Chakras Demystified

by | Jul 15, 2020

In an earlier blog on chakras, I spoke of why orthodox Newtonian science cannot comprehend the concept of chakras in the same way that the Catholic Church couldn’t grasp Copernican theory that earth is round. Scientists who are more erudite than I such as Jung, Einstein, and Bohm believed in and understood the concept of chakras.

Simply put, chakras are virtual emotional energy centers within our mind-body system that replicate the universal energy without. Chakras, when energized, expand and empower us. When they are blocked, they contract and disempower us. Just the same way we, at least many of us, shower daily to clean out body dirt to stop smelling to others if not to oneself, we need to meditate daily to clean ourselves of the emotional garbage that fills our mind continuously.  The accumulated emotional garbage blocks the chakras and in turn, negates our wellness and growth.

Chakras are connected through a virtual nerve channel very similar to the physical polyvagal nerve that runs from the brain stem through the heart to the lower abdomen. Ida and Pingala are mirror images of the polyvagal nerve in the chakra Nadi system, propounded in Vedic scriptures 5000 years ago.

HeartMath tells us through scientific research that the left side of the polyvagal nerve enables the parasympathetic as a calming, oxytocin producing part of the autonomous nervous system (ANS) that functions and sustains us 24X7. The right polyvagal nerve controls the sympathetic part of ANS producing cortisol and adrenalin, which protect and also stress. Cardio breathing and other techniques suggested by HeartMath are commonly used in the chakra energization process.

The concept is simple. Kundalini, our internal energy, lies dormant at the bottom of our spine in the Muladhara chakra. The word kundalini in Sanskrit means coiled and is traditionally represented as a serpent coiled three and a half times. The serpent is a metaphor of renewal, and in this case possibly of life and death, since it is believed that kundalini leaves the body through the top of the spine at the Sahasrara chakra at death.

In line with the integral masculine-feminine nondual Vedic philosophy, kundalini is best represented by the Purusha-Prakriti concept expressed as the androgynous Ardhanareeshwara metaphor of Shiva-Shakti. The dormant kundalini energy lying at the bottom of the spine is considered the feminine Shakti, which when aroused shoots up as lightning to the top of the spine to merge with the masculine Shiva. In the ancient treatise of Vigyana Bhairava Tantra, one can find 112 techniques to activate the kundalini.

Kundalini rises through the Sushumna Nadi, lying between the ida and Pingala Nadis, from the lowermost Muladhara chakra to the uppermost Sahasrara chakra gateway through five other chakras to raise us to the ultimate fourth state awareness. Each of these chakras represents an emotional state, which when energized empowers us and when blocked disempower us. The infographic provides more detailed information on what each chakra is about and what helps to energize them.

For instance, the Anahata chakra at the heart space is the transition between our focus inwards as a lower self to the focus outwards as a higher Self. These estates have correspondence with Maslow’s need hierarchy and other scientific models. Anahata, when blocked, leads to low self-esteem constantly seeking external validation. When energized, Anahata fills with self-love leading to compassion and love to all. Anahata is associated with the thymus gland that produces immune chemicals.

An understanding of the chakra system allows us to explore verbal and non- verbal expressions in a somatic and ontological framework to create awareness of where and how our energy is blocked. Often, an awareness of the energy block in a chakra combined with simple meditative techniques can address issues that defy therapy.

The majority of clients I work with are disempowered by anxiety-induced stress and invalidation resulting in low self-esteem. These are manifested as different external symptoms. Clients tend to come with ‘wants’ that address the symptoms, not the ‘needs’ that address root causes. A desperate want to acquire more labels through promotions, accolades, or even credentials is a cry for help for validation. Once the client becomes aware of this, Anahata meditation techniques help.

Stress arises from anxiety over events we cannot often control. This is a classic manipuraka chakra manifestation of the need for power and control. Once the client becomes aware of this, the need is to let go. The action needed may a good understanding of the serenity prayer attributed to Niebuhr, followed by meditative exercises focused on the manipuraka chakra.

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Ram Ramanathan
Ram Ramanathan


Ram is the Founder and a Principal at Coacharya. As the resident Master and mentor coach, Ram oversees and conducts all aspects of coaching and training services offered under the Coacharya banner.

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