An Approach to Yoga of Life thru Cakras
Updated 8 February 2011
These notes are meant as reminders, not instructions, for students of Ramanand Patel. They are neither complete nor final. All suggestions to refine these notes are welcome.
This is one of the many ways to awaken the cakras, or more accurately, to awaken and raise the kundalini.
There seven cakras located in the subtle body (sukshma sarira). These locations certainly have an effect on different parts of the physical body (sthula sarira). However, it is not useful to over emphasize the exact location in the physical body as long as a general location is understood. Each of the lower six cakras have three types of energies. If left unattended pressures and experiences of life create a negative charge. This general negativity is first resolved thru Ajna cakra as described below. Then the more specific negativity and positive energies as they relate to different aspects of life are resolved thru other cakras. Next the student understands the neutral energy of each of the lower six cakras. Finally the deeper aspects of resolution thru Ajna are addressed.
The beginner is advised to spend one month on the negative energy related to the lowest (muladhar) cakra. The student then focuses for a month on the positive aspect of that cakra before proceeding to the next cakra. This process will take about twelve months. While a month is prescribed here some students may find that they need more or less time on a particular aspect of a cakra.
Some students prefer to address the negative of each cakra followed by the positive of that cakra. During practice of pranayama it is also a useful practice to address the negative for a few breaths, then the positive for a few breaths and finally the neutral. The exact sequence in which this is done will vary depending on the student.
The next six months of the practice are spent on understanding the neutral aspect of each cakra. Better than either the positive or the negative is to see the relationship of the “I” with the positive and the negative. The I wants to escape from the negative and indulge in the positive. Question who this I is. It is this neutral aspect that lifts the kundalini energy up to the Ajna cakra, from where its merger with the Sahasrara cakra is beyond the scope of this writing.
The following text gives a brief meaning of each cakra, its basic element, the related sound and an outline of the negative, the positive and the neutral energies. While the work proposed here is largely thru breath in pranayama, it is equally applicable to breath in asana as well as breath in life.
For a particular physical restriction or challenge the student is first reminded to ask the mind to draw a well defined boundary around this restriction, observe the collapse of the boundary, either partial or complete, before beginning to address the work on cakras. For exact approach on how to do this please refer to class notes. Same method can apply to psychological blockage. However, for this to be effective the student must first learn to locate the specific physical area or organ of the body that is most affected by this emotional experience. This by itself will not completely resolve the underlying psychological issue, however, it will help break the first layer of the pattern.
1. Muladhar Cakra: Mula means the root or the un-manifest. Adhar means support or foundation. This is the cakra where the kundalini energy lies dormant. The element is Prithvi, the earth, and hence one's relationship with all earthly possessions (including the phyisical body) is to be considered. The sound is Lumn(g).
This is related to attachment with material or objective world. Nothing wrong in having possessions as long they do not possess you. The negative charge is created when the possessions own the possessor. Observe how your energy is affected when you consider (or fear) what would happen if these possessions were to be lost. Let the breath take this negative charge from the Muladhar to the Ajna. There it gets helplessly resolved into the infinite past. Breathe out loving, understanding, accommodation.
The positive charge is the energy related to willingness to share. This positive charge becomes highly refined when such willingness and resulting action are effortless. The positive energy is the energy created through sharing the possessions or using the body in service of others who may be less fortunate. The inhalation is used to receive this charge as a privilege. One exhales a sense of blessing and humility.
Deeper understanding of this effortlessness by the intelligence leads to the neutral energy. In this neutral energy one first sees that one is a trustee, neither the owner nor the giver. This neutral state looks into the question of who is this “I” that owns or shares the objective world. When the I is seen to be the image created by the mind then the positive and the negative become irrelevant and there remains only the neutral energy of truth wherein there is a choice-less and effortless awareness of what I is. Any sharing done is without expectation of any recognition or reward. Care is exercised to see that any pride connected with the sharing is understood to be an error.
2. Swadhisthana Cakra: Su adhisthana means manifest foundation. The element is Apas, water and the sound is Vumn(g).
This is related to attachment to pleasure and aversion to pain. The neutral is joy of being without any other reason.
Negative charge is where the mind tries to increase the personal pleasure and decrease the personal pain without any regard for other life forms. Pleasure as it is followed by pain will also create a negative charge.
Positive charge is enjoyment of normal pleasures without violating the rules of dharma, particularly the one of ahimsa, non-injury to all. It also entails the thought and action to help others to gain pleasure and decrease pain, again in compliance with dharma.
Neutral energy is when the “I” created by mind is absent. There is the joy of “being” without a reason. One observes pleasure and pain without any additional reaction because these pleasures and pains belong to the body-mind-sense complex (i. e. ego) rather than to I, the consciousness.
3. Manipur Cakra: This is the abode of wealth. The element is Agni the fire and the sound is Rumn(g).
This cakra is related to physical survival. The negative energy is created by seeking increasingly more physical security. Attempt to gather more and more food, shelter, etc. are examples of this negative energy.
The positive energy is created by living in the world with minimal attachment to the need for physical security and also by providing others with this minimum security.
The neutral is to see that there is no such thing as physical security and that the demands belong to the image “I” which creates a false idea of future from the past experiences.
4. Anahat Cakra: Anahat means primordial sound, which is produced without anything being struck. The element is Air, Vayu and the sound is Yumn(g).
This is related to attachment to emotional security. Negative energy is generated when one demands increasingly more emotional security. Learning to live with minimal demand for such security as well as by offering and providing such security to others generates the positive energy.
Another example of positive charge is the result generated when one understands that the only person one can change is one-self.
The neutral is the wisdom to know that there is no such thing as emotional security and the demands for such security belong to the image “I” created by thought.
5. Vishudhi Cakra: Shuddha means refined or pure. The element is Akasha, ether and sound is Humn(g).
This cakra is related to attachment to all aspirations and need for spiritual survival.
Negative charges arise out of fear created by misunderstanding about God that is created by blind belief, by not reaching the goal and by unhealthy doubts. One-up-man-ship amongst monks seeking enlightenment is an example of such negative energy. Being in a hurry to achieve the higher goals is also a major negative charge of this cakra.
Positive charge is created by contentment that I am on the right path, healthy doubts, repeated questioning in a healthy way, thoughts and actions to help others along the path, and prayers.
Neutral is uninterrupted effortless clarity to “what is”.
6. Ajna Cakra: Ajna means command or granting of permission. From here kundalini is granted permission to rise to the Sahasrara cakra. Its element is infinite space or the very essence of space, Maha Tatva. Its sound is Aumn(g).
This is the ultimate cleanser of all negative energy with regard to different aspects of life. Attention to this is initially used to create general initial cleansing before attending to specific aspects of life through the other lower cakras. The previous three cakras are all time bound and finite, both physically and psychologicaly. Ajna on the other hand being infinite is free of time limitation.
As all negative energy is devoured here the resulting energy is neutral. This neutral energy is the state that is not time bound and hence free of lack of patience as well as of infinite patience.
Whenever dealing with a negative energy of a lower cakra, on inhalation let love drive all the charge of any negative energy from that cakra into the Ajna cakra. This negative charge gets sucked into the infinite past, just as nothing escapes from a black hole. On exhalation let forth loving, understanding, accommodating energy. Remember this is not about approving, accepting or forgiving; it is about reclaiming your lost freedom. Remember exercise of bragging and the meditation of “let it be”. Those who have not attended my classes on these aspects of bragging and "let it be" may find this confusing; sorry, it will be clarified in some future writing.
7. Sahasara: What happens from Ajna to Sahasrara is not a subject of discussion. No amount of verbal explanation can bear any fruit. All expectation of such fruit simply become a hindrance.