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What makes us behave the way we do? What governs our actions, thoughts, re-actions, personality type? Why are certain body parts more vulnerable to illnesses than the others? In addition to asana (postures), pranayama (breath related techniques) and meditation, Yoga also offers valuable tools to balance our personality and we can gain access and understanding to some of these areas.

Titled “Awakening and Experiencing Chakras and Kundalini through Ancient Yogic Techniques,” this weekend workshop with Swami Satyadharma Saraswati   explores Chakras and Kundalini.

In Yogic physiology, Chakras (literal meaning “wheel”) are powerful energy centers in the body, which represent the physical, vital, and psychic aspects of ourselves. There are seven major chakras and each of them have a different expression.

Kundalini is the dormant spiritual energy that awakens in a human being when the Chakras and energy channels are purified and aligned. When awakened, the ordinary mind and personality become limitless in what can be accomplished.

On a physical level, the chakras coincide with the Endocrine glands.  The health of the body and personality is dependent on the proper functioning of the endocrine system. For example, an over-secretion of a certain hormone makes us irritable, tense and overexcited, while an under-secretion results in a state of depression. To attain optimum health, the glands must work harmoniously and this can be influenced through the chakras.

On a psychological level, some chakras deal with our basal qualities such as security, food, pleasure, etc.; some with ambition, power, energy; and some with love, communication, intuition, awareness. The balance and expression of the chakras differs from person to person.  For example, the heart chakra can signify possessive love in one person, and, unconditional, expansive love in another. Some chakras may be more active, resulting in certain behavior patterns.

On a more subtle level, vital energy enters the body via the chakras. When there is balance in the Chakra System, the energy harnessed is coherent and synchronized. However, if the chakras are even slightly out of balance, this energy is dissipated rather than utilized fully, resulting in improper functioning of the body as a whole.

Yoga offers ancient techniques through which the chakras can be explored and experienced. The practices are designed to purify, strengthen, align and balance the chakra system. Through these mechanisms, we can gain access and control of this subtle energy system existing within us. When we understand the attributes and qualities of the chakras, we are able to use the practices to move towards a state of perfect health and well-being. We not only gain insight into our behavior but can shape our personality into a more positive, harmonious one. We can harness the vital energies creatively and allow the latent potential in ourselves to truly blossom.

Saturday, August 18 and Sunday, August 19. 2.30 pm to 5.30 pm. Unitarian Universalist Church, 505 East Charleston Road, Palo Alto.  Registration for both days: Early Bird (by August 8) $90. After August 8:  $110.  Single day: $60. Email:  (408) 744-2027.

Vandana Kumar

Vandana Kumar is a publishing executive with a 35-year track record in the industry. She leads the India Currents Foundation as President and CEO. As a new immigrant, she co-founded India Currents magazine...