We complete our study of the chakras with the seventh chakra, known as the Sahasrara Chakra. Each chakra has been a progressive journey from our connection to self and the world to a union with the more subtle aspects of interconnection. This chakra, located at the crown of the head, governs our connection with the divine. Some say that as yogis practice consistently and awaken the kundalini energy within, this travels up the Shushmna, or central channel of energy within the body along which all seven chakras are aligned, and bursts through the crown chakra to complete the union of our earthly selves with the limitless that is the divine within and around us.
This chakra is nicknamed “the thousand petaled lotus,” a name that symbolized the infinite levels available that one can access and experience the divine. This symbolism epitomizes the beauty of the many paths laid out before us in our journey of the human spirit that lead home. These paths encompass all religions and philosophies written and unwritten, each path that brings a person further from the illusion of isolation and closer to the truth of the interconnectedness of all beings.
Just as the outer paths of our world all lead to this union and opening of the seventh chakra, so does yoga offer many paths to gain this access. Whether you are a yogini practicing Hatha Yoga or Kundalini, the path is available to you. So is it illuminated in the last of Patanjali’s niyamas, Ishvarapranidhana, which translates to seeing the divine in all, or surrendering to the will of God. The seventh chakra can also be accessed through meditation and the practice of Kirtan, chanting yogic mantra together in groups.
A seventh chakra out of balance can lead to an over-intellectualism regarding the spiritual, an addiction to spiritual, confusion, dissociation, and in extreme cases, mental illnesses such as schizophrenia. A lack of energy reaching this chakra can lead to learning difficulties, spiritual skepticism, materialism, and apathy. The demon of the seventh chakra is attachment. When we attach ourselves to an idea, an object, or to a worldview, we naturally close ourselves off to other options. Think of the mountain climber who pauses on a comfortable ledge rather than pushing through boundaries to reach the summit of the mountain. The right of the Sahasrara chakra is the right to know. This knowledge is experiential, not something that can be gained solely by reading books and engaging with the world only through your mind. Rather, the practice of placing yourself humbly at the feet of creation, experiencing the awe and beauty, sacred and profane that make up this world and truley feeling that within your heart can lead to peak experiences that open the Sahasrara chakra.
The beauty of the chakras is that we are always in a constant state of grace and transformation. As one chakra finds balance, another tips slowly out. This guide I’ve posted can help you find tools that will bring each chakra more into alignment. As you study and work with the chakras, your knowledge of yourself and the human experience will grow, as will your compassion and awareness of the subtle energies at work within each of us. There is so much joy available on this journey!
One of my favorite resources for chakra work is the invaluable book Eastern Body Western Mind by Judith Anodea. This is an amazing reference book with many exercises given to help find alignment in the chakras as well as a detailed analysis of how the chakra system synchs with various western psychological philosophies. If my series of chakras peaks your interest, this book is a fabulous place to continue your studies.
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