There are many ways for the awareness of consciousness and to take care of our health. Some meditations from the yogic culture have a direct effect on the neuro endocrine system, understood by this culture by the symbology of the Chakras, the main energy centers in our body. In a Chakra Healing meditation you can find asanas (postures), muscle locks (bandhas) pranayama (breathing patterns and techniques), mantras, mudras and many other useful tools.
Now, we are going to explain some basic meditation techniques to open the Chakras one by one or many of them simultaneously.
Bandhas or muscle locks: applying tension to release and allign your inner energy
These are some of the most important tools in almost every yoga practice, because they are very effective for Chakra healing and reduce easily the effects of stress in our body. They are 3 principal muscle groups located through our spine that help to guide the energy from the base of the spine to the head and through our entire body aligning our posture and even helping to breathe better and improve organic functions.
Moola Bandha for the first 3 Chakras
This lock includes the contraction of pelvic floor, glutes, the sphincters and the navel point. This way, chronic tensions in the lumbar spine can be relieved, unblocking the First Chakra. Some functions of the sexual organs (Second Chakra) also get benefitted, as well as the improvement of the digestive tract by pressing the navel point (Third Chakra). This Bandha can be applied by suspending the breath either in or out, holding it as much as you can and thereafter continue with normal breathing. Applying this lock for at least 13 times can be really relaxing and also prepare your mind for a deeper meditation.
This bandha is practised with the stomach completely empty. It consists on uplifting the diaphragm, pushing the navel in. Because of this, it is applied only with the breath out, and this way you help to relieve tensions around the torax and dorsal spine, related to the fourth (Heart) Chakra. To have a better supervision of the Bandha, stand up and incline yourself to the front as you bend a little bit your knees and grab them with the hands, without bending the elbows. This means that you will also need to stretch your abdominal area, because of the elevation of the rib cage produced by the Bandha. Exhale pushing the navel completely in, and feel the emptiness inside of you until you need to inhale.
Thereafter, once you domain this healing meditation, you can increase its effect on the Third Chakra by doing what’s called Nauli. With the air still out, start twisting your spine in circles, feeling like you are doing a therapeutic massage to your intestines.
This one is called the neck lock and is really important for keeping your Fifth Chakra healthy and to take care of the brain (6th and 7th Chakra), because it promotes a better irrigation to the head. Just bring the chin back (not down), like trying to touch the neck with it. The best thing would be to keep this lock the whole day, and after an exhalation, you can apply the 3 Bandhas (Moola, Uddiyana and Jalandara Bandhas).
Kapalabhati pranayam or Breath of Fire for the Third, Fourth and Sixth Chakra
This breathing technique also called agni pran, consists of pushing dynamically the navel point as you exhale through the nose. The correct speed is from 2 to 3 exhalations per second (yes, it’s fast). The inhalation is also nasal and effortless. For many beginners could be hard to get the correct pace. As an easier alternative, you can practice the panting dog breath, with the same pattern but breathing only through the mouth with the tongue out.
This is a very powerful breathing technique that allows you to recover energy, improve digestion and connect mind with the body to prevent illnesses. Also connects the will of your Third Chakra -related to fire element- to the vision and intuition of the Third Eye, so you can tame your ego to achieve what you really want. Several studies like the one developed by Sharma et al (2013), also stated a healthy effect of this breathing pattern for the cardiovascular health and reducing the levels of stress in the body.
Mantra singing for the Upper Chakras
Once you have learned how to apply the Jalandhara bandha, you will feel a better effect of the meditation with mantras, as the sound will ‘travel’ better through the body. You will discover that the repetition of mantras can also take you to new levels of consciousness.
The Mantra ‘HUM’ (you can also sing HAM) have a special effect on the neck, improving your ability to express yourself honestly and with mastery, resulting into an therapeutic effect for the Fifth Chakra.
For the Sixth and Seventh Chakra, Mantras like ‘AUM’, ‘OM’ and the vocal ‘I’ are excellent meditative practices, keeping the chant for at least 7 minutes for a deeper effect. Another important fact to increase the effect of the Mantras on these Chakras is to rest the tip of the tongue just behind the incisor teeth. This way, the sound can be projected to the Third Eye and will balance the functions of the pituitary and activate the frontal lobe of the brain.