Tentacles Attacking My Throat & Why I Teach Chakras Differently
By Kristine Kaoverii Weber | August 14, 2021
One day after class a student, who is an intuitive healer, offered me some advice.
“I’ve been reading your energy today,” she said, “You have a lot of imbalances in your throat chakra and I can see that there are tentacles reaching up from your second chakra attacking it.”
(from The OA, Netflix)
Well…it’s Asheville after all.
I expect these kinds of conversations.
So, I thanked her, went home, got myself a small glass of warm salt water and gargled. Who knows, maybe she was right?
After all, there are lots of different ways to approach chakras and the energy body.
From the late 80s to the early 2000s, I studied a lot of bodywork and energy healing. I went to many workshops and explored different techniques. I listened to a practitioner describing images of traumatic experiences projecting from a client’s body. I watched teachers unwind “energy fascia.” I saw energy healers knock people off massage tables without touching them.
I have sensitive hands and I learned how to feel energies coming from clients’ bodies so, I totally get that this kind of work is possible and can be helpful. I don’t discount the experience and skills of psychics and intuitive healers or the visions of clairvoyants who read auras.
BUT… I’m a yoga teacher.
And when I’m teaching yoga, I want to teach about chakras from a yogic perspective.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a purist. I realize that yoga is very much a living tradition and that innovation is the norm rather than the exception. Still, I want to actively resist the cultural appropriation of yoga – which includes the simplified, laminated doctrine of chakra knowledge concretized into incontrovertible “truth” by twentieth century Western writers.
I don’t think this is the whole story – I think they missed a lot.
And so I want to approach the deepening of my understanding of the chakras (both intellectual and experiential) with a lot of cultural sensitivity and respect for the tradition.
To be clear, there have been many iterations of the chakras historically, and it would be dogmatic to claim there is only one single standard.
But I’ve worked with the 7 chakra system for a few decades now, so that’s the one I can teach about.
Basically, it’s the same as the one outlined in the Șatcakra Nirūpaṇa in the sixteenth century which provided the source material for Sir John Woodroffe’s 1919 translation.
However, In the west, information about a 7 chakra system has been set in stone by folks who wrote stuff about the chakras in the 70s and 80s that were not based in Indian Tantric source material and referred only peripherally to Woodroffe’s translation.
Frankly, a lot of stuff was made up, or laid down as truth based on one intuitive healer’s experience (which is quite different than a community of practitioners agreeing upon knowledge.)
The Western writers who produced the English chakra books in the 70s and 80s had much more limited access to research and resources than what is available today.
I don’t discount their work. But I do think it warrants rethinking.
When you look at the most popular New Age chakra books, and the most popular understandings about chakras today – the information that has been standardized and repeated in the mountains of books written on the topic, the information in all the laminated rainbow charts – it becomes obvious that is was crafted and distributed by people who hadn’t studied much yoga.
As I yoga teacher, I feel a strong need to reclaim and re-examine the traditional teachings about the chakras. To look back and see if there was other information that could have been helpful to those western writers but was either unknown or ignored because it was too complicated, too esoteric, or got lost in translation.
I want to know and teach about chakras from a yogic perspective. So that’s why I’ve been writing and teaching about chakras for more than 25 years. And this is why I’ve just recently released a new course. I hope it helps the yoga community to start to think differently about whose books to recommend and how to teach the chakras from a yogic perspective.
This is the last of my 4 part series on the chakras (for now), you can read the other blogs here: Chakras: Somewhere Over the Rainbow, harry Potter and the Queen of the Chakras, A Purple Bath, Lavender Oil, and Grapes – Is That All My Chakras Really Need?