Energetic wheels of light, dotted along our beautiful spines, harnessing the power of the nadis (some 72,000 energy channels that circulate prana/qi/life force/energy around our bodies), enabling us to heal, rejuvenate, stabilise, and energise.
The three nadis which lie at the base of our spines and weave their way up to the third eye and crown of the head - ida, pengala and sushumna - are especially vital to this process.
The chakras are the essence (in Yoga text) of our well being.
Align them, pay attention to them, engage with them and you literally have the power to thrive in every way imaginable.
Not bad hey?
So what the fuck are they exactly then? A question I was asked recently...closely followed by a huh, they're what now? And I assume an internal dialogue of - you're talking shit again love, seriously, rejoin the humans on planet normal ffs.
Not gonna, don't want to! I like it here on Cloud Yoga (how smoothly did I slip that in, nice hey?). And when I'm not on cloud yoga, I'm on cloud bio-hacking....which trust me, isn't less wtf.
We have 7 major chakras, blooming like flowers along the stem of a succulent plant (the spine) at intermittent and integral points.
Ida and pengala dance and flow up the spine, crossing paths at each of these chakra points.
Their interplay relates to the balance we all strive for in life. The balance between rationality and desire, seriousness and joy, work and play, dark and light.
They spiral around the sushumna nadi (which runs like a magnificent flowing river from the base of our spines to the crown of the head) in a spiral, much like the caduceus of medicine or the double helix of our DNA.
Interesting that while modern medicine rejects energy and energy manipulation as a concept for healing, it utilises a symbol depicting just that.
Ida nadi (our yin energy) is found on the left side of the central sushmna nadi and represents the cool, cognitive, lunar feminine aspect of our beings.
Pengala (yang) resides on the right, and is associated with the solar aspect of our natures, warming, stimulating, related to the somatic physical processes within our bodies, and is more masculine.
Kundalini Yoga is one of the most advanced ways to safely and effectively balance ida, pengala and awaken our life force. Bringing an intense energetic shift and the possibility for enlightenment.
All breathing techniques, yoga poses, qi gong flows or mindfulness/meditative practices will likewise encourage a balancing of the left and right, the yin and yang, the active and passive - and draw us towards harmony and peace.
Nadi Shodana pranyama is a wonderful and simple balancing tool.
1- Muladhara. The Root chakra. 'I exist'. This earth element chakra relates to survival and security. Closest to the earth, the colour is red, and sits at the very base of our spines, grounding and rooting us.
When in balance it usually means that our basic needs are met. We have a home, food, water, love and consequently don't need to worry and can turn our attention to more imaginative and creative pursuits. We can thrive.
When these needs are not met, we tend to feel a perpetual sense of fear and uncertainty. Even if these needs are met now, but weren't in the past, this chakra can become blocked and unaligned.
Yoga Pose - Malasana (yogi squat).
Sound - Lam (looooom)
2- Swadhistana. The Sacral chakra. 'I desire'. Sensuality, sexuality, pleasure, joy. The colour is orange. This water element chakra sits just above the pelvic bone and below the navel.
When in balance we are creative, living our passion, joyous and fun loving. We feel wanted, love, supported and nourished in every sense.
When thwarted, when we can't live the life of our choosing for whatever reason, be it illness or the need to support others, we can feel stifled and trapped and our creative energies turn to destruction.
Yoga Pose - Baddha Konasana (peddlers pose).
Sound - Vam (voooom).
3- Manipura. The Solar Plexus chakra. 'I control' - but not in a negative arsehole way, in a I control my destiny way. The colour is yellow and this chakra's element is fire.
Do you have fire in your belly...then this chakra is in balance. It's connected to our sense of self worth, self confidence and self esteem. The ability to assimilate and process what goes on around and within us (emotions/foods/toxins).
When out of balance we can feel worthless. Have trouble processing things on all levels and become the arsehole variant of I'm in control.
Yoga Pose - Bhujangasana (cobra pose).
Sound - Ram (roooom).
4- Anahata. The Heart Centre chakra. 'I love'. Green in colour, this chakra sits at the chest/heart centre and it's element is air. The Anahata connects the lower three chakras concerned with the material aspects of our lives to the upper three which are concerned with our spirituality.
The ability to give and receive love. To love ourselves, see the good in others and connect with all beings around us. It's a beautiful chakra when aligned.
We can feel unlovable, hated, hateful and anxious in the extreme when this chakra is out of balance.
Yoga Pose - Urdhva Danurasana (wheel pose).
Sound - Yam (yuuum).
5- Vishuddha. The Throat chakra. 'I express.' Blue in colour, seated at the throat, this chakras element is ether.
It's connected to our ability to say what we mean, to feel free to voice our opinions without dominating or causing harm to others. It's essence lies in purity, in truth speaking and it governs our thyroid and verbal place in the world.
When out of balance, we can't can;t voice our needs, speak our truth or we speak our needs in such a way that it's destructive and hurtful. This chakra is all about balanced communication and the joy of expression.
Yoga Pose - Matsyasana (fish pose).
Sound - Ham (huuuum).
6- Ajna. The Third Eye chakra. 'I see.' Violet or a soft blue in colour this chakra is our inner guide and it's element is light.
Our inner wisdom. Our ability to sense what we need, what we want, where we're going. It's the inner voice that we've learnt to suppress. It's our innate wisdom. The prickling on the back of your neck. the deep understanding that has now words. When in balance we are light workers.
When our of balance we tend to look to others for guidance, for their opinions, for their sense of the world and we loose our own light to find the way.
Yoga Pose - Balasana (child's pose).
Sound - Om.
7- Sahasrara. The Crown chakra. A pale brilliant white light, touched with violet. Sushumna nadi (when cultivated and healthy) flows from the base chakra to this one, the thousand petaled lotus at the centre of the top of the head.
Our oneness, spirituality, bliss, peace, contentment and enlightenment.
When out of balance we can find that we either doggedly refuse to entertain ideas that are not the main stream, that are esoteric and 'new age', or that we can't even enter the mundanity of the every day and physical and begin to float away.
Yoga Pose - Salamba Sirsasana (headstand).
Sound - Om or soham.