During the summer months, I decided to focus my Thursday morning Kundalini yoga classes on the eight chakras (in Kundalini yoga we recognize not just seven but eight—the eighth being the Aura or electromagnetic field). Since it was summer, I called the class series the “Chakra Cruise” and some of us, really got into it, even wearing the chakra colors: red for the first, orange for the second, yellow for the third, and so on. We learned a lot and had a good time.
I will admit when I first heard about the concept of the chakras—subtle wheels of energy in the body—many years ago, I thought it was a bunch of silly gobbledygook. If I could not see them, then why should I believe in them? If my doctor could not identify or treat them, then why should I care if they were “balanced” or “blocked?”
But, as with so many things in life, over time I began to realize that indeed the chakras—even though they didn’t show up on an X-ray—were quite real. And, when I began the practice of Kundalini yoga, their qualities and effects became even more apparent.
During our “Chakra Cruise,” I used two wonderful books. One is called The 8 Human Talents by Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa, and the other is The Kundalini Yoga Experience by Guru Dharam Khalsa and Darryl O’Keeffe. If you’re interested in the chakra system I would highly recommend both books. I took most of the kriyas we practiced during the eight-week series from Guru Dharam’s book and used Gurmukh’s text to give background. I love the way Gurmukh describes the qualities of the chakras. For instance, writing about the first chakra, which relates to the Earth element, she observes, “It can be the red of the burning ember at the center of a roaring fire, or it can be the musty red of clay, or the deep crimson of a ruby forged by pressure deep within the earth.” Gurmukh brings the chakras to life, and her book is a great way to dig deeper.
Just to review, here is a brief summary of the chakras, all of which work together to create harmony and balance:
After our metaphorical “Chakra Cruise” ended, I took a “real” cruise on the Seine River from Paris to Northern France and back. I’d never been to Europe, and the experience was amazing. In my past life—before Kundalini Yoga, that is—fear would have kept me from flying to France and I would have imagined and invented many obstacles that would have prevented me from such a journey. But all that has changed since I opened to this practice, and as I sat on the deck of the river boat, watching castles, swans, and barges float by, I thanked my lucky stars (and the Divine) for…
The Chakra system is a wonderful tool to help us navigate our human experience. I hope you’ll join us the next time we leave port!
What is your relationship your chakras or the idea of chakras? How do they come up in your life. We'd love to hear from you. Please comment below. Sat Nam.
Kathy (Harjot Kaur) has been practicing yoga for more than a decade and completed her Level 1 (200 hr) teacher training with Gurudass Kaur Khalsa. She began practicing Kundalini yoga six years ago; a breast cancer survivor, she found it to be a wellspring of courage, trust and joy. The author of the memoir Yin, Yang, Yogini: A Woman’s Quest for Balance, Strength and Inner Peace, Kathryn blogs frequently for the Kundalini yoga music website SpiritVoyage.com. Her spiritual name, Harjot, means “light of the creative Divine.” Kathy is excited to share her light and love with her students at Montclair Kundalini Yoga; she strongly believes that Kundalini yoga is for everybody and every body: There is something for everyone on this uplifting, heart-centered path. She is also a practitioner of Iyengar and Vinyasa yoga and is deeply grateful to all her teachers. Join Kathy on Thursday mornings for Kundalini Yoga & Meditation. She plays the gong for relaxation.
Co-owner and Instructor of Montclair Kundalini Yoga, Cate Baily (Arvind Dev Kaur) is ever grateful to share these teachings. Full bio here.