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Sunday, November 18, 2012


In order to bring calmness to my mind I like to breathe through the chakras. For me, it is more effective than focusing on the whole body, probably because I have been doing it for so long. I came across the chakra system about 20 years ago while searching through ancient Hindu texts - the Vedas. Having some knowledge of anatomy, the chakra system made perfect sense to me.

The chakra system is composed of  seven chakras or little "wheels"  that run up and down the spine. They correspond perfectly to the main nerve plexuses and glands in the human body and therefore could be influenced quite easily by our breathing and thought processes. Looking further into this ancient system of chakras I learned they are still held quite highly by many practitioners of meditation.

                                          The seven chakras of the human body

I started using the chakra system about 15 years ago to focus my concentration and breath to help me go to sleep at night. It proved to be very effective. Now, I not only use it to fall asleep but every time I begin my meditation practice.  It seems like it just is the natural thing to do.

I begin the chakra breathing by imagining my breath coming in the bottom of the first chakra, at the base of the spine, around and over the top of the chakra. I visualize my breath coming into the front of my body as though there was a hole there. As my breath goes in, around, and out, the chakra turns. I might do 15 or more slow breaths for each chakra from the first one to the last one at the top of my head. It takes about 20 - 30 minutes to go through all seven chakras.

This is how I envision the chakras (above) when I am doing sitting meditation. When I breathe into and out of the chakra my concentration is focused on the turning of the wheel. My mind becomes very calm and relaxed as I go up each chakra, one at a time. By the time I get to the last chakra, at the top of the head, I am as relaxed as I possible could be without falling asleep. I then become the observer of my mind and thoughts, if there are any, without getting emotionally involved.

The practice of observing thoughts during meditation helps me to be able to observe my thoughts during the day. For example, if someone cuts me off in traffic and a discouraging thought like, "You stupid fool," pops up, I can catch it and relax and not get caught up in the negative emotion.  It makes life a lot easier.

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