Emma Sartwell:For starters, how would you explain the energy body?
Anodea Judith: Within this mass of muscles and bones that we call our physical body is an elaborate network of energy flowing through every cell. It’s what makes us alive. If you could somehow dissolve the opaque quality of the physical body and see what’s underneath, you would see this network. That’s the energy body, also called the subtle body.
Everything is made of energy – every cell, every breath, every thought. Various traditions call this energy chi, ki, or prana. I call it CHARGE, which stands for: Consciousness Having A Really Genuine Experience.
ES:What are the chakras?
AJ: A chakra is a spinning vortex of energy in the subtle body. The system of chakras with seven major centers is an ancient, elegant, and complete system, covering the full spectrum of human possibility -- from our earthly and bodily needs to our highest spiritual aspirations. The chakra system is the architecture of the soul, and the yoke of yoga – the structure whereby the finite physical body is yoked to the infinite divine.
The word means wheel or disk in Sanskrit. This refers to the spinning nature of the chakras. But I also like to think of this meaning in modern terms, like a floppy disk, that contains vital programming for our beliefs and behaviors. Sometimes that programming has bugs in it, and needs to be re-programed to be healthier or more effective.
ES:How did you first start working with them?
AJ: I first discovered the chakras in 1975. As soon as I came across the word, a shot of energy went through my body and I knew I had found a vital key to wholeness, and something that was to be my life’s path. I also began my study of yoga at that time. In all these years, I continue to learn about this ancient system and its applications to modern life.
ES: Do people need to know about the energy body to attend your workshop?
AJ: No, not at all, as I teach about energy from a different context than most of what’s out there anyway. I work the energy from a person’s core source and use that energy to break through blockages and body armor, rather than just waving my hands over someone’s body – though I sometimes do that, too. I teach people how to manage their own charge, which comes from inside and is a much more immediate experience. For most people it’s an entirely new way to look at it.
ES: Will experienced practitioners and teachers benefit from this workshop?
This workshop, at the Open Center, does not contain yoga asanas, but potent bioenergetic exercises for moving energy through the chakras. Yoga teachers would have their eyes opened to what it feels like to truly ground, for example.
ES:What’s an example of a chakra imbalance, and how might someone work with it?
AJ: I have created a diagnostic system for the chakras that looks at imbalances as either excessive or deficient (or sometimes a combination of both). An excessive chakra is trying to compensate for something, and a deficient chakra is trying to avoid.
For example, if you were wounded in your third or power chakra, you might compensate (become excessive in that chakra) by needing to have power and be in control, or you might avoid (become deficient) by steering away from challenges or being too passive. If you were excessive in the first chakra (oriented to the earth and material substance), you would create a heavy body that weighs you down, while a deficient first chakra would create body that is too thin and feels ungrounded or unsafe.
ES: You have a wide array of books and offerings on your website – what do you recommend for the beginner and the more advanced student?
AJ: Eastern Body, Western Mind is a great psychology book on the chakras for beginners, and if someone has read that, they can continue with the Chakra Balancing kit, the workbook that goes with it.
And if your own chakras are already well under way, then it’s time to start giving back to the world, in which case I would recommend reading The Global Heart Awakens, which is about social change, where we are now on the planet and where we are going.
For more information, check out Judith’s website by clicking here.