Balancing The Chakras With Massage
Did you know that you can balance the chakras with massage? Balancing the chakras with massage is a wonderful way to connect to your experience through all energetic bodies. If you’re a yogi you’ve probably heard of the chakras or subtle bodies. If you’re new to chakras you might want to check out our course on the chakras. The chakras are sometimes referred to as energetic disks, but they actually have a physical location. Each chakra is associated with a plexus, a bundle of nerves and ganglion that innervate tissue. These plexus are part of the nervous system and they correspond to the proprioceptive system (parasympathetic nervous system) and the interoceptive system (central nervous system). These terms may be new to you, so let’s dive deeper into what each of these systems does and how they impact our physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual bodies.
Chakras & The Nervous System
The proprioceptive system picks up information in our environment and transmits that information to the brain. The brain unconsciously reacts based on our lived experiences, and our sympathetic or parasympathetic nervous system is activated. If your sympathetic nervous system is activated we go into a hyper-aroused state of being. If our parasympathetic nervous system is activated we are calm and can rest, digest, and restore.
The interoceptive system helps us to understand how we feel. We might feel scared, anxious, calm, or sick to our stomach. The interoceptive system is responsible for the feeling of euphoria we get when we’re falling in love, or the feeling of dread we have before we tell someone bad news. Each chakra leans leverages information from both the proprioceptive plexus and the interoceptive plexus associated with the characteristics of the chakra. Essentially, our chakras are both physical and metaphysical.
When a plexus innervates tissue we feel sensation, or movement is initiated. The traditional Hatha chakra system is concerned with seven chakras, but some systems discuss up to nine chakras. The seven primary chakras include the Muladhara chakra, Svadhishthana chakra, Manipura chakra, Anahata chakra, Vishudda chakra, Anja chakra, and Sarasarra chakra.
Muladhara chakra is the root chakra and is associated with the perineal plexus and the sacral plexus, to name a few. These nerves innervate the tissue in the perineum, pelvis, legs, and hips. Svadhishthana chakra is the sacral chakra and it includes the sacral plexus and the lumbar plexus. These plexus innervate the genitals, hips, and legs. These two chakras are located in the pelvis and are contained by the Brahma Granthi or our tie to the physical plane of earth.
Manipura, Anahata, and Vishudda are all contained within the abdomen; each one has its own plexus pair and together these three chakras are contained by the Vishnu Granthi. The Vishnu Granthi corresponds to the Astral plane and our emotional energy. Manipura is the chakra associated with empowerment when it is in balance, but when it is out of balance we might feel disempowered, anxious, or upset. The plexus associated with Manipura include the celiac plexus and the lumbar plexus. Together, these plexus communicate unconsciously to our abdominal organs and our legs to alert us of uncertainty and a lack or excess of personal power.
Anahata and Vishudda chakras utilize their plexus connection in the same way. The pericardial plexus and the brachial plexus work together to innervate the heart and to send messages that help the body protect the heart. The pharyngeal plexus and the brachial plexus work together to innervate the tissue associated with the throat chakra. Tied to the physical body through the Vishnu Granthi, these three chakras connect us to our emotional attachments.
The Anja chakra and the Sarasarra chakra create the Rudra Granthi and are associated with the causal plane. The causal plane corresponds to thought and our perception of the world. All three Granthis together make up the Hadara Granthi or the knot of the heart. The Hadara Granthi is said to connect all of the Granthis and account for our personality.
Chakras & Energetic Blockages
We hold postural conditioning patterns in the body that directly relate to our perception of ourselves in relation to others. These postural conditioning patterns can create energetic blockages that prevent individuals from feeling balanced and connected. There are many ways that we can work with these energetic blockages through the four energetic bodies. From a physical perspective, we can look at the way our postural compensations correspond to the muscle tissues that are innervated as they relate to their corresponding chakra.
Although the muscles are directly related to innervation, the fascia is also impacted by postural conditioning. The more we experience something that causes our muscles to hold tension, the more the pattern of holding takes hold. When this happens, our fascia fibers shift due to the elasticity of the fascia itself. The impact this has on the fascia can be substantial, and according to Tom Myers, it can take six months to re-mold the fascia to help the body release the energetic blockages that it’s holding in the tissues that are ultimately impacting the fascia. For this reason, self-massage, or abhyanga, can be very effective in helping the fascia remodel.
Massage For Balancing Chakras
Balancing the chakras with massage is easy. We’ve talked about abhyanga before; abhyanga is Ayurvedic self-massage, and its purpose is to increase circulation, stimulate neurotransmitters, and offer opportunities for connection to the self and the present moment. When using abhyanga to help balance the chakras we can add essential oils that stimulate the chakras based on their aspects, qualities, and properties.
Muladhara Svadhishthana and chakra can be stimulated by using a drop or two of patchouli and sandalwood in flaxseed or sweet almond oil. Flaxseed is particularly beneficial for those suffering from endometrial pain or menstrual cramps. The oil can be massaged into the perineum, genitals, and lower pelvis to stimulate circulation and promote balance in the Brahma Granthi.
Manipura, Anahata, and Vishudda chakra benefit from abhyanga that includes cedarwood rose, and lavender-infused in flaxseed or sweet almond oil. Abhyanga of the Vishnu Granthi is done beginning with the mid-abdomen and moving in a clockwise direction around the navel. From here, massage from the fingertips to the chest and heart making sure to thoroughly massage the arms and shoulders in the process. It might be helpful to have someone help you massage the back, always massaging towards the heart.
Anja and Sarasarra chakra can be massaged with frankincense and sweet orange making sure to thoroughly massage the head, face, and scalp. You may prefer to use sweet almond oil for the Rudra Granthi because of its clean odorless property.
After you’ve completed your abhyanga you can put on some clothes designated for this practice and rest in a meditative savasana for ten to twenty minutes. Some people like to listen to Yoga Nidra during this time to encourage the body to let go. The gentle movements and light pressure used in abhyanga coupled with the restorative practice of resetting flat on the back helps to encourage remodeling of the fascia, the release of the muscles, and the flow of energy.
Chakra balancing meditations can be extremely helpful when you are looking to balance your chakras with massage, and can promote health and wellbeing. Each of the Granthis represents our connection to the psychic siddhis that help us to feel embodied. When our chakras are balanced we have the opportunity to live in the present movement. Practicing in this way helps to maintain the energetic continuity of the chakras and balances the physical, emotional, and intellectual bodies.