Do chakras exist and what does it mean to “balance” , “open” or “activate” them?
Let’s face it, it’s unlikely the chakras exist the way they are depicted in most images but if we can suspend our disbelief for one moment, we could accept that many ancient cultures were incredibly sage. It appears they managed to work out a lot of stuff that has now been confirmed by scientific studies and research yet without the technology that we have today, so perhaps the language, depictions and explanations were just relative to the times.
It’s notable for example, that the chakras tend to correlate with important nerve plexus in our body, but it’s also important to understand that in terms of yogic physiology, only the first three will be relevant to the majority of us. The rest tend to correspond to things of a more higher, spiritual plane and it is not considered possible to access them unless the first three are clear (it’s deemed likely that this could take a lifetime or three….).
We must be grounded within ourselves and here on Earth first.
This makes sense when you consider that the Kundalini energy is related to this idea of the chakras being “opened” and is said to lay dormant at the base of the body at the place of the first chakra “muladhara”. Psychologically, the base chakra is all about how we feel within our “tribe” and “belonging”. When muludhara is out of balance, it’s said to relate to addictive or compulsive behaviours – over-eating, over-exercising, drugs for example. We cannot settle, we cannot complete things that we begin. We are constantly looking for something else..
Interesting when you consider how the modern world is evolving; that reluctance to commit, our need for approval and the resulting behavioural/social issues.
It would take up too many words right now to go into more detail so I’ll leave svadhisthana (the sacral chakra) for another post. Meanwhile, all standing poses are useful to work towards releasing any blockages and increasing the flow of “prana“, but only if they are practised in a way that doesn’t create tension – since tension inhibits yoga and blocks energy.
In a pose like Warrior one (or warrior 2), the front sitting bone can be pushed towards the front heel, while the tailbone and sitting bone of the back leg gently pushed towards the back heel. The sternum should be lifted without flaring the ribs, the armpits should be nice and close to the ears, and the heads of each femur should align neatly with the heels. It’s an intense pose that helps to connect us with the Earth and to feel strong and grounded. It creates space and firmness in the pelvic region provided the belly is free to breathe. Soften the brain, let go of any sense of grim determination and it’s possible you may have taken a small step towards freeing and activating a little chakra energy x