Chakras & Dantians
By Elizabeth Reninger
What is the relationship between the chakras of Hindu yoga systems and the dantians of Taoist yoga systems? Chakras and dantians share a similar function. Both are spaces within the subtle body where energy (prana or qi) gathers. Taoist yogis – practitioners of qigong and inner alchemy – use the lower, middle and upper dantians to gather, refine and circulate qi (also spelled “chi”). Hindu and Buddhist yogis tend to use the seven chakra system to accomplish the same.
Does it matter which map we use to access the terrain of our subtle bodies? I tend to think not, but others might disagree. Many have speculated about ways in which the two systems relate to each other. In the neidan practice of the “Microcosmic Orbit”, we circulate energy/awareness in a way that traverses the dantians as well as the chakras. There are acupuncture points along this pathway that can be used Continue reading
Dantian (dan t’ian, dan tien or tan t’ien) is loosely translated as “elixir field”, “sea of qi”, or simply “energy center”. Dantians are important focal points for meditative and exercise techniques such as qigong, martial arts such as t’ai chi ch’uan, and in traditional Chinese medicine.
The first detailed description of the lower Dantian is in the Laozi zhongjing 老子中經 from the 3rd century CE, it refers to the Cinnabar field where Essence and Spirit are stored, it is related to regeneration and sexual energy, menstruation and semen.
Traditionally, a dantian is considered to be a center of qi or life force energy. The dantians are important points of reference in neidan, qigong, neigong, tao yin, Taoist sexual practices, Reiki and other self-cultivation practices of exercise, breathing, and meditation, as well as in martial arts and in traditional Chinese medicine. Continue reading
Early doctrines regarding the chakras
The idea of the subtle vital force (prana) and the channels along which it flows (nadis) appear in the earliest Upanishads (7th-8th century b.c.e.).
The heart was said to be the centre of the 72,000 nadis or subtle channels, and the place into which the senses are withdrawn during sleep. As with many ancient civilisations (e.g. Egypt, Homeric Greece), the heart was also considered the seat of waking consciousness.
But it was only in the later Upanishads – the earlier of which were composed somewhere between the 2nd century b.c.e. and the 2nd century c.e. – reference is first made to basic Tantric concepts such as chakras, mantras, and so on.
The Brahma-Upanishad mentions the four “places” occupied by the purusha (soul): the navel, heart, throat, and head. Following common tradition, each place is characterised by a particular state of consciousness: the navel (or the eye) waking consciousness, the heart dreamless sleep, the throat dreaming, and the head the “fourth” or transcendent state. Continue reading
Prana (प्राण, prāṇa) is the Sanskrit word for “life force”. In yoga, Oriental medicine, and martial arts, the term refers to a cosmic energy believed to come from the sun and connecting the elements of the universe. The universal principle of energy or force, prana is the sum total of all energy that is manifest in the universe.
Prana is a Sanskrit word constructed of the syllables prā (to fill, the cognate to Latin: plenus (full)) and “an”. An means movement and pra is a prefix meaning constant. Therefore, prana means constant motion, or the primary and all round motion of Life Energy. This constant motion commences in the human being as soon as he is conceived in his mother’s womb. Prana is therefore a type of energy responsible for the body’s life, heat and maintenance. This life energy, prana (प्राण) has been vividly Continue reading
Nadis are astral tubes made up of astral matter that carry Pranic currents. They can be seen by the astral eyes only. They are not the nerves. They are 72,000 in number. Ida, Pingala and Sushumna are the important ones. Sushumna is the most important of all.
Ida and Pingala
There are the two nerve-currents one on either side of the spinal column. The left one is called Ida and the right is known as Pingala. Tentatively, some take these as the right and the left sympathetic cords, but they are subtle tubes that carry Prana. The Moon moves in the Ida and the Sun in the Pingala. The moon is of the nature of Tamas and the sun is that of the Rajas. The poison share is of the sun and the nectar is of the Continue reading
The Explanation of Candali: The Spontaneous Blazing of Great Bliss
By Ryan Parker, 2008
Herein is the Explanation of Candali: The Spontaneous Blazing of Great Bliss
gtum mo’i rnam bshad bde chen rang ‘bar bzhugs so (གཏུམ་མོའི་རྣམ་བཤད་བདེ་ཆེན་རང་འབར་བཞུགས་སོ་)
By mkhan chen dpal ldan shes rab rin po che (མཁན་ཆེན་དཔལ་ལྡན་ཤེས་རབ་རིན་པོ་ཆེ་)
There are three topics for Candali. They are the preliminaries, the main practice, and the enhancement. In preliminary part, there are five subtopics: the outer physical form, the inner form of the nadis, the “wheel of protection”, training in the path of the nadis, and blessing of the nadis’ points. Continue reading
The Tree of Life
“The Tree of Life is an important symbol in nearly every culture. With its branches reaching into the sky, and roots deep in the earth, it dwells in three worlds – a link between heaven, the earth, and the underworld, uniting above and below. It is both a feminine symbol, bearing sustenance, and a masculine, visibly phallic symbol – another union.”
Leaves and branches of the Tree Of Life
Inside the human body are millions and millions of tiny whirling vital life forces concentrated into centres called Chakras. Chakra means wheel in Sanskrit because these energies spin at these points rotating clockwise at a certain frequency. Continue reading