Chakras & Nadis

By Swami Nirmalananda & Vidyadevi Stillman

Yoga’s map of chakras is very well known, a beautiful description of the multidimensional reality within your own body.  Yogis perceived and mapped these energies thousands of years ago.  You may have seen modern drawings of different colored lotuses along a spine, depicting the human energetics system.  Your spine is the main energy channel (nadi) of the 72,000,000 nadis that make up your body.

Three nadis are primary: the central channel through your spine plus one on each side.  Your left and right nadis crisscross several times, creating energy whirlpools that are your primary chakras.  Located along your spine, they are in the center of your torso, both front-to-back and side-to-side.  Each is an energy vortex that can blossom like a lotus, though currently partially closed and probably imbalanced. 

So many books and internet sites offer information though few report yoga’s teachings accurately.  Swami Nirmalananda says, “Artistic misrepresentations don’t help you explore the mystical dimensions within; like a GPS gone awry, they lead you in the wrong direction.”  So, what do you need to know?

Every chakra has multiple colors in it, not the single color usually depicted.  The different colors in the lotus center, on the petals, and in the Sanskrit letters on each petal have deep significance, along with other intricacies to be blissfully explored within.

You have no blue or green chakras.  It is not a rainbow in there!  As you explore, you will find a lot of red in various centers, which is the color of energy, blood and embodiment.

Chakras are grouped along your spine, not evenly spaced.  Check the accuracy of a drawing by seeing if the lower three chakras are all below your waist.  Many modern writers and artists don’t accurately separate your first 2 chakras, at the bottom and top of your tailbone, only 1½ – 2” apart.

You have only 6 main chakras, not 7.  The energy center at the top of your head is not a chakra, because it is not a whirlpool where nadis cross.  And it’s already open.  This is the good news.

The value of this map of Consciousness is that it clearly displays the inner process of spiritual development, uplifting your focus from your lower three chakras, through your upper three and beyond.  Chakras 1, 2 & 3 are about external circumstances and your power of choice; 4, 5 & 6 are about progressive openings into transcendental consciousness.  Beyond chakras, your sahasrar blossoms you into what you have always been, though you didn’t know.

Before Kundalini can arise, She descends — Shakti (cosmic energy) contracting to become the individual and the universe.  This contraction is from top-to-tail, a downward flow through increasing levels of densification and individuality.  Shakti locks Herself down in a coil just below the tip of your tailbone, at which point She is kundala (coiled), therefore called “Kundalini.”

Svaroopa® yoga pose sequences always start at your tailbone, creating an inner opening from tail-to-top.  This invites your next step: the unlocking of the energy at the tip of your tailbone for the inner arising of Consciousness-Itself (Kundalini).  For this you need shaktipat, the awakening of Kundalini.  This is the job of the Shaktipat Masters.  Swami Nirmalananda says, “This is the great gift I received from my Baba, and share with you today.”

Originally published September 2017