Based my experiences, I have come to believe the concepts of "chakras" and "qi" stem from people trying to explain the sensations of a body that is dynamically balanced and aligned.
"Chakra" is probably the most well-known terminology in English for a concept that appears in many traditions. I remain vague about 'many traditions' (my knowledge is insufficient to comment) and I include no specific definition for "chakra" but the existence of chakras is a topic that appears to split people (who have an opinion on the topic and inhabit the online world) into two camps - those who talk of chakras as if they are real phenomenon and those that say it all sounds like nonsense.
I would classify my starting knowledge as almost zero. I've seen the typical posters (go-ogle images) but I've never been to a yoga class and don't even have another example of where I might encounter chakras.
But when I started working with my Base-Line - focusing on activating my pelvic floor muscles and then my rectus abdominis muscles section by section from pubic symphysis to chest - I found myself thinking 'red, orange, yellow, green ...' and the concept of chakras came to mind.
I went looking for the original source of chakras (internet trawling).
Reading the blurbs from a couple of "classic" chakra books instinct/rational thought said to me this is not the right path for me to take. Most information that appears via go-ogle is an echo-chamber - energy centres, meditation, blockages, symbols, colours, petals ... It gets flaky fast.
I did however deem a couple of articles bookmark worthy at the time:
1. Hinduism/concepts/chakras. A couple of lines that stood out:
I stopped reading at the "seven basic chakras" during my original research.
I felt no need to read further.
2. Tantrik studies. Makes some interesting points on how chakras are portrayed and the modern associations with them. A few lines:
Use the word 'imagine' before the details.
My research left me with a feeling of vagueness, something there but not solid.
Qi translates as "air" and figuratively as "material energy".
Prana translates as "breath", the "vital force" forming part of any living entity.
Many labels the same concept?
An experience, a sensation?
They are clues to help develop the connection between body and mind, not details to be memorised and regurgitated.
Now I feel better than I ever have done before - body and mind more relaxed, calmer, balanced, connected.
Something to be felt to be understood.
Words to help guide us to enlightenment.
How would I describe my ever-increasing awareness of the position, motion and balance of my body? I've gone with 'sparkles' but "energy" could describe what I feel and visualise when working from Base-Line.
I believe "blockages in energy" are due to the physical restrictions that form in our connective tissue system. These restrictions reduce our range of movement and affect sensory feedback from the body, creating 'blank spaces' and causing the signals to be misaligned on the 'body map' in our mind.
Releasing the restrictions allows the sparkles to be experienced - the 'energy' to flow.
I've felt the sensation of twirling/swirling in my tissues as I released physical restrictions. Could these be the basis of "energy vortexes"?
Chakra are prescriptions - something to imagine - visualising shapes and patterns to increase our awareness of our anatomy.
I would be very interested to compare the original words in the Upanishads to the anatomy of the main muscles of movement and the associated connective tissues (bones, cartilage, ligaments, tendons, aponeuroses etc.)
The following comments are some clues to the puzzle of the human experience of chakras and qi. (This section is a work in progress but ultimately details aren't important, it's your experience of your body that counts):
The "root chakra" represents the pelvic floor muscles.
The individual muscles could be prescribed as petals of a flower.
The pelvic floor is a crescent shape the median plane.
The "7 chakra system" from pelvic floor working up the sections of the rectus abdominis and trapezius muscles.
The rib cage linking the top of the rectus abdominis at front to the base of the trapezius muscles at the back.
The shapes of the connective tissue attaching the trapezius muscle to the back of the skull.
The linea alba and nuchal & supraspinous ligaments a string from 'head to tail 'that should be felt to fully extend and align with the median plane.
I imagine a ribbon that runs through the body from pubic symphysis of the pelvis to external occipital protuberance at the back of the skull. The ribbon should be able to flex and rotate at every level without crumpling, our central core from where the rest of the body extends.
In the legs, the aponeuroses (sheets of connective tissue) that sandwich the muscular tissue of each rectus femoris muscle from hip to shin at the front of the thighs.
The gluteus maximus balls of muscle connecting the legs to the torso
We are electro-chemical beings, a constant movement of ions and electrons.
Somewhere along the line I started to think: proton-electron ~ yin-yang.
A thought experiment: Think of electrons as positive, protons as negative. Does it change your perspective at all?
© Copyright Leigh Blyth BVM&S 2017-2020