Challenging Yoga Poses
Meridians and Chakras
As we move into the field of “energetic anatomy” we begin to uncover the Chakra system and the meridian system The Chakras, which are known more commonly in the traditional Indian yogic systems, are referred to as major energy centers, wheels, or vortexes where immense amounts of Qi energy is processed and generated. There are 7 primary chakras that are located along the length of human spine. The Chakras process and then distribute great amounts of Qi out to the rest of the body via the meridian channels or “nadi” channels as they are called in the Yoga’s. In this way, both the Chakras and the meridian pathways are intrinsically connected and therefore during any treatment process, both energetic systems will need to be taken into consideration. The Chakras are subtle, so much as to say that most humans cannot see them using their physical eyes, however most humans can feel and sense them both consciously and unconsciously. The Chakras are very powerful and have the capacity to influence all levels of a human being from the physical, through to the mental, emotional levels as well as the spiritual.
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The meridians are a vast network of energy channels that distribute the Qi and move blood around the body. They can be likened to that of a river system that distributes nourishment around the entire bodily and energetic system to keep things functioning at optimal levels. When the meridian system or Chakra system are impaired in any way, it can give rise to any number of physical, mental or spiritual imbalances. The traditional Chinese taoists mainly focused on, and mapped out in great detail, 14 main channel pathways that are used in traditional Chinese medicine today. In the pictures used in this book, and in most Oriental medical literature, we mainly focus on the meridian pathways where they come to the surface of the body. It’s important to know that these meridians also run their networks deep within the body. The reason we primarily focus on the channels that come to the surface of the body is because they are more accessible to us and therefore easier to treat. To access the deeper networks of these meridians, especially in the case of certain illnesses which are said to be very internalized, herbal medicines, herbal tinctures, diet and meditational practices are recommended, as they have better access to the internal environment.
Each organ has its own meridian network that acts to nourish, feed and express it. Three of these meridians aren’t directly related to an organ and therefore play an energetic role only. The meridians for the organs are lungs, large intestine, kidney, bladder, liver, gallbladder, heart, pericardium, small intestine, stomach and spleen. The three extra meridians that aren’t associated with an organ are Ren (central), Du (back) and the San Jiao (temperature regulator).
For the study and practice of Oriental Yoga, we mainly work with the 14 main meridians and to a lesser extent, 3 of the primary chakras. The 3 Chakras being the 2nd Chakra (Hara as it is known in Japanese and dan tien as it is known in Chinese) the 4th Chakra, more commonly known as the heart Chakra (Shen in Chinese medicine) and the 6th Chakra known more commonly as the third eye.
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