“Energy can neither be created nor destroyed; rather it is transformed from one form to another.” There are forms of energy like kinetic, potential, mechanical, heat, electrical, electromagnetic, chemical, nuclear etc. that are omnipresent and interchange into each other to create natural and man-made physical processes. Every stable physical matter like chair, table, stone etc is compromised of stored energy and can transform itself through any form of energy exchange. When layers of physical matter are broken down into microscopic levels, more subtle form of energies are discovered that are studied under the realm of quantum physics. These subtler energies are metaphysical in nature and are recognized in different cultural belief systems by different names like ‘prana’, ’chi’, ’ki’, ether, and can be broadly referred as spiritual energy, life force energy or universal energy.
A human body is a complex dynamic mechanism of energy exchange that sustains and grows with time. When a new life starts to develop inside a mother’s womb, these subtle energies or universal energy is in action and governs the development of the new body from a single cell organism to multi-organ self-functional body. It is not shocking to know that heart is the first organ to be created as love is the most powerful form of universal energy to be experienced in this existence. After the birth of the new body, universal energy flows through nadis or energy conduits to grow life and consciousness into the being.
Nadis or energy funnels are 72000 in numbers in the body that enable natural flow of universal energy or prana to every cell. Ida, pingala and sushumna are the most important nadis that run along the spinal cord to form the primary network of prana and are further connected to secondary and tertiary networks and enable flow of universal energy to every cell of our body.
Ida starts in the left side of spinal cord, represents feminine energy that governs the right hemisphere of the brain which is the centre of creativity, intuition, imagination and emotions. Ida also runs the sympathetic nervous system and is related to the functioning of the mind.
Pingala starts in the right side of spinal cord, represents masculine energy that governs the right hemisphere of the brain which is the centre of logic, reasoning, analytic thoughts. It also runs the para-sympathetic nervous system and is related to the functioning of the body.
Sushumna is the central channel that runs in the spinal cord and runs the central nervous system and regulates consciousness in both mind and body. Ida and pingla start from sides and interweave themselves from left to right as they go along sushumna to form the primary nadi structure of the body. The junction points of ida,pingala and sushumna form chakras or subtle-energy power centers. There are six junction points starting from base of spine to the pituitary gland in the brain that form six primary chakras along the spinal cord. The seventh chakra is formed where the sushumna ends that is on top of the head.
Chakra is a Sanskrit word which translates to wheel or disc. The basic characteristic of a chakra is to rotate clockwise or anti-clockwise to absorb or expel universal energy or prana to balance itself. However, due to certain energy blockages, a chakra remains unbalanced and affects the body and mind with diseases and mental disturbances. Every chakra is responsible for regulating prana in the specific area of the body so that the related organs function effectively. Each chakra has its own vibration frequency that is depicted through its specific color.
Here are the basic seven chakras:
- Mooladhara or Root Chakra: Located at the base of spine, is associated with your feeling of safety and fulfillment of basic requirements. This chakra is blocked by the emotion fear, which in turn affects feet, legs and lower back. Accepting and understanding fears will help balance this chakra.
- Swadhisthana or Sacral Chakra: Located below navel, is associated with emotions, sexuality and creativity. This chakra is blocked by the emotions, blame and guilt, which in turn affects reproductive organs and spleen. Forgiving oneself will help balance this chakra.
- Manipura or Solar Plexus Chakra: Located above navel, is associated with self-esteem, self-respect and self-discipline. This chakra is blocked by the emotions, shame and disappointment, which in turn affects digestive system and nervous system. Accepting and letting go of one’s mistakes will help balance this chakra.
- Anhata or Heart Chakra: Located at the centre of chest, is associated with self-love, empathy and compassion. This chakra is blocked by the emotions, grief or sadness, which in turn affects respiratory system and thymus gland. Letting go of grief and practing self-love will help balance this chakra.
- Vishudda or Throat Chakra: Located at base of throat, is associated self-truth and communication. This chakra is blocked by lies, which in turn affect thyroid gland, ears and nose. Releasing ones denials and lies will help balance this chakra.
- Ajna or Third Eye Chakra: Located between the eyebrows, is associated with intuition, awareness and inspiration. This chakra is blocked by self-doubt and illusion which in turn affects pineal gland and brain. Meditation and self-awareness will help balance this chakra.
- Sahasra or Crown Chakra: Located at the top of the head, is associated universal connection and inner joy. This chakra is blocked by over-imagination and anxiety, which in turn will affect one’s individuality. Absolute faith and surrender in universal spiritual power will help balance this chakra
The purpose of understanding the human energy system is subjective to every individual. Every being is a system of masculine and feminine energies, accepting and understanding these energies will help the individual to nurture balance in its mind, body and spirit.
Yoga is the practice of balancing feminine and masculine energies in the human energy system.