From Prakriti to Purusha – From Earth to Heaven
As I advanced in the study of the chakras, I observed that they were describing my life stages, the ages I have already lived and the ages yet to come.
To put us in context I offer a brief description of the concept of “Chakra”. Coming from the Sanskrit word chakram, it means wheel, circle or waterwheel, and refers to the energy centers that manage the vital energy or prana that forms our energy body and directly influences our other bodies: physical, mental, emotional and, of course, spiritual.
That does not mean that the chakras are developed in these ages as the chakras accompany us, in their totality, from the beginning of our existence. Nor are there only 7 chakras, but the ones mentioned here are the most important and strong, the most studied and well known.
Muladhara and Conception/Birth
The name of this chakra is composed of two words, mūla, which means “root”, and ādhāra, which means “support”, and is located at the base of the spine.
It symbolizes the right to exist. The need to survive, and feel part of a herd or group. The connection with the Earth.
In this chakra I find my first years of life, those in which I was not standing. I am here and I am who I am because someone took me in and taught me how to feel safe in life. There was a tribe/family that I depended on to survive, in which I found support and roots. It gave me a body, a name and a land.
Unfortunately, I didn’t always feel supported by them, which doesn’t mean I wasn’t, in fact without them I would have died, helpless… But my perception left an imprint that sometimes projects an echo of instability into my life. Yoga has been a great tool to help balance out my imbalances and has helped me to find my roots and my strength. It helps me grow.
Asanas that help nourish Muladhara with energy are those that strengthen the legs, like Utkatasana (Chair Posture); standing asanas, which help to take root, like Tadasana (Mountain Posture); balance asanas like Vrkasana (Tree Posture); and, interestingly, asanas that stimulate the pelvic floor, like Malasana (Garland Posture), the favorite posture of our ancestors to give birth.
I recommend this exercise: stop reading, close your eyes and feel your “tribe” supporting you. Acknowledge them and be thankful.
Svadishthana and Childhood
It is composed of two words, svā, which means “one’s own”, and adhiṣṭhāna which means “base”, and means “the base of oneself”. It is located in the pelvis, below the navel. It is said to be the chakra of emotions, creativity, sexuality and joy.
I associate this chakra with childhood. In this stage my own personality was created, and I found my sexuality. Never have I enjoyed play and life as much. Sometimes, when I walk on the beach, I can almost see my inner child playing and jumping in the waves… How she enjoys it! And from her I learn to be myself, to believe in my creations and develop them, and above all to recognize my emotions and embrace them all. Thank you, little pleasure seeking self, since, without you I would lose the creative force, the pleasure, the game and the enjoyment of life.
The asanas that help to nourish Svadhishthana with energy are those that move and open the pelvis and sacral area, such as Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (Royal Dove Posture) or Baddha Konasana (Butterfly Posture).
There is something that helps me to keep this beautiful child awake and it is to do every day at least one of the things that I write on my list of “Things that make my inner child happy”: from a simple piece of chocolate, to dancing, or taking a walk, surrounding myself with vegetation, or enjoying the rain… I encourage you to create a long list of pleasures and see how much joy it adds to your life.
Manipura and Adolescence
Manipura means “city of jewels”. It is composed of two words, maṇi which means “jewel” or “gem”, and pura which means “city”. It is located above the navel and below the solar plexus.
It is the center of energy that we associate with the ego and the source of personal empowerment, self-confidence and self-esteem. It is also called the cauldron because it is where emotions are “cooked”. It creates the independence of the bond with the group/tribe that was created in the Muladhara Chakra. You find courage to overcome and achieve that which frightens you, while you set limits and struggle to exercise your will. You want control of your life.
I think there is no need to explain further, my adolescence was pure fire, struggle and detachment from my tribe… to find my limits and those of others, a horror for my parents and my teachers. My fire was big and powerful. I was reaffirming my very self.
Asanas that help nourish Manipura with energy are toning and vigorous postures like Navasana (Boat Posture), Tittibhasana (Firefly Posture), or rotations like Bharadvajasana (Sage Posture).
I think we owe much more gratitude and less criticism to the adolescents of the world. They are the engines of change, of the advancement of humanity. Of them and their rebellion we should all be proud. Personally, I love them! And I’ve had four children… I know what I’m talking about. They have helped me to change, to take steps, to update myself.
Anahata and Youth
Anahata means “unscathed, unharmed, intact”. It is composed of two words, an, negative particle, and ahan, “to strike, attack, assault”. It is located in the middle of the chest, at the level of the heart. It represents universal Love, acceptance, forgiveness and compassion.
We all associate the heart with love. Who has not drawn a heart with the initials of their loved one on it during their youth? And, in a way, there is also talk of having a ‘young heart’. I hear my father, at 94, say this when we talk on the phone every day: “I’m very old now, but I have a young heart with a lot of love to give to all of you”. And it is true, he is very old, but he has a big heart full of love and compassion. He taught me to love nature and animals, to have compassion for those little ants that were “not to be stepped on,” or disturbed because they had their lives, their children, their jobs… Pure love.
The Asanas that help to nourish Anahata with energy are all those that open and expand the heart, like Anahatasana (Stretched Puppy Posture), Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Mouthy Dog Posture) or Ustrasana (Camel Posture).
There is an exercise that I learned in my “Heal your Life” training course from Louise L. Hay, and that is to look at myself in a mirror and say: “I love you, I really love you.” I encourage you to do this, every day, it won’t take long and you will learn to look at yourself with your heart. You won’t lose anything in trying. Love begins inside of you.
Vishuddha and Maturity
Viśuddha means “purity”. It is located in the throat, and is related to our ability to communicate, to express ourselves clearly and to listen carefully. It develops balance between speaking and listening. The throat chakra allows us to express ourselves and be attuned to our inner voice, our intuition.
I like to think that, at 55 years old, I am in the stage of Vishuddha, with a great disposition to develop that openness to maturity and the freedom to express what I really want to express, which is not a small thing! little!
The Asanas that help to nourish Vishuddha with energy are Halasana (Plow Posture), and Matsyasana (Fish Posture).
Have you ever stopped to listen to your intuitive inner voice? A good practice is to pause the inner dialogue, pounding and vacuous, and make room for that inner voice so that it can speak to you. You will see how it whispers the best solutions and the best advice to you and dedicates the most beautiful words to you.
Ajna and Old Age
Ajña means “command”, authority. The sixth chakra is located in the center of the forehead, a little above the eyebrows. It is the chakra associated with the third eye.
The two eyes give you the vision of the material world; the third eye gives you the vision, depth and dimension of the subtle fields. Its function is to see the invisible and reveal the unknown. It is the center of intuition and of our direct connection to the infinite source of wisdom.
I have not yet reached my old age, but I remember my grandfather, who lived with us. I remember him sitting at a table, reading: Western novels, Agatha Christie mysteries, politics and history essays… These were his favorites, but he read anything with letters that fell into his hands. As he read, he would spin a lock of hair between his fingers. He looked at me not with judgment, but with patience, compassion and understanding, as if he knew it was only a matter of time before I gave up my teenage struggle, and only a matter of time before I moved on in life. Like someone passing through the levels of a video game, I would advance in my evolution. He was wise, he looked with his eye that saw beyond, he saw me through my ego and he taught me that old age, when accepted, is wisdom.
The Asanas that help nourish Ajna’s energy are Balasana (Embryo Posture) and Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Dog Posture).
I believe that if there is one thing that nourishes the Ajna chakra, that which every yogi aspires to through self-awareness, and which represents the wisdom and equanimity of the true master, it is the practice of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra 1.33:
maitri karuna mudita upekshanam sukha duhka punya apunya vishayanam bhavanatah chitta prasadanam
“With regard to relationships, the mind is purified by cultivating feelings of kindness or sympathy toward those who are happy, of compassion toward those who suffer, of good disposition toward those who have virtues, and of indifference or neutrality toward those whom one considers evil or malicious or whose actions are opposed to your values.”
Sahasrara and Death
It is composed of two words, sahasra which means “thousand”, with the meaning of “infinite”, and ara which means “spokes”. It is interpreted as “the lotus of a thousand petals”. It is located at the height of the crown, not on it, but above it.
It helps us to transcend the duality that we experience and that makes us see the world in terms of pairs of opposites: me and you, object and subject, etc. It connects us to the infinite, to the Universe, to the Whole. It symbolizes the soul, the fulfillment.
And this is exactly what I understand my death will be: fulfillment. Someday I will tell you all about it!
The Asanas that help to nourish Sahasrara with energy are Salamba Sirsasana (Posture on the Head with Support), Vrischikasana (Scorpion Posture) and all inverted postures.
Also, and especially recommended, the practice of meditation.
I like the idea that we are, on an energetic and emotional level, like matryoshkas (those Russian dolls that fit into each other). And I find moving to think that our existence is circular: we are born, we grow and we die, and at birth we carry all the ancestral wisdom. Whenever I have looked a baby in the eyes, it seems that they have the universe in them. And step by step, we go through the different life phases, and experiences, we open these wheels or waterwheels to finally remember everything that we have lived.
About the Author
Montse Lominchar es líder del curso de Yoga Aéreo de Unnata, enseña Yoga Aéreo Unnata® desde 2010. Actualmente dirige el Centro Yogasadhana en Ciudad Real y colabora con diferentes centros impartiendo la formación de Yoga Aéreo Unnata en español.