The original context of yoga was spiritual development practices to train the MIND & BODY to self-observe, become aware of its own nature, to cultivate discernment, awareness, self-regulation, and higher consciousness in the individual. Within yoga, the techniques of breath exercises, visualizations, mudras, bandhas, kriyas, and mantras are focused on manipulating the flow of subtle energy through chakras. According to Wikipedia, “Subtle body concepts and practices can be identified as early as 2nd century BCE in Taoist texts found in the Mawangdui tombs.”
The Subtle Body Defined
In the Bhagavad Gita, a 700-verse Hindu scripture, the subtle body is described as a combination of the mind, the intellect, and the ego, and it is the subtle body that controls the physical. Through the subtle body, the yogi experiences pleasure and pain. Within our subtle systems, it is said that there is a network of 72,000 Nadis that transport this energy through your body within our subtle body system and connect to the chakras or special points of energy. Our subtle bodies start from the central chakras and move outward where they become thinner. In an anatomical sense, the chakras correspond to the nervous system. In the yogic tradition, we learn that they also influence the astral and spiritual aspects of ourselves.
THE 3-CORE CHANNELS OF ENERGY
There are three Nadis that run through the body between the base of the spine and the crown of the skull.
- Ida Nadi starts in the left side of the body and runs the Parasympathetic Nervous System.
- Pingala Nadi begins on the right side of the body and runs the Sympathetic Nervous System.
- Sushumna Nadi is the central channel that runs the course of the spinal cord and runs the Central Nervous System.
Ida and Pingala Nadis begin in the brain at the Pituitary gland. Then they weave themselves in opposite directions left and right as they travel down the path of Sushumna along the spine.
MEDITATION AND THE ENERGY SYSTEM CONNECTION
Where these 3 Nadis intersect, we have the centers of energy that are referred to as the Chakras which are various focal points used in a variety of ancient meditation practices and originates from Tantra Yoga. Early Sanskrit texts speak of chakras as meditative visualizations combining flowers, sacred yantras, and mantras, and as physical entities in the body.
The efficacy of and origin of ancient Mind-Body practices like Ayurveda’s Marma Therapy, Yoga Nidra, Yantra-Mantra-Chakra-Based Meditation, even Qi-Gong have been proven through extensive research to help address chronic pain, chronic stress, harmonize, strengthen, and have a healing effect on the functioning of all the internal organs & bodily systems, to increase the flow of energy throughout the body, have a variety of rejuvenating effects. increases longevity, induces calm mental & emotional states. In 2018, Neuroscientist, James Hartzell, used MRI scans to show that memorizing ancient mantras increases the size of brain regions associated with cognitive function and enhances the performance of the brain.
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