Week 25 – The Practice

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    One of the biggest challenges I’m having in composing these weekly posts is trying to nail down a topic! There are so many great pieces of this practice that enrich my life every single day in so many ways and I find isolating one pieces hard. Because I am also in the midst of writing a manual for a rather extensive training that is happening this fall, I thought I’d share an excerpt from it as it expands on another piece I wrote a few weeks back on the topic of our energetic system and chakras.

    Here you go 🙂

    The Chakra System is a unique map for the journey through life. This journey moves through not only the territory of the body, but also the mind, emotions, intellect and spirit. Like any journey you take, you will come across many different pathways that have twists and turns, breathtaking experiences and unforeseen challenges with some more easy to navigate and overcome, while others that leave you feeling lost, stranded or even defeated. 

    The word chakra means wheel, disk, or vortex. These wheels are housed within the subtle body called the energetic body, or pranamaya kosha in Sanskrit. Classically, there are seven major chakras that span from your seat to your crown that are connected by an invisible medium that follows a similar path to that of the spinal column. Called the sushumna nadi, this inconspicuous channel is said to be the largest and most important corridor of our body, and is the energetic counterpart to the central nervous system (CNS). In conjunction with the sushumna nadi are two additional channel named the ida and pingala nadis. 

    The ida nadi relates to the left side of the body, starting at the base of the spine and exiting at the left nostril, while the pingala is associated with the right side of the body beginning and ending in the same manner. The ida and pingala intersect the sushumna nadi, both at and the space between the chakras, from oppositional directions, creating a swirling effect at each place they energetically cross. This movement, which the ancient yogis observed to have tremendous influence on the chakras, is said to be Kundalini Shakti rising to illuminate the place of enlightenment at the crown chakra.

    Each chakra is intimately connected to a specific set of nerve bundles that connect the CNS with the PNS, or peripheral nervous system. The PNS is your body’s communication device that carries information from the outside world in, and from the inner world out. Like these nerve bundles of the peripheral nervous system, the chakras can and do influence the way we move, think and go about our lives. It is at these plexuses that information is received, processed and delivered to the rest of our body, by way of the central nervous system, to the brain where functions like thinking, identifying, remembering and or illusion and delusion help or hinder the experience at hand. 

    As you journey in and around the chakras, you are collecting bits of information that has been consciously or unconsciously stored or programmed into your body, mind and spirit, from the time of your conception. Based on your findings through self-study, analysis, and reflection, of how you cope or avoid certain situations, people and experiences, you can begin to recognize your conditioned programming and learn to recognize any excess or deficiency at a particular site. The better you understand the flow or blockages that potential exist in these energetic centre(s), the better equipped you will be to establish a healthy and balanced flow through discharge, containment or maintenance of the physical and or psychosomatic factors that limit the innate truth of your existence.

    When life hands out its troubles, as it does for all of us, we find ways of coping – increase your energy to deal with it, or decrease your energy to get away from the problem. It is an adaptation of the basic flight or flight response programmed into our survival instincts. As you engage in these reactions or defences, over time they become ‘hard-wired’ into your chakra system, meaning they exhibit their patterns unconsciously, whether these patterns really work for you or not. And when used repeatedly over time, these coping strategies create either excessive or deficient chakra imbalances.

    “As we develop through life we are likely to become excessive in some areas and deficient in others. Excessive and deficient chakras do have some things in common. They are both a result of coping strategies designed to deal with stress, trauma, or unpleasant circumstances. They both restrict the flow of energy through the system, and block the complete expression of both the liberating and manifesting currents. Eventually, they both result in dysfunctional behaviour and health problems.” – Anodea Judith, Eastern Body Western Mind.

    See what I mean? There is so much wisdom in the study, practice and reflection of yoga. I hope each week these musings help to support you in ways that you are both consciously, and unconsciously, aware of on your life’s journey.