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Today, the Vedic Sciences of yoga and Ayurveda as well as the chakra system are being taught in the West at an increasing rate. People are looking to alternate forms of healing to cultivate balance in an ever-changing and stress-inducing world.
According to yoga and Ayurveda, proper management of prana or life force energy is essential in order to not experience burn out, overwhelm, fatigue, anger and/or depression. When prana is managed and maintained, individuals can then focus on their dharmic or spiritual goals. In this article, we will take a look at the basic principles of Ayurveda and how this system is connected to the chakras.
Ayurveda literally means the knowledge of life and originated in India as the traditional medical system over 5,000 years ago. It works both as a preventative & curative medicine. According to Ayurveda, we create our state of health based upon how we interact with our environment. By making choices that support our inner nature we can live harmoniously and in balance.
There are 3 constitutions or doshas in Ayurveda: vata, pitta & kapha. These three doshas are comprised of the elements: ether, air, fire, water & earth. Vata is comprised of ether and air, pitta is made up of fire and a little bit of water and kapha is created from water and earth. Everything that is alive has the 5 elements within it and all 3 doshas; however, every living being has a unique blend of the elements and thus the doshas. Unearth your Ayurvedic constitution & learn what it means for your skin, health, & wellbeing.
The chakra system is responsible for storing prana or life force energy within the subtle body. Chakra is translated as “wheel”. You can think of the chakras as circular wheels that spin at different frequencies. The different frequencies determine an individual’s state of awareness as well as their emotional and mental tendencies.
The daily lifestyle choices we make affect the frequencies at which the chakras spin. For example, if we are eating healthy, exercising, meditating and have a harmonious daily routine, the quality of prana passing through the chakras make the chakras function at optimal levels; thus, the body and mind will a more profound experience of peace and harmony.
Below is a list of the seven principal chakras and how you can use the science of yoga and Ayurveda to bring greater balance to each energy center.
1. Muladhara Chakra (root center)
The Muladhara Chakra is located at the base of the spine and it contains the quality of the earth element and kapha dosha. The Muladhara energy encourages stability, grounding and connection with community. If you are filling disconnected with your loved ones or having difficulty staying focused, chant the bija mantra, “Lum” to increase the earth element and the pranic energy of Muladhara Chakra.
2. Svadistana Chakra (sexual center)
The Svadistana Chakra is just above the pubic bone and it houses the water element and aspects of kapha dosha. The Svadistana energy cultivates devotion to humanity, healthy sexual energy and unconditional love. If you are experiencing feelings of anger, resentment or feeling numb in your relationships, chant the bija mantra “Vum” to increase the water element and your loving devotion.
3. Manipura Chakra (solar plexus center)
The Manipura Chakra is located just above the belly button, at the solar plexus, and the fire element, as well as pitta dosha, are predominant here. The Manipura energy cultivates logic, focus and the ability to pursue one’s dreams. If you are feeling a lack of motivation, dull and uninspired, chant the bija mantra “Rum” to increase the fire element and pitta dosha.
4. Anahata Chakra (heart center)
The Anahata Chakra is located at the heart center and it contains the qualities of the air element and vata dosha. The Anahata energy encourages a healthy unattachment to one’s actions, or in other words, a person is moving with heart-centered energy rather from the space of the ego. If you are having a difficult time taking the “I” or “me” out of your service to the world, chant the bija mantra “Yum” to re-center and balance.
5. Vishuddha Chakra (throat center)
The Vishuddha Chakra is at the throat center and it houses the ether element and aspects of vata dosha. The Vishuddha energy cultivates healthy form of expression and ability to speak one’s truth. If you are experiencing the inability to share your uniqueness and voice your opinion, chant the bija mantra, “Hum” to increase the ether element and speak your truth.
6. Ajna Chakra (third eye center)
The Ajna Chakra is located at the point between the two eyes, at the third eye center. Subtle ether is predominant here as well as vata dosha. The Ajna energy is how one sees the world. If you are feeling closed minded with the inability to understand other cultures and ways of being, chant the bija mantra, “Kshum”, to increase subtle ether and a greater state of awareness.
7. Sahasra Padma Chakra (head center)
The Sahasra Padma Chakra is considered the thousand petal lotus at the crown of the head and causal ether is situated here. When there is a heightened state of awareness moving through this chakra, one experiences satchitananda, existence, knowledge and bliss. In other words, one experiences a connection with the universe and no feeling of separation. It is beneficial for people of all constitutions: vata, pitta and/or kapha, to chant the mantra “Om” to increase causal ether in the physical, mental and emotional bodies. If you are however, feeling depleted and fatigue, limit the amount of chanting performed in order to maintain your ojas or immunity.
The time-honored complex sister sciences of yoga and Ayurveda, as well as the chakra system, are interwoven and connected. They all inform humankind on how to live optimally and honor our highest selves. To begin bringing these healing modalities into your life, just start with chanting a bija mantra that connects with your current state of being. Sit in meditation for 5 minutes per day every morning. This practice will begin to bring peace and calm into the mind and will ripple out into your daily life. Take your dosha quiz here