Massage & Bodywork

JANUARY | FEBRUARY 2016

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Gray's Anatomy to track the flow of fluids. It would not occur to them to mock someone who had heard from Spirit in a dream. They trusted their spiritual senses as much as—if not more than—their physical ones, and their understanding of the human body, mind, and soul reflected this advanced consciousness. Our ancestors believed there were energy bodies associated with their physical bodies—subtler dimensions of the miraculous gift of life. East Indian culture called these energy bodies cakras or chakras. This is only one of the chakras' many names, as they appear in different forms in cultures around the world. Yet no matter how such descriptions differ, chakras are defined in the same way: as a system of subtle energy "transformers"— similar to the common electrical devices that control electrical energy—operating within a network of systems that compose our energetic anatomy. In other words, they constitute a vital part of us that can and does influence both subtle—or psychic—energy and physical energy. THE THREE MAIN FUNCTIONS OF THE CHAKRAS All chakras or similar energy bodies perform three vital functions: 1. Physical processing: Many chakras have a bodily location, including an attachment to a nerve plexus and/or endocrine gland, and they all manage a certain part of the body. They can also be described as colors and sounds, which are related to the vibratory bands they operate within and emanate, so they relate to our physical senses as well. 2. Psychological processing: Each chakra interacts with—and creates— psychological constructs that affect our well-being. This processing takes place in the realm of beliefs and feelings. 3. Spiritual processing: Each chakra contributes to our spiritual well-being and development, adding a layer of consciousness to our maturing sense 104 m a s s a g e & b o d y w o r k j a n u a r y / f e b r u a r y 2 0 1 6 technique ENERGY WORK Chakras A Cultural Look at These Energetic Bodies By Cyndi Dale My newest book is an exploration of all aspects of the chakras and like-minded organs, including the science, spirituality, and history of these stellar centers; practices involving them; and hundreds of pages featuring energy systems from various cultures across time. A few years ago, Llewellyn, the publisher of my book The Complete Book of Chakra Healing (2009), asked me to gather into a single volume as much material as possible on chakras, the energy bodies that constitute the heart of our subtle energy anatomy. I immersed myself in the assignment and I'm pleased to report it's as complete as such a book can be, given that it is more than 1,150 pages. Now I'm excited to share my wisdom from this book, Llewellyn's Complete Book of Chakras (Llewellyn Publications, 2016), and this article showcases a set of excerpts from the manuscript. I include a brief introduction to the chakras and their three main functions; a summary snapshot of the science of chakras; a brief description of their place within the subtle energetic constellation; and an overview of one of the dozens of energetic systems featured in the book—along with an exercise you can use to explore this Yorubic system. MEET YOUR CHAKRAS Thousands of years ago, our ancestors didn't have machines to substantiate someone's claim that they felt sick. They didn't look up sketches of the body in

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