Generally I finish a book before I review it but I find myself so excited about "Chakra Meditation" by Swami Saradananda that I find myself wanting to write about it almost from the start.
This is not my first chakra book but it is already shaping up to be one of the best. The author, Swami Saradananda, served as editor of Yoga Life and is the current director of the Sivananda Yoga Centers in NY, London and Delhi and her understanding of the topic seems to be on a par with her credentials. I learned something I found valuable from the introduction.
In the first few pages Saradananda describes the chakras as "seven focal points of radiant power or vital energy, within the subtle body." According to Saradananda these points may be conceived of as energetic centers approximating physical nerves, vortexes of energy, centers of spiritual consciousness or a developmental map.
She goes on to say that they may also be thought of as gears which shift energy up or down. A wonderful example illustrates the downward shift of an inspiration drawn through the crown chakra, transformed by brow chakra energy, discussed with friends (throat chakra), taken to heart (heart chakra) transformed into a reality via solar plexus energy, watered by dreams (sacral chakra) and finally taking root and increasing in structure and density and physical form in the root chakra.
It is an analogy that works with ideas, food or any sort of creative endeavor which we sometimes literally, sometimes figuratively, birth into being. I have never thought of the chakras quite like that but the information as it was given really clicked for me.
Saradananda illustrates the upward flow of energy as well, describing the process of energetic transformation from the lowest chakra and the solidity of earth through the higher chakras, becoming progressively freer lighter and less restricted until said energy transcends the elements and awakens consciousness. I found both illustrations very helpful in my understanding of the chakra system.
This information is followed by a traditional and very illuminating discussion of chakras including "ancient origins, modern methods," the three bodies of yogic subtle anatomy, prana and nadis, kundalini, an introductory chakra meditation and preliminary breathing exercises. The remainder of the book, which I have only browsed, deals with each major chakra in turn.
Each of the main chakra sections includes a full page, color yantra (like a mandala) and several meditations (yantra meditation, as well as meditations on related elements and emotions). Recommendations are given for flower essences, essential oils, crystals and incense specific to each of the main chakras. Additionally each section includes detailed, but not intimidating, yoga poses. It seems to be a truly comprehensive program for working with the chakras.
I am really quite excited about the book. Putting it into practice now!
Check Out My Chakra Series Here:
- Root Chakra Week 1 & Summing Up the Root Chakra (Root Chakra 2)
- Radiating Orange (Sacral Chakra)
- Finding My Center: Self-Confidence and the Solar Plexus Chakra (Solar Plexus Chakra)
- The Fourth Chakra and the Energy of Nature (Heart Chakra)
- The Chakras as a System (Synergy / Throat Chakra)
- A Wall Of Azure Blue: Meditating on the 6th Chakra (Third Eye Chakra)
- The Crown Chakra and the Capriciousness of Spirit (Crown Chakra)