Chakras: spiral, vortex or double helix?

Details on my 7 part series “Therapeutic Chakra Workshop” available at

Earth energy and spinning

We’ve all heard that the body is over 50% water. Elementary school children know that the pull of the moon creates the tides (you can take their re-fresher course here). The direction of the spin of water down a drain may appear different whether one is in the northern, southern or equatorial regions of the earth. Still, people will argue based on perception and without understanding the laws of fluid motion. The same can be said of the earth as it spins from the west to the east, appearing to spin counterclockwise when viewed from the north pole. The sun, the asteroids, and all the other planets (except Uranus and Venus) rotate in a counterclockwise direction. I have to disagree that there is “nothing special” in this fact, just because we’re not yet special enough to understand this!

The upper seven chakras spin clockwise

So what of the spinning chakras? The upper seven chakras from the top of head to the base of the spine: Sahasrara (crown), Ajna (third eye), Vishuddha (throat), Anahata (heart), Manipura (solar plexus), Svadhisthana (abdomen), Muladhara (perineum, or root) all spin clockwise. Our chakras spin within their respective, “nothing special” locations. Our modern understanding of endocrine anatomy aligns directly with the very special location of these seven chakras! The direction of the spin, and the location of the chakras does not appear to be arbitrary. People figured out the location and the spin of the chakras thousands of years ahead of modern medicine and anatomy. Ancient people weren’t ignorant, they were just ancient! Think of all the things we could discover without the distractions of modern living. Like the location and spin of the chakra energy centers in the body.

The lower seven chakras spin counterclockwise

In western-style yoga, the seven chakras below the Muladhara chakra (root chakra) are not as well known. Their names and locations are: Atala (hips), Vitala (thighs), Sutala (knees), Talatala (calves), Rasatala (ankles), Mahatala (feet) and Patala (souls of the feet, or below to the underworld). There is a large body of knowledge concerning their qualities, and long complicated stories of their significance in Indian philosophy. They come up in discussion in this article because they happen to spin counterclockwise, like our earth. Very special, indeed. Curious, in fact!

Enter the vortex, or rather the helix

As long as we are on the topic of spinning, we’d do well to consider vortexes, spirals, the helix, and the double helix in nature. Consider how the planets rotate around the sun. Watch this simple 3 minute video showing how they do more than simply spin around the sun, they move with it, through space. The video takes some license with science, and has attracted some serious debunking and even detractors of that debunking. All the hairsplitting of this science does not negate the distinctive helix pattern formed by the paths of the planets. The spin and spiral around the sun is reminiscent of the double helix of DNA.

Does the spinning energy of the Chakras form a double helix?

Just maybe. The seven upper chakras spin clockwise. The seven lower chakras spin counterclockwise. In yoga we speak to “balancing the chakras.” When one or more of our chakras are out of balance, we lack resonance and coherence with the systems of the body. There is a state of dis-ease at one or more levels of the parts of ourselves (i.e., the Koshas as described in yoga: the physical body, the energy body, the emotional body, the spiritual body, the bliss body).

Perfect balance might look like a complete energy exchange between all 14 major chakras. The lower seven, in the “super gross” energy body (earth bound lower chakras below the root chakra), gross body (first, second, and third chakras from root, abdomen, solar plexus), and the higher, subtle bodies (fourth, fifth, and sixth chakras from heart, throat, and crown).

Bottomline: It would be foolhardy to think the energy forces in our universe are nothing special, just because we have described them. It would be ignorant to discount their effects on the forms of plants and animals, and on movement because they seem common. Regardless of scale (or maybe because they can be scaled up!) we should look for glimpses of their effects on all the things we cannot see, and all the things we have yet to discover.

Attend my 7 week Therapeutic Chakra Workshop, Tuesday evenings 7-8pm ET, August 2-Sept 13, 2022. $100. Details on my Tampa Yoga Therapy website here.

Vayus and Bayous: how does your energy flow?

Prana Vayus are the five main currents by which Prana flows subtly throughout the body.

In Yoga, “Prana” is what we call that unique, life force energy that animates all things. Prana moves through the body in a subtle way, that is, not necessarily experienced through the five senses.

Do you feel your own energy as a river or as a meandering, borderless, spreading bayou? Does it flow with direction and intent, or does it puddle and become clogged and seasonally disrupted? Our Sushumna, the spine, the central channel is our major river, our energy thoroughfare. Energy moves up and down the spine, and radiates into all parts of our body, our organs, and our limbs. This energy flow is helped along into all our “tributaries” with the specific types of currents called the Prana Vayus.

Ah, Take Me To The River YOGA

Let’s start with acknowledging the “ports of call.” We practice bringing our attention to the seven Chakras in the body. Our yogic study of these areas center around their location, core qualities, elemental attributes, colors on the light spectrum, and how to recognize balance and imbalance in these areas of the body. And we practice Pranayama (breathing) and Dharana and Dhyana (focusing) into these areas to generate currents of energy, to balance, and to unblock energy within the Chakras.

The Prana Vayus are our way to develop the story further! We learn more about Yoga through the interesting narrative laid down by the ancient philosophy of Yoga. The story of Yoga and of vital energy continues with the introduction of five new characters: the Prana Vayus. They have names, symbols, direction of energy, location in the body, are related to the Chakras and the five elements, and they have qualities. These are the currents that move our energy like that of water in the river. When we experience imbalance within our system (be it physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual, or psychically) we may become like that proverbial bayou. The bayou can be wild, and rich, and exciting in its own right. But eventually we need to join the bigger river, and flow through our journey.

Summary of the 5 Prana Vayus

Apana Vayu – Downward direction, related to 1st & 2nd Chakra, earth and water elements
Samana Vayu – Inward & outward direction, related to 3rd Chakra, fire element
Prana Vayu – Upward direction, related to 4th Chakra, air element
Udana Vayu – Upward and in a circulating direction, related to 5th Chakra, space element
Vyana Vayu – From the center and outward, related to 2nd through 6th Chakras, space, air, fire and water elements.

Prana Vayus and the Pranamaya Kosha

This story of the Prana Vayus springs from the Pranamaya Kosha. In order to understand the many dimensions of our true being, Yoga looks at our form as having five distinct Koshas, or layers, or sheaths. The Koshas provide an outline to help categorize aspects of our human being-ness. Just as Asana (yogic postures) are related to Annamaya Kosha (the physical body), the breath and Pranic energy is related to Pranamaya Kosha.

The five Koshas are:

  1. Physical Body – Annamayakosha
  2. Breath/Energy Body – Pranamayakosha
  3. Psycho/Emotional Body – Manamayakosha
  4. Witness/Wisdom Body – Vijnanamayakosha
  5. Bliss Body – Anandamayakosha