Acknowledge this image from the Internet illustrating locations of the chakras, energy centers, in our mind body energy system.
Shiva says in the sixth dharana sutra,
Piercing the 12 centers understanding their 12 letters
Liberated center by center from gross to subtle
Shakti merges with Shiva
The letters Shiva refers to are the seed sounds or beej mantras associated with the Chakras. These are lam, vam, ram, yam, ham for the first five and om for the rest. Each chakra forms a multi-petal lotus of a specific color, with a guardian deity and associated element of nature. While these form factors are relevant from a tantric ritualistic viewpoint, i refrain from discussing these for one good reason. These rituals are highly dangerous, unless initiated by an experienced teacher under personal guidance. This has been my experience.
Simple and safe meditations can energize the chakras and allow the kundalini energy Shakti to ascend from the muladhara to the sahasrara without any harm to the practitioner.
My knowledge and experience, based on what i have read, practised and experienced cover 7 out of these 12 chakras. I shall discuss them one by one over the next few posts.
A safe meditation to energize the chakras:
Sit with your back straight in line with your neck and head in a chair or cross-legged on the floor. Close your eyes. Breathe deeply, inhaling and exhaling deeply, for a few minutes. Shift the cycle to include a pause, a holding, between inhalation and exhalation as well as exhalation and inhalation. There are now four parts to your breathing; inhalation, pause holding the inhaled breath, exhalation, pause holding the exhaled breath. Let the periods of inhalation, exhalation and pause be based on your comfort, if needed varied. Follow this for some time. Do not get caught with keeping time on inhalation, exhalation and pause or how many cycles. Let it happen.
Counting seconds as you breathe or even setting a timer to tell you when your time is up act counter to meditation. Your thoughts are then on the time and not on the breath or the chakra. When you practise this or any meditation, stop worrying about time. Allow the mind body energy to tell you how long is long enough.
After this, shift your attention to the part between your nostrils and your upper lip. watch your breath as it falls on this part. Let your breath continue on whatever cycle it feels comfortable in. Be aware of only your breath. Be aware of how it exits, how it enters, where it falls and how. Be aware of the sensations of the breath. If thought occur, shift the awareness to your breath as soon as you are aware of other thoughts. Stay with this for some time, as long as you’re comfortable.
Slowly, shift your attention to your muladhara chakra. Place your awareness on the perineum region, where your thighs meet your trunk. As you focus on this point, you will start feeling a vibration or energy movement or some sensation. Stay here till you feel this energy.
(For first timers, a useful point to feel the vibration or energy or pulse or sensation of any energy center is to focus either on the anahata at the heart region or the ajna between eye brows. Practise staying here till you can feel the movement of the heart or the third eye. Once you experience this , you can try the same with other energy centers.)
If you wish to deepen the experience, visualize a beautiful light, of whatever color it happens to be, radiating from this chakra. Feel its brilliance. Feel its warmth.
After some time, slowly shift your awareness to your groin, to the swadishthana chakra. Feel the vibrations here. Visualize the brilliant light.
Step by step, chakra by chakra, move upwards through the manipuraka chakra in the navel region, anahata chakra in the heart region, visuddhi chakra in the throat region, ajna chakra between the eyebrows and end finally at the sahasrara chakra at the crown of the head.
Always, but always, start with the muladhara and end with the sahasrara. Do not stop midway at any chakra. This may cause an unpleasant energy block.
The chakras are not specific points. They are whirlpools of energy in their locations. There is no need for precision in focus. Merely place your awareness in the region of the chakras. Gradually, you will experience the sensation and energy of the chakras.
As Shiva says, the energy gets subtler as one moves up. One may not feel the churn of a muladhara at the ajna, but the effect is far stronger.
Those who are keen to know more about the mantras and other form aspects of the chakras can read Ascent from Bihar School of Yoga, The Serpent Power by Arthur Avalone, Vigyana Bhairava Tantra by Laxman Joo. In my experience and for my use, i have not found the knowledge of the form relevant to my practice on the formless Shakti.
Throughout the Vigyana Bhairava Tantra, Shiva returns to the energies of the chakras. He provides specific dharana (focusing) and dhayna meditation) exercises related to different chakras. One can use these techniques to selectively activate one’s chakras.
What for, you may ask? How will it benefit me?
Each of the chakras is responsible for specific emotional states. When the chakras are blocked in a low energy state we feel deprived and depressed in that emotional state. When the chakras are energized we feel uplifted and liberated. Shall explain the link between chakras and emotional states later.
Shiva’s techniques enhance our Emotional Quotient, in addition to our Spiritual Quotient. Anger subsides, fear recedes, stress relaxes, compassion blooms, uniqueness heightens, ego dissolves and bliss radiates.
For now, do practise the chakra meditation i explained earlier, which is safe.