By Martha Wiedemann
At some point or another we have heard the word ‘Chakra.’ It may conjure up several ideas or mysticism, but I’m going to try and simplify their function and importance. Chakras are energy centers within the subtle body. They are often identified by visual images with colors, symbols and specific locations within the physical body. Whilst this helps us to have a visual understanding of how energy is represented within our being, one should not become fixated by its colors, locations and symbols as physical attributes. We need to keep in mind that chakras are part of the subtle body and, therefore, intangible. Making reference to their colors, images and their zones can be helpful when doing the work on harnessing energy. Energy work is best done by each individual for their own benefit. Before we go further, I will define some relevant key words which relate to this subject on energy
Chakra Wheel or moving circle of energy. Energy center within the subtle body which governs the functions of the physical body and the mind
Prana is the life-force
Pranayama the use of breath to control and expand life-force through the body
Nadis are the channels which distribute energy and life-force
Opening the energy flow within is most effective through practices of Pranayama. We source Prana from our environment through breath. Polluted environments disturb the quality of Prana needed for all living organisms to thrive. Over exposure to pollution, recycled air, and superficial breathing reduces the supply and flow of Prana through our system. This can lead to lethargy, dullness, depression, general fatigue, premature aging, poor immunity and disease. Breathing is an unconscious act which becomes disturbed through mental and physical stress. On the other hand, we can reduce the impact of stress by the practice of conscious breathing.
Dawn is generally the cleanest time in nature and, therefore, the best time of the day to practice Pranayama. Find a comfortable space in a well aired room, terrace or garden for your practice. This exercise is best practiced sitting cross legged on the ground or on a cushion. If this is uncomfortable, you may sit on a chair. Face north or east. Try to keep your back straight throughout the exercise. Place one hand on your navel and the other on your knee. Commence with a simple natural breathing, remaining conscious, allowing each breath to open and deepen. Exhale completely, releasing contaminated air and tension. Take your breath further into the belly around the navel area and hold it for a few moments, activating the first 3 Chakras and moving energy upwards, eventually creating a circuit of energy through all the chakras. Focus on the powerful, intangible life-force pulsating through your system, with each breath activating the Chakras, opening the Nadis for Prana to flow through and enlivening all your cells and energizing your system. There are several techniques of Pranayama and many designed for specific conditions. You may want to explore them through the aid of an instructor. This daily practice of Pranayama is an effective and simple way to harness your energy.