A Chakra Purification Meditation
The chakra cleansing exercise accomplishes pranayama, pratyhara, and dharana all at once being an excellent preparation before meditation or other practices of laya yoga. It helps us focus within toward awareness of the energy body, based on the classic seven chakras and their seed (bija) syllables. Each chakra has thus a corresponding vibratory sound energy which helps us get in touch with that region. According to classic hatha yoga there are seven chakras and their sounds are approximately:
Lam for the muladhara (earth) chakra located in the perineum area. Yellow in Color
Vam for the swadhistana (water) chakra located in the prostate/ovaries area. White in Color
Ram for the manipura chakra (fire) located above the navel. Red in Color.
Yam for the Heart chakra (anahat) associated with the element of air. Blue in Color
Ham for the vishudda (throat chakra) associated with ether (akasha). Swirling Dark Gray
Aum for the third eye
AH for the Crown (various schools use different sounds for the crown chakra, here AH is a special mantra specifically chosen for its benign effects.
The first five seed syllables are said with a nasal "hngh" type ending more than a mmm type ending as in lamngh, vamngh, ramngh, yamngh, and hamngh. In the Nepalese and Tibetan tradition it is often pronounced la, va, ra, ya, ha.
We can increase the detail in regard to colors, number of lotus petals, letters on the lotus petals, sounds of the lotus petals turning, etc. to aid further detailed concentrations, but this process of differentiation can be endless. It can be even counter-productive as these details are not the chakras themselves, but rather simply symbolic representations of corresponding characteristics that "may" help point out as a temporary aid in which to access the actual awareness of these vibrating energy vortexes in which more or less detail may or may not be of help.
For those who are a bit unfocused, then the need for more details may help their over active mental situation in which case there exist many more detailed chakra meditations utilizing such detail. However in this chakra purification meditation we do not trouble ourselves with such details, but rather use the sounds as an aid to focus in on the pre-existing energy patterns that are singing at each chakra -- bring our awareness and listening to "it", more than projecting a sound unto it.
We start simply by sitting in a comfortable position with the spine resting on the upright sacrum, - grounding the tailbone to the earth, and extending the spine and torso (in mulabandha) so that the occiput extends toward the sky and the chin is slightly drawn in (a soft jalandhara bandha). It might help to halfway to close the eyes gazing inside and upward touching the tongue lightly to the roof of mouth while the eyes look up softly into the ajna chakra.
The Practice Proper
We then visualize a brilliant bright light at the base of the spine. As we breathe in we visualize this brilliant bright light entering the chakra and purifying it. As we exhale we visualize the chakra opening (like the petals of a lotus blossom) and say the seed syllable (once or up to sixteen times). Then we again visualize a brilliant bright light at the base of the spine and as we inhale, visualizing this light raising up to the next chakra purifying it. Again as we exhale, we visualize the chakra opening like the petals of a lotus blossom as we vibrate the seed syllable for that chakra out loud. Eventually we work up to the crown kinesthetically feeling the vibratory nature of these energies. With the awareness focused within to this energy flow we sit in silent awareness connecting the root with the crown (sambhavi mudra).
For example, inhale a brilliant bright light from the base of the spine into the MULADHARA chakra. As we exhale we visualize the chakra opening like a lotus flower while saying LAM as many times as you like (classically up to 16 times).
On the next inhale we visualize a brilliant bright light moving up from the base of the spine to the SWADHISTHANA chakra (below the navel) and as we exhale we vibrate aloud the sound, VAM, anywhere as many times as you like (classically up to 16 times) as we visualize the chakra opening like the petals of a lotus flower.
Likewise from the base of the spine we visualize a brilliant bright light and as we inhale it moves upward purifying the MANIPURA chakra (above the navel) and as we exhale the seed syllable RAM vibrating aloud as we visualize the chakra opening.
Then visualizing again a brilliant bright light at the base of the spine we inhale it up to the heart center (ANAHAT CHAKRA) and as we exhale say the bija mantra YAM as many times as we are drawn to (usually one to sixteen times) as the chakra opens.
Then visualizing a brilliant bright light at the base of the spine, inhaling it up the spine as a white light into the throat chakra (VISHUDDA) and as we exhale say HAM as we visualize the petals of the chakra opening.
On the next inhale we breathe up a brilliant white light from the grounded tailbone connecting into the third eye (AJNA chakra) and as the petals open as we exhale saying a long AUM only once.
Then we visualize a brilliant bright white light at the base of the spine and as we inhale visualize it rising to to the crown chakra (SAHASRARA) and as we resonate out loud a long AHHHH deep within the brain and upward we visualize the chakra opening so that our energy is as an open self supporting balanced conduit between the earth and the sky extended in an effortless self supported equipoise.
At this point in the meditation we can engage in other practices for self healing, such as doing energy healing work by finding pre-existing energy blocks and working through them, or begin a silent meditation, or simply be finished for the time being.
For example we can repeat the visualization over again to see if there is an improved effect. Especially if we noticed an energy blockage in a specific area the first time, we can simply breathe back into the chakra below and above it, resonate the seed syllables over again, and then on an additional breath, breathe into the specific energy center in question. This can be repeated until some sort of openness or flow is achieved. Feel free to experiment with resonant combinations of the chakras, for example, the ajna chakra and swadhistana chakra have a specific resonance, the vishuddi (throat) and manipura (fire chakra), the earth (muladhara) and sky sahasrara), etc. It is especially the the root and crown chakras (earth and sky) which are the two most critical to connect while the others may just fall into place on their own inbetween.
So in the above practice we have also accomplished asana (posture), pranayama (lengthening the energy), pratyhara (focusing the awareness within), and dharana (focusing the mind) allowing us to be much better prepared to sit in meditation as the energy is already flowing easier because pratyhara and dharana has already become accomplished.
An Advanced Chakra Meditation
This ends the simple chakra purification exercise which accomplishes pratyhara and focuses (dharana) our energy and mind inside freeing us from external disturbance and vagaries (vrtti) and thus acting as a catalyst both toward self empowerment, self healing, and effective meditation.
The first practice (given above) is both absolutely safe and purifying as well as energizing. An advanced practice may be undertaken after one has practiced pranayama with kumbhaka (retention) and the three bandhas (mula, uddiyana, and jalandhara bandhas) with an even more powerful effect.
The advanced practice is performed as above, but the main difference occurs with the synchronistic use of retention (antar kumbhaka), the bandhas, and more elaborate visualization thusly. At the end of each inhale, having brought the light and breath into the chakra and before the beginning the exhalation, one holds the breath inside (internal kumbhaka) while at the same time performing the three bandhas as a continuous wave starting at the bottom and working upward. While the breath is held inside, the chakra region can be visualized in more detail if desired. A simple and easy addition in this regard is to visualize the chakra region as pulsating in a vibratory wavelike motion adding appropriate color associations to the energy or adding even greater elaboration if one desires. Then, one slowly exhales, before there is any discomfort vibrating the seed syllable as in the above purification practice, paying attention to the subtle quality and tone of the exhalation.
This should be done after the chakra purification practice is mastered. It brings more vitalizing energy into the system (good for those who are deficient in prana, tejas, or ojas). One may do this advanced practice feeling both the front and the back of the body vibrating. For some the colors are valuable, for others the sound, for others the breath, and for others it is simply the feeling -- the awareness of opening and being filled with light, prana, and strength.
To enhance the above after the chakras are purified and open, they can be activated by doing the same as above, but in addition hold the breath (internal kumbhaka) inward utilizing the three bandhas gently for a short duration of time before exhaling and sending the the light out (while the lotus flowers expand).
The above is the classic hatha yoga practice, but there are many schools which differ on some specifics. The most controversial is the sound at the crown chakra, but ah is the most common. The second most common sound that is often suggested at the crown chakra is the high pitched sound, hri (pronounced huhreeee). There are also schools which use different sounds at each chakra (rare).
Many Western schools give the colors for the chakras like the spectrum starting with red at the root, orange at the swadhistana, yellow at the navel, green at the heart, blue at the throat, purple at the ajna, and white at the crown, but such is not found in classical yoga. Utilized as a simple but profound purification, a white color should be used for all the chakras. As an additional practice the different colors, syllables (sounds) for the various petals, associated deities, and symbols may be used for those who like more detail. Feel free to experiment to ascertain what works best for yourself. To get a powerful effect, the practice can be very simple as in the first part.
|Muladhara||Base of the spine||Lam||apana vayu||Annamaya||Sthula||smell||earth|
|Swadisthana||Below Navel||Vam||vyana vayu||Annamaya||Sthula||taste||water|
|Manipura||Above Navel||Ram||samana vayu||Pranamaya||Sukshma||seeing||fire|
Regarding the above chart, one may eventually become aware of the more subtle energies that surround and operate in our life. The various bodies (called sharira in Sanskrit) are associated with the five koshas (sheaths). The coarse physical body (sthula sharira) is of the lowest vibration and most dense. The subtle body (the sukshma sharira) which is often called the astral or energy body is associated with the pranamaya, manomaya, and vijnanamaya koshas depending on its state of purification and transformation, while the causal body (the karana sharira) is associated with the anandamaya kosha which is beyond suffering and bondage. See The Timeless Body of Infinite Light and it's Finite Manifestations for more.
A Top Down Chakra Meditation
Another classical chakra meditation is top down (from sahasrara to muladhara). This one also utilizes a slight retention after the inhalation (antar kumbhaka).
Again find a very comfortable, strong, and upright position grounding the tailbone with the earth and placing the pelvis in neutral position so that the spinal column sits erect upon the sacrum. Lift the hear, extend the spine, slightly without tension tuck the chin gently, and implement the energetic form of each bandha (mulabandha, uddiyana bandha, and jalandhara bandha) without strain so there is a felt sense of self supporting mutuality. Let the back of the medial scapulae sink while the top front of the shoulders move up and around and toward the back (posterior). Let the gaze rest at the third eye or nose and implement khechari mudra (if you practice it) or simply place the tongue at the top palate without creating stress to the tongue or jaw. Relax into a feeling of buoyancy. The hands can rest on the knees in chin mudra, jnana mudra, or any other comfortable position that supports the overall energy.
Begin by becoming aware of the space above the crown (at the parietal bones which are located top dead center between the occiput in back and frontal bone in front). Center your awareness there and try to feel the empty space above the crown (sahasrara) as a subtle density dynamic, a wind, fluid, wave like etheric pressure variant, or any other such subtle awareness. Visualize the brahmarandhra (hole of Brahma) open at the top of the head. If you do not feel the specific location of the brahmarandhra chose the bregma point (the anterior fontanel at the junction of the frontal and parietal bones) or the posterior fontanel at the junction of the parietal and occiput. If the exact spot is difficult to locate, then try visualizing the entire parietal bone flapping subtly like wings, the sides rise up on the exhalation and come together on the inhalation creating an widening abduction on top.
Then on the inhalation breathe energy from infinite Source above the crown and then down into that spot sucking it in through the brahmarandhra. On the exhalation breathe the energy and light back up and out through the brahmarandhra to infinite space. Repeat two or more times until the area feels open, airy, bright, and cleansed.
Then on an inhalation breathe fresh new white colored light into the crown (sahasrara) and hold the breath and bandhas in while visualizing the entire frontal cortex and cerebrum fill and flood with white light on the exhalation letting the energy spread outward.
On the next inhalation breathe the white light in from infinite Source through the brahmarandhra and down from the crown into ajna chakra filling the third eye, physical eyes, sinus, thalamus, cerebellum, back brain, and brain stem with white light and energy while retaining the breath in implementing the bandhas actively. Exhale the same way again flooding the light outward throughout the region.
Repeat breathing white light into the throat chakra (vishuddha), the heart/lungs (anahat chakra) , the manipura (fire chakra), the swadhistana chakra (water), and muladhara chakra (earth) the same way utilizing an internal retention (kumbhaka) and then a spreading outward of the light energy on the exhalation purifying each and every chakra one by one.
It is excellent to move this energy all the way down to the soles of the feet while spreading the white light outward on the exhalation.
Let the light spread out in all directions in each chakra. On each exhalation be aware of a vibratory and pulsating afterglow of light in each chakra.
After all seven chakras are done this way and you have cleansed and activated the muladhara, then in one long breath breathe in from infinite Source all the way to the muladhara implementing the internal kumbhaka and the bandhas as the light and space is spread throughout the body to each and every system, cell, and atom. During the kumbhaka (breath retention stage) gently compound and suck in and up the energy in the lower cauldron (lower dan dien or hara) below the navel by combining mulabandha and uddiyana bandha. Before the exhalation visualize the energy from muladhara on up from chakra to chakra to the crown completing the circle by containing it. At this phase spread the entire body with white vajra light. As you exhale let loose all the bandhas and slowly let the breath and light connect back to infinite source out the crown of the head as well as sink down to mother nature/creation leaving the entire body and nervous system as an open channel, connected, quickened, livened, strengthened, energized, cleansed, vibrating, and pulsing at an accelerated very intelligent healing frequency.
Sit in that afterglow space in a receptive mood and then start your meditation or practice or simply use this time to facilitate energy healing work in specific areas. Eventually allow the breath to return to an equality of inhalation and exhalation or allow the exhalation to be longer in regard to duration and strength.
To end send the energy to fill the heart chakra and from there visualize this energy going to every organ, tissue, gland, cell, atom, internal space in the body, outer spaces, all times and dimension. Send this healing infinite universal to the surrounding space, people, trees, community, plants, and animals -- to everyone everywhere and throughout the three times.
The Ten and the Many
It is best mentioned here that the seven chakra system is classical, but your actual practice does not have to be limited by the classical thought of centuries long past. In the very ancient literature and traditions, there were three chakras or lokas, then later there was five, then six, then seven. In some tantric systems there are 9, 10, 12, and more. One theory is that the vibratory nature of the universe, the galaxy, and hence the earth is accelerating and becoming more refined and diversified as such new energy centers have emerged within the hologram of man.
I use ten chakras. Please notice that this experientially works best for me at this time, making no universal claims on its application, but simply will share it here. One may locate the center of the chakras by making FIVE FINGER WIDTH spacing starting from the pubic bone upward. The center of the swadhistana then would be located in the center of the first palm. The second palm will center around the navel region (manipura chakra), then higher up five more finger widths the palm will be under the sternum, its center on top of the spleen, liver, gallbladder, stomach complex. Here we can place an additional chakra and call it the spleen or nabhi chakra with the seed syllable hoh. Five more finger widths to the heart (anahata). Then five more locating the thymus center halfway between the throat and heart chakra at the thymus whose seed syllable is sham). These two chakras Spleen and Thymus) work in resonance (like the throat and navel, ajna and swadhistana, muladhara and sahasrara). The last additional but very important chakra is the Talu chakra located at the cerebellum area and brain stem directly in front of the occiput. Its seed syllable is also aum (like the ajna)
Thus we have ten
For more on a 12 chakra system see the addendum at the Chakra Healing page at Rainbowbody
The Seven Microcosmic Chakras of the Neck
The neck has an "S" shaped curve very similar to the spine and an analogue can be found at each cervical vertebra. This additional chakra practice for the seven vertebra of the neck and as a microcosm for the rest of the spine can be done alone or integrated with the above practices is an excellent 7 step exercise for those with blockages in vishudda chakra, neck, or throat problems.
EARTH -- lam between the 7th and 6th
WATER -- vam between the 6th and 5th
FIRE -- ram between the 5th and 4th
AIR -- yam between the 4th and 3rd
akasha -- ham between the 3rd and 2nd
aum between the 2nd and 1st
aum again between 1st and then entering into the talu chakra
(note that sometimes the name of the chakra behind the occiput at the brain stem is called "talu", while in other literature, "talu", refers to the region at the cerebellum.
One can continue to break down the energetic points of the body and give them names and sounds which symbolize their energetic resonance, harmony, activation, and stabilization. Commonly there exist recognition of the chakras at the cupped arches at both feet, at the heels, knees, and both hip joints, the cupped arch at the palms of the hand, the wrists, the elbows, and at both shoulder joints (gleno-humeral joints). In addition many tantric systems recognize at least one chakra below the body belonging to the earth proper and at least in space above the head belonging to the sky region proper. These two follows around the human body where ever it goes as long as it is alive. It is through this body that Shiva's love is communicated to Shakti, and how Shakti's love toward Shiva is expressed in a balanced mutual timeless non-dual synchronicity.
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The Cabala and the Chakras
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Tree Legends, Dragon Myths, and Wisdom Tales
The Long Body: Portal to Earth Based Spirituality (includes "TWO TREES" by W. B. Yeats)
Swara Yoga: Utilizing the Energy Valves at the Nares (swaras) as a Liberation technique
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There exist many volumes of words about the chakras, but the most important thing to know is that all we need to know about the chakras are that they are found inside. The following links are just the tip of the iceberg in comparison of what is available on the world wide web, none of which can be nearly complete as establishing the internal dialogue.
A simple but colorful exposition by Sahajayoga
A Wide Range of Information on Chakras at Kheper.net
Swara Yoga: Utilizing the Energy Valves at the Nares (swaras) as a Liberation technique
Patanjali's Yoga Sutras; Pada III (Vibhuti Pada), Sutras III.41-46. Also see III.31 commentary on the Kurma Nadi
"Nature's Finer Forces and the Science of Breath (Pranayama Yoga)" was originally published in Sanskrit as "Science of the Breath and the Philosophy of the Tatwas"), by Rama Prasad, is available here in PDF format,
Swara Yoga (according to the Bihar School of Yoga). Much excellent data about Swara Yoga at http://www.swarayoga.org
Bhuta Shuddhi (presented by Swami Rama)
Presentation of Bhuta Shuddhi by Swami Satyasangananada Saraswati
Energy Bodies, Koshas, Kayas, and Sharira
Chakra and Energy Body Healing
An Energy Body Approach to Hatha Yoga Asana Practice
Hatha Yoga Topics Index
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