Sahasrara Chakra

..here are the notes that bring us to the end of our journey through the energetic body xx Michelle

Sahasrara Chakra

The chakra system provides a theoretical base for fine-tuning our yoga practice to suit our unique personality and circumstances. Traditionally the energetic body is seen as containing seven main chakras, arranged vertically from the base of the spine to the top of the head. Chakra is the Sanskrit word for wheel, and these “wheels” were thought of as spinning vortexes of energy.

Each chakra is associated with particular functions within the body and with specific life issues and the way we handle them, both inside ourselves and in our interactions with the world. As centres of force, chakras can be thought of as sites where we receive, absorb, and distribute life energies. Through external situations and internal habits, such as long-held physical tension and limiting self-concepts, a chakra can become either deficient or excessive—and therefore imbalanced. Practicing poses that correspond to each chakra can release these blocks and clear the path to higher consciousness.

These imbalances may develop temporarily with situational challenges, or they may be chronic. A chronic imbalance can come from childhood experiences, past pain or stress, and internalised cultural values. A deficient chakra neither receives appropriate energy nor easily manifests that chakra’s energy in the world. There’s a sense of being physically and emotionally closed down in the area of a deficient chakra. When a chakra is excessive, it is too overloaded to operate in a healthy way and becomes a dominating force in a person’s life.

The Sanskrit name of the seventh chakra is Sahasrara, which means “thousandfold.” It serves as the crown of the chakra system, symbolizing the highest state of enlightenment. Sahasrara represents the point at which the three main energy channels in the body, ida (female lunar energy) pingala (solar male energy) and sushumna, meet.

It is represented by a thousand-petalled lotus, the symbol of purity and spirituality.  It is usually associated with white, a combination of all colours. The seventh chakra is located just above  the crown of the head, at the soft spot or fontanelle that all infants have at birth, a space in the top of the skull that allows the bones of the skull to mould during birth, and also allows for the rapid growth of the brain in the first few months of life. When the soft spot closes the babies awareness of the infinite universe is locked in. But then, sadly for most of us the ego and the personality take over, and we think very little about spiritual matters, until we reach an impasse in our lives, or start to contemplate the end of our life. The ancient yogis believed that they could choose the time of their own death and exit their body through the crown chakra thus being released from the endless karmic cycles of death and re-birth

The seventh chakra is associated with thought, and  the highest functions of the mind. Even though the mind cannot be seen or felt concretely, it creates the belief systems that control our thoughts and actions.

The ancient Hindus associated the chakras with the sleeping serpent goddess, Kundalini. She was envisaged as coiled around the base of the first chakra and, when awakened, thought to spiral up the energy channels (nadis), piercing each chakra, bringing successively higher states of awareness, culminating in enlightenment at the crown chakra.

It is associated with the same endocrine glands as ajna chakra, the pineal gland the command centre that maintains cycles of activity and rest, and the pituitary, the master gland of the endocrine system, that translates the ideas and emotions of the brains cortex into the chemicals that control mood, muscle and metabolism.

Excessiveness in this chakra: being overly intellectual or feeling yourself set apart from others, as if you were a member of a spiritual or intellectual elite.

Deficient energy: difficulty thinking for yourself, apathy, spiritual scepticism, and materialism.

Ill health associated with sahasrara include headaches which can be caused by an over-burdened mind, suppression of thoughts or feelings, or obsessive thoughts, epilepsy, paralysis anywhere in the body, parkinsons disease and high blood pressure, often caused by bottled up emotions especially anger.

Meditation is the yogic practice best suited for bringing this chakra into balance. Just as our body needs a shower frequently, the busy mind filled with so many thoughts and concerns also needs a cleansing. Why tackle today’s problems with yesterday’s muddled mind? We need to allow the mind to become more present, clear, and insightful.

Meditation on Sahasrara Chakra

Look at the space in front of your closed eyes; imagine that the space surrounds your whole body – your body is immersed in that space.  Simultaneously be aware of your body.  It should feel (or imagine that it feels) very light, as light as a leaf falling from a tree.  Imagine that your body is slowly sinking into the space that you see in front of your closed eyes, like a falling leaf; your body is slowly sinking into the infinite space – be aware of this feeling for a few moments.

Become aware of your breathing; do not alter the natural breath in any way – just become aware of it.

Focus your attention on muladhara chakra and visualise a deep red, four-petalled lotus.  Inside there is a smoky lingam (a pillar shaped form, often regarded as a phallic symbol, but primarily regarded as a a pillar or lingam around which a snake is coiled, with its head facing upwards.  Try to visualise this symbol to the best of your ability and associate it with that particular location in the body.

Now move your awareness to svadisthana chakra and visualise a six-petalled orange lotus flower, within which is pictured a starry night above the sea.  The main focal point is a crescent moon.  Try to visualise this symbol.

Move your awareness to manipura chakra.  This is symbolised by a 10 petalled yellow lotus, in the centre of which is a blazing fire.  Visualise this symbol, imagining that the lotus is actually growing from manipura chakra.

Now focus on anahata chakra, which is symbolised by a 12 petalled blue lotus.  In the centre is a solitary flame burning in the darkness.  Try to visualise this symbol while feeling the exact position in the body.

Move your attention to vishuddha chakra, which is symbolised by a 16 petalled purple lotus.  In the middle there is a pure white drop of nectar.  Visualise this symbol at this location in the body.

Now move your awareness to ajna chakra, which is symbolised by a two petalled silver-grey lotus flower.  On the left hand petal is the full moon, and on the right hand petal, a glowing sun.  In the centre is a black lingam and an OM symbol.  Create a mental image of this symbol and its exact position in the body.

Finally, focus your attention on sahasrara chakra, which is symbolised by a 1000 petalled lotus, in the centre of which is a white lingam.  Visualise this symbol at the crown of the head.

Now visualise all these symbols in the reverse order: sahasrara, (bindu), ajna, vishuddhi, anahata, manipura, svadisthana and muladhara.

As before, finish by becoming aware of your natural breath.  Become aware of your whole physical body.  Become aware of your outer sense perceptions.

Gifts of this chakra: the crown contains a strong sense of connection to our personal vastness as well as the vastness of the universe. We sense the creator within the creation, and the infinite within the infinite. We gain a feeling of security, much greater than we have ever felt before, we feel as if we have been plugged into a power source that is completely dependable and eternal. This gives rise to a feeling of bliss, a golden radiance that transforms everything we do, every effort is effortless, we are free, we are alive.

References

“Seventh Heaven” by Barabara Kaplan Herring

“Healing Yoga” by Swami Ambikananda Saraswati

“The Power of Chakras and Chakra Healing” by Sue and Simon Lilly

“The Chakra Bible” by Patricia Mercier.

Additional material from BWY foundation course notes with Julia Wheatley, and from Yoga Campus Diploma course notes.

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