In the opening of Kundalini Yoga for the West, Swami Radhananda offers insights and guidance on how to use Swami Radha’s book on the Kundalini system as the map to higher consciousness…that will lead to developing a foundation of understanding and awareness from which to grow.
Swami Radhananda also writes that each cakra of the Kundalini system is related to an element, a level of consciousness and a sense perception. Robin Macdonald, Juniper Glass, Patricia Young, Lisa Sadleir-Hart, members of the 2017 Kundalini Yoga and Dream Yoga Teacher Certification/Re-Certification group, provide a guide to explore the cakras of the Kundalini system through the elements.
- First Cakra: EARTH
* Creative force, Smell
- Practice the Divine Light Invocation seeing the earth in the Light.
- Reflect on the word ‘earth’. What words, thoughts, images come to mind? Write your key words or main associations.
- Move into the Tree pose. Observe silence. Reflect on the time and seasons in your life, your connection to the earth, the sky and the sun, and how you are sustained by life.
(Inner Life of Asanas, Swami Lalitananda, p 103)
- Second Cakra: WATER
* Imagination, Taste
Water can be used as a symbol for the mind, which can flow uncontrolled and destructive, or be directed and beneficial. The kamandalu, which is a container, implies the control of water and thus the control of the mind. Therefore, it is advised to watch the mind, looking at the thoughts and images that appear, then reflecting on both the results of the exercises and the day’s events. Reasoning must be used to follow one thought to completion and to take action on whatever one has become aware of. There is no room for indulgence in emotions. This requires maturity.
(Kundalini Yoga for the West, Swami Radha, p 125)
- What does water mean to you? Write your associations. What part does it play in your life?
- Do the Divine Light Invocation and write about what emerges.
- The steady dropping of water wears down the hardest rock.
- Can you apply this to yourself in regard to spiritual practice? Or to a habit you have been able to change or an obstacle you have been able to remove?
- Third Cakra: FIRE
* Emotions, Sight
The thunderbolt is a symbol of power. It is a very powerful expression of nature that can strike and set afire that which it strikes. So the aspirant has to clearly decide if he or she wants to be set on fire with enthusiasm for success, name and fame, or wants to be consumed in the fire of seeking the Most High. Again, it does not seem possible to serve two masters or pursue two goals… the fire of passions is strong and powerful…
Fire of awareness
Fire of ambition
Fire of emotions
On fire with enthusiasm
(Kundalini Yoga for the West, Swami Radha, pp132-133)
- Chant Om Namah Shivaya. Reflection: Where is the fire in my life?
…in the Mantra, voice (speech) and emotions must work together... The emotions expressed in mantra can be hope, longing, determination, or desire to achieve the power of the mantra…
(Kundalini Yoga for the West, Swami Radha, pp 136-137)
- Reflection: What am I burning to know?
- Chant Om Namah Shivaya expressing this desire.
- Fourth Cakra: AIR
* Abode of Mercy (Spiritual Experiences), Touch/feelings
Now that the foundation has been laid in the first three cakras, some development will take its own course and bring about new experiences…It is circumstances that force this process, which is long and slow in the ordinary course of life. . . cleaning out the cupboards of the mind, taking down from the shelves old accumulated concepts that have dust over the years without yielding benefits. This process makes ‘space’ for extraordinary experiences…
(Kundalini Yoga for the West, Swami Radha, p 178)
- Can you see through all the tricks the mind and emotions play? Take time to reflect on insights gained through this exploration. Can you identify old concepts created by your mind and emotions?
The fourth cakra controls air as well as touch. It is important to observe how speech comes about…When we speak, we set up currents in the air and we are responsible for these currents…Let your mind create the atmosphere, let your feelings express that mood…and approach the Most High in an attitude of gratitude, awe and wonder.
(Kundalini Yoga for the West, Swami Radha, p 172-173)
- How do you cultivate gratitude and humility? What does it feel like?
- Sit quietly and still your mind with the 4/4 breath and move into the following reflection:
Visualize a beautiful garden. Remove any weeds you see growing. See a wishing well and make a wish. Find something of great value in your garden. Reflect on the meaning of these images you see. What is the message?
(The Yoga of Healing, Swami Radha, p 101)
- Make note of the message you receive. Practice the Divine Light Invocation and place this message in the Light.
- Fifth Cakra: ETHER
* Will, Hearing
Ethereal is defined as: light, airy, heavenly, of unearthly delicacy of substance, character or appearance, something of great subtlety or transparency. To hear the music of the spheres would be an ethereal experience. To hear the Goddess or Devi speak and the sound of the cosmic AUM is the crown of all experiences through the sense of hearing… Hearing is a subtle process. It is indeed ethereal because the interfering voices that prevent us from hearing are our own thoughts.
(Kundalini Yoga for the West, Swami Radha, p 231)
- Chant AUM. Be aware of the subtle vibrations you feel or hear. Write about your experience.