Qualities of the Spinal Centers or “Chakras” (and related thoughts)

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Originally this material was part of my work on The Hidden Messages of Music, but I also needed it for my discussions on model rocketry. So I'm pulling it into its own section.

It's a well-established and ancient tradition that there are seven major hubs or centers of activity in the spine and brain. These centers are also referred to as plexuses, chakras, cerebro-spinal dynamos, and a number of other terms. In the Book of Revelation St. John reIt's a well-established and ancient tradition that there are seven major hubs or centers of activity in the spine and brain. These centers are also referred to as plexuses, chakras, cerebro-spinal dynamos, and a number of other terms. In the Book of Revelation St. John refers to them as "stars" and "candlesticks," and even the Persian mystic Omar Khayyam refers to them in his Rubaiyat as "gates."[1] But no matter what you decide to call them, they're a very real and important part of human anatomy because of their relationship to one's mental/emotional outlook as well as one's spiritual awareness.[2]

My purpose in this article is not to explore this subject in exhaustive detail, nor will I be trying to "prove" that these spinal centers are real and significant in human experience. I won't be waxing fancy on any "woo-woo" New Age nonesense where the chakras are concerned either. For me, I'm interested in practical application: if something works to improve one's quality of life, I'm not too worried about philosophical arguments or hair-splitting details. And I'm well convinced of the utility of the understanding I'm sharing here. Indeed, if there's a simple case to be made, just ask yourself this: when you experience love, where do you feel it? In the stomach? In the head? No, like every other human being, you feel it primarily in the region of the heart, exactly where the chakra system specified. The same is true with the experience of other qualities and emotions, many of which are not felt in the heart but in other regions of the spine, and every human being feels them the same way. Such is a clear indication of the existence of the spinal centers and their associated qualities are universal within our species. (See Appendix 2 for some exercises along these lines.)

For more details and discussion, I refer you to Chakras for Starters (Crystal Clarity Publishers) by my friend, Savitri Simpson, for whom the spinal centers have been a lifelong study. I can also recommend Step 13 of The Art and Science of Raja Yoga by Swami Kriyananda (Crystal Clarity Publishers). Table 1 below provides a summary of details from these other sources below (also available as a printable PDF as I've used for class handouts). This let us then focus primarily on the various psychological attitudes associated with each chakra because that's where we find real practical application.

Quality of Life and the Flow of Energy in the Spine

Awareness of the spinal centers and their qualities are important because they reveal the direct relationship between the overall quality of one's life experience and the flow of energy in the spine and brain.

Simply said, an upward flow of energy leads to greater happiness and greater spiritual awareness (inspiration, joy, peace, and so on). A downward flow, conversely, leads to unhappiness and an awareness that's increasingly dull and more deeply bound to nothing more than gross material realities. And frankly, I work on the assumption that whether or not you think yourself spiritually inclined, you are, in fact, interested in living a joyful life rather than being depressed most of the time. Accordinly, I'll assume that you're at least marginally interested in cultivating an upward flow of energy in your own nervous system because of the relationship we're talking about here.

Here, in brief, is how it all works:

  • Every external influence and experience inherently expresses certain qualities (positive and/or negative) that thus resonate with one or more spinal centers. As a result, exposure to that influence usually increases the energy at those associated centers.
  • Similarly, direct expression of or mental focus upon any given quality also increases the energy in the chakra associated with that quality.
  • In both cases, whether that stimulated energy then flows up or down the spine (or is merely dissipated outwardly), depends on (a) the polarity of the quality itself and (b) the use of will power to direct that energy consciously (that is, inward vs. outward and upward vs. downward).
  • Greater spiritual awareness or "higher consciousness"–which is to say one's degree of divine joy or Bliss–is a result of rising energy in the spine and brain directed toward the seat of Bliss/spiritual awareness at the point between the eyebrows.[3]
  • Diminished spiritual awareness or "lower consciousness"–the degree of one's worldliness and depression–is a result of energy falling toward the base of the spine (as in "de-basement", both literally and as a pun!).
  • Therefore, one who is interested in being happy, joyful, and/or more spiritually aware should strive to maintain an upward flow by choosing those activities and attitudes that involve positive qualities while striving to avoid the negative ones.[4]

That last bit about "striving" is really the kicker here because it implies a great deal about your lifestyle, your associates, and basically how you approach life in general. Most of these factors–what you express and your choice of influences–are completely under your control if you have the will for it. Indeed, this is really what "free will" is all about: it's the right of every human being to "love God," as it were, meaning to direct your life energy upwards (toward however you like to think of Spirit or higher consciousness) or not, meaning to direct your life energy somewhere else (downward toward materialism and/or dissipated outward through the senses). Just don't go complaining to God if the wrong choices lead to unhappiness!

Antidotes to Negative Emotions

Of course, there are many situations in which you cannot avoid being exposed to a negative influence (obnoxious people on a bus or at work, stepping into an elevator where really bad music is playing, etc.). In such cases, the more you've cultivated a generally upward flow of energy in your spine the more you'll find yourself immune to those influences.

But there are other times when the influence is just too strong and you feel yourself being pulled down. Furthermore, we all find ourselves caught off-guard by various negative emotions or react negatively to something out of habit, both of which also causes the energy in the spine to drop. In these situations, whatever "inoculation" we've built up just doesn't work: if we're to reverse the downward flow of energy, what we need is a more immediate "antidote."

To my mind, this is where the qualities of the chakras really prove their practical benefit in the "art" of living rightly, which is to say the art of living in joy.

Just as every poisonous plant in a jungle is said to have its antidote nearby, so too with negative influences and emotions: just find the chakra related to that negative quality in the lists below Table 1 and you'll see those positive qualities that will effectively neutralize it, if not reverse the flow entirely. You can also look to the next higher center: by expressing or otherwise deliberately energizing some of its qualities you will help to magnetically pull energy upward from above.

Take anger, for example, something with which most of us are familiar. As you can see from the table, anger is a negative quality of the heart center. You can, of course, choose to either repress the anger or just "let fly," but let's assume you want to transmute it instead. (See Appendix 1 for more about these different options.)

Consulting the list of qualities for the heart center you can see that sympathy, forgiveness, and service are among its positives. Giving active expression to these will effectively redirect the energy upwards (as a well-known activist once put it, "Don't get angry, get motivated!"). This is very helpful to men (and women) who tend to express anger physically: instead of thrashing destructively on people or things, go chop firewood, clear brush, shovel dirt, paint a wall, or in some way direct that physical energy into positive, serviceful channels.

We can also see that calmness and centeredness are qualities of the next center up, the throat chakra. Simply becoming more calm and centered is, in fact, a transmuting antidote to anger. As a wise man once said, "Wrath springs only from thwarted desires. I do not expect anything of others [that is, I am entirely centered], so their actions cannot be in opposition to wishes of mine."[5] Being habitually centered, too, is a wonderful inoculation against becoming angry in the first place.

So generally speaking, the antidote to any negative emotional state is to reverse the particular downward flow of energy that gives rise to that state. Here's how: first, resist the urge to release that energy outwardly. Then deliberately direct the energy upward either by engaging the positive qualities of that same center (lifting from below) or qualities of the next higher center (magnetically pulling from above). The reversed flow will in turn induce the opposite, positive emotional state, oftentimes leading to a radical and even immediate change in outlook!

For many more specific examples, see The Hidden Messages of Music, where I go into depth about how different pieces of music specifically affect consciousness. Music is a wonderful medium for these "antidotes" because it so easily bypasses the rational mind and goes "straight to the spine." Depending on its specific qualities, every piece of uplifting music is a wonderfully painless, effortless, and thoroughly enjoyable antidote to certain negative emotions. Of course, debasing music will counteract positive emotions as well! It's a very fascinating subject, and one that again has great practical application.

With that, I'll close by inviting you to explore the table below. I've also included several other appendices to this article that offer related thoughts that didn't seem substantial enough for pages of their own. In addition to the discussion about repression, expression, and transmutation in Appendix 1, there are thoughts on physical effects in Appendix 2 and about spiritual practices in Appendix 3. Enjoy.

Table 1: Qualities of the Spinal Centers (Chakras)

For definition of specific terms in these tables, refer to the aforementioned references, Chakras for Starters and The Art and Science of Raja Yoga.

Center

English Name
& Location

Sanskrit Name & Literal Translation

Body Parts & Controlled Functions

Exercise to
Help Locate

7th

Crown,
1000-petaled lotus

Top of the head

Sahasara

Thousand Fold

Seat of the soul; site of liberation after enlightenment
at spiritual eye

Go into samadhi

6th (+ pole)

Spiritual/Third eye, Christ center; point between the eyebrows

Ajna

To perceive

Seat of enlightenment and intuition; concentration and will power

Knit eyebrows and look up to point between eyebrows

6th (- pole)

Medulla oblongata, “Mouth of God”

(same as above)

 

Entry point of cosmic energy; regulates breath

Contract muscles at base of skull, tilting head back

5th

Cervical center
(throat)

Vishudha

Purification

Neck, throat, vocal cords; all oral communication

Contract throat and neck, feel bump at top of spine

4th

Dorsal Center
(heart)

Anahat

Unstuck

Heart, lungs, diaphragm, circulation, arms, hands, manual dexterity

Squeeze shoulder blades together

3rd

Lumbar Center
(navel)

Manipur

Lustrous Jewel

Stomach, intestines, digestion, assimilation

Pull stomach muscles/navel in toward spine

2nd

Sacral Center
(sex organs)

Swadisthan

Sweetness

Sexual organs, reproductive system, procreation

Contract sexual muscles

1st

Coccyx Center
(base of spine)

Mulandhara

Root/Support

Legs and feet, walking, anus, elimination

Contract anus


 

Center

Musical Note for Chanting Aum

Ashtanga Yoga & Spiritual Aspects


Beneficial & Misdirected Attitudes
(see below for additional qualities)

Element

Inner Sound

7th

(none—
beyond sound)

Samadhi

Liberation

Beyond duality, harmony, free, omnipresent, omniscient, samadhi bliss

   

6th (+ pole)

G (above
middle C)

Dhyana

Divine joy, Enlightenment

Attunement, radiant joy, solution-consciousness

Too intellectual, coldly rational, misuse of will

Super-ether

Aum, like roar of great bursting sea

6th (- pole)

F

Dharana

Ego (self-offering)

Selfless service, divine surrender

Ego-involved, proud, vain, “I, my, me, mine.”

 

(same as above)

 

5th

Eb (E-flat)

Pratyahara

Calmness, expansion

Expansive, deeply calm, silence

Restless, spacey, bored, mercurial, worldly longing

Ether

Wing through trees, rushing water

4th

D

Pranayama

Divine Love

Devotion, love, compassion

Attachments, negative emotions out of control

Air

Deep bell (or higher bell)

3rd

Bb (B-flat)

Asana

Fiery self-control

Zest for life, self-control

Ruthlessness,
abuse of power

Fire

Harp, vina, plucked string instrument

2nd

A

Niyama

Ability to follow
positive observances

Flexible, open,
willing, intuitive

Ungrounded, wishy-washy, spineless

Water

Flute (crickets, trickling water)

1st

G (below
middle C)

Yama

Ability to follow rules and commandments

Steadfastness, courage, loyalty

Stubbornness,
heavy-minded

Earth

Bumble-bee (rumbling motor)

 

(I) Coccyx Center (1st Chakra)—Earth Element

Key Beneficial Attitudes: Loyalty, courage, steadfastness, groundedness
Key Misdirected Manifestations: Stubbornness, rigidity

Other Beneficial/Positive Attitudes: Firm in purpose, steadfast, persevering, resolute, determined, strong, tenacious, unswerving, dependable, steady, trustworthy, secure, stable, methodical, patient, enduring, clinging to truth

Other Misdirected or Negative Attitudes: Set (or stuck) in one’s ways, too disciplined, perverse, obstinate, dogged, mule-headed, dogmatic, unyielding, bigoted, intolerant, inflexible, obdurate, heavy-minded, dense, addicted to matter, plodding, unchangeable, humorless, judgmental, problem-oriented

(II) Sacral Center (2nd Chakra)—Water Element

Key Beneficial Attitudes: Flexibility, openness, willingness to change
Key Misdirected Manifestations: Wishy-washiness, undependable

Other Beneficial/Positive Attitudes: Fluid, free-flowing, flying, gliding, graceful, changeable, open-minded, mobile, creative, intuitive, willing to change, resourceful, supple, lilting, pliable, adaptable

Other Misdirected or Negative Attitudes: Flightly, flippant, silly, fickle, “so-open minded your brains fall out,” indiscriminate, spineless, slipshod, slovenly, unreliable, ungrounded, watery, weak, lacking in purpose, untrustworthy, unable to make or stand by decisions, shallow, unenthusiastic

(III) Lumbar Center (3rd Chakra)—Fire Element

Key Beneficial Attitudes: Self-control, enthusiasm
Key Misdirected Manifestations: Ruthlessness, domination, control of others

Other Beneficial/Positive Attitudes: Self-disciplined, zealous, vigorous, vital, energetic, awake and ready, effervescent, gusto, dedication, verve, eagerness, passion for a right cause, spirited

Other Misdirected or Negative Attitudes: Control issues, cruelty, abuse, negative intensity, fanaticism, dictatorial tendencies, addicted, greedy, relentless, merciless, severe, compassionless, avaricious, abusive

(IV) Dorsal Center (4th Chakra)—Air Element

Key Beneficial Attitudes: Divine love, devotion, compassion
Key Misdirected Manifestations: Emotions out of control

Other Beneficial/Positive Attitudes: Loving feelings toward all, selfless, unselfish, serviceful, forgiving, unconditionally loving, empathetic, sympathetic, generous, healing, unifying, non-attachment

Other Misdirected or Negative Attitudes: Jealousy, lust, anger, fear, selfish love, possessive, attachments, greed, desires, hatred, loathing, sharp-tongued, self-indulgent, divisive, gossipy, judging, complaining, bitterness.

(V) Cervical Center (5th Chakra)—Ether Element

Key Beneficial Attitudes: Dynamic calmness, expansion
Key Misdirected Manifestations: Restlessness, boredom

Other Beneficial/Positive Attitudes: Peace, communicative, lovely voice tones, expansive, broadly aware, placid, serene, unrufflable, cooling, expansively centered, ability to relate to others’ realities

Other Misdirected or Negative Attitudes: Tired of peace and quiet, longing for excitement in worldly things, pent-up energy, pent-up feelings, uncommunicative, mercurial, spacey

(VI) Medulla/Spiritual Eye (6th Chakra)—Super-Ether Element

Key Beneficial Attitudes: Perfection of divine will, enlightenment
Key Misdirected Manifestations: Total ego-involvement

Other Beneficial/Positive Attitudes: Perfect attunement with God’s will/with the universe, receptivity to grace, wisdom, radiance, living each moment in high state of consciousness, solution-oriented

Other Misdirected or Negative Attitudes: Egotism, self-centeredness, inability to relate to others’ realities, pride, vanity, self-seeking, “I, my, me, mine”

(VII) Crown/Thousand-Petaled Lotus (7th Chakra)

The seat of the soul, the place where final liberation is achieved, is beyond duality (positives and negative): total unification, harmony, fulfillment, ever-conscious, ever-existent, omnipresent, omniscient, infinite, timeless, formless, all-pervasive, ever-new joy, freedom, samadhi bliss.

Appendix 1: Repression, Expression, and Transmutation

It is possible for energy to swirl around within a particular chakra for a time, acting as a kind of vortex or magnetic dynamo that continues to draw more energy to itself. Eventually, however, that energy must go somewhere: downward in the spine, outward from that spinal center to be dissipated through its associated body parts, or upward toward the brain and the spiritual eye.

Psychologists refer to these movements as repression (pushing the energy down the spine), expression (letting it flow outward), and transmutation (directing it upward), and there is pretty well universal agreement that transmutation is the healthiest response of and repression is the worst.

From the standpoint of the chakras, it's easy to see why. Repression pushes energy to a lower center, thereby activating more negative qualities due to the downward momentum. Repression also tend to cause problems with the physical functions of the associated spinal centers. Repressing anger, for example, pushes energy down to the lumbar center, thereby activating negative lumbar qualities such as cruelty and pitilessness. This is what you find in many domineering type-A control freaks who are especially susceptible to digestive trouble and heart disease.

Expression is better in that it at least dissipates the energy outwardly and doesn't trap it within the body where it can manifest destructively. This makes it generally less harmful to the individual than repression (and while outward expression can have negative effects on others, repression will also have its own outward effects that are typically worse).

Transmutation is clearly the best option because it activates the positive qualities of that center and lifts the energy to a higher center, thereby activating its positive qualities as well.

Of course, all this begs the obvious question of what happens when the energy gets to either end of the road (top or bottom), where there is no "way out" given its momentum. In the case of a downward flow, the only "way out" is annihilation: suicide, for instance, or drunkenness and drug abuse, both of which seek to dull the awareness beyond the ability to feel anything. In the case of an upward flow, the "end of the road" isn't an end at all, but the infinite expansion of spiritual liberation through the crown chakra. It's been noted, in fact, that when a true
saint passes away, the top of their head feels hot. A normal person's life energy, on the other hand, is said to leave through the medulla oblongata at the time of death as their self-identity is still bound by the ego.

Appendix 2: Effects on the Body–Feeling "High" and Feeling "Low"

Though this article has mostly discussed psychological aspects, there are also physical manifestations of the flow of energy in the spine. As mentioned in Appendix 1,
dysfunction in various parts of the body are often related to an overabundance of negative energy in the associated chakra. One of the clearest and most thoroughly-researched proofs of this can be found in Dr. Dean Ornish's work on reversing heart disease, a program that goes well beyond diet and exercise to effectively reverse the emotional and spiritual "dis-eases" of the heart chakra as well.[6] Good health, in general, is a wonderful side-effect of an upward flow of energy!

In general, physical movement done with attunement to the positive qualities of any given center (using the associated body parts), will encourage an upward flow from that center. For example, simply walking at a steady, constant pace induces an upward flow at the coccyx center, which is to say, the legs are being used to express steadfastness and determination. This is why walking is an excellent practice for anyone who is feeling ungrounded. Heavy, forceful, or plodding steps, on the other hand will likewise induce the negative qualities of that center, just as irregular, weak,
and sloppy walking can also pull energy down from the sacral center. Waving the arms wildly about scatters energy from the heart center, whereas a deliberate movement drawing the arms gently in and up can focus and lift that energy.

It's interesting to think of a sport like football, the energy of which is pretty clearly related to the coccyx center most of the time (heavy hitting, grinding, etc.). Given this, what uplifts the crowd the most? A breakout run, whose flowing speed induces energy at the sacral center, or a long, graceful pass which induces energy upward to the heart center (associated with the air element).

Dysfunction aside, take a moment to close your eyes and recall the deepest experience of love you can remember. Don't you feel some energy in the area of the heart? In fact, you probably feel it not specifically in the physical heart (which is in the left side of the chest), but in the center of the chest. That's the chakra. Notice, too, how people typically cross their hands over their chest when feeling intense energy in heart chakra, whether it be intense love, as if to keep the heart from exploding with joy, or intense emotional hurt to protect the heart from more pain.

Similarly, think of the worst election outcome you can remember and you'll probably induce that "sick to your stomach" feeling–not in the physical stomach so much as in the lumbar center, which is associated with the quality of power. Isn't it true, in fact, that you get a "knot" in your stomach whenever you're engaged in a power struggle with someone else?

Notice, too, how excessive energy in the lumbar center causes people to walk in a hunch: the energy there literally pulls the body over! Along those same lines, people who are depressed (negative energy in the first chakra) have downcast eyes and walk with heavy, plodding feet. They'll use phrases like "feeling down," "feeling low," and "having that sinking feeling" because literally, that's what's going on in their spine.

On the flip side, take a moment to recall your best times of inspiration and upliftment–this will probably stimulate energy at the point between the eyebrows. This is why pictures of saints (or anyone in a high state of inspiration or spiritual awareness) usually show them with their eyes uplifted, gazing to the point between the eyebrows. It's also why any of us (saints or not) will stand tall, walk lightly, and gaze upward when feeling inspired. It's why every language has idioms like "feeling high" and "floating on cloud nine" to describe the experience of this upward flow.

That every language has its idioms for these experiences clearly point out that the chakras are a universal fact of human anatomy, across cultures and even across time (especially in that the Sanskrit word itself is at least 5000 years old). Truly, such experiences are a common current that binds all human beings together throughout all of history!

Appendix 3: Spiritual Practices

Positive qualities of the chakras clearly relate to various spiritual teachings and practices. Think about a few of them: do unto others as you'd have them do unto you; Love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength; be even-minded and cheerful at all times; practice compassion for all creatures; obey the Ten Commandments….
What all these teachings have in common is that they encourage one to actively practice, exercise, and express the upwardly-directed
qualities of different chakras while actively avoiding the downward-directed ones, thereby producing an overall positive consciousness. The details, which is to say, the specific forms of such practice, are really quite superficial: praying the rosary, performing namaj (bowing to Mecca) five times a day, singing hymns, or reciting Vedic mantrasall have a similar effect of activating positive qualities of the spinal centers. (Fighting over whose expression is more "true," on the other hand, certainly activates negative ones!) What you choose to do personally is really a matter of taste: the intention behind your chosen practices is what counts.

Indeed, what is Jesus' greatest commandment–to "Love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength"–if not a way to say "direct all your life energy from each of the chakras up the spine to the spiritual eye"?

I'm reminded here of Lahiri Mahasaya, a great 19th-century spiritual teacher, who routinely advised his disciples to practice a technique called Kriya Yoga as the solution to any problem.[7] This technique (which I have personally practiced daily since 1996) purposefully and powerfully draws energy into each chakras and lifts through the entire length of the spine to the spiritual eye. This makes it an effective "global" solution to all kinds of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual maladies, and doesn't require you to figure out a specific antidote. Kriya Yoga thus quickly accomplishes what other activities do more indirectly.
Paramhansa Yogananda stated, in fact, that one half-minute practice of Kriya is equivalent to a whole year of "natural spiritual unfoldment."[8]

Of course, learning and practicing Kriya or similar techniques takes time, effort, and commitment, and even for those who learn the technique, it's only advisable to practice a few hours a day at most. Even if we can find those hours (which isn't always easy) it still leaves plenty of other time in the day when, well, we can get nailed by other stuff, in which case it's handy to have other tools!

Endnotes

 

[1]That St. John is referring to the spine is obvious to anyone familiar with practices such as yoga and meditation that specifically develop one's awareness of the spine. Omar Khayyam's Rubaiyat, for its part, is not a praise of hedonism, as is commonly thought, but rather a deep mystical work. Paramhansa Yogananda brought both matters clearly to light: see The Second Coming of Christ (Self-Realization Fellowship, 2004, page 109n, 1033) and The Rubiayat of Omar Khayyam Explained (Crystal Clarity Publishers, 2008, Quatrain 31, pages 134-147).

[2] Some readers might be a little uncomfortable with the term chakra because it's been so overloaded with all kinds of New Age mumbo-jumbo, usually for the simple expediency of making a quick buck with some faddish trinket that promises a short-cut to spiritual enlightenment (I know; my wife worked for seven years as the gift buyer for a metaphysical bookshop and saw all kinds of crazy stuff at trade shows). Plus, Sanskrit words in general often conjure up images of oddly-dressed Eastern gurus along with an entourage of starry-eyed followers who seem to have lost all sense of relating to the real world. But like prospectors panning in a stream,
I encourage you to separate out the gold and dump the flotsam. Indeed, the whole reason that the ancient Sanskrit word has come into wider use is because its many layers of meaning are ultimately the "right stuff" for working with this very rich subject.

[3] For more on the subject of Bliss as the underlying goal of all life, see God is For Everyone by Paramhansa Yogananda, as taught to an understood by his disciple, Swami Kriyananda, Crystal Clarity Publishers, 2003.

[4] It's important to understand is that the "doorways" of the spinal centers are not like valves that you just crank open and forget about (no matter what New Age chakra products might promise). They are rather more like electronic transistors in which a dynamic control current determines, moment to moment, whether the gate is open and in what direction (its polarity). A constant current is thus required to maintain any given state. With the chakras, that control current is determined by influences (an outside-in effect) and what you choose to express (the inside-out effect).

Generally speaking, people control themselves enough to keep from sinking but otherwise don't seek to live more consciously. They alternate many times a day between positive and negative: the energy flowing up at times, down at other times, producing the "normal" experience of life that swings endlessly between pleasure and pain but never seems to make any real "progress" over the years. Progress, which is to say spiritual growth, takes effort!

[5] Spoken by Swami Sri Yukteswar in Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramhansa Yogananda, 1946 First Edition as republished by Crystal Clarity Publishers, 1995, Chapter 14, page 142.

[6] See Dr. Dean Ornish's Program for Reversing Heart Disease by Dr. Dean Ornish, Ivy Books, 1995.

[7] Autobiography of a Yogi, Chapter 4, page 40.

[8] Ibid, page 234.

4 Comments

  1. SS
    Posted October 7, 2015 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    Really enjoyed reading this.I was just browsing for information about the spinal chakras, when your website caught my eye. As I read along, I realized that I have come full circle since this article is written by a fellow SRFite. Jai Guru.

  2. Angad
    Posted July 29, 2016 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

    What a terrific read – thank you for posting this!

  3. Chaven Yenketswamy
    Posted February 12, 2017 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    I was reading the Autobiography of a Yogi and was trying to understand how one goes about directing the life energy around the spinal centres. Is there a sequence that the life energy is circulated to attain a specific state of consciousness. Just like controlling the airflow through the various holes in a  flute can produce corresponding sound patterns.

    • kraigb
      Posted March 10, 2017 at 11:19 am | Permalink

      The practice of the Kriya Yoga technique, including the higher initiations is essentially that, though not quite in the way you describe as playing an instrument. But activating energy in a specific chakra and focusing it there can certainly lead to unique states of consciousness.

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