Location of the Kundalini Chakras
The three important nadis (channels for the flow of consciousness) are Sushumna, Ida, and Pingala. These are not nerves and they are not arteries or veins. Consider them to be abstract entities that symbolize Spiritual Force (sushumna), the Mental Force (ida), and the Life Force (Pingala).
These forces have been conceptualized to give the chakras a means of communication between themselves and the physical body - much like photons constitute light and carry light energy, these abstract entities carry the different forms of Kundalini Energy.
The Subtle Energy Pathways
Ida, pingala, and also sushumna nadis start in mooladhara (muladhara chakra or the root chakra) at the base of the pelvis. From there, sushumna ﬂows directly upwards while ida passes to the left and pingala to the right. At swadhisthana chakra (corresponding to the sacral plexus and thus known as the sacral chakra) the three nadis integrate once again and cross over each other. The three nadis integrate once more at manipura chakra (at the solar plexus and thus called the solar plexus chakra). This meeting and crossing over continue all the way to the pineal gland that corresponds to the ajna chakra.
Ida and pingala function simultaneously for obvious reasons: we are thinking and living at the same time. However, while sleeping one or the other takes over. This is easily observed when one nostril is slightly blocked: when this occurs, sleep on the opposite and you will soon find that the nostril clearing. For symbolic reasons, ida nadi is associated with the moon, and pingala is associated with the sun. Extending this symbolism, ida is also associated with the cooling breath, and pingala is associated with heating breath. It has been demonstrated that when the right nostril is ﬂowing, the left hemisphere of the brain is activated and when the left nostril is ﬂowing, the right hemisphere is activated.
The Importance of Awakening Sushumna
Since sushumna nadi is the channel for the spiritual energy, activating it is of utmost importance. When Kundalini awakens, it needs a channel to flow through, so it's important that kundalini is provided with an outlet. Thus, the higher consciousness created by kundalini passes through sushumna. The moment awakening takes place in mooladhara chakra, the energy makes headway through sushumna up to ajna chakra. Mooladhara chakra creates energy, but initiate the reaction you need some pranic energy which is pranayama (breathing exercises). Therefore, the awakening of sushumna is just as important as the awakening of Kundalini.
Ida and pingala support the physical, gross body while the spiritual body has been aroused. In this manner, all three nadis enable the kundalini and also sustain it. Shakti travels up sushumna to become one with Shiva in sahasrara chakra (or the crown chakra). Kundalini awakening is not fiction: even if you are skeptical about the physiological aspects, you can't dismiss the observed phenomena of the awakening.
The active portion of the brain functions on the energies of ida and pingala, but the other parts only have pingala. Pingala is life and ida is consciousness: if a man is living but is unable to think, we say he has prana shakti but not manas shakti. Similarly, the silent parts of the brain have prana, not consciousness. So a very difﬁcult question arises: how to awaken the sleeping compartments of the brain? We know how to awaken anxiety, passion, and fear, but most of us do not know how to awaken these dormant areas of the brain. In order to arouse the silent areas, we must charge the frontal brain with sufﬁcient prana and we must awaken sushumna nadi. For both these purposes we must practise pranayama regularly and consistently over a period of time.
After the solar chakra are the heart chakra (anahata chakra) and the throat chakra (vishuddha chakra or vishuddhi chakra). Another interesting chakra called bindu chakra is located at the back of the head and is the famous third eye chakra. However, some systems consider ajna to be the third eye chakra. Each tradition of Tantra depicts a slightly different chakra system: some have chakras above sahasrara and some below mooladhara.
Note: I have not depicted the chakras on any diagram of the body because the tendency is to associate that specific part with the chakra. This can be quite misleading. From above it can be seen how the important third-eye chakra is represented by both ajna and bindu.
The Mystical Tree
ln the 15th Chapter of the Bhagavad Gita there is a description of the 'imperishable tree' which has its roots at the top and its trunk and branches below, growing downwards. This tree represents the structure and function of the human body, the nervous system, and the subtle life forces within. One must climb this upside-down tree to arrive at the truth. It can be understood in this way: our thoughts and emotions are only the leaves of this tree whose roots are the brain whose trunk is the spinal column. One has to climb this tree (descend into oneself) from the top to the bottom if one wishes to cut the roots.
This tree contains the essence of all occult truth and secret knowledge. It can not be understood intellectually, but only through a progressive spiritual awakening. This is similar to 'Tree of Life' in the Kabbalah and the 'Tree of Knowledge' in the Bible. Its understanding forms the basis of both Judaic and Christian religious traditions.
Partial and Total Awakening
A genius is one who has been able to awaken one or more of the dormant areas of the brain. People who have ﬂashes of genius are those who have had a momentary awakening in certain circuits of the brain. It is not total awakening. When the entire brain wakes up, you become a God! In 'Tantra Illuminated,' Christopher Wallis mentions the following:
"In Saiva Tantra, it is not only God who exists at this level; so do any beings who have reached that same awareness. Thus the difference between Isvara and other beings abiding at tattva #4 is one of office, not of nature."
Area of the Chakras (Please Read Going Deep Into The Chakras for more information)
The nadis which arise from each chakra carry prana in both instructions. There is an ahead and in-reverse pranic movement in the nadis. The outbound interaction and the incoming response enter as well as leave the chakra in thise kind of pranic ﬂow. There are eight chakras in the human body that are directly connected with the greater unenlightened centers of the brain. The ﬁrst chakra is mooladhara. It is positioned in the pelvic floor as well as represents the coccygeal plexus of nerves. In men, it lies between the excretory and urinary openings. In women, it is positioned inside the posterior surface area of the cervix. Mooladhara is the ﬁrst chakra in the spiritual advancement of humans, where one goes past animal consciousness and starts to be a genuine person. It is likewise the last chakra in the conclusion of animal advancement.
From mooladhara chakra upwards exist the chakras which are concerned with the evolution of higher-order man. Mooladhara chakra has control over the whole variety of excretory and sex-related features in humans.
The second chakra is swadhisthana, located at the lowest point or termination of the spinal cord. It corresponds to the sacral plexus of nerves and controls the unconscious in man. The third chakra is manipura, located in the spinal column specifically at the degree of the navel. It corresponds to the solar plexus as well as controls the whole procedures of digestion as well as temperature level control in the body.
The fourth chakra is anahata, and it lies in the vertebral column behind the base of the heart, at the degree of the breast bone. It represents the heart plexus of nerves, and also controls the features of the heart, the lungs, the diaphragm and other body organs in this area of the body. The fifth chakra is vishuddhi, which lies at the level of the throat pit in the vertebral column. This chakra corresponds to the cervical plexus of nerves and manages the thyroid complex and likewise some systems of articulation, the top taste buds, and also the epiglottis.
Ajna, the sixth and essential chakra, represents the pineal gland, lying on the midline of the brain straight over the spinal column. This chakra manages the muscles and the onset of sex in humans. Tantra and yoga exercise maintain that ajna chakra, the command facility, has complete control over all the features of the adherent's life.
There are also two higher centers in the mind that are frequently described in Kundalini Yoga: bindu and sahasrara. Bindu lies at the top rear of the head. Sahasrara is supreme; it is the ﬁnal end result of kundalini shakti. It is the seat of greater awareness and is located at the top of the head, literally associated with the pituitary gland, which manages each and every gland and system of the body.
Kundalini and the Brain
The awakening of kundalini and its union with Shiva is immediately and intimately connected with the brain. If the dormant parts can be awakened through specific practices, then our experience of Shiva's and Shakti's union is complete. Each of the chakras is independent; they are not connected with each other. This means, if kundalini shakti awakens in mooladhara, it goes directly to sahasrara, to a particular center in the brain. Similarly, from swadhisthana the shakti passes directly to sahasrara, from manipura it goes straight to sahasrara and so on.
From each chakra, the awakening shock moves up to the top in sahasrara. However, the awakening is not sustained and those centers in the brain return to dormancy. This is what is meant by the return of kundalini to mooladhara. The experiences which are characteristic of a chakra (if kundalini awakens in an individual chakra) will be brought into consciousness. For example, swadhisthana practices will raise joy; manipura practices will increase self-assertion; anahata stimulation will expand the love; vishuddhi practices will awaken discrimination and wisdom, and ajna practices will increase the ﬂow of intuition, knowledge, and perhaps extrasensory abilities.
The aim of kundalini yoga is not really to awaken the power of man, but rather to bring the power down to earth or to bring the power of the unconscious or higher consciousness to normal consciousness . We have no need to awaken the consciousness for it is ever awake. We have only to gain complete control over them.
By means of Kundalini Yoga, we simply try to bring the centers from mooladhara to ajna into operation so that the higher knowledge will be gradually revealed to us.