Advanced Yoga Practices
Lesson 77 - Still More on Chakras
Date: Sun Jan 11, 2004 3:38pm
Q: This is about the query on closed and open chakras. i too am a healer, and what i have found both in teachings and experience, is that the chakras are naturally open. the degree to which a chakra is closed, or inactive (or over-active), and depleted or congested, is what determines dis-ease in the being — that is, things are not in sync in the etheric body, and the effect of it manifests on the physical body.
Also, as i understand it, the heart chakra is what enables us to give, to love, without restraints, without pre-conditions. as a healer, it is my belief that the heart chakra, more than any chakra, needs to be open, active and healthy for a healer to pass on the divine healing energies, to the patients. that is my belief. hope i am not upsetting anyone.
And i also found yogani’s point on the opening of the crown chakra a little confusing, to say the least. when we do any pranayama, exercise or meditation, the kundalini energy gets stirred into activity. depending upon the etheric condition of the sushumna and the ida and pingala nadis, as well as the health of the chakras, the kundalini energy starts rising upwards. in most of us, needless to add, the etheric condition of these chakras and nadis is usually abominable!
When this happens, the kundalini energy goes haywire, and rushes into different nadis, wherever there is space. in the case of gopi krishna, for instance, it went up all the way to the crown by the way of the ida. and on the very verge of insanity, he managed to force some of it up via the pingala, and restore the balance, which is what saved him.
What i am trying to say is, the balance between the yin and the yang, as well as the shiva and the shakti energies, is extremely necessary for a balanced and safe meditational practice. the shiva energy comes down from the crown — how can we afford to not open it? and if the kundalini and shiva energy enter the sushumna from bottom and top respectively, they meet at the heart chakra — how can we keep that closed?
Please shed some light on this.
A: Thank you for your comprehensive note on chakras. You raise some good points.
Forcing the sahasrar early in the process of yoga is the main caution that has been raised, as kundalini under those conditions can go anywhere, as you point out. As you say, this applies to every other chakra and nadi as well. Many make the mistake of thinking yoga is just about chakra concentration going up, and get into trouble. More than a few have written with serious problems from this, and it breaks my heart.
The recommendation is not to keep anything closed (sahasrar included), but to let everything open naturally during advanced yoga practices. We really don’t think about the chakras at all during practices in this approach. They are considered to be “under the hood” of the car as we use the main controls in the driver’s seat. This is not to say other more direct approaches to chakras are not valid. It is just not the approach here.
So, this is why we start with global practices of meditation and spinal breathing to ease everything open as smoothly as possible, naturally from the inside. In this approach, meditation comes first as the balancing influence, rather than trying to balance the chakras first before meditation. We trust the rise of pure bliss consciousness in meditation and spinal breathing to do the right purification and opening, which it does when we follow the simple procedures. Then, after some time, with some global purification of everything inside us, we can go to more aggressive methods, and eventually to more focus on the crown. Shiva is brought down most smoothly in the beginning using the ajna (third eye) for awakening, which is an essential part of spinal breathing and the gradual rise of ecstatic conductivity in the sushumna and in all the nadis (subtle nerves). Again, this is the approach in these lessons. Other approaches may be very different, and that is okay. In the end, all methods must stand up to the scrutiny of their practitioners. Experience is the best arbiter of our practice. That is the scientific method. Sooner or later we will arrive at optimal yoga, just as we have in many applications of technology.
I agree with you 100% about the heart. This is why emphasis is placed on desire, devotion and bhakti all the way through. It is the opening heart that leads us home. Advanced yoga practices coming up in future lessons will place more direct emphasis on the heart. Even so, we rely on the global effects of meditation and pranayama to do most of the spade work in the heart. The rise of bhakti is dependent on this spade work. How can we be devoted with the heart not opened? How can we find the motivation to meditate without devotion? This is a great “Catch 22” in yoga. Which comes first, devotion or practices? We cannot have one without the other. One is the cause of the other. We need both, and sooner or later we will grab on to one or the other somehow. Once we do, we are on the way to having it all.
The nervous system knows what to do once we start nudging it a little with effective practices.
Click here for descriptions of the seven main chakras in relation to the AYP system.
The guru is in you.