Who knows where it comes from or where it leads. In this case it’s not rocket science to answer the first question: it comes from the ancient wisdom of the Chakras, which I touch on here and there on the site and which are increasingly occupying my yoga practice, as it happens. As for where it leads, paying even some small attention to each of those mind-body-spirit energy centres in the body as you do your asanas gives an amazing lift and reinforces the conviction that we are indeed on to something. There’s loads of Chakra Yoga out there – but I don’t really understand why it isn’t all Chakra Yoga.
Carol Tuttle, who I also mention elsewhere on the site (chakrahealing.com) has a ‘3-minute chakra test’ by which you (supposedly) check out which of your Chakras are strong and open and which are weak and closed. It’s a few questions, which if you don’t answer them completely honestly will obviously give you the ‘wrong’ answer. So maybe I didn’t answer honestly. Muladahara, my root chakra, weak? Really? Well at least Anahata (heart) and Sahasrara (top of head) are working OK.
But certainly for doing standing asanas or sitting in early morning meditation, you want to start with the root, right? Energise it? Turn it on? Can’t be that hard to light up the red-coloured base node, the one that links you to earth, the one by which you measure your ‘groundedness’? H’mm. harder than you think.
Here’s a trick, and it especially helps at Christmas, for those of us culturally and geographically located where Christmas means anything at all; just light yourself up like a Chakra Christmas tree. From the bottom up. Muladhara is more like your bottom’s bottom, remember – somewhere round your perineum.
The colours are akin to the rainbow spectrum, or like those multi-coloured scarves that are the hippy winter wear of choice; counting upwards, Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet. Not one at a time, but all at once. When you can get your attention on all seven centres at the same time – light them up one by one but keep them glowing as you go up – then you get the Christmas Tree effect. All lit up. Ch’i flowing from base to top, mind still, awareness acute. And then you come out of it, ready to take on another day of relentless materiality. Especially at Christmas.