YOGA, a process that may sound like a simple discipline of maintaining fitness but is actually a deep esoteric ocean of all that life constitutes. Scriptures have called yoga as a way of life. The roots of yoga hold the meaning of everything that is unexplained about oneself and profound surrender to yoga has been claimed as the route to enlightenment.
There is a dense commingling of the non-material to material that has secretly handcuffed the human body to all that lies in the universe and a deep insight into yoga opens the gate to all the wisdom. However such deep intricacies of yoga are a distant thing. There is so much about yoga that we here quite often and still have no clue what is it about. Learning about them is the primary need.
If you have ever attended a yoga session, you must have heard of the terms like Chakra, Tantra, subtle body and Shakti. And if, like everyone who hears them for the first time, it baffled your mind, let us take you to the journey that shall unfold the meaning of all the key terms in yoga, their function and potential, and how they synchronise to keep the universe going. But before that, it's important to know what exactly yoga is.
What is Yoga?
We live in a time where we have plenty of options to meet all the requirements of humans. Amid the plethora of mediums to satisfy what we want, we are excessively dropping the bar low by unknowingly settling for superficiality. A gym can certainly give you six pack abs but what is meant by the essence of fitness is not just a healthy structure but holistic health. Yoga is an approach that aims towards holistic health, happiness and well being of a person. It’s underlying principle says that humans are the substance of universe and our well being is possible only when we explore our spirituality.
Yoga works on the idea that a human body isn’t just a physical entity but a combination of three bodies, two of which are intangible and functioning of any one affects all. These bodies are covered with the layers or sheets called koshas which are signified as awareness. These sheets or koshas of awareness hides our true self and in order to attain enlightenment, one needs to uncover all these sheets. This is what exactly the purpose of yoga is.
The three bodies signified here are Physical body, Subtle body and Causal body.
Physical, Subtle and Causal Body
As discussed earlier, in the language of yoga, the human body is the conglomeration of three bodies. The physical body, as the name signifies, is the one which is made up of organs and is covered with a layer of skin. The Subtle body is the one that feels. It is the one that experiences joy and pleasure and feels the pain when hurt. A Subtle body is the mind and is made up of energies that keep the physical body alive. Causal body is the one that contains aatma or soul and is the innermost body. It can only be unveiled once all the koshas have been shed.
The human body is just a framework that needs something to carry out its actions. That something is
It is no surprise that the mention of tantra must proliferate misconstrued facts in your mind but the truth is, tantra is completely different from what you might think of it. Tantra is signified as all the spiritual practices that a yogi (practitioner of yoga) carries out in order to attain liberation. The human body is believed to be made up of five elements namely fire, water, air, earth and ether. Tantra involves bringing together all the five elements to originate new life.
Chakra is a term that is heard by almost everyone but very few know about it. It is defined as certain spots in our body that are the storehouse of all our spiritual energy. It governs almost all aspects of human life. These spiritual centres of the body were first mentioned in Vedas, the oldest Hindu sctiptures.
There are seven Chakras in the body, each with specific spheres to govern. These are-
1. Root Chakra or Muladhara - It is the first chakra in the body, located at the end of the spine near the tailbone and is denoted by the colour red. Its function is to transfer the energy of the earth from the ground to the body. The root chakra is associated with human survival which typically comes from the sense of security. Muladhara or root chakra is the store house of sense of security and safety.
An overactive Root Chakra can cause anxiety and depression since such chakar doesn’t stop calling out for security and safety even when everything is right. This can cause stress.
Similarly, an underactive root chakra comes into play when a person has never fulfilled his responsibilities by himself but by others. This creates a problem of daydreaming and low concentration.
2. Sacral Chakra or Svadhishana - the second chakra is liable to give a sense of identity to a being. It induces a sense of ‘what to do with life’. It is the storehouse of pleasure and joy, and a well functioning sacral chakra enables a person to unleash its creativity. Svadhishana is also the source of pleasure derived from sex and intimacy. It is situated over the pubic bone and extends till the belly button.
An overactive sacral chakra results in addictions, hormonal imbalance, gluttony, etc.
An underactive sacral chakra results in depression, impotence, reduced sex drive.
3. Solar plexus or Manipura - the third chakra, located between the belly button and the ribs is what holds all your self-confidence, identity and wisdom. It is also called the golden gem of chakras since it increases the belief that a person has in himself. You can feel this chakra, activating when you are in a challenging situation that requires the portrayal of courage and wisdom.
It is denoted by the colour yellow. If your solar plexus is too active, it is because you have gained considerable influence in other people’s life. This can result in anger issues, greediness, lack of sympathy and compassion and there is a need to micromanage.
A hypoactive solar plexus results in insecurity, indecisiveness and timidity.
4. Heart or Anahata - welcome to the fourth chakra where lies your love, compassion and sympathy. It is denoted by the colour green and is considered as the point where our physicality meets spirituality. It also deals with the health and healing power of an individual.
When Anahata is overactive in an unhealthy way, it results in being blindly and obsessively in love and making irrational decisions. You give away all the love while treating yourself with nothing that is left.
On the contrary, you build a shield around yourself when Anahata is underactive and try to avoid attachments.
5. The Throat or Vishuddha - The fifth chakra, located at the centre of your collar bones and expands from heart to the middle of the eyes. It is from where you gather voice for your truths. It is signified by the colour blue and is connected to Anahata. What lies in your heart for others (love, compassion or whatsoever) is converted into speech by Vishuddha. Physically, it has to deal with the speech resonating from the throat.
When underactive, this chakra seeks validation and identity and therefore, a person always tries to speak loud.
An underactive Vishuddha results due to ignorance and therefore in this state, a person chooses not to speak and mostly stays quiet.
6. The Third Eye or Ajna - The third eye is actually the sixth chakra lying right in the centre of the two eyes, denoted by indigo colour. Ajna means something that is beyond wisdom or explanation. It deals with the things the senses and information that do not come from the five sense organs and is beyond understanding but true. If you have a balanced Ajna Chakra, you might get intuitions and information beyond the explanation that is true and is frequent.
It is rare, but if you have The Third Eye that is overactive, you shall not like the life that a basic human lives. It is characterised by increased involvement in psychic activities like astrology, tarot card reading, paranormal experiences, etc.
A person with hypoactive Ajna chakra (which is common) tends to turn back towards the possibility of all that is unexplained. Such people choose to live the conventional routine life and idea of stepping out of the comfort zone doesn’t entice them much. Physically it results in frequent headaches.
7. Crown or Sahaswara - Last and the most esoteric chakra of all, it is located at the top of your head and is denoted by the colour white and violet. Sahaswara is where lies the spiritual power and wisdom of an individual and explaining what this chakra does is hard. It is believed to unveil when the human mind attains enlightenment and once it is balanced and active, the person will no longer continue to be a human because all the mysteries and answers have been discovered.
There is nothing like an overactive Crown Chakra since universal understanding is infinite and an open Crown Chakra means attainment of enlightenment.
If your Crown Chakra is underactive, you feel exactly the way you are feeling right now. Like a basic human. We all live with an underactive Crown Chakra.