by Sharon Gannon |
December, 2022


           — Translation by Manorama


The urge to transcend self-conscious selfhood is a principal appetite of the soul
— Aldous Huxley

The Sanskrit word chakra means “wheel.” A wheel rolls, turns, and by means of cyclic or circular movement, takes one on a journey. This journey occurs in space and time, and thus it is eventful, but it also may propel the traveler beyond the limits of time and space. Who is this traveler we speak of? Consciousness is the traveler. Kundalini is a Sanskrit term meaning “coiled snake” and refers to this consciousness. The spiritual evolution of the individual soul, the jiva, occurs when consciousness travels through the doors of perception, which are the chakras.

Kundalini is awakened from sleep and moved from a dormant state by life’s experiences. The desire for experience propels the soul. Like the flames of fire, this journey moves upward. The soul is always moving toward superconsciousness, or the enlightened state, whether it is aware of its destination or not. But awareness can accelerate the awakening. The various levels of cognition that kundalini goes through to develop her consciousness are referred to as chakras. With the ascent of consciousness, perception expands. The journey is an ever-evolving one: as each new level of awareness is gained by kundalini, the chakras continue to function and expand.

Consciousness lies dormant at the root center, or base of the spine. This is the site of muladhara chakra. Mula means “root.” The priority here is physical preservation. When you perceive reality from this level, you are concerned mainly with the basic necessities of life: food, shelter, and safety. Money is a prime interest. Grounding in the material world is necessary if you are to move upward toward full spiritual realization.

Once the basic needs and responsibilities are taken care of, consciousness evolves toward sexual and creative expression, which is what the second level, svadhishthana chakra, is concerned with. This creative expression can be in the form of art and/or procreation. After there is creative experience, then comes the identification with ego and the quest for power, which is the concern of the third chakra, manipura. This force can manifest itself as the quest for acknowledgment or worldly success through the acquisition of wealth or fame, or by trying to control others or the environment. Most souls spend their entire lives without ever evolving their consciousness past these first three chakras, or levels of awareness. But those who do so are motivated by a desire to be of benefit to others.

When consciousness resides in the heart, or the anahata chakra, the soul begins to perceive the interconnectedness of being. Other-centeredness, not selfishness, guides their lives. Compassion fuels consciousness at this level of awareness. Many saints live in the heart; it is a very elevated level of consciousness.
When consciousness continues its ascent upward, it moves into the vishuddha chakra, the place of purity, where the poisons of negative emotions are neutralized. From this place, higher wisdom, the wisdom of harmony and alignment with the Divine Self are expressed. The voice is pure and sweet and speaks truth. All thoughts, words, and actions are motivated by good intention and a desire to embody peace and to express the highest potential of life.

From this place of eloquence, consciousness evolves by means of humbleness to the abode of transcendental joy, the ajna chakra, or third-eye center. In this place of clear perception, duality is transcended and Oneness is perceived. The Divine Self is seen everywhere in all beings and things. From this perception of Oneness, consciousness ascends to the sahasrara, or crown, chakra. This is the thousand-petaled lotus, the ultimate reality of continuous ecstatic unfoldment, where senses are merged into the very source from which all senses originate and become divinely transcendental. The lover and the beloved meet in love. This is superconsciousness or awareness of the Divine, and it brings about mukti, or liberation from avidya, resulting in samadhi, the reconnection of the soul with God. It is the highest joy.



Essay taken from Sharon Gannon’s Book Eternity is Happening Now


Teaching Tips

By: Camilla Veen

  1. Review the Chakra Balancing DVD with Sharon Gannon and/ or review your notes of the Chakra Tuning Class from the 300HR TT course. These classes were created by our dear teacher Sharon Gannon and are unique to the Jivamukti Yoga method.
    Here is the link for Chakra Tuning with David Life:
  2. Plan you class and āsana sequence(s) according to the order of the chakras starting from the bottom moving upwards. Focus on how specific āsanas are associated with different karmic relationships and therefore issues in these relationships may be resolved in the āsana practice.
  3. You could teach an in-depth investigation of one āsana or group of āsanas at a time.
  4. Discuss the term and philosophic idea of consciousness in the image of the serpent Kundalini. For textural support, study chapter 3 verses 1 and 2 of Hatha Yoga Pradipika.
  5. Explore the chakras and how they relate to the five elements and the five senses. How could this inspire your āsana sequence?
  6. Practice the prāṇāyāma practice #option 4 on page 53 in the Magic Ten and Beyond book by Sharon Gannon.
  7. Chant the Bija mantras: LAM-VAM-RAM-YAM-HAM-OM
  8. Teach Savasana like in the Chakra Tuning class, addressing each chakra at a time: Inhale through the soles of the feet to each chakra, pausing there, before exhaling through the feet and chanting the corresponding Bija mantra.
    Repeat 3 times for each chakra. End with silence, encouraging the students to pause after the last exhalation before they breathe in.
  9. Teach a chakra meditation for the meditation part of the class. There are many different ones found online – most of them include some form of concentration on each chakra, visualizing the corresponding colour.
  10. Also include practices like kriyā and bandhā as alternative ways to open and tune the chakras.
  11. Review Sharon Gannon’s Focus of the Month from August 2006 to February 2007 (found in the FOTM archives).
  12. Explore the different Jivamukti Yoga sequences in the Jivamukti Yoga book and how they can relate to different chakras. For example, you could teach the Blossoming Lotus sequence as a chakra tuning sequence focusing on the 2nd to 4th chakra.
  13. Chant verses 5 and 19 from the second chapter of Hatha Yoga Pradipika