Mind Blowing Bali

By Elaine Ee
Bali is often called the island of the gods. If you’ve been to Bali, it’s not hard to see why. Signs of religion and spirituality are everywhere on this Sunda island, even in the most touristy neighbourhoods. From the daily offerings of flowers and palm leaves placed on people’s doorsteps; to ancient, mystic temples; a myriad of festivals; and the spirits that are said to roam the land freely; the other world permeates every inch of Bali, and is buried in the consciousness of the local culture. Development may have piled tourist contraptions thick and high on top of local life, but the spirits do not leave. They remain, deeply embedded in the fabric of culture and society here.
Every Balinese person views the world through the eyes of the spirits he knows. Including this Balinese gentleman I met on a holiday here some years ago. He was a yoga teacher.
I forget his name but I remember what he looked like. He was dark, with long, slightly frizzy hair and quiet air about him. He came to our villa on the request of my girlfriend and I, who wanted to treat ourselves to a yoga lesson, while our husbands took the children off somewhere.
He was in reasonable shape, but not fit like many yoga instructors you see in modern yoga studios. He wore a Balinese sarong, made almost no sound when he walked. He didn’t carry a yoga mat.
As my girlfriend and I sat down in front of him on our rubber yoga mats, gazing at him bright eyed and bushy tailed, he looked at us like we were slightly strange.
We started with some usual breathing exercises and a basic warm up. From there, my girlfriend and I were poised to go—ready to start a suite of asanas, expecting the typical triangle, warrior, chair, tree, cobra, locust, bridge and other postures we’d normally practice in our yoga studios back home.
But there was none of that.
Instead, he made us do some odd movements and poses, which didn’t feel like asanas at all. I don’t recall accurately now what these were, but I distinctly remember thinking at the time that this was turning out to be a very different yoga class.
After a few ‘postures,’ we asked him what we were doing and told him about the yoga we were used to practicing. “That is Western yoga,” he said, putting a lot of weight behind that statement. “This is Bali yoga.” It sounded like he wanted to explain what he meant, but felt the concept was way too complex and profound for modernized minds like ours to understand in the few minutes he had with us.
So he decided to show us in another way.
“Close your eyes,” he instructed. We both closed our eyes and sat cross legged.
I felt him walk over to me and place his palm over the crown of my head. Peeping out from under my eyelids, I could see his cool sarong in front of me. His palm was close enough to me that I could feel it, but not so close that it touched me. The energy from his palm was very strong.
I felt what I could best describe as a warm sensation at my crown, which I put down to the body heat radiating from his palm. My mind started to lift, and I soon felt like I was on a different plane, swimming in my head. I was drifting into my surroundings, hovering, yet still connected to my physical body. All the time I felt like the teacher was standing close to me with his palm on my crown.
I’m not sure how long I stayed in this state. It felt like 15 minutes.
When I started to come back down to earth, I opened my eyes, expecting to see the teacher next to me.
But he was opposite end of the room. Smiling.
I was stunned, and when I looked over to my friend, she appeared similarly awed.
“Wow,” we both said. “What was that?!”
The teacher walked over and sat down in front of us. “That was your crown chakra opening,” he said gently. “That’s why you felt those things.”
“But I only opened your chakra a little bit. Because if I had opened it fully, you might see too much, more than you are ready for, and you will be troubled.”
I had only heard vaguely of chakras at the time. I knew they were energy centres of some sort, like meridians in traditional Chinese medicine. But I had no idea where they were located, what they did or the effects they could have.
Now I know better. There’s Muladhara chakra, Swadhisthana chakra, Manipura, Anahata, Vishuddha, Ajna and—the crown chakra—Sahasrara. I know that they are located in the base of the spine, groin, navel, heart, throat, third eye and of course crown, respectively.
I know that they run along the vertical axis of the body, and are horizontal discs spinning round a central core, the shuhumna, or spinal cord. I know that each chakra is responsible for certain faculties and senses, corresponds with a particular element like Earth, Fire, Air, Ether (space) and Water, and has a bija or root sound, like Om, Lam, Vam, Ram or Yam, whose frequency resonates with that of the chakra’s vibrations and the chanting of which will therefore activate the chakra.
And I know that chakras are not to be messed around with. The energy that comes out of the sushumna, the kundalini, is powerful.
One of the villa staffed witnessed our entire chakra experience. After the teacher had left, the staff, a middle-aged man, came over to us and said.
“There are many people like him in Bali. They can see things moving around everywhere; and they know things. They usually stay in the villages and don’t come out much,” he said.
Well, this ‘teacher’ came out for us. Whether he was really a yoga teacher or a local ‘seer’ looking to earn a few bucks from tourists looking for a yoga class, I decided it didn’t quite matter. He had taught me something.

Did you know we smell with our Muladhara Chakra?

Did you know we smell with our Muladhara Chakra?
Through my experience as a child with chronic headaches, regular reflexology was a true realise of this agonising pain I used to endure. Our bodies are not separate, hands, knees, head, heart, liver ect… but all is inter-linked. In China they use reflexology, pressure applied to specific zones in your hands, feet, and ears to help relieve pain and discomfort in other area’s of your body. Ie, creating pressure on the inside of the big toes and then releasing in-fact helps to relieve and congestion or pain within the nose and nasal passage.
What I have learnt is that we have 7 common Chakra’s, or in layman’s terms centre’s of energy that are positioned throughout our body. These Chakra’s are not exactly separate but linked with an energy called Kundalini which runs through from the lowest Charkra (the Muladhara) all the way to the top which is located hovering above our head (the Sahasrara). To allow the Kundalini to run freely on our path up to enlightenment, we as humans need to be aware and steady in the mind enough to tame our emotions. We can do this through Asana practice, which stimulates each Charkra depending on the pose, through Pranayama practice and finally Mediation. We are only then able to free our mind from idea’s and learnt behaviors that restrict our true potential. With the majority of society our emotions seem to run us rather than our mind running them. This is an imbalance of energy flow and consumption within our body. Humans tend to be stuck in certain Chakra’s, a cycle of bad habits that we seem to be unable to break.
The Muladhara is the first Chakra located at the base of the spine, the Chakra that typically testosterone fuelled men tend to be stuck in! This Chakra controls feelings of lust and desire, anger, jealousy and possession. A person, whose energy is stuck in this zone, may find they are often tired, they have digestive or immunity issues and are possessive in nature. They will also find that their sense of smell is not as strong or alert as others. Great poses to help make you feel more grounded and spin the wheels clockwise are, Uttanasana (Standing forward bend pose) or Parsvakonasana (Side-Angle Pose).
When we convert these bad emotions ie, lust for example which then can turn into creativity, we are creating positive energy for the Kundalini to move its way up to the next Chakra.
A word of warning smelling with your Muladhara Chakra in public may get you thrown out of a country, so perhaps leave it to try at home!
 

Yoga Philosophy – The Chakra

The Chakras are centers of energy, located on the midline of the body.  They are 7 of them, and they govern our psychological properties.  The chakras located on the lower part of our body are our instinctual side, the highest ones our mental side.

Root Chakra or Muladhara Chakra 

is about being physically there and feeling at home in situations.  If it is open, you feel grounded, stable and secure.  You don’t unnecessarily distrust people.  You feel present in the here and now and connected to your physical body.  You feel you have sufficient territory.

If you tend to be fearful or nervous, your root chakra is probably under-active.  You would easily feel unwelcome.

If this chakra is over-active, you may be very materialistic and greedy.  You are probably obsessed with being secure and resist change.

Sacral Chakra or Swadhishthana Chakra

is about feeling and sexuality.  When it is open, your feeling flow freely and are expressed without you being over-emotional.  You are open to intimacy and you can be passionate and lively.  You have no problems dealing with your sexuality.

If you tend to be stiff and unemotional or have a “poker face”, the Sacral Chakra is under-active.  You’re not very open to people.

If this chakra is over-active, you tend to be emotional all the time.  You’ll feel emotionally attached to people and you can be very sexual.

Navel Chakra or Manipura Chakra

is about asserting yourself in a group.  When it is open, you feel in control and you have sufficient self esteem.

When the Navel Chakra is under-active, you tend to be passive and indecisive.  You are probably timid and don’t get what you want.

If this chakra is over-active, you are domineering and probably even aggressive.

Heart Chakra or Anahata Chakra

is about love, kindness and affection.  When it is open, you are compassionate and friendly, and you work at harmonious relationships.

When your Heart Chakra is under-active, you are cold and distant.

If this chakra is over-active, you are suffocating people with your love and your love probably has quite selfish reasons.

Throat Chakra or Vishuddha Chakra

 is about self-expression and talking.  When it is open, you have no problems expressing yourself, and you might be doing so as an artist.

When this chakra is under-active, you tend not to speak much, and you probably are introverted and shy.  Not speaking the truth may block this chakra.

If this chakra is over-active, you tend to speak too much, usually to domineer and keep people at a distance.  You are a bad listener if this is the case.

 Third Eye Chakra or Ajna Chakra

is about insight and visualization.  When it is open, you have a good intuition.  You may tend to fantasize.

If it is under-active, you are not very good at thinking for yourself, and you may tend to rely on authorities.  You may be rigid in your thinking, relying on beliefs too much.  You might even get confused easily.

If this chakra is over-active, you may live in a world of fantasy too much.  In excessive cases halucinations (An experience involving the perception of something not present) are possible.

Crown Chakra or Sahasrara Chakra

 is about wisdom and being one with the world.  When this chakra is open, you are unprejudiced and quite aware of the world and yoursekf.

If it is under-active, you are not very aware of spirituality.  You are probably quite rigid in your thinking.

If this chakra is over-active, you are probably intellectualizing things too much.  You may be addicted to spirituality and are probably ignoring your bodily needs.

Chakras – What it means to me

Chakras – what it means to me

I have heard of chakras before but I never really knew what they were nor understood much about them. So when I was introduced to Chakras in the yoga certification class, I was at first in awe (kind of disbelief) and then in amazement.
My humble understanding of chakras after the ‘initiation’ into them during the philosophy session of the yoga class is simply that chakras are energy centres and we have seven main chakras within us. I soon found some literature that mentioned a further four more chakras in addition to these seven. Then I read again in some other literature that we may have more than hundreds of chakras within us.
I wanted to find out more, to know more, so I searched for more information. Then I discovered the colours, the elements, the symbols, the vibration sounds and I became intrigued. As I reached further in search of ‘answers’ (even though I was not sure what exactly I was looking for), I stumbled upon the many links and connections of chakras, not just to our mind/ body/ soul, to the organs, body functions, etc… but also to the many elements out there in the universe. Chakras have links to the cosmic energy, the solar system, astrology, the light, the colours of the rainbow, the vibration frequency, etc… and each chakra’s energy is also correspondingly reflected onto our palms.

The chakras have also been associated with the figure ‘eight’ like in geomancy or fengshui.

View the colors in a clockwise fashion, beginning with white, and you will see the order in which the chakras are employed in refining the human vehicle as a light vessel. At the Festival of Birth/Rebirth, white reflects the child of true Humanity/the Light’s potential. Move clockwise to green, color of the heart center, and continue clockwise to complete a full cycle with red, the root chakra’s color, at the Festival of Peace. When placed on the body, the colors on the Wheel actually form a figure-eight shape.

Chakra system chart by Astrology
One can identify the nodal axis with Sushumna Nadi, the energetic central channel that runs through our spine. On this channel, the six chakras are projected at different levels as shown in the image on the left. The seventh chakra, the crown chakra, called Sahasrara chakra is not shown in the natal chart, it couldn’t be, as it doesn’t relate with the material level, only with the higher spiritual worlds. It is transcendental and represents our link to the Divinity.
The other six chakras will be projected on the nodes’ axis as follows:
1. Muladhara chakra or the root chakra will be projected at a distance of 30 degrees from the South Node (SN) on both sides.
2. Swadisthana chakra or the sexual chakra will be projected from 30 degrees to 60 degrees from the SN on both sides.
3. Manipura chakra or the solar chakra will be projected from 60 degrees to 90 degrees from the SN on both sides.
4. Anahata chakra or the heart chakra will be projected from 90 to 120 degrees from the SN or from 90 to 60 degrees from the North Node (NN) on both sides.
5. Visshuda chakra or the throat chakra will be projected from 60 to 30 degrees from the NN on both sides.
6. Ajna chakra or the forehead chakra will be projected from 30 degrees to the NN.
Planets that are in the projection area of one chakra will influence that chakra according to their nature and the side of the nodal axis where they are located. Those on the left side (waxing from the SN) will influence the receptive part and the function of that chakra, while those on the right will influence the emissive part and function of that chakra. In order to understand this better, an esoteric study of the chakras would be required.
Conclusion – Chakras are Active Energy Forces
Filtering through the vast amount of literature that I encountered on chakras, I have come to realize for my personal understanding that chakras are active energy within the body and the universe and when these energies are balanced, then we achieve both mental and physical health. We are in tune with ourselves and in sync with the forces of energy around us. We can even harness this energy for healing purposes.
With this ‘enlightenment’ on chakras, I am keen to cultivate and enhance my chakras for good health and to also be able to utilize this energy for other benefits like healing others.

The Seven Chakras

The Seven Chakras

Chakras are centres of energy that are distributed throughout the body, each on represented as a spinning ball or wheel which draws in energy from outside. Chakra is indeed a Sanskrit word meaning wheel. The seven main chakras are:

  1. Muladhara (base or root chakra represented by the ovaries/prostate)
  2. Swadhisthana (sacral chakra represented by the last bone in the spine, coccyx)
  3. Manipura (solar plexus chakra represented by the naval area)
  4. Anahata (heart chakra represented by the heart area)
  5. Vishuddha (throat chakra represented by the throat area)
  6. Ajna (brow or third eye chakra represented by the pineal gland or third eye)
  7. Sahasrara (crown chakra represented by the crown of the head or fontanel in the new born)

Each chakra is represented by a colour and symbol

Chakra Name Symbol Bodily Position
Muladhra   Ovaries/Prostate
Swadhisthana   Sacrum/coccyx
Manipura   Naval area
Anahata   Heart area
Vishuddha   Throat area
Ajna   Third eye/pineal gland
Sahasrara   Crown of the head/fontanel

 
There are many other charkras, each responsible for different energies within the body but these are the seven main chakras. The overall feature of the chakras is that they are energy centres along which flows energy within our body. They are located along a central nadi which runs alongside or inside the spine. Generally the chakras give rise to our life force and associated with our consciousness – perhaps making each of us what we are.

The CEO chakra – Manipura

What does the city of jewels, CEO’s and our body have in common? They are all connected with our third Chakra, the Manipura chakra.
The third chakra, Manipura, is located in the spine behind the navel. The word “mani” means gem and “pura” means city – city of jewels.
The element for this chakra is fire and it is shining as a jewel and filled with energy and vitality. The characteristics of this chakra is self oriented, dynamic, dominant with the will to rule and dominate and the ability to change and reform. The Manipura chakra is also filled with vision and ambition and therefore it may sometimes be called the CEO-chakra as it holds the characteristics of a successful CEO. The down part with the chakra is that the energy can sometime be canalized through despotism and to make use of people only to reach their own objectives.
As the chakra is located in our Solar Plexus region where our digestive process and food metabolism is managed, it is the chief over gastric gland, the pancreas, the gall bladder etc. Manipura controls our instinct to find food and to make sure we nurture ourselves and gives us better selfesteem.
The third chakra is also connected to the adrenal glands above the kidneys. Thanks to this the mind gets sharp and alert and the heart beats faster etc. The body gets prepared for a high level of activity and also for emergency situations, like the expression Fight and Flight. If you suffer from bad digestion and depression and are low in energy you should focus on this chakra. The Manipura chakra revilitizes, rejuvenates and releases the energy in you.

Manipura chakra 

The Manipura chakra with its 10 petals and its downward pointing triangle.