The Wheels of Energy
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Illustration by Karyna Piwowarska
Good Mood

The Wheels of Energy

Understanding the Chakras
Agnieszka Rostkowska
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Many yoga traditions recognize the existence of chakras and pay them special attention. This insight is used in meditation, and in working with the body and consciousness.

The term chakra comes from Dharmic religions that originated in the Indian subcontinent, including Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. In Sanskrit, chakra means “wheel,” or “center,” and is based on the premise that humans are more than just a physical body, they also have an energetic, or “subtle” body to which chakras belong. The chakras are mentioned as early as in the Upanishads, the canonical texts dating between the eighth and third centuries BCE, as well as in the Yoga Bhashya, the oldest commentary on the Patanjali Yoga Sutras, written around the second century CE.

Most traditions recognize the existence of seven main chakras, along with many smaller ones (ranging from a few to

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Yogananda, Pittsburgh, 1926. Photo courtesy of the Self-Realization Fellowship, Los Angeles, California
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Energy Travels Vertically

The Life of Paramahansa Yogananda
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Every one of us can live a better life. With peace of mind, in the rhythm of the universe, and with a sense of order. We’ve known that for the past 99 years. That is, since a certain Indian monk landed in Boston and infatuated a feverish America.

The ‘City of Sparta’ was the first ship to sail from Bombay to Boston after World War I. It left in the summer of 1920, with a cargo of jute and tea, along with 61 passengers. They included British students, missionaries, businessmen, tourists, two Armenians rescued from the genocide in Turkey, and 11 Hindus. One of them was a man with long hair dressed in a traditional, ochre-coloured outfit. His name, Mukunda Lal Ghosh, was entered into the passenger list along with an incorrect date of birth. At the time, he was 27, not 25, as the officer had hammered out on the typewriter. The ‘Profession’ column had quite an intriguing entry: “governing brahmin” (although he was born into the kshatriya, the military caste), and next to it a handwritten note: “professor”. One more category was also added: “English-speaking subject of the British Queen”. His nationality, “Bengali”, was crossed out and corrected to “Eastern Hindu”. The following information was also noted: “Not liberal, save in matters of religion”.

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