In this book, together with each practice, a particular point is recommended for concentration. If the aim is to relax and gain optimum physical benefit from yoga practices, it si necessary to concentrate on something. By directing the mind to a specific region of the body or to the breath, the effect of a particular practice is increased. Sometimes one of the chakras or psychic centres is also used as a point for spiritual concentration.
On a physical level, chakras are associated with the major nerve plexuses and endocrine glands in the body. 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training in Rishikesh Many asanas have a particularly powerful and beneficial effect on one or more of these glands or plexuses. For example, sarvangasana exerts a strong pressure on the thyroid gland in the throat region, which is associated with vishuddhi chakra. The thyroid is given a good massage and its functioning is greatly improved. However; if the concentration is directed to this chakra while performing the asana, the beneficial effects will be increased.
Definition of chakra
The word chakra literally means ‘wheel’ or ‘circle’. But in the yogic context a better translation is ‘vortex’ or ‘whirlpool’. The chakras are vortices of pranic energy at specific areas in the body which control the circulation of prana permeating the entire human structure. Each chakra is a switch which turns on or opens up patterns of behavior, thought or emotional reactions which may have been unconscious in our everday life. They relate to specific areas of the brain, and in most people these psychic centres lie dormant and inactive.
Concentration on the chakras while performing yogic practices stimulates the flow of energy through the chakras and helps to activate them. This in turn awakens the dormant areas in the brain and the corresponding faculties in the psychic and mantal bodies, allowing one to experience planes of consciousness which are normally inaccessible.
The major chakras are seven in number and are located along the pathway of sushumna, and energy channel which flows through the centre of the spinal cord. Sushumna originates at the perineum and terminates at the top of the head. The chakras are connected to a network of psychic channels called nadis, which correspond to the nerves, but are more subtle in nature.
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