Book Report – Eastern Body, Western Mind

Psychology and the Chakra System as a Path to the Self. Anodea Judith.

I brought this book from a super sweet book/clothing store while holidaying in Raglan last summer, so was stoked to see this on my book report list for my yoga teacher training cert.

I studied a few psychology papers at University and found them absolutely fascinating. How the mind works, how people work and how we all have similar traits and behaviours from the experiences we have been through is so interesting to me – and learning about the chakras as part of my yoga training I have really loved, so combining the two is my kind of bliss!

The book details each of the Chakras aswell as the traits that arise if there is an excess or deficiency of a chakra. And then discusses how internal balance can be created.

Chakra (meaning wheel) is a centre of organisation that receives, assimilates and expresses life force energy.

There are seven of these wheels stacked in a column of energy that spans from the base of the spine to the top of the head.

Chakra patterns are programmed in the core of the mind-body interface and have a strong relationship with our physical functioning, so are said to have a location or area within the body.

Activities in the chakras can influence our glandular processes, body shape, chronic physical ailments, thoughts and behaviours.

The thought is then that using techniques like yoga, breathing, meditation and visualisation we can influence our chakras, health and lives.

As the chakra system maps onto both the mind and body, it can be accessed through either the body or mind – which I love, our minds and bodies are so smart – it’s amazing what can be achieved once some awareness is given to it.

A summary of each of the seven chakras:

Chakra One – Muladhara, Root. To be here, to have. Purpose: Foundation. Element: Earth. Location: Base of spine. Colour: Red. Sound: Lam.

Chakra Two – Svadhisthana, Sweetness. To feel, to want. Purpose: Movement and connection. Element: Water. Location: Abdomen. Colour: Orange. Sound: Vam.

Chakra Three – Manipura, Lustrous gem. To act. Purpose: Transformation. Element: Fire. Location: Solar Plexus. Colour: Yellow. Sound: Ram.

Chakra Four – Anahata, Unstuck. To love and be loved. Purpose: Love and balance. Element: Air. Location: Heart area. Colour: Green or Pink. Sound: Yam.

Chakra Five – Vissudha, Purification. To speak and to be heard. Purpose: Communication and creativity. Element: Sound. Location: Throat. Colour: Blue. Sound: Ham.

Chakra Six – Ajna, Perception. To see. Purpose: Pattern recognition. Element: Light. Location: Brow or third eye. Colour: Indigo. Sound: Om.

Chakra Seven – Sahsrara, Thousandfold. To know. Purpose: Understanding. Element: Thought. Location: Top of head. Colour: White. Sound: Om.

For me the biggest impact that the chakras have had on my yoga practice is when I concentrate on a particular chakra and incorporate this into my practice. eg. completing a Chakra one grounding practice, or a Chakra four heart opening practice can completely transform how I feel.

I’m also much more aware of my more developed chakras and which chakras I need to give more support and attention to.

I also find it really energising to visualise moving through my body and concentrating on each of the chakras in meditation.

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