I've always been..... resistant to pretty rainbow coloured chakra books
...but here's an interesting presentation of the chakra model in this passage from Krishnamacharya's Yogasanagalu. Chakras as places in the body where the mind gets hung up (in a knot), limiting it's ability to experience. Loosening these knots (through pranayama) and stabilising the mind ( through dharana, dhyana and samadhi) expands the mind to new ideas.
"Then he (the teacher) should say: "As far as, verily, this great akasa extends, so far extends the akasa within the heart. Both heaven and earth are contained within it, both fire and air, both sun and moon, both lightning and stars; and whatever belongs to him (i.e. the embodied creature) in this world and whatever does not, all that is contained within it (i.e.the akasa in the heart)."
Adhyaya VIII, Khanda I, Chandogya Upanishad
|Krishnamacharya, uddiyana bandha kriya|
Here's Krishnamacharya's Chakra passage from Yogasanagalu. When you put it like this.....
"Although it can not be observed by the main sense organs, the jeeva or soul that is hidden within the body and experiences countless suffering and joys according to followers of Visishtadwita and Dwita philosophies, in the mind as per Sankhya followers, reflection of jeevatma according to some yogis and Advita followers. The mind (its ability to experience) with attributes of wanderings and restraint by way of the heart (called Dahara and Kuhara) is rooted above and below in the following chakras:
Mooladhara chakra - below the navel and above the reproductive organs
Swadishtana - between mooladhara and manipuraka
Manipuraka - exactly on the navel (belly button)
Anahuta - middle of the heart
Vishuddi chakra - below the neck
Agna - between the eye brows
Sahasrara - crown of the head
Encompassing these seven chakras (nadi granthis-knots) are 1. Avrutti, 2. Parivruti and 3. Samvruti.
The movement (activation) of these chakras are caused by the greatness (power) of pranayama and the variety of rechaka, puraka and kumbhaka.
Along with these, ‘antaranga sadhana” practices of dharana, dhyana and samadhi stabiliizes the wandering, drifting and roving mind, eliminates mental illness and worries, enhances life expectancy, intellectual power and expands the mind to new ideas".
Krishnamacharya: Yogasanagalu (1941)
More on the chakra model, this time from Krishnamacharya Yoga Makaranda.
"The caitanya sakti (Ed. primal energy for want of a better translation) in every cakra can be only achieved through the strength of the practice of pranayama. Once the caitanya sakti is attained, the movement of the cakra becomes great. At this time, one begins to immediately experience the many benefits mentioned earlier. If pranayama is practised under proper guidance for one or two years following the sastras, cakra sakti will blossom and the many benefits will be attained. But this pranayama must only be practised along with asana and while observing the yama and niyama. If practised in this way, the pranayama sakti will blossom and move in all the important regions of the body and in the ten cakras and give great strength and benefits. One who is not skilled in the yama, niyama and asana will not receive any benefits. By correct practice and effort, the cakra sakti expands and all the mentioned benefits are attainable". Krishnamacharya Yoga Makaranda
Here's the chakra section from Yoga Makaranda in full
Because of the power of pranayama practice, one develops strength in the bones, the bone marrow and the heart; one develops the brain, the head, the anna kosam, the fat layer, the mana kosam, the strength of breath and prana, and longevity; it sharpens the senses, strengthens the intellect and the voice and purifies the blood. All these are important factors necessary for the maintenance of health. Those with strong bones, vitality, nerves, and tendons will lead a healthy long life. Lack or weakness of viryam leads to lack of strength which leads to the atrophy of bones. Such a condition leads one to suffer from tuberculosis. Whoever has no impurities in their blood will never develop any disease, and their body will develop a kind of glow. How can darkness reside where there is sunlight? Hence all Ayurveda texts speak specifically on the importance of good blood circulation and bone strength for good health. If the blood is not clean, then the nadi cakras will not function (rotate) properly. We have observed the wheels of trains, electrical gadgets and such machines. If even one wheel malfunctions, all the activities of the machine stop and the gadget breaks down. Similarly when any one of the nadi cakras contained in the machine that is the body malfunctions or is spoiled, we will not derive any of the benefits of good health. Hence good blood circulation is essential for the proper functioning of the nadi cakras.
In the machine that is our body, there are ten cakras — namely
1. muladhara cakra,
2. svadhishtana cakra,
3. manipuraka cakra,
4. surya cakra,
5. manas cakra,
6. anahata cakra,
7. visuddhi cakra,
8. ajn ̃a cakra,
9. sahasrara cakra,
10. brahmaguha (lalata) cakra.
1. Muladhara Cakra
This cakra is next to the rectum. If, due to the strength resulting from practising pranayama with a focus on this cakra, caitanya is attained in this cakra, then this will strengthen the viryam (sexual vitality). When the viryam is kept under control, the body becomes tough. If anybody acquires caitanya in this cakra, they will become virile.
2. Svadhishthana Cakra
This svadhishthana cakra lies two angulas above the muladhara cakra. If by doing pranayama abhyasa according to the krama and rules caitanya is attained in this cakra, then this will destroy all diseases. There will be an astounding increase in good health. Any amount of physical work can be done without any fatigue. Even enemies will admire and adore one who has caitanya in this cakra. Violence will run away and hide from him. Even a tiger and cow will live in peaceful coexistence in his presence.
3. Manipuraka Cakra
This is situated exactly in the navel. If, due to the strength of pranayama practice, caitanya is attained in this cakra, then the practitioner will never encounter any physical or mental afflictions. These afflictions will flee his presence. One who has acquired caitanya in this cakra will be able to face any disaster or accident with mental fortitude. Not only that, he will develop divya drishti. He will experience the bliss of identifying atman as a separate entity from the body. This cakra is situated in the middle of all other cakras. The main function of this cakra is to ensure that all organs or parts of the body function at their proper strength. Good health is possible only when all the organs are strong. Any disease in any organ indicates ill health.
4. Surya Cakra
This cakra is situated in the third angula above the navel. Pranayama prac- tised with an equal ratio of exhalation and inhalation (recaka and puraka) with a focus on this cakra gives rise to caitanya in this cakra. Caitanya in this cakra purifies all the nadis of the stomach. One who has acquired caitanya in this cakra will not suffer from any diseases of the stomach, nor from any mahodaram and will acquire eternal good health, amazing vitality or shine, and long life. The pranayama practitioner will attain free move- ment of this cakra which will be visible by rapid increase in the digestive power. Special caitanya or insight will develop on practising bastra kevala kumbhaka pranayama. This is not possible to attain from practising other types of pranayama with a focus on this cakra. These will just lead to the ordinary benefits.
5. Manas Cakra
This is close to the anna kosam. Caitanya in this cakra is attained by a sustained practice of kevala kumbhaka pranayama. The main function of this cakra is to increase the power of intuition and to expand the intel- lect. This is because practising kumbhaka pranayama purifies (cleanses) the brain. There is a special connection between the brain and the manas cakra.
6. Anahata Cakra
This is situated in the hrdaya (heart) sthana. There is a special connection between this and the heart. Pranayama abhyasa with recaka and puraka kumbhaka of different ratios (raising and lowering the ratios) with a focus on this cakra will give rise to a steady state of caitanya in this cakra. This state of caitanya in this cakra removes weakness of the heart and will give extraordinary strength. All the activities associated with the heart are carried out due to the strength of this cakra. We all know that in this world, life is possible only as a result of the strength of the functioning of the heart. Hence if this cakra is kept in a correct state and moves freely, emotions like affection, devotion, gn ̃anam, etc. — such superior states of mind (bhavas) will arise in the heart. If this cakra malfunctions or becomes impure and moves in a constricted fashion, then murder, theft, adultery, unchastity and other such inferior emotions will arise in the heart. By correct pranayama practice, the speed of the cakra increases and this gives rise to an expanded intellect and the person will be inspired to become more involved in good works. Any pranayama practised against sastra will weaken the movement and speed of the cakra and will destroy or weaken the heart.
7. Visuddhi Cakra
This is situated in the throat region. That is, it is situated in the region below the neck, above the sternum, in between the two bones where there is a soft area (gap) the size of the middle finger. If caitanya is achieved and held in this cakra due to the strength of pranayama, the practitioner gets svara vign ̃anam (knowledge of sound). If cittam can be controlled to focus on this cakra, the practitioner will lose all thoughts of this world (lose consciousness) and will be able to see the divine paramatma in all his glory through the light of the self. If one controls the movements of the citta and attains caitanya in this cakra through the strength of kumbhaka, he will attain a steady state of youth and enthusiasm. By achieving this caitanya through krama, these benefits can be experienced to the extent desired.
8. Ajn ̃a Cakra
This cakra is situated between the two eyebrows. If caitanya can be held (focussed) here, one acquires the power to control everybody. Through the movements of recaka and puraka in the nadis of the two nostrils, if one practises pranayama by keeping the breath in the nostrils and circulating and moving the prana vayu, then the nadis below the nostril get purified. One develops a divine lustre, one is able to see the atman and through this blessing will be able to see all the events that are occurring around the world without moving from their position. Caitanya citta vritti in the ajn ̃a cakra is extremely helpful for a long life.
9. Sahasrara Cakra
This is directly above the throat or palate. The greatness of this cakra is beyond description. Every part of the body is associated to (depends on) this important point. If one enhances the caitanya in this sahasrara cakra through the strength of practising puraka in complete pranayama abhyasa, this will result in the rapid movement of this cakra which will in turn give any skill or power that you wish for.
10. Brahmaguha (Lalata) Cakra
This cakra is situated above the forehead. Pranayama practice will cause the prana vayu to move through the susumna nadi and this prana vayu should be held here through the skill of kumbhaka. If such a practice is followed, one acquires the power to change one’s own destiny. One cannot describe the greatness of this procedure. It can only be learned through experience.
The caitanya sakti in every cakra can be only achieved through the strength of the practice of pranayama. Once the caitanya sakti is attained, the movement of the cakra becomes great. At this time, one begins to immediately experience the many benefits mentioned earlier. If pranayama is practised under proper guidance for one or two years following the sastras, cakra sakti will blossom and the many benefits will be attained. But this pranayama must only be practised along with asana and while observing the yama and niyama. If practised in this way, the pranayama sakti will blossom and move in all the important regions of the body and in the ten cakras and give great strength and benefits. One who is not skilled in the yama, niyama and asana will not receive any benefits. By correct practice and effort, the cakra sakti expands and all the mentioned benefits are attainable".
Krishnamacharya Yoga Makaranda