Life around Chakras

By Harsh Thakkar

We are living in the age of data. Yet there are so many things around us that we know nothing or very little about. Back in the stone age when the Neanderthal man did not know or understand something, he looked at stars to see signs to guide him in the right direction. Then came the middle ages and the homo sapiens around the world had been taken over by religion. They started going to priests and reading the scriptures be that the Holy bible or the Quran or ancient Hindu Vedic scriptures to enlighten them and tell them what to do when they were lost. Today when we are lost we google. Which is of course the biggest warehouse of – you got that right – Data. Yoga on the other hand tells us to look inside when you feel lost. Understand yourself and your own body so that you can understand your surroundings.

However, we still understand very little of our own body and how that fits in the vast reality we call universe. Yoga Sutras always had an answer to this question for the mind that seeks. Different books and interpretations of how the human body is powered have been written and explained in different cultures across the world. Of course, over time when we underwent the scientific revolution we found logical answers too to pretty much every religious and cultural belief that we had accepted over hundreds of years. The same scientists still send a silent prayer when things go beyond their rational expertise or will shout out to God to be saved if they were thrown in front of a hungry tiger. No I’m not undermining science or its miraculous achievements. I’m just trying to shine some light that there are so many things that still cannot be explained by science.

Different people are governed by different motives or energies at different stages of their lives. One could say that you have been motivated to work towards becoming a millionaire or that promotion in your current job or to write that novel or this blog. In another part of the world; there is a poor farmer who labors day in and day out just to earn enough to survive and feed his family, a young teenager from the same village puts in the hard work in school and college and becomes an engineer. Another from a different village become an entrepreneur and a millionaire. What is powering these different people from similar backgrounds yet able to achieve such diverse goals and destinies? Then there are some who are born with a silver spoon, everything served on a silver platter, yet they’re not motivated enough to leave their own mark on the world. Chakras may have the answer.

So what are chakras?

Ancient texts between various traditions noted 5 to 114 chakras throughout our body some even elaborated as many as 88,000. The most important of them can be shortlisted to only seven. They can be explained as small rotating or vibrating discs of energy centered around the plane of the spine from the base of the spine at the pelvic floor to the crown of the head in a human body. Every chakra since it is a concentrated disc of energy has its own frequency and color associated with it. And if all chakras in a human body are rotating at the ideal frequency then you as human being are balanced spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically.

Every chakra is related to a different ailment, or a different strength of your body, even different traits of your personality. At times the focus of your life can be determined by a certain chakra being more powerful than the other. Let us start with describing these Chakras first: 

1. Muladhara (Root) Chakra, Color: Red, Frequency: 396 Hz

Think about your root chakra as the foundation of a house, except for your body—it’s sturdy, stabilizing, and supportive, keeping everything safely connected if it’s functioning properly. It’s associated with the base of the spine, the pelvic floor, and the first three vertebrae, and responsible for an individual’s sense of security and survival. Because of that, it’s also connected to whatever you use to ground yourself, including basic needs such as food, water, shelter and safety, as well as your more emotional needs such as letting go of fear and feeling safe. As you well know, when these needs are met, you tend to worry less.

When it’s unbalanced: A variety of ailments can occur from blockages, including anxiety disorders, fears, or nightmares. Physically, the first chakra is associated with problems in the colon, with the bladder, with elimination, or with lower back, leg, or feet issues.

2. Svadhishthana (Sacral) Chakra, Color: Orange, Frequency: 417 Hz

Located above the pubic bone and below the navel, it’s responsible for our sexual and creative energies. Associated with the element of water, when your sacral chakra is aligned, you will likely feel great: You’re friendly, passionate, and successfully fulfilled while also eliciting feelings of wellness, abundance, pleasure, and joy. By honoring your body and expressing yourself creatively, you’re keeping the energy wheels turning and fluid.

When it’s unbalanced: When you’re feeling uninspired creatively or have some emotional instability, your sacral chakra may be misaligned. Likewise, this can also be associated with physical sexual dysfunction, while also potentially experiencing fear of change, depression, or addiction-like behaviors.

3. Manipura (Solar Plexus) Chakra, Color: Dark purple, Frequency: 528 Hz

With its name meaning “Jewel City” in Sanskrit, the third chakra is said to be your source of individual power, ruling over self-esteem. Located from the navel to about the rib cage, it reportedly governs all things metabolic, digestive, and stomach-related.

When it’s unbalanced: You can suffer from low self-esteem, have difficulty making decisions, and may have anger or control issues. It’s not just feeling badly about yourself, but also may lead you to outwardly express apathy, procrastination, or that you’re able to be taken advantage of easily. Likewise, you’ll also possibly have a tummy ache of some kind such as digestive issues or gas.

4. Anahata (Heart) Chakra, Color: Green, Frequency: 639 Hz

As the central chakra, found at the center of your chest, represents where the physical and the spiritual meet. Physically, it’s said to encapsulate the heart, the thymus gland (which plays a vital role in your endocrine and lymphatic system), the lungs, and the breasts. And as its name implies, is all about the love. “It’s the awakening to spiritual awareness, forgiveness, and service”. Associated with the color green, it’s believed that when your heart chakra is aligned and balanced, love and compassion are flowing freely—both in terms of giving it out and getting it back.

When it’s unbalanced: A closed heart chakra can give way to grief, anger, jealousy, fear of betrayal, and hatred toward yourself and others—especially in the form of holding a grudge against something or someone. Holding onto hurt harbors negative feelings and cuts you off from opportunities to love.

5. Vishuddha (Throat) Chakra, Color: Blue, Frequency: 741 Hz

Have zero problem saying how you feel? Your fifth chakra, which is all about speaking your inner truth—or specifically, ensuring that your opinions are properly communicated—is likely well-balanced. The throat chakra rules all communication and is the first of the three solely spiritual chakras (as opposed to the lower ones, which manifest themselves in a more physical way). Anatomically, the throat chakra is associated with the thyroid, parathyroid, jaw, neck, mouth, tongue, and larynx. When this chakra is in check, you’re able to fully listen as well as speak and express yourself clearly.

When it’s unbalanced: In addition to having trouble speaking your truth, you find it hard to pay attention and stay focused, or fear judgment from others—which can further hinder your ability to keep it real. Physically, this blockage can manifest itself as a sore throat, thyroid issues, neck and shoulder stiffness, or tension headaches.

6. Ajna (Third Eye) Chakra, Color: Indigo, Frequency: 852 Hz 

The third-eye chakra is physically located between your eyebrows. Organs including the pituitary gland, eyes, head, and lower part of the brain are said to be ruled by the third eye. And it reportedly governs your intuition—plus the ability to recognize and tap into it.  What’s more, the third eye is also said to be responsible for all things between you and the outside world, serving as a bridge between the two, allowing you to cut through any illusions and drama to see the clear picture.

When it’s unbalanced: You may have trouble accessing your intuition, trusting your inner voice, recalling important facts, or learning new skills. And if your lower chakras—AKA the root, sacral, solar plexus, and heart chakras—and are unbalanced, your third eye will likely be as well, which may cause you to act more judgmental, dismissive, and introverted. A third-eye blockage is associated with a broad range of issues, including depression, anxiety, and a more judgmental attitude—while physically, it’s said to cause headaches, dizziness, and a slew of other brain-health issues.

7. Sahasrara (Crown) Chakra, Color: Pure White, Frequency: 963 Hz 

Known in Sanskrit as the Sahaswara chakra or the “thousand petal lotus” chakra, it is the center of enlightenment and our spiritual connection to our higher selves, others and ultimately the divine. As the name suggests, the seventh chakra is located at the crown of your head. When aligned, the realizations that occur within you are said to be along the lines of pure awareness, consciousness, undivided and all expansive.

When it’s unbalanced: Unlike the other chakras, the crown chakra is often only opened fully through specific yogic or meditative exercises, or at certain times—which is not a skill set you can call upon at any given moment. You may be able to get a taste of it, though, through daily practices—anything from meditation, prayer, to moments of silence and gratitude—to have those moments of spiritual connection.

Chakras are essentially nerve centers in the human body the presence and the frequencies of which has been proven scientifically. If the Manipura Chakra is powerful in a human being then he/she would go after power, money and recognition making him/her very ambitious during that phase of life. On the other hand if a person is barely just surviving financially and fighting over stability and security in life he/she is ruled by the Muladhara Chakra. A motivational speaker or an influencer on the other hand is being ruled by the Vishuddha Chakra. With the practice of certain asanas, meditation or breathing one can balance and master the different chakras to maintain proper energy flow in the body. I would like to end this rather lengthy article by quoting Dalai Lama :

“In the view of Tantra, the body’s vital energies are the vehicles of the mind. When the vital energies are pure and subtle, one’s state of mind will be accordingly affected. By transforming these bodily energies we transform the state of consciousness.”

~ The 14th Dalai Lama

Something about yoga practisers

You thought those yoga practisers are only slim lovely girls.

Actually they can rise up a bucket of water. They have power due to daily 1-2 hours yoga practise.

 

You thought those yoga practisers don’t like delicious food.

Actually kitchen is their paradise. They love all kinds of food including desserts and hot pot. But they know to control the appetite and enjoy the food.

 

You thought those yoga practisers are all girls.

Actually many yoga teachers and masters are men. Nowadays, more men come to yoga classes because yoga is for everyone.

 

You thought those yoga practisers are doing variety show.

Actually those difficult poses need years of practise to be done. They are working hard to practice.

 

You thought those yoga practisers are all very peaceful.

Actually they are as same as you have emotions, just they are more disciplined and they would like to choose a happy way to live. As pure as a child.

 

Those yoga practiser actually are as same as you as a human being.

But they love their life more.

To be healthy, happy and positive.

Yoga – The Mother of All Sports

Imagine the frustration that minutes into playing a normal sport or practicing a martial art technique that you have already sprained your ankle, wrist or any particular muscle. The futile out-of-breath experience after running 200m into your 5K jog routine. It is getting common in modern urban societies where most works have been automated, saving us time and effort looking at the surface, our every body movements in daily life are becoming so easily injured with slight off-balance away from the proper postures.

These are just a few scenarios which are considered minor issues of sports injuries when compared to the more serious ethical issues in sports world such as unethical business practices of poaching customers, selling fake sport goods brand, to the widespread sexual harassment and assault allegations to the coaches of national teams in various countries triggered by the #MeToo movement.

Well, life is not easy anyway but we see multitudes of problems in just doing sports alone. This is where the practice of yoga seems to make a meaningful entrance into helping to address all these area.

In Ashtanga yoga of Patanjali or the eight-limbs of yoga, it covers 8 aspects of our practice. 

1st and 2nd limbs – Yamas (ethical guidelines) and Niyamas (observances)

The first and second limbs set forth in the ethical precepts are moral imperatives or rules for us to live a right and proper lifestyle. The laying down of the fundamental proper values and attitudes are more important even before beginning the training of the body and before obtaining any sporting skills or techniques. Imagine that a talented athlete who lacks of moral conduct will be condemned, even if he wins a medal. Hence proper moral standard has to be cultivated before the start of practice of our physical body. This is also essential for the later stage of practice that a purify mind will have less distractions and hindrances from improving further when we are operating at the advance level.

3rd and 4th limbs – Asanas (postures) and Pranayama (breathing exercises) 

Asanas and pranayama enable us to build strength, increase flexibility and improve stamina at the same time. There will be also less injury during our training as the body is enhanced and calibrated with all rounded strength and flexibility. With the outset of a strong physical foundation, our body will be ready to dive deeper into any field of sports in the next stage.

We can visualise the manifestation of this combinations of capabilities in a great example where an ice figure skater who is able to maintain the body balance while gliding gracefully across the ice ring, having the flexibility to perform difficult stunts in a dynamic moving condition and lastly having the stamina to complete the whole sequences till the end. 

5th and 6th limbs – Pratyahara (bringing the senses inward) and Dharana (concentration) 

Often in competitive sports, an athletes requires elevated concentration and focus to be able to achieve and deliver the best performance during a match. Being able to shut out from the external environments such as the noisy audiences and emotional distractions or pressure from the opponent as well as the player ownself will be crucial to carry through the competition. When all sides fair equally in speed, power and skills, which is especially common when competing at the professional level, by elevating our sharp attention to focus on one point will determines the winner of the day.

7th and 8th limbs – Dhyana (meditation) and Samadhi (integrating one’s conciousness with the universe)

By understanding that we are oneness with all living beings through meditation and by being at the present moment, we are able transcend our judgemental ego, dislikes, worry and fear. Winning the matches are secondary to being just having the honour to express our potential to the fullest and enjoying the process of interaction of skills with another individual (match opponent) or individuals (audience). To a higher level, sports should have the capacity to unite people together to celebrate human excellence while eliminating political, national and cultural boundaries.   

In India, yoga education is introduced to all government schools. This is a good start for children to begin their lifelong journey in purifying their mind at the same time building a strong physical body. It would be encouraging to see more people, either for sports or just leisure purpose, around the world to start to practice yoga in the coming future.

AI-assisted Yoga

“Bixby, I want to practice Vinyasa flow today.”

“Bixby, I’m feeling a bit stiff, let’s try some Yin yoga stretch.”

“Bixby, tell me the third precepts of Niyama?”

“Bixby, can you play some music for meditatition?”

These are just some the questions or instructions that human can tell to the android AI assistant through speech-recognition to create a sequence for vinyasa flow, changing yoga style from flow to any yoga style desired and getting a reminder of what we should observe in our daily moral practice by Patanjali’s first limb of Yama in the Yoga Sutra and to playback dedicated music for specific mode of practice. It can guide us on doing pranayama as well as meditation. It might even be able to teach us Sanskrit, for example “Shiram sushma asanas” and tell us thousands of captivating stories from the Vedas.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is exploding in all areas from financial analysis, stock trading, medical diagnosis, transportation, creative are such as arts and music and many more. It is inevitable that AI will also converge at one point with the discipline of yoga one day. In my opinion, to resist the advance of AI into yoga practice is futile and I would be more open-minded to accept what it can offer in a positive manner. 

AI will help us to learn and progress faster since it is like an encyclopaedia contains vast knowledge available in the world about yoga aspects. Not only it can give us the answers directly but will also be able to suggest smart variations base on the level of the person in yaga, tailor each practice by taking into consideration of individual body conditions, injuries, medical history and customise total duration of each session. Sequencing poses to poses with harmony, giving precise and clear instructions of getting in and out of the pose, at the same time calibrating the breathing counts depending on the preferred styles (Hatha, Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Yin and so on) that you choose. It will also sing us the soothing and relaxing yoga nidra towards the end of the practice when we are lying down in Savasana pose.

It seems to look all very pretty what AI can do but there is also some area where AI can still not be able to replace human in terms of human touch – adjustment. For example, we could be doing a headstand but AI can’t hold us up and help to keep us balancing without falling. It won’t be able to align if your hips are not squared when holding in Trikonasana or giving your the extra gentle push when you need a little weight when bending forward in Upavistha Konasana unless the technology is advanced enough for a humanoid robot to be fitted with AI and can move like a human to give us that assistant. AI won’t be able to know whether we have reach Samadhi and are union with our consciousness. As much helpful as a guide and a database of knowledge, AI has it’s limitation. It will be many more years for the ultimate evolution of AI to materialise. At least, I don’t foresee that to be happening anytime soon and thankfully we, the yoga teachers can still keep our job for a little while. 

You should practice yoga when these symptoms appear in your body.

Yoga is really amazing!

Yoga is a good way to recuperate the body. If those symptoms appear in your body, it’s telling you that you need yoga!

stiffer limb

When you feel your limb always in a stiff state and become very inflexible. Even feel very painful and difficult when you trying to do forward bend or twisting. These may be caused by aging.

You need yoga to help you stretch your muscles and make your limbs softer and stronger.

Yoga will make you look young.

Obesity

Obesity is a very big impact on health.

Practice yoga can help you to lose weight. Yoga is a healthy/ self-disciplined exercising way. You will achieve your weight loss goals in a happy mood and calm state.

Yoga will make you look fit.

High pressure

fast-paced life and stressful job make you feel breathless. It will affect your body condition and even make you feel depression.

While practice yoga, minimize these negative emotions. Meditation will constantly adjust yourself.

Yoga will make you look calm.

Insomnia

Sleep can recuperate the body. But when you have a lot of thoughts in your mind, you cannot sleep at the night. While your brain is still working at the night, it hurts you.

Yoga meditation is a good way for you to relax your brain and recuperate your body.

Yoga will make you look refresh.

Breathing problem

Breathing become lightly and varies of breathing time, which may affect your health. Practice yoga can make your more focused on breathing, make breathing deeper and deeper, increase breathing space and increase lung capacity.

Yoga will make you look steady.

I practice yoga is not only because of those benefits but I just love yoga.

200 Hour YTT Reflection

The last 10-11 weeks flew by just like that.
I still remember the first morning I had to peel myself out of bed for the first class. I was still coping with jet lag as I had just returned from a 5-month study programme at Copenhagen. Further, I was never a morning person, so the waking up was really the hardest part.
However, I have no regrets for I have learnt so much in such a short period of time. I have learnt so much more about my own body, and grown to be more aware of how my body moves, etc. Through the course, I learnt about the history of yoga, what yoga is about, the eight limbs of ashtanga yoga and the human body. It is good to learn and know how practicing yoga benefits the human body through asanas and various breathing techniques.
Furthermore, it was useful and practical to learn how to give guided instructions and techniques for practice sequences using instructional cues. These were taught in the later part of the course, where we were tasked to come up with lesson plans that are suitable for students at beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. We were also taught how to do adjustments for some asanas to correct the students’ alignment.
I love how I became much fitter and healthier over the last 10-11 weeks, especially since I haven’t worked out in the last 5 months prior to the start of this training. I really like how it made me more conscious of the types of food I consume. In the past, I would often crave for very unhealthy food, but would try my very best to shun them. But now, I feel that these cravings have lessened and I would gladly choose salad over a plate of nasi lemak (not kidding).
My practice won’t stop when this training/course end. There is still so much to learn and I can’t wait to deepen my practice. Also, I am feeling slightly nervous for the assessment tomorrow. All the best to those taking it with me.
 
Amanda
200 hours YTT Jan weekends
 

What YOGA has enlightenment me?

Namaste,
Being a self-employed career woman who is always on the move, always juggling myself among my work, my 2 growing kids and all the chores in the house, life is so hectic that I do not have any time left for myself. To me, time is always not sufficient and I feel lost and constantly lethargic.
Honestly, When was the last time we did nothing?Like absolutely nothing. No talking, tweeting, texting, or even thinking about what we are going to do next or what we did the day before.Just being there with the present moment, absorbing the silence.For most people, it’s hardly ever….Deep inside my heart, I have this desire to look for the real me. I feel that it is time for me to find a way to distress myself so as to strike a balance in my life, to have a breathing space in my life.
I am not sure how and where did I gather the courage to bring myself to explore yoga, an area which I have not ventured before. The first few days were just plain ‘hell’ training for an amateur like me who did not have any basic training at all.  To my surprise, my body got accustomed to the training and shortly after which I was neither feeling the sore nor aches that much. My body is telling me that it ‘enjoys’ yoga!
It is really fate that brought me to learn from 2 great Masters – Master Paalu and Satyia Wei Ling! They really open my eyes to the true techniques of yoga. Based on their vast experience over the years, coupled with their patience and selfless coaching, the wisdom they imparted and shared with me enabled me to treasure and look forward to the valuable theory sessions. Master Paalu is always so selfless in sharing with us and teaching us on how to adopt a different perspective in life. He taught me how to see things in a different scope so that I can truly understand and to know the true me.
Every lesson is a gift to me. I am always learning something new from Master Paalu as he never fails to enlighten us. All his teaching has really given me tremendous help. After such a long time, I have finally rediscovered the part of me that was never known to me. I LOVED his talk. I was truly inspired by what he said, and it makes me realize how I can forget to live in the moment….often.
I am very thankful to have the good fortune to have met these 2 marvellous masters who have taught me not just the techniques of yoga but the true meaning and essence of yoga and more importantly they enable me to see life in a different but clearer perceptive and in the process I am able to bond with my true self.
Yoga is more than just an exercise. It is an art that teaches us how to connect with our inner self and with life itself. While it trains me physically to be stronger, the inner spirit of yoga teaches me to grow stronger mentally and to have the strength and wisdom to see through all the haste and hurry. It teaches me to face myself in a calm and yet positive manner. I hope everyone has the opportunity to experience that serenity that yoga has brought me.
 
Fiona Thim