Working with the sixth chakra
Where Ida & Pingala meet Shushuma, where shiva and shakti conjoin. The union of opposites, intuition and wisdom.
(in Indian thought) each of seven centres of spiritual power in the human body.
When we go beyond the fifth Chakra to the sixth, seventh and eight, we are beyond the gross element. We’ve gone through all the transformations of our ordinary experience that are coded by earth, water, fire, air and ether. So there are no specific gross elements associated with this chakra.
The sixth chakra allows mastery over the flow of the mind. Its often represented by light, but in this case it is the inner light. This is also the chakra we can use to master the duality of the mind. With the symbol of two petals representing the plus and minus contained in every thought.
Anytime the intellect gives you a ‘yes’ it automatically implies a ‘no’. Anytime it gives you light, it also implies a darkness. To master the sixth chakra is to never be confused by any of the polarities of life and to be able to read between the polarities, between the lines.
Even the gland, the pituitary, that relates to this chakra, actually has two parts, the anterior and the posterior pituitary. During human growth, each of the two parts of the physical gland migrate from a different origin, and yet they intertwine.
Typically the well recognised chanting of ‘ong’ – with the sound ng stimulates the cavity in the skull in which the pituitary rests. When that cavity is vibrated properly, the pituitary gland awakens and triggers more active relationship to the other key higher gland, the pineal gland.
NĀDĪS are energy channels through which PRĀNA (conscious energy) flows
Nadi is an important concept in Hindu philosophy, mentioned and described in the sources some of which have about 3,000 years of history. The amount of nadis of the human body are claimed to be up to hundred-of-thousands and even millions. In regard to Kundalini yoga, there are three important nadis: ida, pingala, and sushumna. Ida (इडा, iḍā “comfort”) lies to the left of the spine, whereas pingala (पिङ्गल, piṅgala “tawny (brown)”, “golden”, “solar”) is to the right side of the spine, mirroring the ida. Sushumna (सुषुम्णा, suṣumṇā “very gracious”, “kind”) runs along the spinal cord in the centre, through the seven chakras. Under the correct conditions the energy of kundalini is said to uncoil and enter sushumna through the brahma dwara or gate of Brahma at the base of the spine.
- IDĀ arises in the left side of the body and represents the moon principle
- PINGALĀ begins on the right side of the body and symbolises the sun principle.
- SUSHUMNĀ runs through the central channel of the spinal cord and represents the consciousness.
On the physical level PINGALĀ has its counterpart in the Parasympathetic Nervous System, IDĀ in the Sympathetic Nervous System, and SUSHUMNĀ in the Central Nervous System.
The moon symbolises the mind with its changeable feelings, whereas the sun represents the intellect. Just as our emotions and thoughts change constantly, the moon is also constantly changing its form. The intellect, however, is a stable and constant principle like the sun. Only when harmony and balance prevail between the moon system and sun system are we healthy and capable of developing further mentally and spiritually.
Idā and Pingalā begin in the brain at approximately the level of the Pituitary Gland. Idā has an effect on the right side of the brain whilst Pingalā influences the left hemisphere. To maintain balance both Nādīs run in a snake-like course from one side of the body to the other. At the points where they cross they also meet with the central Nādī, Sushumnā. At those places where the power and radiance of the sun and moon meet, together with the strengthening effect of the Sushumnā, very powerful energy centres called CHAKRAS form.
The first crossing of the Nādīs at the top of the spinal column forms the Throat Chakra (Vishuddhi Chakra) and the last crossing at the base of the spinal column forms the Root Centre (Mūlādhāra Chakra). Here the Idā Nādī flows on the left side of the body and the Pingalā Nādī on the right side, and it is precisely here that our dormant consciousness lies hidden.
At several places along the spinal column the Nādīs form a type of knot (GRANTHI), each of which constitutes a key point in our spiritual development. When these knots are “untied” the energy located within them is activated and the hidden powers (SIDDHIS) are given to us as healing powers, the seeing of past and future, the seeing of auras, and other supernatural abilities.
Where Idā and Pingalā begin in the brain at approximately the level of the Pituitary Gland.
The sixth chakra is at the brow point. It corresponds to the pituitary gland, where Ajana means to command. The Ajana Chakra is the command chakra. It is here that you reach the integrity and integration of the personality. It is from here that you get the sense of intuition of the direction that you want to go.
It is here that the major channels of energy the ida, the pingala and the sushmuna, all come together. The three rivers of inner energy meet as one at the Ajna Chakra. This is the chakra that is associated with what is called the eye that goes beyond the two eyes. The two eyes give you dimension in the normal world. The third eye gives you depth, dimension and scope in the subtle worlds.
Bringing ida and pingala (the two hemispheres of the brain) into equilibrium is a major focus of hatha yoga – so important, in fact, that the term hatha symbolizes this balance.
The Shiva Samhita treatise on yoga states, for example, that out of 350,000 nadis 14 are particularly important, and among them, the three just mentioned are the three most vital.
The word nadi comes from the Sanskrit root nad meaning “channel”, “stream”, or “flow”. Special breathing techniques influence the flow of prana (life energy) within these nadis.
Sodarsha Chakra Kriya combines the mantra wha hay guru with alternate nostril breathing to balance the mind.
“Of all the 20 types of yoga, including Kundalini Yoga, this is the highest Kriya. This meditation cuts through all darkness. It will give you a new start.
It is the simplest kriya, but at the same time the hardest. It cuts through all barriers of the neurotic or psychotic inside-nature. When a person is in a very bad state, techniques imposed from the outside will not work. The pressure has to be stimulated from within.
The tragedy of life is when the subconscious releases garbage into the conscious mind. This kriya invokes the Kundalini to give you the necessary vitality and intuition to combat the negative effects of the subconscious mind.
There is no time, no place, no space, and no condition attached to this mantra. Each garbage point has its own time to clear. If you are going to clean your own garbage, you must estimate and clean it as fast as you can, or as slow as you want.
Start practicing slowly; the slower the better. Start with five minutes a day, and gradually build the time to either 31 or 62 minutes. Maximum time is 2-1/2 hours for practice of this meditation.”
We are able to activate and harmonise the Nādīs through the breath. When we breathe through the left nostril in Prānāyāma we activate the Idā Nādī.
The Idā Nādī cools, quietens and refreshes body and mind like the silvery light of the moon. Pingalā Nādī, however, which is influenced by breathing through the right nostril has a warming and activating influence, in the same way as sunshine warms the earth and stimulates the growth of vegetation.
Conscious breathing exercises, or pranayama, are a big part of yoga, and they’re among the key tools — particularly when working with clients who are experiencing stress or anxiety. In Western contexts, diaphragmatic breathing is the most commonly known breathing technique but new scientific research is beginning to shed light on other pranayama techniques and their benefits. Where Breathing consciously is a powerful act. The process of breathing sits directly at the interface of our voluntary nervous system (aspects of our physiology under our conscious control) and our autonomic nervous system (aspects generally not under conscious control). It’s a direct path for us to communicate quickly to the brain via what we do with our body. It also offers a direct link for balancing the sympathetic (fight-or-flight) and parasympathetic (rest-and-relax) branches of the nervous system.
Alternate nostril breathing, has a long history in Ayurvedic medicine and yoga, where it’s thought to harmonize the two hemispheres of the brain, resulting in a balanced in physical, mental and emotional well-being. While science has yet to really explore what might be going on in terms of hemispheric functioning during this practice, recent studies have confirmed some pretty powerful effects of this practice.
The Sushumnā Nādī is only active for certain short periods of time (for example, at dawn and dusk). When the three main Nādīs unite only one stream of consciousness flows – the spiritual energy of the Sushumnā Nādī. The energy also flows through this Nādī in deep meditation and in Samādhī. For as long as the Sushumnā is inactive we are plagued by constantly changing CHITTA VRITTIS – thoughts, emotions, worries, etc. But once the Sushumnā begins to flow the waves of the mind come to rest and we “bathe” in the bliss of divine consciousness.
Posture: Sit with a straight spine. You may be in Easy Pose or on a chair, wherever you can keep your spine straight and be comfortable.
Mudra and Breath: Using the thumb and index fingers of the right hand, make a “U” of the two fingers, using the thumb to close off the right nostril and the index finger to close off the left nostril.
Close the left nostril, inhale deeply through the right nostril. At the end of the inhale, close the right nostril and exhale through the left nostril.
Now inhale through the left nostril fully and deeply, then close the left nostril and exhale through the right one.
Again, inhale through the right nostril and continue alternate nostril breathing. The breath must be complete and full on both the inhalation and exhalation cycles.
Time: Continue for 3 – 5 minutes.
To End: Inhale deeply, hold the breath a few seconds, lower the hand, and exhale.
Sit in any comfortable seated position. Relax the body and breath naturally for a few moments, allowing your mind and body to settle.
Practice with Mantra
Posture: Sit in Easy Pose with a straight spine, and a light Neck Lock.
Eyes: The eyes are fixed at the tip of the nose. (This meditation is not to be done with the eyes closed.)
Breath and Mantra:
a) Block the right nostril with the right thumb. Inhale slowly and deeply through the left nostril. Suspend the breath.
Mentally chant the mantra Wha-Hay Gu-Roo 16 times.
Pull the navel in 1/3 of the way on Wha, 1/3 farther on Hay, and all the way in on Guroo. Repeat this process, mentally chanting the mantra.
b) After the 16 repetitions, unblock the right nostril. Place the right index finger (pinkie finger can also be used) to block off the left nostril, and exhale slowly and deeply through the right nostril.
Continue repeating a) and b).
Time: Continue for 11 – 31 minutes. Master practitioners may extend this practice to 62 minutes, then to 2-1/2 hours a day.
Inhale, hold the breath 5-10 seconds, then exhale. Stretch the arms up and shake every part of your body for 1 minute, so the energy can spread.
Close your eyes and begin by softly closing your right nostril (using your right thumb) and inhale slowly, deeply, smoothly, gently and without strain through your left nostril.
Close your left nostril (using your ring and little fingers) and release closure of your right. Exhale through your right nostril. Inhale through your right nostril.
Close your right nostril and release closure of your left. Exhale through your left nostril.
This completes one round. Continue the pattern from steps 4-7 for as long as you wish. When you’re finished: relax both arms, sit and breathe naturally for a few moments before opening your eyes.
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