Good vibrations: How yogis and energy healers tune in to chakras
Photography courtesy of Natasha Marshall
Energy healing was tipped as a trend for 2020 by the Global Wellness Summit (GWS) on its annual Future of Wellness list. They were predicting that research on electromagentic fields and biophysical processes would give scientific back-up to energy practitioners selling chakras to the sceptics. Then came the unpredicted pandemic, so visits to energy healers were off-limits but the yoga mat was primed for its nationwide rollout. Research from Uswitch of smartphone users showed the use of yoga apps rose by 45 per cent in the first three months of lockdown. As some yogis believe an understanding of chakra energy serves to deepen a yoga practice, in feelgood terms, it's a win-win.
Ripples of energy and emotion travel through us
Gabrielle Hales of Secret Yoga Club explains that chakras (translated in Sanskrit as ‘wheel’) in the yogic energy system are an ancient representation of the nervous system and act as a kind of energy map.
“There are many different systems, depending on which lineage you study; the most popular one identifies seven main chakras, starting at the base of the spine and working up to the crown. Each chakra is identified with a colour but again these vary according to the system you follow.”
The number and even validity of chakras is dismissed as New Age nonsense, yet they are referenced in ancient Buddhist and Hindu texts. In her book Secret Yoga Club. Gabrielle suggests we can all agree on feeling energetic vibrations: “There is a general consensus that everyone holds and experiences their emotions in their lower belly, heart and head.”
“I can run with that,” she says. “Think of the honeyed heart when there's love, or heaviness in pain, butterflies of excitement in the tummy and the crystallisation of anxiety in tenseness of the brow.” She references yogis who amp up their awareness and then notice the ripples of energy and emotion that travel through us. “This energy body is just as vital as the physical body, and they both influence each other constantly.”
“For example, overwork makes us stressed and anxious. We don't take enough free time to allow our brains to slow down and rest, which leads us to sleep too little or too lightly. Our energetic vibration drops and we experience ourselves, and are experienced by others, as being less magnetic and empowered.”
“Until I began to practice yoga, I was mostly unconscious of my vital energy… the access point for me was moving my body. I explored a Westernised interpretation of the chakras famously espoused by teachers like Andrea Judith and Carolyn Myss. I find their work a really practical and useful addition to more ancient yoga teachings.” Also, she suggests: “We can change the vibration of our cells by working with sound and with energetic healing modalities such as acupuncture.”
Yoga works deeper on our wellbeing
Yoga teacher Anna Henrika agrees: “Yoga helps your body to cleanse energy centres and release emotional blockages through movement, pranayama (breathwork) and stillness. It helps you to let go and arrive at the present moment, to the 'now' where only life exists. Worry, anxiety and stress exist when we shift our focus to the past or to the future. Also, after starting a regular yoga practice, people are more likely to develop a holistic lifestyle. For example, choosing wholesome and healthy foods and routines to support their journey of discovering their highest self.”
But it's yoga that helps us dig deep? “Yes, while therapy targets our behaviours, habits and trauma, it’s yoga which works deeper on our physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing.”
Chakras are like the windows in a house. When they work well, they let in light and air
Georgia Coleridge is an energy healer who works in Chelsea, London. She says: “Many of my clients seem to be carrying the emotional weight of the entire family on their back, their partners, children and elderly parents. The younger ones are navigating the choppy waters of dating and finding their feet at work. They all want to live a happier, healthier life, are interested in energy and want to go deeper.
“I joke that I’m a cleaning lady. I’m good at spring cleaning away the stuck, unhappy energy that weighs people down.
“Energy work, and the concept of meridians and chakras, is becoming more ordinary. If someone is sceptical I accept and respect that. I was sceptical myself for a long time. Like many healers, I started as a client, because I was exhausted, had all sorts of aches and pains, food sensitivities and an intermittently foggy brain.”
Georgia explains chakras as energy fields with each correlating to different body parts and having the potential to influence everything from illness to emotions. The first is at the base of the spine, the seventh is on the crown of your head. Each is associated with the colours of the rainbow, from red for your base chakra and a shining violet white for the crown chakra.
“I can feel chakras under my hands, like moving spirals of energy.” The challenge is to explain this to new clients. “So I often compare chakras to the windows in a house. When they are working well, they let in light and air. If they are grimy and stuck shut, your house feels stagnant. And if they are stuck wide open, your house can feel unprotected.”
“When individual chakras are balanced they regulate the energy that comes in and out of your body, so you feel healthy and energised but not overloaded,” she says. “I truly believe that energy flows where thought goes.”
Pran mudra to work on the root chakra
Gabrielle Hales says: “Said to work on the root chakra, making you feel safe and grounded, this mudra is invigorating and reduces fatigue and nervousness. Pran mudra is also good if you want to cultivate more confidence and motivation. Touch tips of thumb, ring and little fingers together, while keeping index and middle fingers extended and together.”
Secret Yoga Club: Self-Empowerment Through The Magic of Yoga by Gabrielle Hales (Aster, £20) and ebook (octopusbooks.co.uk)
All Content © Copyright Wellness Edit 2020. All rights reserved