[Shakti Chalana Kriya]
A kind of Yogic practice taught at the Isha Yoga Center.
Shakti Chalana Kriya
Shakti Chalana Kriya is a set of powerful, purifying practices that enhance the flow of one’s vital energy. It is taught as part of Shoonya Intensive Program.
5 Types of Prana
There are five basic manifestations of prana in the body. These pancha vayus – prana vayu, samana vayu, udana vayu, apana vayu, and vyana vayu – direct different aspects of the human mechanism. Through yogic practices like the Shakti Chalana Kriya, you can to take charge of the pancha vayus. If you gain mastery over these five vayus, you will be free from most ailments, particularly psychological ones. This is something that the world needs today.
Shakti Chalana Kriya – Working with Your Prana
It takes a certain level of attention and awareness to know how the five pranas are functioning. The Shakti Chalana Kriya is a fabulous process, but you need to be attentive. It requires you to keep yourself focused for forty to sixty minutes. Most people can’t keep their mind on a full inhalation. Midway, their thoughts wander off, or they lose count or track. It takes months and years of practice to come to a point where you can keep your focus on the breath for the full set of cycles.
That is why Shakti Chalana is always taught in tandem with Shoonya. The Shoonya meditation is to bring yourself to a place where, if you close your eyes, the world is gone in your experience. This is a blessing all of you should earn at some point. Only if you make yourself like this, are you capable of staying focused on something. Forceful concentration is not going to achieve anything.
If you close your eyes, the only things that should exist for you are your breath, your heartbeat, processes in your body, and the workings of your prana. Only what is happening inside is life. What is happening on the outside is just imagery.
Shakti Chalana Kriya is a phenomenal practice
Most of the yogic practices that involve an element of breathing are aimed towards vayu or prana vayu. Vayu is the element – prana vayu is one of the pancha pranas. We are in a womb of prana, which is the atmospheric bubble. This larger prana breaks down into eighty-four pranas. Out of these, five pranas can cover the day-to-day requirements of most human beings. These pancha pranas are sufficient to keep your body and mind well, and yourself spiritually alive. Another ten are needed for someone who is into occult practices. The remaining pranas are generally too subtle to explore and experience. The prana vayu is an inward movement between the pit of the throat and the navel. At least sixty percent of the process of Shakti Chalana Kriya that we teach is aimed towards prana vayu. We focus on this element because the quality of the air that we breathe and how we breathe largely determines people’s surface experience of life.
I would say almost ninety-nine percent of the people today are only concerned about how to navigate their way through the world in a reasonably pleasant and successful manner. There are very few who seek to become perceptive to another dimension of life. In this context, vayu and prana vayu become most significant, because a certain level of mastery over prana instantly enhances the sharpness of the intellect. That means the practice of Shakti Chalana Kriya can leave you a little smarter. Your emotions get a little more stable, organized, and sweet. And you can do some physical activity better than you used to. For most people, these three aspects are all they want in life.
The impact of the air that we breathe is very immediate. You can go without food for eight to ten days without causing damage to the system. You can go without water for up to three-and-a-half days without causing damage to the system. But most people can go without air for only three-and-a-half to five minutes. With some practice, you can stay without air for longer periods, but this involves a little bit of cheating. If you manage to keep your metabolic activity very low, you do not need to breathe through your nostrils but you breathe through your skin. As there is perspiration, there is also respiration, or movement of air through the skin. If you substantially activate the prana vayu, you can survive for a longer period of time without breathing through your nostrils.
Yogic practices that focus on vayu give instant results – especially on the level of your mind and emotions.
In this context, the Shakti Chalana Kriya is a phenomenal practice. We have taught it to a few million people over the years. If all of them had kept it up and grown with it, the world would have changed by now. Growing with it means – if your practice was initially only forty minutes, over time, you extend it to one-and-a-half to two hours. If, let us say, at least one hundred thousand people were doing Shakti Chalana Kriya the way it should be done, it would already change the atmosphere in the world.
So, what can we do with air? We can pollute it. We can purify it. Above all, we can use air as a force of transformation in our lives. There is a certain immediacy about air or vayu, which makes it very responsive and gives it the ability to transform or to bring about changes very quickly. And of all the elements, wind is the one that can generate maximum force. That is true both in the outside atmosphere and within the human system. If you learn to activate it, it will make you phenomenally strong – not necessarily in terms of muscular strength but in terms of life. A certain amount of sadhana is needed to activate the prana vayu. The standard is that generally, if you do 1,008 days of Shakti Chalana Kriya without a break, then your prana reaches a certain level of activity. The sheer energy that you carry will set you apart.
You will seem to have a limitless amount of energy. There is no such thing as limitless energy, though – only in other people’s perception, it appears like that. If your prana vayu is really active, you will be able to manage your time well. Life is a combination of time and energy. If you keep your energy or the prana vayu very intense, you will seem to have more time. Activity will happen out of the effervescence of your energy, not out of effort. If you keep up the Shakti Chalana Kriya, your ability to be active will increase immensely.
Staying Focused Is Key
With the Shakti Chalana Kriya, the transformation happens gradually. Taking charge of your prana and its different activities in your system is a fantastic process. The Shakti Chalana Kriya works on that level. If you practice it, you are strengthening the very foundations of your system.
Coping with Nasal Allergies - The Yogic Way
I know people who have just messed up their whole system trying to do all kinds of things to their sinuses. If you do the kapalabathi that is taught as part of the Shakti Chalana Kriya, within a month or two, for most people their sinusitis should completely disappear. If you do the kapalabathi properly, it will provide relief to any type of cold-related disease.
There are a few exceptions, but it has worked for a majority of people. For those who have not had any relief, they probably need to take a break from whatever they are allergic to for a while, and do the kriya for some time to establish it well. Their kriya may not be very effective because of their allergic conditions. If the nasal passages are not fully opened and there is excessive mucus, the kriya may not be completely effective. If it is practiced correctly, you can definitely work yourself out of allergic situations. Cold weather just won’t bother you anymore. Not just the cold, even heat will not disturb you. When you have an internal air-conditioning, both the heat and cold do not disturb you too much.