifest our deepest desires. It controls our digestion, where we transform nourishment into valuable energy for the body.
Heart chakra (Anahata chakra): This chakra is located at the centre of the chest and governs our heart, lungs, and arms. It relates to our feelings of love, compassion, forgiveness, connection, and understanding.
Throat chakra (Vishuddha chakra): This chakra is located at the base of the throat, governing our mouth, jaw, ears, and neck. When this chakra is open, we communicate clearly with authenticity and practice intuitive listening.
Third eye chakra (Ajna chakra): This chakra is located between the eyebrows and governs our pituitary gland, lower brain, eyes, and skull. It is associated with intuition, wisdom, intellect, knowledge, understanding, and imagination.
Crown chakra ( Sahasrara chakra): This chakra connects us to God or Universal Consciousness. At the seed of this chakra we learn that we are pure consciousness, interconnected, and essentially one with each other.
The manner in which the chakras are aligned in the human body indicates the trajectory a person’s life is meant to take. Ultimately, the aim of every soul is to merge with it's Supreme Self, i.e., go beyond the ego mind. And the chakras delineate that for it to happen it is necessary that all the steps, right from material fulfilment, sexual satisfaction, creative expression, loving relationships, free expression of thoughts, and development of intuition, are completed by an individual.
Mostly, an individual gets stuck in one or more chakra dysfunction and creates his viewpoint of life, based on the reality created by that particular dysfunction.
For example, a person suffering from Mooladhara chakra dysfunction will struggle with security and feel that the world is an unsafe and tough place to live in. This world view will eventually attract situations that will confirm his beliefs to him. He might suffer from depression, family discord, and financial instability.
However, if the mind is free of negative thoughts, biases, and beliefs, the flow of energy to the chakras stays unimpeded.
Let us study and know our chakras in detail.
Root chakra (Mooladhara chakra)
Related sense: Smell
The senses associated with each and every chakra convey a lot through their inner meaning. The sense of smell is the first sense that a baby experiences in the journey of their life. This makes them feel safe and secure even in the midst of whatever else may be happening in the external world. Similarly, we all are indeed safe as the Divine is always with us.
Element: Red itself represents Mother Earth. So, this colour signifies how we all need to be close to our mother, that is the ground on which we stand all the time.
Musical note: ‘Sa’ in the Indian system, ‘Do’ in the Western system.
This is the first note, and as most of us who know even a little bit about music, realise it must remain in harmony for a song to remain melodious. Similarly, in the drama of life, we shall lead a balanced life when our base remains secure and we learn to combat fear, knowing the Divine is always with us.
Bija mantra: Lam
Chanting this mantra with the musical note 'Sa' could help us a great deal.
Associated deity: Ganesh
Most Hindus chant a prayer to Ganesh to remove obstacles before beginning anything new. This is indeed what this deity signifies. To overcome all obstacles, of which the primary one is fear.
Essentially, this chakra represents the feeling of being grounded and secure. When out of sync, it can lead to a feeling of nervousness, which is often encountered by people facing a new or challenging situation. Beginning at the base of the spine, our first chakra, Mooladhara, translates from Sanskrit as root or foundation. This makes sense, because without a firm foundation, one can feel unstable and unsafe.
This chakra is located in the perineum, between the anus and the sex organs. The emotional issues related to this chakra are survival issues relating mostly to money and food. It controls the lymphatic and the skeletal system, the sacral plexus which controls the bladder and elimination, and the legs.
Affirmation: “I am always safe and secure.”
Meditation on this chakra: Meditate on this chakra, telling yourself that your needs will be looked after and that all is well and safe. Visualise the colour red in the region of the chakra and play the note ‘Sa’ if possible. Chant Lam at least three times.
Sacral chakra (Svadhishthana chakra)
Related sense: Taste
We can indeed enjoy all of life as this is our entitlement. Not enjoying its diverse flavours only makes us either resentful or guilty.
The colour orange signifies joie de vivre, a passion for life in all its myriad hues. It helps when we meditate on this colour, thanking the Divine for the ability to enjoy life.
The element, water, signifies even the earth has to loosen up to become productive and fertile, which is what this chakra signifies.
Musical note: ‘Re’ in the Indian system, ‘Re’ in the Western system.
Bija mantra: Vam
Associated deity: Vishnu
Svadhishthana is a Sanskrit word that literally translates into ‘one’s own abode’ and the root ‘svad’ also translates into ‘to taste with pleasure’, ‘to enjoy’, or ‘take delight’. The Svadhisthana holds your connection to your emotions, desires, and sexuality. Located in the centre of the abdomen, this chakra is associated with the parts of the consciousness concerned with food and sex. It is about the body’s communication to the Being inside, about what the body wants and needs, and what it finds pleasurable. This system controls the reproductive system, sexual organs, and lumbar plexus. The sense associated with this chakra is the sense of taste and appetite. When this chakra is imbalanced, it leads to overindulgence or a highly austere life. Whereas, when this chakra is in order, people enjoy sensory pleasures but know where to draw the line.
Affirmation: “I take pleasure in life.”
Meditation on this chakra: Meditate telling yourself that your needs will be looked after and that all is well and safe. Satisfy your need but not your greed, yet do not deny yourself altogether. Visualise the colour orange in the region of the chakra and play the note ‘Re.’ Chant Vam three times.
Solar plexus (Manipura chakra)
Related sense: The sense of sight.
Here, sight signifies a vision and not just physical seeing. This is significant as we need to realise that we can truly succeed only if we can have a clear vision of what we wish to achieve in this journey of life.
“She has a fire in her belly,” is a phrase we often hear. This is quite apt since this chakra, located in the belly region, is about power.
The organs associated with this chakra include the muscular system, the skin, the large intestine, stomach, liver, pancreas, and endocrine glands that exist in the region of the solar plexus. It also impacts the eyes, as the organs of sight, and the face. Consciousness associated with this chakra includes power, control, freedom, and the ease with which one is able to be himself. Mental activity and the mental body is also associated with this chakra. The element associated with this chakra is fire (also the sun). When out of balance, it can lead to a person being too egocentric or indulging in passive-aggressive behaviour.
Musical note: ‘Ga’ in the Indian system, ‘Mi’ in the Western system.
Bija mantra: Ram
Associated deity: Maharudra Shiva
Affirmation: “I own my power.”
Meditating on this chakra: Meditate on being your true self without the need to control or exercise power. Visualise the colour yellow in the region of the chakra and play the note ‘Ga.’ Chant the seed mantra, Ram, three times.
Heart chakra (Anahata chakra)
Related sense: The sense of touch
Perceptions of love and relationships, relating to people close to your heart, like your partner, siblings, parents, and children, are identified with this chakra. Difficulty with breathing or with the lungs, the organ of air, indicates tension in the heart chakra. A person’s relationship with air reflects his relationship with love.
It has often been said that a sense of touch can make everyone feel needed and loved. In fact, the famous movie, Munna Bhai M.B.B.S., shows this by asking us to learn to touch and hug each other. This is what this chakra signifies.
An imbalance of this chakra can create apathy or over-possessiveness in an individual.
Musical note: ‘Ma’ in the Indian system, ‘Fa’ in the Western system.
Bija Mantra: Yam
Associated deity: Sada Shiva
While the first three chakras are entirely about one’s relationship with oneself, from the Anahata onward, the chakras begin to deal with our relationship with others and our perception of the world.
Located in the centre of the chest, this chakra is associated with the heart, the circulatory system, the cardiac plexus, the lungs, and the entire chest area. The gland associated with this chakra is the thymus gland that controls the immune system.
Affirmation: “I give and receive love”
Meditating on this chakra: Perceive the love around you and release all feelings of feeling unloved. Visualise the colour green in the region of the chakra and play the note ‘Ma’ if possible. Chant Yam at least three times.
Throat chakra (Vishuddha chakra)
Related sense: Sense of hearing
This chakra relates to expressing and receiving. Expression can be in the form of communicating one’s needs and desires, or it can pertain to creative self-expression such as art, dance, or music. This chakra controls the throat, neck, arms, hands, and the bronchial or cervical plexus. The gland associated with it is the thyroid gland. Metaphysically, this chakra is related to creativity and manifesting in the physical world, the fulfillment of one’s goals. When this chakra is imbalanced, people suppress their voice and do not express themselves out of fear.
Here again, the sense is significant as it indicates that we can communicate well only if we listen to what the other is saying.
Musical note: ‘Pa’ in the Indian system, ‘So’ in the Western system.
Bija Mantra: Ham
Associated deity: Ishwara
Affirmation: “I express myself freely.”
Meditation on this chakra: Perceive a sense of abundance with the confidence that your voice will be heard. Visualise the colour blue in the region of the chakra. Play the note ‘Pa.’ Chant the seed mantra, Ham, three times.
Third eye chakra (Ajna chakra)
Related sense: ESP or intuition
The Ajna chakra, our sixth chakra, translates to the command and perception centre and is where our intuition or inner voice resides. Represented by the element of light and tied to our power of perception, the Ajna chakra controls the pituitary gland or the master gland of the entire endocrine system. It stands for the deep sense of being called spirit.
Problems in the third eye chakra can include problems with the facial nerves and tumours in the pituitary gland on a physical level. Tensions at this level can include tensions about religion or spirituality (too many rules, spiritual addiction to an organisation, or experiencing mental illnesses).
We often ignore our intuition that is often a strong voice from our soul. In my case, it was my intuition that led me to Life Positive, though I was a software professional and am sure many others like me have never regretted listening to their intuition.
Element: An inner sound—which is related to spiritual experience.
Musical note: ‘Dha’ in the Indian system, ‘La’ in the Western system.
Bija mantra: Om
Affirmation: "I sense all that I need to sense."
Meditation on this chakra: Perceive the Creator in you to reach a higher level of understanding. Visualise the colour indigo in the region of the chakra and play the note ‘Dha.’ Chant Om and think of both the masculine and feminine aspects of our personality.
Crown chakra (Sahasrara chakra)
Sahasrara means thousandfold and represents our higher connection to the Divine. Its location at the crown of the head defines this chakra. The Sahasrara chakra controls the entire nervous system and stands for our perceptions of unity or separation.
Related sense: Empathy
Empathy is really not the same as sympathy, as empathy requires a deep connection with the other. This is usually possible when we begin thinking of everyone as our brothers and sisters, since our source is, after all, the same.
Element: Inner light
Musical note: ‘Ni’ in the Indian system, ‘Ti’ in the Western system.
Bija Mantra: Om
Affirmation: “The Divine will always show me the right path and direction.”
Meditation on this chakra: Work on engendering a balanced attitude towards authority, making your feelings heard and owning your power. Visualise the colour violet in the region of the chakra and play the note ‘Ni,’ if possible. Chant Om and think of Shiva. It is important that we maintain a firm foundation in our lower three chakras. They signify safety and stability which need to be in place before we route this energy to the upper chakras that represent wisdom and a higher order of things.
Healing with chakras
Dr Ketan Shah uses both reiki and acupressure to balance the chakras of his clients, as this makes the body more receptive to accepting healing.
Anu Mehta, India’s first META-Health healer, uses chakra healing along with other modalities. She has healed many using this approach and recounts the healing of an 82-year-old man Mr T, who had practically lost his hearing and could not talk after his paralytic and epileptic attacks. He was given chakra healing and balancing with META-Health (a technique she uses to balance the chakras) and sound-healing. He regained his hearing after three treatments and has been verbalizing his feelings to his family members, expressing what they all mean to him.
Mr Abhay Kumar Shah, a mudra consultant from Malegaon, recommends using the Gyana mudra, Prana mudra, and Dhyana mudra while chanting the Bija mantras and visualising the colours. He recommends that these should be done for at least 16 minutes a day and gradually be increased to 48 minutes per day.
Mr Sanjay Mandaviya from Amreli, Gujarat, wanted to increase the spiritual energy of both his wife and himself before becoming parents. They both learnt mudras from Mr Shah after which they not only felt greater balance, but his wife, who suffered from severe back pain, started feeling better. Having conceived now, they still practise mudras to balance their chakras and give a holistic environment to the unborn child.
Razia Rustom Patel, a 60-year-old corporate trainer from Mumbai, was introduced to the Five Tibetan Rites through a friend who had learnt these exercises from a Tibetan monk. He said that the exercises also balanced the chakras. He had benefited tremendously from these exercises and had been cured of ailments like headaches, anxiety, stress, and depression. Razia learnt them and started teaching individuals and, later, corporates as well, since they brought about effective changes in a person. [See Box].
Yet chakras are not a magic wand for each and every issue that we need to grapple with. We have to battle with our karma and resolve these. My guru, Promila Gurtu, who taught me chakra meditation, had resolved her eyesight issues through chakras but passed away due to cancer. Still, she had led a complete, wholesome life till the very end, despite battling cancer. Through the chakras, she had reached a higher dimension of living and guided many people towards the same path.
Like music, where all notes have to be in perfect harmony for a melodious rendition, our chakras too need to stay in balance, for us to enjoy a blissful life.
Box - Tibetan yoga and chakras
Tibetan Yoga comprises simple yet dynamic yogic exercises called The Five Tibetan Rites and includes meditation, pranayama, and positive thinking.
The Five Tibetan Rites is a yoga routine based on a ritual of exercises done by the Tibetan lamas, which helped them to live very long and healthy lives and to stay ever young. (They were developed over centuries in the monasteries of Tibet. In 1930, a retired British army officer, who learnt these from the lamas, brought them to the West). They are now practised around the world and are said to prevent ageing. The entire routine can be completed in less than 20 minutes. An important part of the Tibetan exercises is a conscious synchronization of breathing while performing physical activity.
They balance the seven chakras and regulate the hormonal output. They affect our digestive system, cardiovascular system, nervous system, and respiratory system.
a. Stand with your feet a little apart and your arms shoulder height, palms facing downwards.
b. Begin to spin in a clockwise direction (as if you were standing on a clock) trying to keep your breath steady as you twirl.
Tip: Speed is not important here (the direction is) so don’t whirl so quickly that you fall over! If you feel extremely dizzy after you stop spinning, bring your palms together and look at your thumbs. Breathe deeply.
2. Leg raises
a. Lie on your back on the floor with your palms by your sides and your legs straight.
b. Engage your lower belly, inhale, and raise your legs in the air, whilst at the same time lifting your head. Exhale and lower everything back down to the floor. Move between the two positions steadily and with control.
Tip: If you find this too difficult, place your hands underneath your buttocks or bend your knees. You shouldn't feel any pain in your back or neck whilst doing this exercise.
3. Dynamic Camel
a. Come to a kneeling position. As you inhale, arch your spine, slide your hands down the back of your thighs, and tip the head slightly back.
b. Exhale back to an upright position and tip the chin forwards towards the chest.
Tip: Keep the lower belly pulled in and up to protect the lower back. Only take the head back as much as it feels right for your neck. Place a padding under the knees if they're sensitive.
4. Moving tabletop
a. Come into a seated position with your legs stretched out in front of you, palms flat on the floor.
b. Breathe in, press into the hands, and swing the hips forward and upwards so that you come into a ‘tabletop’ position, feet flat on the floor. You can keep the chin pointing upwards or take the head back if it feels okay on your neck. Exhale, swing the hips back, and return to the original position as you exhale. Move between the two positions steadily and fluidly.
Tip: You can start from a bent-kneed position with the hips slightly forward from the hands until you build up the strength in your arms. You could also try placing your palms on blocks to give you a little more height.
5. Moving tabletop
Downward dog to Upward dog
a. Come into a downward facing dog pose, spreading your fingers wide and pressing your palms into the floor. Draw the thighs up and back, and create length in the spine.
b. Inhale, roll over the toes, bring the shoulders over the wrists, and come into
alated an upward facing dog. Keep the neck long and the collar bones broad. As you exhale, press firmly into the hands, draw the hips up and back, and return to a downward facing dog pose.
Tip: As you move between the two poses, keep the lower belly slightly engaged to protect your back. If you find it difficult to keep your legs straight, bend your knees slightly.
Mudras for chakras
Doing Gyan mudra is very easy and simple. When you sit for meditation, relax your body and sit straight. Put both your hands in front your knees and join the tips of your thumb and forefinger. It is important to make sure that you touch the tips skin to skin and not nail to nail. Keep all the other fingers straight and in a relaxed position.
Dhyana mudra is a hand gesture used by yogis during meditation exercises to build and improve the ability to concentrate and heal. Both hands are placed on the lap, the right hand on top of the left one, palms facing upward.
Prana Mudra should ideally be performed while sitting down in a meditative posture such as the Padmaasana (Lotus Pose) or while standing up straight in the Tadaasana( Mountain Pose). However, it can be performed at any time and in any position too. Keep your eyes closed and focus on your breath. Bring your hands up to your sides. Touch the tips of your ring finger and little finger to your thumb.
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