It reads “Chakra” – but that is the correct Sanskrit Spelling. I tread carefully around this topic, because it has already received soooo much attention. I really don’t think it’s an important subject, but it deserves some space and some demystifying in the overall picture.
In the previous post we talked about intertwined moon & sun channels & sushumna. As the three channels dance around, they create points of convergence – hubs/centers of energy. These centers are often called Cakra’s – but, like many western, interpretations – that is not the entire picture and a but misleading. Cakra is a name attributed to a healthy center of energy. Granthi is a name attributed to an unhealthy center of energy. A Granthi is a knot – it is an obstacle to the flow of energy.
It is not my intention to mince words, but there is a recurring subtle theme here that I feel is useful to recognize. I find that when people talk about Cakra’s it almost automatically leads to a healing approach in which “something needs to be done” in order to open/tune/align (there are many popular words to choose from) the Cakra’s. When I think of Knots I am reminded of a core idea – a knot/obstacle is often a result of overdoing, so more doing may not be the best thing to do. Maybe it takes some undoing/not doing/doing less/different doing to transform a Granthi into a Cakra?
Energy centers rotate: when healthy they rotate in one direction, when unhealthy they don’t rotate, when seriously unhealthy they rotate in an opposite direction. Contrary to popular references – energy centers cannot be opened or closed. They can be affected by regulating the flow of energies through Nadi – one good way to do this is Pranayama – breathing practices (which I’ll get to in an upcoming series). I have witnessed Andreea use a pendulum as a diagnosis tool – she will hold it over a physical area associated with a center of energy – and it will move & rotate in conjunction with it.
Energy centers are associated with colors, sounds, visual images, smells, elements, etc (search the internet and you will no doubt find loads of information on these dimensions). They are a powerful metaphor. For me their power lies in their metaphor rather then any fashionable truth that is attributed to them. Metaphors are tightly related to a mindset. Viewing the body as a biological system is one mindset, viewing it as a system of energy is another. I find the latter to be more inspiring and dynamic.
It is interesting to note that there is a natural physical process which affects the structural integrity and behavior of the energy centers: age. The 3rd energy center (marked in yellow and said to be located approximately behind the belly button) is also considered the center of of the entire energetic system. It also correlates with the fire model mentioned earlier in this series.
Two changes occur around this point as we get older. Have you noticed the physical change in elderly people – how they are bent forward? This tendency causes a compression of the top part of the energy system towards the center. Then from the center down there tends to be downward sagging (this is especially true for women – who’s pelvic floor is more prone to sagging).
Asana (physical postures) practice can, to some extent, counter this natural tendency. Actually most asana will affect the structure of the energy system. Therefor a key ingredient in a balanced asana practice are counter-postures – which are intended to counteract affects of previous postures and bring the system into re-alignment.
Next up – Kundalini!