|[ Excerpt from The Science of Yoga, page 508 ]
The human is a being that is comprised of various intimately connected levels, from the gross manifest physical, to the more subtle energetic body, the mental plane, and the higher levels of consciousness -- all together, merely a reflective aspect (microcosm) of the totality of the infinite Universe (macrocosm). This primary principle is the fundamental basis for the esoteric concept known as the chakras, or "centres of force."
The chakras are an elemental concept within the system of tantra yoga. Recall from our brief introduction in the beginning lessons, that tantra is the ancient Indian science of energy activation and control, based on the Shiva-Shakti principle of polar energies similar to the concepts of solar and lunar energies in hatha yoga. It is within this conceptual commonality where these two system come together, exercising their influence over the energizing and harmonizing of these centres of force as one of the principle aims of practice.
Dakshina marga tantra (the 'right hand path') deals with the principles of energy in a subtle, esoteric and refined manner. The dakshina margis of this evolutionary school have cultivated a body of practices to awaken the kundalini energy, and internal rituals, concentrations and meditations which lead to a harmonizing of all the energies of the being and transcendence to higher states of awareness.
Though the chakras represent key underlying principles within the practice of hatha yoga, they are by no means introductory concepts. The Western mind, it often seems, has a somewhat childlike craving for the mystical and magical. That's no real surprise as it is characteristic of the world-bound, un-evolved consciousness to be charmed by the esoteric and mysterious ideas that one encounters within the higher realms of the spiritual disciplines. Yet this type of person readily yearns for these things right here and right now, without due consideration for what it actually takes to be able to understand and experience them.
Before one can even begin to properly perceive the subtle energies about which yoga speaks, let alone have the understanding and the mental control to properly act upon them, much preparation is needed. By and large, the average person in our quick-fix society today has little patience for these preliminary necessities.
We see all too often nowadays the modern yoga teacher catering to this impatience quite readily. I have observed teachers speaking of the chakras in a very basic and introductory yoga class. Of course what they say is of little relevance or use to the students at that level, except to perhaps enchant and entice them, which it often does.
Hence we see all kinds of silly activities popping up such as chakra-balancing workshops, where not a single disciplined or experienced yoga sadhaka can be found in the entire group -- or people giving 'chakra massages', 'chakra healings', or 'intuitive chakra readings', etc.
Without a doubt, the enigmatic and mystifying chakras remain one of the most enticing commodities on the modern yoga scene...
NOTE: This yoga article is an excerpt from The Science of Yoga, an online yoga training program with streaming yoga videos and 600 pages of step-by-step yoga instruction.
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