Chakra Enlightening: An interview with Veda yoga teacher, Margaret Doyle

Ever wanted to learn more about the chakras from a practicing yogi?

Perfect Potion and the Australian School of Meditation and Yoga have joined together to bring you an enlightening interview discussing the chakras with Veda yoga teacher, Margaret Doyle.

For someone who has never heard of the chakras before, can you explain what they are and how they function?

There are many levels that we function on. Modern science has discovered almost all that there is to know about how the food gets digested and absorbed how the oxygen is transported to every cell in the body, how wastes get taken away etc etc. But the yogis of old knew of a vast subtle energy system that is separate from but works in with all the other systems of the body.

The energy travelling in this system is known as prana and it is said to travel throughout the body in subtle channels or nadis. Chakras are places where there are cluster of these nadis.

The yogic texts inform us that the living entity residing within the body is covered by different layers of matter – earth, water, fire, ether, mind, intelligence and false ego and each of main chakras is an embodiment of one of these layers of matter. These chakras are located proximal to the spine from the base of the torso up to the crown of the head. While most of the chakras are active to some degree, our consciousness or what our interests are influences which particular chakras are the more active.

For example when the first 3 chakras are more active our concerns are more limited to a bodily level whereas as the energy rises to the more subtle chakras of ether, mind, intelligence and false ego our consciousness tends to gravitate more to the more subtle levels of compassion, love and spirituality.

What was your first exposure to the world of the chakras? How did you come across learning about them?

While there is a lot of literature in the yoga world on chakras my actual understanding of them comes from the ancient vedic yoga teachings as taught to me by my spiritual teachers His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami and Jagad Guru Siddhaswarupananda Paramahamsa.

Was there a time in your life when you knew one chakra in particular was significantly out of balance?

Traditionally knowledge of the chakras and different regimes to influence them were solely for the purpose of raising our consciousness to a level of spirituality where we attain the goal of yoga – loving union with the Supreme. It is then and only then that we can have a perfect balance of the chakras where each one is functioning optimally.

As one develops one’s spiritual consciousness the lower chakras settle down and we are able to be more in control of our life and how we react.

Do you think people are starting to understand the importance of both physical and mental wellness, and therefore acknowledging the chakras as important to overall health?

The traditions of yoga have largely been culled down to just a bodily level. So that asanas which were originally practiced to get the body and mind into a state where we can meditate with ease for long periods of time are now used for our health alone. Similarly chakras which were acknowledged in a very rigorous system of mystic yoga now receive a great deal of attention in influencing one’s psychological make up. Some yoga scholars declare that any influence like this is largely psychosomatic.

What are your favourite ways to balance your chakras? Do you have favourite yoga poses for example?

As before mentioned the yoga practices of old to influence the chakras were very rigorous and practically impossible to practice in this day and age. Therefore now the best way to balance the chakras is through mantra chanting as taught by our teachers and experienced at ASMY.

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The Australian School of Meditation and Yoga is a non-profit organization with centres in Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide.The programmes of the ASMY are simple and enjoyable and can benefit everybody regardless of age or current physical condition. Their goal is to guide you to a more balanced lifestyle with an increased sense of wellbeing and vitality.

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Margaret Doyle

Margaret Doyle (Vrndavan Dasi), founder and director of Veda Yoga Teacher Training, has been teaching yoga asana and meditation since 1998. Margaret has taught in Hawaii, Philippines and India.

Visit her website.