Practices of Kundalini Yoga, the primary origin of the system of working with chakra (wheels) and the dormant Kundalini energy. Through yogic practice, one gains the ability to expend the least possible physio-chemical energy for mentation and to maintain the body’s vitality. The enables one to divert pranic (of prana) energy to activate one’s dormant spiritual energy, called Kundalini. This energy in its dormant state is visualized as a snake coiled up in the first chakra at the base of the spine, the Muladhara Chakra.
When an aspirant (sadhaka) of Yoga starts activating the Kundalini energy through various kinds of pranayamas, the Nadi system is vitalized. The roused energy moves upward in the central Nadi, the Sushumna, passing through each of the six lower chakras to reach the seventh, the Sahasrara chakra. This progress is known as ‘Kshata chakra bhedana’ (piercing of six chakras). The release and ascent of the dormant spiritual energy enables the aspirant to transcend the effects of the elements and achieve the non dual consciousness that brings liberation from the ever-changing world of illusion (Maya).
Understanding of chakras, which are most simply defined as psychic centers of transformation that enable one to move toward an enlightened state of being. Although the roots of the knowledge about chakras are of ancient origin, this knowledge is still functionally practical today. Chakra is a Sanskrit word that means “a wheel, a disc, or any arrangement in circular form or originization”. The ancient sources depict each of the seven major chakras as a lotus blossom, a circular form surrounded by petals. The word ‘chakra’ also indicates movement. Chakras introduce movement because they transform psychophysical energy into spiritual energy.
Psychophysical energy is electrochemical in nature and it works with the help of prana. Prana is the energy that creates life, matter, and mind. The word ‘prana’ means “vital life force”. Although our organism draws prana in through our nostrils as we breathe, dynamic prana energy is not based on the physiochemical system of the body; it operates super-physically through a “wireless” system rather than through the nervous system.
Chakras are active at all times, whether we are conscious of them or not. Energy influenced by the elements - earth, water, fire, air and akasha - moves through the chakras, producing different psychic states. These elements (tattvas) are constantly moving with the breath inside the body and influencing one’s temperament. (These changes are understood by neurobiologists as chemical changes produced by the endocrine glands, ductless glands whose secretions mix into the body’s blood stream directly and instantaneously). With training, it is possible to observe oneself and see energy moving through these various psychic centres.
There are seven major chakras, associated with the areas of the body and the elements as shown:
Muladhara chakra : the base of the spine and the element earth.
Svadhishthana chakra : the genitals and the element water.
Manipura chakra : the navel and the element fire.
Anahata chakra : the heart and the element air.
Vishuddha chakra : the throat and the element akasha (void or space).
Ajna chakra ; the point between the eye brows and mahatattva, the combination of the essence of all the elements in their purest form.
Sahasrara chakra : the crown of the head, transcending all elemental influence; includes the Soma chakra, associated with the area above the “third eye” or point between the eyebrows.
Knowledge about the chakras as psychic enters can be a valuable key to introspection. One can see one self going through mental fluctuations that arise from a constant interaction between mind, intellect, ego, and the world outside.