"This book is for seekers. With writing that is both friendly to the layperson yet true to a deeper mystery, this is the book to which I refer my students who are interested in the esoteric wisdom and practices of the ancients." —Anodea Judith, author of Eastern Body, Western Mind
Although they are often misunderstood, the chakras are important facets of health and spirituality and when properly attuned can lead to happier and healthier lives. In The Big Book of Chakras and Chakra Healing, Dr. Susan Shumsky delves into the ancient Tantric and Vedic literature to uncover the veiled mysteries of the ages, where the most authentic information about the 7 chakras, 7 subchakras, and the subtle energy system can be found.
By reading this valuable book, you will:
- Discover your subtle body and energy field and how to heal blockages.
- Gain understanding of kundalini energy and the chakra system.
- Understand how to use visualization to access your chakras.
- Learn to maintain the health of your energy field.
The Big Book of Chakras and Chakra Healing is perfect for novices and experienced practitioners alike and will lead you on a journey of discovery, balance, and enlightenment.
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
WHAT'S A CHAKRA, ANYWAY?
"The awakening of the inner Kundalini is the true beginning of the spiritual journey."
— Swami Muktananda
Kundalini is a mysterious, dormant, powerful, cosmic force within your body that, when awakened, is believed to bring spiritual enlightenment. It is also the potent energy within your body understood to be responsible for sexual orgasm. Because of this, much misinformation has been perpetrated in the name of kundalini.
The chakra system, consisting of energy centers within your subtle body, is widely explored today through myriad books, seminars, and gurus. Sincere individuals seeking kundalini experiences are led into practices that may or may not produce genuine spiritual evolution.
Many authentic practices yield spectacular results in a short time. Others are erroneous and ineffectual. Methods undertaken sincerely and seriously, with proper training, can lead to spiritual awakening. Others, attempted haphazardly and carelessly, can cause confusion, harm, or, worse, serious physical or mental illness.
After taking a weekend seminar, some misguided people print business cards, put up a shingle, and declare themselves the next "master," "yogi," "sanyasin," "swami," "shaman," or "chakra healer." Suddenly they claim authority in a field that genuine yogis spent lifetimes meditating in caves attempting to master.
Some so-called self-declared experts are sincere yet deluded. Sadly, much confusion is left in their wake.
For this reason, investigating chakras in a reliable, systematic way is vital. Gaining deep understanding about your subtle bodies, energy field, and energy system is essential. Learning beneficial spiritual practices that will not harm your body or confuse your mind is necessary.
By learning from ancient sources that have stood the test of time, you can be assured of deeper comprehension and better experiences. By delving into scriptures of antiquity that have, until recently, been locked in secret hiding places in forests and caves of India, you can uncover new, unexplored, and unrevealed wisdom.
If you are curious about chakras, yet claim no prior knowledge or experience, then it is wise to begin slowly and practice step by step. If you know about chakras, you may want to rethink what you think you already know. Perhaps you can learn deep wisdom from the ancient sages.
Now it is smart to learn and grow spiritually in a safe, precise way. In a phrase: It is time to "practice safe spirituality."
This book will show you how.
What Can This Book Do for You?
Perhaps you picked up this book because of an interest in spiritual development. You may have heard about chakras or kundalini, or previously read about them. Maybe you studied Kundalini Yoga, Tantra Yoga, or Laya Yoga for years, but want to learn more. Or you faced disaster while experimenting with kundalini without supervision.
In every case, this book has something to offer. Beginners as well as advanced students can benefit from the information and methods presented here. This book's authority rests not only on personal experience, but also on ancient scriptural sources.
Through more than five decades of teaching spiritual disciplines, I have often heard the following complaints, to which solutions are found in this book:
1. "I've tried to meditate and awaken kundalini, but it just doesn't work for me." This book provides easy, step-by-step ways to gently awaken kundalini safely, reliably, and systematically, through time-tested, proven yogic practices.
2. "My negative beliefs, mental blockages, and limitations get in the way when I try to meditate or to get spiritual experiences." Here you will learn specific healing affirmations to help you overcome past negative patterns and attain the experiences you seek.
3. "My kundalini experiences are so strange, and no one understands them, including me!" In this book you will find examples and explanations of kundalini, and a road map to your spiritual experiences.
4. "I get totally confused by this energy running through my body. What am I supposed to do with it?" This book provides not only understandings about kundalini energy and chakras, but also methods to help you master the energy.
5. "I get frightened by negative kundalini experiences." This book offers specific ways to handle any situation, no matter how strange or frightening it might be.
6. "I feel overly sensitive to people and influences around me." In this book, you will learn techniques for healing negative influences and for preventing harm from future influences.
7. "I've been deceived by the false promises of gurus." The information in this book helps you become more self-reliant and less dependent on gurus.
8. "I'm offended by rules and regulations, cults, and coercive organizations." The universal techniques offered here impose no restrictions and are compatible with other religious philosophies, lifestyles, and personal beliefs.
9. "I don't want to work at difficult, strict, hard-to-follow disciplines." This book is understandable, logical, and practical, with simple-to-learn methods requiring no previous experience, background, training, skill, or knowledge.
FAQs about Chakras and Kundalini
Perhaps you have already studied subtle energy fields, the aura, prana, chakras, or kundalini. Whether or not you are already familiar with these topics, you might be surprised by what you can learn here. Let us begin with the basics and answer a few questions you may have.
Q: What is subtle energy?
A: Just as physics tells us the universe is made of subtle constituents invisible to the human eye, similarly, your body is made of subtle energy. Let us try an experiment right now. Clench both your fists and place them next to each other, as shown in Figure 1a. Then vigorously rub your left fingers against your right fingers in a washboard motion, back and forth (not up and down), for 45 seconds. Then unclench your fists and face your palms toward each other a few inches apart. You might feel an invisible ball of energy between your palms. This sensation of vibrant activity is subtle energy.
By entering a hospital, a dilapidated house, a prison, a bar, a mental institution, or a crowded bus, you can sense bad vibrations. By hiking in the woods, boating on a lake, hearing inspiring music, or reading uplifting poetry or scriptures, you can feel elated. These are all indications of subtle energy.
In this book you will learn to energize your body, enhance your energy field, heal energy blockages, and prevent energy drain.
Q: What is the aura?
A: The subtle energy field in and around your body is the "aura" (meaning "breath of air" in Greek). Just as the Earth has a magnetic field, your body has an auric field. Your aura consists of several bodies, such as your mental body, emotional body, and subtle bodies that constitute your higher self. Your subtle bodies are invisible to human eyes, but visible to your inner eye or clairvoyant ("clear-seeing" in French) sensory perception. If you stare at a person standing in front of a white wall, you might see energy vibrations or colors around the person's head. By looking into a mirror at night in the dark, you may see a subtle glow around your own head. These experiences are indications that auras exist.
In this book, you will learn about your subtle bodies and auric field.
Q: What is a mental body?
A: Your thoughts and emotions have physical counterparts in your subtle body. These thoughts consist of subtle substances not yet measured by science but visible to clairvoyant sense perception. Thought-forms are habitual thought patterns taking concrete shape in and around your body. You might wear some old, encrusted thoughts like armor. Others might seem like a jail cell. These old thought-forms and habits can be healed. You will learn how in this book.
Q: What does the word "chakra" mean?
A: In the ancient Sanskrit language, in which the scriptures of India were originally written, the word chakra (in Sanskrit: [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]) translates as "wheel." This word is pronounced phonetically as "chukr": chu, as in the English word "chunk," and cr, as in the English word "crumb," but the "r" is rolled. There is no word pronounced "shock-rah" in the Sanskrit or English languages. That pronunciation, though widely used in America, is incorrect. Because chakras are centers of vital energy in your subtle body, they are not observable by your gross senses. However, they can be experienced through subtle sense perception.
Seven main chakras are described in the ancient tantras (tantric or agamic scriptures of India). Each chakra in your spinal column is believed to influence or even govern bodily functions near its region of the spine.
In this book, you will discover and explore these chakras.
Q: What is a kundalini shakti?
A: Kundalini shakti is a spiritual cosmic energy hidden in the human body. The term derives from Sanskrit roots, kundala (coiled), kunda (pit, depression), and shakti (energy). Shakti is also known as the Goddess, the mother of this universe. Kundalini is a vast reservoir of untapped, potential energy, which, when fully awakened, brings self-realization and enlightenment. However, in most people, it lies dormant at the base of the spine near the tailbone, lodged in the subtle body. Kundalini is often called "serpent power," "serpent fire," or "mystic coil," because it resembles a sleeping snake coiled in a spiral shape. Many yoga practitioners attempt to awaken this serpent, uncoil it, and nudge it to rise up toward the brain.
In this book, you will learn about kundalini and how to rouse it.
Q: What is prana?
A: Prana is universal energy that breathes life into matter. It is formless, ubiquitous, potent energy that sustains both living individuals and also the cosmic order — the power within everything, animate and inanimate. Individual prana is the vital life-principle in all animate life. Cosmic prana is a universal energy that unifies the living and nonliving in a coordinated whole. Prana, the life force in your breath, is the key to life — electromagnetic fuel that energizes every tissue and cell. Without prana, your body could not function.
Gopi Krishna in The Dawn of a New Science describes prana as "a living electricity, acting intelligently and purposefully, that controls the activity of every molecule of living matter. It carries the life principle from one place to the other."
In this book, you will discover how prana functions in your body.
Q: What is yoga?
A: The Sanskrit word yoga comes from the root yuj (to yoke). The purpose of yoga, therefore, is to unite the individual soul with universal Spirit. Each path of yoga takes a different approach to attain this goal. Because the most visible, popular path today is Hatha Yoga, which uses physical postures called asanas, most people think yoga is nothing more than physical exercises performed on a floor mat in a gym. However, yoga is not an exercise routine. It is a profound science for experiencing union with the divine. In this book, you will learn how yoga can enhance your life, and you will learn some yogic practices to gently awaken kundalini.
Q: What is the purpose of raising kundalini energy?
A: When kundalini shakti travels up the spine to the brain, the goal of yoga is achieved as shakti (female principle or inner Goddess) merges with shakta (male principle, the inner God Shiva) in divine union. This results in a state of higher awareness called nirvikalpa samadhi, the superconscious state of spiritual enlightenment. Here the individual is fully unified with universal Spirit, and all sense of separateness dissolves. You will learn more about what that means in this book.
Q: What is Kundalini Yoga?
A: Kundalini Yoga, Laya Yoga, and Kriya Yoga are systems of yoga that seek to awaken the slumbering kundalini. Practitioners engage in various methods to rouse the sleeping energy until it moves up the spine, pierces the chakras, moves through the brain, and finally reaches the crown chakra or thousand-petaled lotus above the skull. Kundalini Yoga is an aggressive path of rigorous asanas (physical postures), intense pranayama (breathing exercises), bandhas (muscular locks), mudras (gestures), meditation using mantras (sacred Sanskrit sounds) and imagery, and strict dietary and behavioral control. Kundalini Yoga masters generally agree that celibacy is essential to this path.
If you are serious about deep involvement with Kundalini Yoga, then study with an enlightened spiritual master who can guide you personally through the sometimes-bizarre experiences that occur when the force of kundalini is unleashed in the body.
In this book, you will learn basic, gentle meditations, physical practices, and breathing techniques to begin your exploration of kundalini energy without the benefit of a teacher. However, you can study a spiritual practice called Divine Revelation or even embark on a serious study of yoga or take a yoga retreat. For more information, visit the websites mentioned on page 280 of this book.
Q: What's the purpose of reading about this stuff?
A: You might think chakras have no bearing on your everyday life. After all, what can they do for you? Learning about the subtle body, chakras, and kundalini can transform your life. You can heal mental, physical, and emotional problems for yourself and others. You can develop intuition, ESP, and subtle sensory perception. You can attain greater sensitivity, manifest extraordinary powers, fulfill your desires, and unfold greater awareness. You can even reach the ultimate goal of self-realization and spiritual enlightenment in cosmic consciousness or higher levels of consciousness.
What You Will Learn
As you dig deeper into this valuable book, you will:
Discover your subtle bodies and their purpose.
Learn about prana and how it functions in your body, mind, and spirit.
Gain understanding of kundalini energy and the chakra system.
Learn details about the energies and purpose of each chakra.
Use easy meditation techniques to experience and awaken kundalini.
Learn how to heal blockages in your subtle body.
Learn how to maintain the health of your energy field.
Use gentle yoga practices and breathing methods specifically designed to safely awaken kundalini energy.
Empower yourself as a multidimensional being.
By practicing the simple, easy-to-learn techniques, you can begin to experience depths of spiritual awareness comparable to what many seekers have sought for generations. You will explore subtle realms of mind, spirit, time, and space, and how they relate to your body. You will chart previously unknown regions of your inner being. A map of your life will emerge — a road map providing deep understanding of yourself and how you fit into the cosmos. You will travel through worlds upon worlds and times beyond time in a multidimensional universe. This is the time for action. So let us get started now!CHAPTER 2
WHAT WESTERNERS DON'T KNOW
"When you succeed in awakening the Kundalini, so that it starts to move out of its mere potentiality, you necessarily start a world which is totally different from our world. It is the world of eternity."
— Carl Jung
West vs. East
Western medicine looks at your physical body as a mechanic might view a car engine. Medical doctors see a plethora of valves, tubes, pockets, chambers, and sacks, with channels of fluid flowing through them. To most physicians, the body is a piece of machinery. Just as mechanics diagnose an automobile and then fix it, so doctors diagnose and "fix" your body.
According to Western allopathic medicine, the only way to cure disease is purely mechanistic — cut out the tumor, kill the offending cancer cells, destroy the invading predatory virus, chop out the stone-producing gall bladder, obliterate the diseased uterus, delete the swollen prostate, cut and paste the arteries to the heart.
This slice-and-dice method of medical practice is not only viewed as acceptable, it is lauded as miraculous. In our Western culture, doctors attain mystical status. As our holy men and women, "medical deities" hold the power of life and death in their hands, and whatever they say is gospel.
Few brave souls ever question their doctors. Whatever prescriptions given, especially to vulnerable, elderly patients, are taken without objection or inquiry. Few patients take responsibility for their own healthcare. Many ravage their bodies with a fast food diet, improper rest, and a debilitating lifestyle, while imagining that if they fall ill, a medical doctor will rescue them.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "The Big Book of Chakras and Chakra Healing"
Copyright © 2019 Susan Shumsky.
Excerpted by permission of Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Foreword by Anodea Judith,
PART ONE: UNDERSTANDING SUBTLE ENERGY,
Chapter 1: What's a Chakra, Anyway?,
Chapter 2: What Westerners Don't Know,
Chapter 3: The Key to Life: Prana,
Chapter 4: Your Luminous Aura,
Chapter 5: What Is Kundalini?,
Chapter 6: Your Multidimensional Self,
Chapter 7: As Above, So Below,
Chapter 8: Discovering Your Chakras,
PART TWO: AWAKENING YOUR CHAKRAS,
Chapter 9: Chakra 1: Muladhara,
Chapter 10: Chakra 2: Svadhishthana,
Chapter 11: Chakra 3: Manipura,
Chapter 12: Chakra 4: Anahata,
Chapter 13: Hrit Chakra,
Chapter 14: Chakra 5: Vishuddha,
Chapter 15: Talu Chakra,
Chapter 16: Chakra 6: Ajna,
Chapter 17: Ajna Subcenters,
Chapter 18: Guru Chakra,
Chapter 19: Chakra 7: Sahasrara,
PART THREE: AWAKENING KUNDALINI,
Chapter 20: The Power of Healing,
Chapter 21: The Power of Secret Yogic Practices,
Chapter 22: The Power of Yogic Breathing,
Chapter 23: The Power of Visualization,
Chapter 24: The Power of Meditation,
The Author and Her Teachings,