Kundalini, in the Dharma religions, is a primal energy, or shakti, located at the base of the spine. Different spiritual traditions teach methods of “awakening” kundalini for the purpose of reaching spiritual enlightenment. Kundalini is described as lying “coiled” at the base of the spine, represented as either a goddess or sleeping serpent waiting to be awakened. In modern commentaries, Kundalini has been called an unconscious, instinctive or libidinal force, or “mother energy or intelligence of complete maturation”.
Kundalini awakening is said to result in deep meditation, enlightenment and bliss. This awakening involves the Kundalini physically moving up the central channel to reach within the Sahasrara Chakra at the top of the head. Many systems of yoga focus on the awakening of Kundalini through meditation, pranayama breathing, the practice of asana and chanting of mantras. In physical terms, one commonly reports the Kundalini experience to be a feeling of electric current running along the spine.
In a typical whole-body Reiki treatment, the practitioner asks the recipient to lie down, usually on a massage table, and relax. Loose, comfortable clothing is usually worn during the treatment.
The practitioner might take a few moments to enter a calm or meditative state of mind and mentally prepare for the treatment, that is usually carried out without any unnecessary talking.
The treatment proceeds with the practitioner placing their hands on the recipient in various positions. However, practitioners may use a non-touching technique, where the hands are held a few centimeters away from the recipient’s body, for some or all of the positions.
The hands are usually kept still for 3 to 5 minutes before moving to the next position. Overall, the hand positions usually give a general coverage of the head, the front and back of the torso, the knees and feet. Between 12 and 20 positions are used, with the whole treatment lasting 45 to 90 minutes.
Some practitioners use a fixed set of hand positions. Others use their intuition to guide them as to where treatment is needed, sometimes starting the treatment with a “scan” of the recipient to find such areas. The intuitive approach might also lead to individual positions being treated for much shorter or longer periods of time.
It is reported that the recipient often feels warmth or tingling in the area being treated, even when a non-touching approach is being used. A state of deep relaxation, combined with a general feeling of well-being, is usually the most noticeable immediate effect of the treatment,, although emotional releases can also occur.
A series of three or more treatments, typically at intervals of 1 to 7 days, is usually recommended if a chronic condition is being addressed. Regular treatments, on an on-going basis, can be used with the aim of maintaining well-being. The interval between such treatments is typically in the range of 1 to 4 weeks, except in the case of self-treatment when a daily practice is common.
Reiki (pronounced ray-key) is said to emanate from divine source, regulated by divine intelligence, and it is this universal intelligence of life-force energy which knows infinitely more than our conscious ego selves, and how to work. This Japanese word is derived from rei meaning “free passage” or “Higher Intelligence,” and Ki, meaning “life force energy” (the equivalent of “Chi” in Chinese).
The Human Energy System
We are alive because our life force energy, or Ki, is flowing through us. Ki flows around us in an energy field called the aura, through the energy centers of our system called chakras, and within the physical body through pathways called meridians.
The human aura is an electromagnetic field that surrounds the physical body. Have you ever had someone get too close to you that you did not want to be there? It is uncomfortable, and we say “they are in my space”. They are in your aura. It is divided into seven layers and normally extends two to three feet out from the body. Many people believe that all illness begins first in the aura and may exist there for many years before reaching the physical body. Any blockage or imbalance in the energy of the aura may eventually lead to physical, emotional or mental illness.
Chakra is a Sanskrit word meaning “wheel”. There are seven main charkas in the human energy system. They spin in a clockwise motion, like a vortex or funnel, emanating out both the front and back of our bodies. They have been recognized by native cultures all over the world for thousands of years. Chakras send energy out from the core of the body, and they assimilate energy from outside that enters the core. Chakras can be open or closed, excessive or deficient, or any of the various stages in between. The fundamental theory of the Chakra System is that the chakras need to be in balance with each other. There should be an even flow of energy through all of the chakras, neither favoring nor avoiding any particular one. Any imbalance in one end of the system is likely to create an imbalance in the other.
Ki circulates within the physical body along meridians, similar to the blood, nerve and lymphatic circuits. The meridians control the workings of the main organs and systems of the body. For each organ to maintain a perfect state of health, the Ki energy must be able to flow freely along the meridian.
Path To Healing
Reiki is both a path to awareness and openness to the divine, but also a path for healing and wholeness of the Human Energy System. It represents a form of spiritual healing that involves the transfer of universal life energy from the practitioner to the recipient. By opening a path to one’s spiritual source, the energy in your body is corrected and adjusted to a healthy state.
In order for Reiki healing energies to have lasting results, the client must accept responsibility for his or her healing and take part in it. A sense of peace and well-being enables you to make healthy changes in your life. Reiki is administered by “laying on hands” and uses specific techniques for restoring and balancing the natural life force energy within the body. When a life force energy is low or out of balance, a person is susceptible to sickness and/or stress; if a life energy force is high, a person is apt to be happy and healthy.
While most western medicine focuses on the symptoms of disease, or the effects of energetic imbalances, energy healing addresses the root causes, going directly to what is creating the disease, stress and discomfort. Therefore, Reiki harmonizes on all levels: body, mind and spirit.
Reiki addresses the whole person, encouraging the release of all tension, stress, panic-attacks, negative-thinking, repressed negative thoughts, sadness, depression, fear, anger and anxiety, effectively restoring emotional balance, peace and vitality. Reiki also provides effective pain relief from acute conditions, although relief from some chronic conditions may take longer. Any time a condition becomes chronic, the entire body is involved in the healing process on all levels.
Treatments may be given sitting in a chair or lying on a table, while the client remains fully clothed. Treatments often feel like a wonderful loving, glowing radiance that flows through and around the client. What one experiences from a Reiki treatment can vary from person to person, but whatever the experience, at it’s simplest level, deep relaxation is usually felt by all, leaving one feeling refreshed, feeling lighter, and having a more positive balanced outlook on life.
Reiki is the energy of love. Reiki is unconditional love, healing and acceptance. Reiki is seeing the divine in all. Reiki may enhance your own personal beliefs. And while the Reiki ideals are similar to the golden rule, and the concept of loving/honoring thy neighbor as thyself, Reiki is not a religion. It merely holds to the universal ideals that promote peace and harmony in ourselves, with others and with mother earth. Reiki is healing that is restorative balance and good health.
Ayurveda, the ancient system of holistic healing from India, is justly enjoying a widespread resurgence in popularity today. Savvy, health-conscious individuals all over the world are taking more responsibility for their own health and well-being.
The old adage prevention is better than cure makes increasingly more sense in a time when health-care is exorbitant and fraught with risks such as dangerous side effects of drugs that often lead to more problems instead of treating the illness they were taken to address.
In a world that offers more choices than ever before, more and more individuals are exploring alternative health systems such as Ayurveda to help them lead a healthy lifestyle and stop disease before it ever has a chance to take root in the physiology.
The Story of Ayurveda
According to Hindu mythology, the science of life was first enunciated by Brahma, the Creator, in the Brahma Samhita. One version has it that when disease, in the form of fever, first made its presence known on earth, the rishis (sages) of the time gathered together and sent Bharadwaj to the devas (gods) to get the knowledge to combat it. Bharadwaj studied Ayurveda from Indra, king of the devas, and returned to earth to spread the knowledge. He taught several sages, who in their turn, propagated the knowledge further.
Ayurvedic principles, techniques and formulations were eventually laid down in many texts, such as the famous treatises by Charaka and Sushruta. Preserved and built upon by traditional Ayurvedic experts, called Vaidyas, Ayurveda flourished in India for millennia until it was relegated to the shadows by long periods of Moslem and British rule. A holistic approach to healing Ayurveda — literally Science of Life — is based on the twin principles of wholeness and balance.
As a holistic healing tradition, Ayurveda recommends treating the whole person-body, mind, senses, emotions and spirit-instead of following the one-cause-one-cure principle and focusing on the symptoms of the moment. The premise is that if the roots are nourished and watered, the plant will flourish. Diet, sleep, lifestyle, daily and seasonal routines and internal cleansing are just as, or more, important than herbs and potions in order to maintain good health. And Ayurveda is equally about maintaining or preserving good health as it is about treating disorders.
Balance is the key: The three doshas According to Ayurveda, perfect health is a state where mind, body and spirit are balanced. All activities of the mind and body are governed by three biological principles or doshas — Vata, Pitta and Kapha, each of which is made up of some of the five elements of creation or mahabhutas. Vata is mainly air and space, and governs movement in the body-the flow of blood, for example, or elimination, or breathing or thoughts flitting across the mind.
Since the other two doshas, Pitta and Kapha, cannot move without Vata, Vata is considered the lead dosha. Pitta, mainly fire and water, governs heat, metabolism and transformation. Digestion is an important Pitta activity. Kapha is made up mainly of earth and water, and, accordingly, is linked to structure and moisture balance in the physiology. Among other things, Kapha controls weight and lubrication in the lungs, for example. Each of the doshas is also related to a season of the year — Kapha with Spring, Pitta with Summer and Vata with Fall and Winter.
When all of these doshas are perfectly in balance in an individual, it means that all the systems and activities of mind and body are functioning at optimal levels, and the individual, therefore, enjoys perfect health. When one or more of these doshas goes out of balance, disorders result. Some factors that can cause these doshas to become imbalanced are improper diet or eating habits, stress, pollution or the weather. Then, to restore good health, the dosha that has become imbalanced needs to be restored to its original make-up in that specific individual.
Prakriti and Vikriti
It has become common to associate Ayurveda just with superficial body-typing, based on the fact that every individual is born as a combination of one or more of the three doshas described above. Asking What is your dosha? or Are you Vata, Pitta or Kapha? is just barely scratching the surface of Ayurveda. It is much more important to go beyond introductory body-typing or finding out the Prakriti of an individual to determining what imbalances exist in a person’s physiology (Vikriti) — and then finding out how to restore balance.
The Beej-Bhoomi theory
Ayurveda proposes an interesting theory of disease — the Beej-Bhoomi theory. Proper digestion is crucial for good health. If digestion is not optimal, toxins, called ama or digestive impurities, build up in the body and clog the channels of flow. Not just the blood vessels, but all the microcirculatory channels in the body as well as the energy pathways. Ama weakens the physiology, creating conditions fertile for disease and infection to take root. Ayurvedic rejuvenation and cleansing programs — Panchakarma — are techniques designed to flush ama out of the physiology.
The Science of Herb Combining and Processing
Although single Ayurvedic herbs and spices such as Brahmi, Turmeric and Ashwagandha are popular, one of the most significant contributions offered by Ayurveda is the science of herbal combination — formulations that personify sanyoga, the fortuitous blending of a variety of herbs that results in a formulation offering the dual benefits of synergy and balance.
An Ayurvedic formulation can often contain twenty or more herbs and spices — primary herbs that target the area of imbalance, supporting herbs to enhance the benefits of the primary herbs, balancing herbs to counter any possible side-effects from the actions of the main herbs, and bio-availability enhancers to expedite the transfer of the benefits of the formulation to the parts of the physiology. The most complex of the traditional Ayurvedic herbal combinations are an elite group called rasayanas, extolled at length in the Ayurvedic texts for their positive impact on the physiology.
The second principle, sanskar, refers to the way the herbs are harvested, used and processed. Ayurvedic formulations traditionally use the whole herb instead of extracting the active ingredient from the plant. Nature’s healing wisdom is perceived to reside best in the plant in its entirety. Using the whole herb rather than the isolated ingredient also contributes to a balanced formula less likely to have side-effects, because according to Ayurveda, each medicinal plant has both the primary effect and the antidote present in it in its natural state.
At the best Ayurvedic manufacturing facilities, the natural intelligence of the plants is carefully preserved in the final product by using traditional processing techniques that eschew chemical solvents and damaging high temperatures. Following the harvesting and processing techniques enunciated in the traditional texts results in a potent, balanced formulation.
Scientific Scrutiny of Ayurveda
Ayurvedic herbs and formulations are increasingly catching the attention of researchers all over the world. In a heartening trend that seeks to blend the best of the ancient and the modern, not only individual Ayurvedic herbs such as Brahmi and Guggul, but even proprietary rasayanas such as the antioxidant formula Amrit from Maharishi Ayurveda have been and continue to be extensively researched at independent institutions to scientifically validate and document their beneficial effects.
Cumulative Benefits of Ayurveda
The Ayurvedic approach to health is gentle and comprehensive. The concepts of instant cures and pill-popping for immediate relief are foreign to Ayurveda. Because the endeavor is to seek and correct the source of problems — imbalances in the physiology — the best results from Ayurveda come to those who are patient and persistent, who diligently adopt the associated dietary and lifestyle changes needed, and take a degree of responsibility for their own well-being. For those who do make the commitment, Ayurveda offers rich, cumulative health benefits that can help you enjoy a long, healthy and blissful life.
Disclaimer: Information provided in this article is for the sole purpose of imparting education on Ayurveda and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you have a medical condition, please consult your physician.