Chakra! Fashion your energy! Every month I focus on a different topic during my weekly yoga classes to inspire my students. This month, the month of July, we’re working on understanding the fabrics of our Chakras and the outlines of the “Hatha Yoga Pradipika”. I’m not getting into the complex texture of the Pradipika with you now. But I would like to dress you up with two of what I like to call my CHAKRA-ESSENTIALS. You can easily add these to your daily routine. So hang on and read how you can give your energy a vital make-over and wear it in a SUPER-SOULABLE way. Make an impeccable impression on yourself and your surroundings today!
But first, get this:
Chakra energy is the life-force energy that you might know by the name Chi, Ki, or Prana (not Prada :-). “Pra” in Sanskrit means moving and “na” means always. It is energy that comes from the Universe, it’s omnipresent, available to everyone, and always moving. Where there is life, there is prana. AND the stock is unlimited and free! So you’re not depending on anyone or anything to get sufficient supply.
Your beautiful human form has 7 major chakras, or energy wheels, sequenced from the bottom of your spine to the crown of your head. These powerful, electrical and magnetic centers channel and twirl the energy from the universal energy field into your body. They control the endocrine system that in turn manages all of the body’s functions including the aging process.
Each chakra has its own vibrational frequency, colour, and sound, and governs specific functions that help make you enjoy (or suffer) being a human. Under- or overactive chakras cause physical, mental, and emotional discomfort and diseases. When our chakras don’t function well we find it difficult to enjoy the little things in life, to give or receive love, to create the life we want, communicate clearly and honestly, think efficiently, and act accordingly to our souls’ purpose.
Therefore, as energy conductors, it is of vital importance to keep our chakra wheels turning with a balanced speed. A balanced chakra is a healthy chakra and healthy chakras support a healthy and happy life.
As chakras are part of the anatomy of the subtle body and not the physical body, you can’t “proof” or show your chakras to your friends. But you can be sure they exist just like your thoughts, emotions, and breath exist. And there are many holistic treatments out there to heal, balance, and awaken your chakras. Also, you can find a lot of good information online to diagnose your chakras.
So awaken yourself on this subject. Knowledge is power. Be responsible for your own energy. You don’t need a university degree for this and it’s enjoyable! (I just did an online chakra test for fun while writing this and apparently I need to work on my 3rd chakra. The color related to this chakra is yellow. And what do you know, I dressed in yellow this morning!)
Now back to the fashion-jargon: The goodie-bag that I’m handing to you now contains two of my favorite yoga practices to tailor your chakras quickly and effectively. I love these because you don’t need anything outside of yourself (ok, maybe just a pillow under the knees), you can do them anywhere, and to the end of your days. Read on!
CHAKRA THIS: THE FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH
In addition to your morning coffee routine, try this: the 5 Tibetan rites, also known as the “Fountain of Youth”. My all-time favorite yoga practice for when I have limited time. Why? Because it’s simple, quick, and it works immediately! These fierce Tibetans boost all your chakras in a jiffy and ensure your energy for the day ahead!
The 5 Tibetan rites consist of one spinning movement with your arms spread out and four dynamic vinyasa-like movements composed of 2 traditional asanas, from which you move back and forth in accordance with your breath. The maximum amount of reps is 21.
Each rite is designed to stimulate your energy to climb higher and higher in a bottom to top fashion. The practice strengthens and stretches all the muscles in your body. I love the fact that they are called “rites” and not “exercises” because it indicates that the effects reach a lot further than just your physical body.
Do the rites whenever you need an energy or concentration boost. I prefer to do them in the morning because it awakens my lazy bead-head very quickly into a bulb of light. AND the routine keeps me bubbling all day with lots of focus, concentration, patience, contentment, and creativity.
Instead of losing energy in all sorts of directions, your energy will align with your goal and you’ll move easier from A to B. I‘ve noticed I work much more efficiently and joyfully after doing the rites. Even doing the dishes becomes fun instead of an obstacle! Coffee has the opposite effect on me, it makes me grumpy and impatient.
You are as old as you feel, right? According to the Tibetan lamas, the only difference between youth and old age is the spin rate of your chakras. Tibetans have used these rites for ages to ensure longevity, vibrancy, and health. So find an excuse to make time for this and start spinning those wheels!!
Once you know them, they’re yours for life and you can do them anywhere. They are fairly simple to remember and they take about 15 minutes of your time. You can adjust the reps and speed to your ability.
NOTE TO STUDENT: I suggest the Tibetan rites as a wonderful addition to your regular yoga practice. I’m assuming you already have a bit of yoga experience. If yoga is new to you, or if you’ve just started practicing, ask your teacher if he or she can instruct you these rites before trying it on your own. Or try it for yourself but always with patience, care, and attention.
TEACHER TO TEACHER: the 5 Tibetans make a good introduction to break the ice with a new or temporary yoga group. I sometimes teach a group of weary tourist, who have signed up for a spa week, never did yoga before, and look at me as if I’m going to fix all their issues in one hour. In 6o minutes I can hardly teach them anything. But with the 5 Tibetans, I might give them a gift for life. Of course, I suggest alternatives, which are just as powerful as the full ones, but safer and easier for beginners and elderly.
CHAKRA THIS TOO: THE 7 BIJA MANTRAS
Sound therapy in the form of chanting mantras is a very powerful way to heal and stimulate your chakras. The best way to discover this is not to take my word for it but to try it for yourself of course. But first, you might like to know what a “bija” mantra is.
A bija mantra is a one-syllable sound used in yoga practices to harmonize our energy and to attain union with Supreme Consciousness. The word “mantra” means “to liberate one’s mind”. “Bija” means “seed”. Bija mantras are seed sounds which cannot be translated into literal meaning but they have great transformative power.
Every chakra has its own seed sound. By the practice of Japa (repetition) and positive intention, these 7 specific bija mantras align and harmonize the vibration of our chakras.
The bija mantra that I chant with my students goes as follows: (1)Lam – (2)Vam – (3)Ram – (4)Yam – (5)Ham – (6)Om – (7)silence. I practice the mantra in a comfortable cross-legged position with my spine up straight. It’s also possible to do it laying down or sitting on a chair. With my hands, I gently touch the location of the chakra and when I arrive at the 6th chakra I unite the palms of my hands and touch the 3rd eye center with my thumbs. Other times I use the 7 specific chakra hand mudras.
If you look online, you’ll find different seed sounds for the 6th and 7th chakra. Some use “om” for both. Others use “sham” for the 6th and “om” for the 7th. I prefer the version where the crown chakra wears “silence” to represent the anagata, or “the sound that is beyond verbal pronunciation”. I think that it fits beautifully with the abode of pure consciousness. But of course, you can still use “om”, or “mmm”, or even “ah” to stimulate this chakra.
What I like about chanting, in general, is that you don’t need to be a professional singer to repeat a mantra. It’s not a performance. It’s a (self)healing, spiritual practice. In other words, anyone who has a voice and is interested in spiritual growth will benefit from chanting. Even if you can’t use your voice, you can repeat a mantra internally or listen to a recording.
You can focus on repeating one of the chakra sounds related to the unbalanced chakra, or you do all seven in succession one after the other. From the bottom to the top, or from the top the bottom. However way you chose to do it, it will do your vibration good. For an even stronger chakra awareness, you might want to visualize the chakra’s colour.
When I teach a yoga class I have limited time to chant with my students. Sometimes the vibrations are so beautiful I don’t want to stop to start the asana practice. Then I chant a little longer but I still have to end the class on time. At home, I use “mala-time” to chant a mantra at least one round (108 times) or I use an hourglass of 20 minutes, or I just sit and chant away without setting a time limit!
TRY THIS: silently chant the seed mantra related to the chakra you want to work on during your yoga class or during one particular pose. Observe how this affects your yoga experience.
SUGGESTION: use 5 minutes of your time to find a way to memorize these chakra sounds; hang a chakra chart on your fridge, stick a post-it on your dashboard, or write them on your hand. It doesn’t matter how you learn them, just find a way. Just like the 5 Tibetans, these sounds are a GIFT FOR LIFE.
AWARE THIS: be attentive to how you use your voice vibrations on a daily basis. Remember this Vedic wisdom: “Satyam bruyat priyam bruyat”. “Speak what is true, speak what is pleasant”. This too will keep your chakras clean! We lose or corrupt our energy too often misusing our speech by either talking too much, gossiping, or using foul and hurtful language. Also be aware of and MANAGE WHAT YOU ABSORB from others and your surroundings. Some types of music use very negative low vibrational words which will drain your energy just by listening to it. So just walk out of that store! I wish for you to stay in the company of uplifting vibrations!
Using chakra mantras during your yoga practices can have a powerful uplifting effect. There’s nothing mystical or crazy about this. We use combinations of seed sounds, named “words”, day and night to communicate our energy to the world. So why not send a loving message to your chakra system to raise its energy?
NOW you know my two favorite YOGA ESSENTIALS to spike up your colorful CHAKRA SYSTEM! I know it might be difficult to make the time to implement this practices in your daily life because of your obligations to family, work, and your social life. Just remember that if you want to give it your best, serve yourself first in order to serve others well. Your energy affects others. With a balanced chakra system, you’ll be a joy to live and work with! So I sincerely hope you’ll try these wonderful chakra boosters and have uplifting experiences on and off your yoga mat. If you like to share a positive or constructive comment about this subject please send me a message and I will post it. I would love to talk yoga with you!