All spiritual and religious traditions of the world speak of a perfect merging, a total union between our individual consciousness and the universal consciousness. This merger has been called self-realization, enlightenment, nirvana, samadhi, kaivalya, Kundalini awakening, communion, heaven, and so on.
All of these names are referring to the experience at Sahasrara. In the Kundalini Yoga tradition, this energetic center is known as the crown chakra. It is in the seventh chakra that we can truly experience Wahe Guru — the ecstasy of knowing that we are divine, that we are all one, that we are boundless and infinite.
Yogi Bhajan taught that the crown chakra contains all the elements of the other six chakras. The word “Sahasrara” literally means “one thousand,” but it implies that this center’s significance is unlimited, infinite. It is formless and with form. It transcends all concepts yet is the source of all concepts. At the crown chakra, we move beyond the ‘I,’ the ‘you,’ and into single awareness, complete silence. The other six chakras are switches that we turn on so our unlimited potential can unfold at Sahasrara.
Physically, the seventh chakra is said to project upward from the center of the head into the space just above the crown chakra. In Kundalini Yoga, we associate this energetic center with the pineal gland, brain, and nervous system. If we are disconnected from this chakra, we may experience various symptoms of dis-ease that seem to have no apparent physical cause, as well as apathy, despair, doubt, religious extremism, grief, alienation, and a fear of death.
Through a dedicated practice, we can strengthen our connection to the crown chakra and find ourselves full of bliss, joy, peace, and harmony. We hold a greater understanding and consciousness as we accept and know that all is one. The technology of Kundalini Yoga allows us to integrate and express this peak experience into our human lives.
Yogi Bhajan used to say that the root of all our problems lies in the fact that we place God outside of ourselves, when really we each hold God within. Knowing ourselves is how we truly know God. We can use the techniques of Kundalini Yoga to value and treasure ourselves so we may also value and treasure other beings. When we love and cherish ourselves entirely, we are living at the seventh chakra.
Our crown chakra is the seat of our soul, the “tenth gate,” where we connect our finite selves to our Infinite nature. When we practice kriyas and meditations, we each meet our own challenges and struggles at different points. These struggles help us learn about ourselves and grow. This is why Kundalini Yoga is called the “Yoga of Awareness.”
The key characteristic of the seventh chakra is surrender — the ability to let go, to free your body, mind, and ego so you can hear the voice of your own soul. A daily practice helps us have a deeper relationship with the Infinite. Tuning in to our soul, knowing ourselves, takes practice and sincere effort. Just as we wouldn’t be able to instantly play a sonata when picking up the violin for the first time, we cannot expect to go to one Kundalini Yoga class or do one meditation and instantly understand our Divine nature.
Maintaining a connection to our crown chakra, to the voice of our soul, is a lifelong journey that will present challenges and tests. Thanks to Yogi Bhajan, we have a vast amount of tools to support our traversal of this odyssey. As Yogi Bhajan would say, “Keep up and you will be kept up!”
A perfect companion for crown chakra cultivation is a book by Gurucharan Singh Khalsa, The 21 Stages of Meditation. Any meditation is great exercise for the seventh chakra, and this book covers it all. From the emotions of boredom and frustration to our merger with the “Infinite Pulse,” there are meditations that will meet you exactly where you are in your personal practice.
There is also a great Kundalini Yoga kriya in The Ten Light Bodies of Consciousness by Nirvair Singh Khalsa called “The Eleventh Body Meditation,” which guides us in allowing ourselves to know all and be all, to experience the oneness of everything. This meditation uses the mantra “Ra Ma” which removes duality by bringing balance to male and female energies within our psyche. Ragani has a traditional musical version on Best of Both Worlds – Vol 1 that is quite beautiful. Santokh Singh has an accessible version on Mantras of the Master that makes chanting along very easy.
For a bit of a crown chakra boost, try meditating while focusing at the tip of the nose. To focus at the tip of the nose, the eyes are 1/10th open, and they literally look down and in toward the tip of the nose. The eyes will be lightly crossed. This position directly stimulates the pineal gland to awaken the seventh chakra. Another quick posture to use is Ego Eradicator. Come sitting in easy pose with the eyes closed and focused up at the third eye. Curl all 8 fingers in so the tips touch the mounds at the base of the fingers while having the thumbs extended. Bring the arms up to a 60 degree angle, and point the thumbs toward one another at an angle. Begin Breath of Fire and continue for 3 minutes.
Some lifestyle suggestions that are helpful for the crown chakra include wearing purple or violet; consider fasting; implement a daily meditation practice; find a particular Kundalini yoga meditation, and commit to practicing it for 40 days straight. When you face the challenges that come with these lifestyle changes and Kundalini yoga practices, know that you are moving into a space of higher awareness which will bring a deeper knowingness of God, of yourself. Keep Up!