You may have heard of Chakras, probably have heard of Nadis, but there is another energy point in your body that is used for healing in Ayurveda, that is, a Marma. They are potentially similar to acupuncture points (Chinese medicine).
Nadis, Marmas & Chakras
Acupuncture meridians and pressure points (Chinese system) overlap with the ayurvedic system of nadis and marma points (Indian system). The Indian ayurvedic system talks about Marmas (Sanskrit origin word 'MRI' meaning ‘death’ and Marma hidden or secret). By definition, a Marma point is a “junction on the body where two or more types of tissue meet, such as muscles, veins, ligaments, bones or joints.” When a marma activates, it forms a chakra.
In yoga philosophy, we hear that our body is said to have more than 72,000 (or more) energy channels (nadis), but commonly the most important ones mentioned are three along the spine:
1) Ida (left channel or esoterically called Shakti – the female power in nature, associated with the moon, being cold and colour white)
2) Pingala (right channel and esoterically associated with Shiva or the male energy in nature, associated with the sun, being hot and colour red)
3) Sushuma (along the spine or central channel) where energy moves through the spine.
One of the purposes of yoga is to activate Sushumna and not stay in our mundane world's dualities. Those three main nadis start at the first energy wheel, and meeting point Muladhara Kanda. Ida leaves through the left nostril, Pingala through the right nose. Along the spine, they cross over five times and another two times above the spine like a spiral (eyebrow centre and crown of the head) and form the seven main chakras.
Those are said to be the main seven chakras (however some books speak of about 108 chakras, some talk about 114, that is, 112 within the body and two outside – minor chakras are in legs, hands, elbows, tongue, clavicle, shoulder, eyes, ears, and nose etc. Not all chakras are active, and some are dormant.
In Muladhara (the root chakra) lies Shakti, the static and unmanifested Kundalini symbolised by a snake, but this time by a serpent coiled into three and a half circles around the central axis at the base of the spine. The serpent lies blocking the entrance to Sushumnawith his mouth and waits for the two opposing forces' unifying power to pierce through and energise the chakras. It is the awakening of Consciousness, leading to a higher evolved being. When they meet again at the eyebrow, liberation takes place through the most upper centre at the head's crown. We experience certain obstacles and knots that tie us back to earthly possessions and attachments along this evolutionary path.
“When the grace of the guru arouses the dormant Kundalini, then alone can all the padmas (lotus flowers chakras) and the granthis (knots) be opened” Hatha Yoga Pradīpikā 111.2
Each of those chakras connects and affects our nervous and endocrine system and, therefore, is responsible for our emotional well-being (feeling fearful, courageous, balanced, unbalanced, joyful or angry/sad etc.) the development of our personality.
Energy wheels (chakras) and energy points (107/108 marmas - we may know them as ‘Acupressure point’ or “Acupuncture points” from Chinese medicine) get activated. For example, in martial arts, Marma points are denominated as ‘dim maks’ meaning ‘touch of death’. This is a point you can hit somebody, and he or she dies, however, once a person knows how to activate those points fully, they become ‘invincible’. However, in Ayurveda, those Mamra Points are healing points, and through massage or posture and different pressure, you can activate them.
Those energy centres or points can be charged, and they can lack or are deficient or have an excess of energy. Yoga aims to balance the flow of energy and information. You can compare this to a powerhouse, you do not want too many dim lights, a blackout, but neither do you want to cause an explosion, but a constant flow of the appropriate energy & lighting level.
A primary chakra can be found (as explained above) at an intersecting point of two significant nadis (ida and Pingala: energy channels along the spine where the Sushumna, another major Nadi, flows). Some minor chakras are to be found between intersecting points of blood vessels and nerves.
There are up to 114 chakras in our body plus 75,000 energy channels (nadis) and about 107/108 marmas, but most textbooks only speak about the seven main chakras.
Lotus flowers traditionally depict chakras. The lotus flower was chosen long ago to symbolise the chakras because a lotus flower rises through the mud to light. It is symbolically our life rising through difficult situations/pain / karmic mental imprints gaining experience maturity to become a more enlightened and contented being. The more lotus petals a chakra contains, the higher the vibration of that chakra.
I teach every Wednesday at 6 pm, an online zoom class. Also, I offer a self-development course in 2021, starting in April. Here, you learn more about chakras, nadis and marmas. Get in touch with me if you are interested in attending this course.