I was so fortunate to exchange time with Swami Mukti who so generously shared some of her knowledge and teachings with me on the subject of Emotional Anatomy. I in turn share it with you in the form of this interview and hope you feel as enlightened and nourished by it as I was.
How did you first become interested in emotional anatomy?
When I was 7 years old and coming down with another bout of tonsillitis, I knew I was doing this to myself as I did not know how to express my emotions. The only behaviour I knew to do was to bottle my emotions up in my throat. From that time I wanted to find a way of doing something else whereby I did not become sick. When I first learnt a short and brief yoga nidra at the age of 12, I had a glimpse of the possibility that I could be more in charge of my emotions and thereby further prevent harming my body. It was this desire to understand myself at a deeper level that took me to India for 10 years.
Do the chakras belong to tantra or yoga?
Yoga is a branch of the Tantra ‘tree’, therefore the explanation of chakra belongs to both.
Can you hold emotions in the body? What has been your living experience of this?
Emotions are held in the body when an experience is trapped in the brain, neurons that fire together, wire together. As an example of this, it has been found that when a person is angry blood rushes into the stomach. When a person is constantly angry then the physiological responses is constantly being triggered. Or if a person is in a constant state of fear the heart will constantly be racing. To be frank I can see in my own life that ‘fear of attack’ can bring about an underactive thyroid, along side of a diet low in good quality proteins for a prolonged period of time.
What about ill health? Is that connected to our emotional body?
Poor health can bring about negative mind sets, behaviours and emotions.
Ill health is also a disturbance at a vibrational level. All bodies vibrate with energy; the molecules and atoms that make up a body are constantly in motion. Harmonious vibrations create health, discordant vibrations manifest ill health. Emotions are no different, they too are energy in motion. Positive emotions create harmonious energy patterns and negative emotions do the opposite.
Can you see in your students when a chakra is blocked and how do you see this?
For me a person exhibits blockages in their energy pathways and chakras in a number of ways. Chakra blockages exhibit in specific types of behaviours, thought patterns and belief systems.
Please describe the granthis or knots in the chakra system and how they may affect the chakras?
There are three granthi energy knots located between the various chakras. The first is found between mooladhara and swadhisthana chakras, next one is between manipura and anahata chakras and the third is between vishuddhi and ajna chakras. In the energetic body or dimension these knots prevent you from fully knowing and expressing your divine nature. Until you make an effort to push beyond the confines created by the granthi knots, you will be limited. At a psychology level the granthis are doubts, fears and misconceptions that you choose to believe, mainly because you don’t realise that you have a choice to create another way of being. The first, Brahma granthi knot of creation, prevents the energy of kundalini shakti, the great creative power, from being released and traveling on to swadhisthana. This knot creates fears around safety and security and ‘propagation of the species’. Vishnu granthi ‘knots’ the shakti energy flowing from manipura chakra causing you to feel less powerful than you are in reality. This insecurity is felt in anahata chakra and hinders its full expression of true love. Rudra granthi distorts your emotions and thought processes so you are unable to have mental clarity. The practices of yoga asana, pranayama, mudra and bandha and meditation untangle these granthi knots and thereby you start to come into your true nature in increments as you continue to practise.
How is it through yoga that we can release these emotions that are stored in the body?
First of all, you need to recognise that there is an emotional blockage, until there is realisation about this nothing can be done. I once had a yoga student tell me that she was not coming back to yoga because yoga made her angry. Until we take responsibility for what we are experiencing nothing can be done. The very practise of yoga calls for awareness of all experiences, physical, mental and emotional. It is this element of awareness that starts the process of emotional release. The second step is to accept that the emotional blockage is present. It can take quite some time to accept something you dislike. Therefore, patience is also called for here. Seek assistance from a trained and trustworthy teacher to guide you in this process. It cannot be done alone from a self-help book or a ‘yoga exercise’ class. A conducive place of practice with an experienced teacher is paramount in this process.
There are several factors that enable the release of emotions from the body because we live within various planes of existence. We are multidimensional beings; at the material level we have a physical body fed with food and water; more subtle is the energy body responding to the energy within the environment; the mental layer is typically understood as mind and the intuitional layer operates within the field of subtle knowledge. The most refined layer of all through which we experience bliss is usually active in deep sleep. As yoga works on creating connection between all these layers, the emotional blockages are bound to be released sooner or later with regular yoga practise.
What do you do every day to cleanse the body and mind from the accumulation of the past and the emotions that are stored in the body?
Personally, I practice pranayama, bandhas, mudras, mantra, meditation and take care of the diet that is currently applicable to me. I remain vigilant of being true to myself. I listen to myself and self-reflect on what I truly want/need and what I am doing to manifest that.
A huge thank you to Swami Muktibhodhananda.
In peace and kindness, Celia Roberts
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