The Astrological Chart and the Chakras: Common Afflictions and Remedies Utilizing Hatha Yoga
A profound link exists between an individual’s astrological chart or Rasi and his/her chakras. The macrocosm of the solar system is present within the microcosm of the individual human body. Remedies for afflictions in the chart are numerous and some examples are: wearing of gems, chanting of Mantras, Flower Essences, Pujas and Fasting. These are all valid and work very well in alleviating negative karmas. However, there is one Remedy that needs more attention and that is the practice of Hatha Yoga Asanas. Since the Chakras are ruled by the Planets and Signs, their direct link to the horoscope presents them as energy centers to be improved upon and purified through physical Yoga postures. The physical aspect of Hatha Yoga will also, as a remedy, appeal to those who are more athletically inclined and who are very in tune with their bodies.
While doing Yoga Asanas for certain Signs, it must be kept in mind that one is doing the Asana for the Sign in all the varga charts, therefore improving every aspect of life. The evidence that Hatha Yoga works to improve inner and outer karma is evidenced many times over by regular practitioners of Hatha Yoga. They are filled with grace, poise and composure. If one were to ask such a person if he saw any improvement in his outer life, the answer would be a resounding ‘yes’! It is already very apparent that Hatha Yoga works wonders for the emotional/psychological well-being of the person. It goes without saying that the outer will reflect the inner. There is, indeed, no doubt that Yoga Asanas working to balance the Chakra energy will also improve outer circumstances as they improve inner circumstances.
This Article will be in two parts. The first part will focus on what actually causes affliction in a chart and needs to be remedied. The second part will focus on the Chakras and their corresponding Yoga Asanas to balance them.
Part 1 – Affliction of Planets and Signs
The planets are the pure forces that manifest their qualities as karakas or producers. They are considered divine and incarnations of God. As such they have consciousness. The Rasis or Signs are also manifestations of God but do not have consciousness; that is why, for the most part, they are represented by Earthly creatures. The Signs or Rasis express the masculine and feminine energies of each planet, except for the Sun and the Moon which rule Leo and Cancer, respectively. The planets, according to Parasara, were formed to “reward the fruits of the Karma of the Jivas (Living Beings)”. Because their existence relies upon Cause and Effect, and in fact, they are the beginning of cause and effect, they are causal and their power extends to the causal plane. This is also evidenced by their ability to produce everything that is. The planets are the substance and the Rasis are the form. As a consequence of giving the things produced by the planets form, the Rasis are astral and reach up to the astral plane. The Signs and how the Grahas operate through them provide the emotional and psychological tone of all phenomena. The Houses or Bhavas bring the Signs and Grahas into direct contact with the Earth via the Ascendant/Descendant axis and the Midheaven/IC axis. A direct result of the Houses being dependent upon the location of birth is the Houses marry Heaven and Earth, so to speak. Thus, the Houses are physical and relate to concrete, physical karmas that will be experienced during the lifetime of the person.
Horoscope afflictions and how they relate to chakras are mainly produced through planets in Signs, so remedies performed upon the chakras will firstly improve the emotional/psychological well-being of the person. But just as a remedy done for an afflicted planet in a Sign will improve the planet, it will also improve that Sign and correspondingly its house placement. If the remedy improves the house, then it also improves the concrete physical Karmas and not only the emotional/ psychological issues.
What Constitutes Affliction?
- Sign Placement of Saturn
- Sign Placement of Rahu and Ketu
- Combustion of Planets
- Planets in Debilitation, Great Enemy’s and Enemy’s Signs
- Low Shad bala score, especially the balas of Sthana bala and Cheshta bala.
- Planets affected by Krura Grahas (Cruel or Malefic Planets)
Now we will discuss how planets become afflicted as karakas, but not as house lords, since we are focusing on the Sign placement of planets which correspond directly to the Chakras. We will also discuss how Signs become afflicted and therefore certain houses, which leads us to our first point which is…
Where Saturn is placed in a chart shows us where we hold our fear and psychological/emotional pain as well as physical pain. Saturn, in Greek Mythology, is Kronos or Time, so he gives us knowledge of Time and therefore death. Saturn shows us where our limitations are and points to events and situations that are beyond our control. But mainly, the core issues are fear and knowledge of the passage of time, which is our longevity. Who was it that said ‘all our neuroses stem from the knowledge of our impending death.’? Well, this is Saturn. Even if Saturn is strong in a chart as a karaka, meaning if Saturn has high Ishta and low Kashta, then the person will be able to weather difficult situations more gracefully, however, Saturn still shows the major psychological issues at hand within the mind of the person. Saturn rules all kinds of fears that are known, as opposed to Rahu which rules fear of the unknown. Saturn rules the feeling of lack, need and thirst. Where Saturn is or what he touches, we are lacking, needing, thirsting, because we are ultimately aware of Time touching it, or of its eventual demise and temporal quality. What sign Saturn occupies and especially which planets it influences will show where there is need, fear and separation and an awareness of temporality.
Rahu & Ketu
Of the two nodes, Rahu is the most unsettling, especially to the Moon, which is our individual self, our ego and our perception. Rahu and Ketu are the intersection of the Earth’s orbit around the Sun with the Moon’s orbit around the Earth. In other words, they are points on the ecliptic where total eclipses occur. Since Rahu and Ketu are an intersection, they are much like a Lagna or Ascendant/ Descendant axis, as the Lagna is an intersection of the horizontal plane with the surface of the Earth. The Lagna or Ascendant determines the 1st house and thus the beginning of life and the body. This is where the Sun rises and a new day begins. The descendant or 7th house determines the end of the body, i.e., death and the Sun sets here, marking a day’s end. Similarly, Rahu is the North Node of the Moon and represents the rising of the mind, or that which brings the Mind or Jiva into experience. Ketu or the South Node of the Moon, represents the setting of the Mind, or the death of the mind which can only mean one thing – Liberation. This is why Ketu is the significator of Liberation and the death of the Mind, because the Mind can only die when the Soul is free from it. Because Rahu is that which brings the Mind into experience, according to Vedic thought, Rahu is what is in the ether that pulls the Jiva into the womb, or the newly formed zygote, Rahu is the reason we incarnate. Rahu represents the sub-conscious desires that we have come here on this Earth Plane to experience. He signifies those situation that are unknown and unfamiliar, but those that we are thrust into time and time again. Rahu represents compulsion, so the Sign placement of Rahu will show those psychological and emotional fears of the unknown and specifically, WHAT is unknown to the person.
Ketu means ‘the flag’, and the flag is what is put into the ground when we have conquered a territory. But because Ketu is ultimately exactly the same as Rahu, as 2 opposites at their extremes are always the same, the Ketu also represents areas of life that must be experienced for the final evolution of consciousness to occur. Ketu represents those areas of life that are all too familiar and where we highly scrutinize everything. Ketu is where we internalize energy and demand perfection. Where Ketu resides and what it touches, there is much talent, however the person is not content with that talent and often is compelled to perfect it. Where Ketu is, there is a search for the ultimate Truth. Since ultimate Truth does not exist within categories, which is exactly what Signs are, so Ketu also signifies what aspect of life we experience as God and also where we have divine discontent. So in effect, the divine discontent drives us to experience ultimate Truth. Ketu is particularly troubling to the Sun. The Sun is the divine inspiration and the purely masculine, dynamic force. As such, it does not do well having its energy internalized and the divine inspiration cannot be expressed outwardly when it is with Ketu.
When a planet is combust, it is said to be ‘kopi’ or angry. Frustrated is also a very appropriate term to describe the feeling of a planet when it is combust. A planet is angry and frustrated when it cannot be seen from Earth. This is exactly what combustion is as the planet is too close to the Sun and its Rays are diminished. Combustion also gives something called low “Cheshta Bala” which means “movement strength”. When speaking of combust planets, it must be kept in mind that Venus and Mercury are not combust when they are retrograde, as at that time they are between the Earth and the Sun, the closest to the Earth they are going to get in their orbit, and therefore they are extremely powerful. When a planet is combust, the person does not have any confidence while wielding that planet. Therefore, that aspect of themselves the planet represents seems to disappear or they overly compensate in the case of malefics. When a planet is combust, this fact contributes greatly to a planet’s Ishta/Kashta score, or rather its good/bad points.
Planets in Debilitation, Great Enemy’s and Enemy’s Rasis
When a planet is debilitated it is said to be in an alarmed state. It is also in a depressed state. Under these conditions, a debilitated planet cannot function properly and not take care of its significations. Such a planet is in very bad shape and in need of help. When a planet is in a Great Enemy’s Rasi, it is said to be ‘Khala’ or cruel, so it suffers greatly as any person would not desire to be in their great enemy’s house. When a planet is in an enemy’s Rasi, then the planet is said to be miserable and is in need of help.
Low Spashta (Shad) bala score, especially the balas of Sthana bala and Cheshta bala
A score is considered low if the planet meets less than 100% of its required bala. Most astrological softwares calculate Shad Bala and the method to do so will not be related here. The Spashta bala shows the raw strength of a planet based mostly, but not entirely, on astronomical factors. The most important balas are the Sthana bala and Cheshta balas. The Spashta (or Shad) bala of planets show the strength with which the person uses their planetary energies in specific situations. They are not indicative of positive or negative karmas in store for the native. Those are seen through the dignities and bhava placements of planets as karakas and house lords. Sthana means “stance” and the Sthana bala is ruled by Mercury. In this instance, Mercury is the manager. This bala represents how an individual uses each planet to manage their life. When a planet is low or does not meet the required Sthana bala, the person is at a loss to use that planet effectively in the management of their affairs. Cheshta bala is ‘motion strength’. As mentioned previously, this bala has to do with retrograde motion and combustion. When a planet is closest to the Earth it gains tremendous strength, and therefore tremendous confidence. Cheshta bala is the confidence with which we utilize a planet. When a planet does not meet the required Cheshta bala, the Signs it rules and their corresponding Chakra will suffer.
Planets affected by Krura Grahas and the Ishta/Kashta Factor
- Grahas are harmed when they are conjoined with Krura grahas.
- Grahas are harmed when they are planetary aspected by Krura Grahas. For planetary aspects, exact calculations must be used and not the full house aspect.
- Grahas are harmed when Krura Grahas are in the 4th, 6th, or 8th from the Graha itself.
Ishta means ‘desired’ and Kashta means ‘ill’. A score between 0 and 60 relates a planet’s beneficial or malevolent influence. Gentle planets or Saumya Grahas spread their good points to the planets they influence and keep their negative points to themselves. Cruel Planets or Krura Grahas spread their malevolent points to planets they influence and keep their good points to themselves. Thus, if a planet is joined with a Cruel Planet, i.e, Saturn, Mars, Rahu, Ketu, waning Moon or Sun, then if the Cruel Planet’s Kashta or bad points outweigh the other planet’s good points, then the Cruel Planet destroys the planet it is influencing.
Summing Up the Afflictions
The Sign and therefore the House suffers when Saturn, Rahu, or Ketu, are placed within it. The Sign also suffers when it contains a planet in debilitation, in a great enemy’s or enemy’s sign. The Planet suffers when it is conjoined with a malefic, when it’s Spashta Bala is less than 100%, when it is combust, or when it is in debilitation, great enemy’s sign or enemy’s sign.
The Chakras and Remedial Measures for the Horoscope utilizing Hatha Yoga
The Planets, Signs and Chakras
Each Planet rules a Chakra through the Signs, except for the Sun and the Moon which rule one Chakra. The following is a list of the Planets, Signs and the Chakras they rule:
Planet Chakra Signs
Sun, Moon Ajna or Third Eye Chakra Leo, Cancer
Mercury Vissudha or Throat Chakra Gemini, Virgo
Venus Anahata or Heart Chakra Taurus, Libra
Mars Manipura or Solar Plexus Chakra Aries, Scorpio
Jupiter Swadisthana or Sacral Plexus Chakra Sagittarius, Pisces
Saturn Muladhara or Coccygeal Plexus Chakra Capricorn, Aquarius
Hatha Yoga is a branch of yoga that leads to Enlightenment. Kundalini Yoga is the culmination of Hatha Yoga in which one purifies the Nadis and raises the Kundalini through the Chakras via the Sushumna Nadi to unite with the Crown Chakra at the top of the head. Hatha yogis do various exercises to purify and balance their chakras and nadis. Hatha yogis use their bodies to do what other yogis do through other disciplines such as Raja Yoga, Laya Yoga, Mantra Yoga and others. Why is the body and its purification act as a vehicle for realization? It is because the mind, emotions and the physical body are intricately linked through the various Chakras and Nadis. In addition, negative emotions and habits can be released through practice of Hatha yoga. And since Hatha yoga works on the Chakras and the Chakras are linked to the horoscope, by looking at one’s horoscope and finding the major afflictions, one can deduce the Asanas that will be most helpful in bringing about release of negativity and self-realization or just improving one’s attitude and happiness.
Self-Realization before God-Realization
This is a standard mantra propounded on various spiritual paths. What that means is that we must come to terms with ourselves and accept ourselves before God steps in and accepts us. That entails working through and releasing all neuroses and emotional traumas. These things reside in the Chakras and they can be seen in the Astrological Chart. This concept is deftly explained through the Signs of Aquarius and Pisces. Pisces is the Sign of Liberation and Enlightenment. It corresponds to the 12th House which has the same meaning among other things. Pisces has to do with the obliteration of the ego and complete surrender. That is why its symbol are two fish swimming in different directions. The fish is footless and cannot takes itself where it wants to go, it is swept about by the current of the water. So in essence, Pisces must symbolically surrender. The 11th Sign of Aquarius has to do with the process of complete individualization and how that manifests within the group. Put a different way, Aquarius finally accepts himself and has worked through all the psychological issues represented by the other Signs. Aquarius is the Sign of Self-Realization and there is just one step left to God-Realization. So it has taken a journey through the whole zodiac to reach the point of Self-Realization in the 11th Sign.
The Chakras, Their Meaning, and Asanas to Purify Them
Muladhara Chakra (Root Chakra)
This is the base chakra at the coccyx and represents from the bottom of the feet to the beginning of the spine. The Signs are Capricorn and Aquarius, ruled by Saturn. The Muladhara chakra is the manifestation of our survival instinct and our feeling of having a firm foundation. When planets are afflicted in Capricorn and Aquarius, they bring their particular type of afflicted energy into this Chakra and affect our fear and worry. Worry is a minor form of fear, and depending upon the planet, our worries and fear will revolve around that issue. Afflictions to Saturn will also cause this Chakra to have energy imbalances. The feeling of groundedness will not be present within the individual and it will be difficult for them to concentrate, focus and persevere. Because their very survival will always feel threatened, they will always be changing, never solidifying a firm foundation. To bring this chakra into energetic balance and robust health, there are a number of Hatha Yoga Asanas that can be performed. Any exercise that strengthens the legs, such as squats, will go a long way in balancing the Muladhara Chakra.
Yoga Asanas for Muladhara (Root Chakra)
- Stand with your feet about 3 ft. apart. Turn your right foot to the right, and bend your right knee until it is in line with your ankle.
- Keeping your back straight, stretch both arms above your head, bringing the palms of your hand together. Repeat on the other side.
- Stand with you legs wider than your shoulders, making an equilateral triangle with the floor. Raise both arms to your sides, level with your sholders.
- Turn your left foot out, slowly bend to the left and take a firm hold of your left andkle with your left hand. Your neck should be relaxed, with your head falling sideways. Your right arm should be stretched over your head, parallel with the floor. Repeat on the other side.
- Stand upright with your feet together and your hands at your sides. Bend your right knee, bringing it over the left knee and tucking the right foot behind the left calf. Balance.
- Now bend your elbows in front of you and entwine your arms, so that the right elbow rests on the front of the left arm’s inner elbow. Join the palms of your hands together. Maintain your balance. Repeat with the other leg and arm.
Svadisthana Chakra (Sexual Center Chakra)
‘Svadisthana’ can be translated as ‘one’s own special place’. It is the Chakra of the creative force and the Signs of Sagittarius and Pisces are here. It is ruled by Jupiter. If there are afflicted planets in these signs, then the energies of these afflicted planets will adversely affect one’s healthy, creative expression, sexuality and emotional traumas. Also, afflictions to Jupiter will cause problems and inhibited energy flow to this Chakra. Jupiter, according to Parasara, is joy and wisdom that comes from joy. Women seem to hold a lot of their emotional pain in this center and some men as well. When Yoga Asanas are done to balance the energy in this Chakra, one may find him or herself crying or feel very sad. However, the Asana is a healthy form of release. Done regularly, the individual will be able to express their creativity to fullest form.
Yoga Asanas for Svadisthana (Sexual Center Chakra)
Parivritta Trikonasana (Twisting Triangle)
This Asana is much like the previous Triangle Asana for the Muladhara Chakra. However, there is a twisting motion involved that will massage and invigorate the Svadisthana Chakra.
- Stand with your feet about 3 ft. apart. Turn your right foot 90 degrees to the right, so that your body faces right, with your left foot only slightly turned to act as a strong base. Rotate your body toward your right leg, reaching down to the ankle or to the floor with your left hand beyond your right foot (for an advanced position).
- Stretch your right arm straight up until it is in a direct line with the left arm. Repeat on the other side.
Utthita Parsvakonasana (Extended Lateral Angle Pose)
- Stand with your feet together and your arms stretched above your head. Jump your feet about 5 ft. apart. Raise your arms sideways to shoulder level. Turn your left foot sideways 90 degrees to the left, keeping your right leg stretched and tight at the knee. Bend your left knee to form a 90-degree angle.
- Place your left palm on the floor by your left foot. Stretch your right arm over your right ear. Look up to the ceiling. Stretch your spine and the side of your body. Repeat on the other side.
Hastha Padasana (Leg & Arm Stretching)
- Sit on the floor and spread your legs as wide as is comfortably possible. Exhale and bend forward, waling your hands along the floor until both leg and sping read their maximum stretch. This is a great exercise for stretching the groin area and releasing the pent up emotional traumas and disappointments, to get the Svadisthana purified and the energy within it flowing properly.
The Signs residing here are Aries and Scorpio and it is ruled by Mars. This Chakra is the motivator and the will to power, not to mention a tremendous storehouse of energy. The Manipura Chakra rules over the digestive system; so symbolically it takes metabolic energy and converts it into action. When planets are afflicted in Aries and Scorpio, then through those things that that particular planet signifies, the will power of the native will be hindered. Just as a good digestive system, which the Manipura Chakra regulates, will give a person robust health and a strong body, a psychologically healthy Mars and Manipura Chakra will give the vitality and power necessary to satisfy the desires of the individual. When Mars is afflicted, the energy is low in Manipura or overly compensating, so measures must be taken to balance the energy.
Yoga Asanas for Manipura Chakra (Solar Plexus)
Ardha Matsyendrasana (Sitting Spinal Twist)
- Sit on the floor. Bend your right knee and sit on the foot. Then bend your left knee and lift it over your right thigh, placing the foot flat on the floor.
- Turn your body 90 degrees to the left and bring your right armpit over your left knee. Lock the arm over the knee, then move your left arm behind your waist, so that your left hand catches your right hand. Turn your neck to face left, looking over your left shoulder. Repeat on the other side.
Ustrasana (Camel Pose)
- Kneel on the floor with your buttocks raised off your feet. Gently lean backward, placing your right hand on your right heel and your left hand on your left heel.
- Push on your feet with your hands and, taking your head back, curver your spine upward, pushing it up until your thighs are in line with your knees and the front of your body is straight. Relax into the position.
Stomach Crunches can also be done to strength our core, which is the Manipura Chakra and main source of our bodily strength.
Anahata Chakra (Heart Chakra)
The Venus ruled Signs of Taurus and Libra are located here. Compassion and the giving and receiving of love are the domains of the Anahata Chakra. Opening up to what the world has to offer and being receptive to what life brings, also making good choices are all things that are ruled by the Anahata Chakra. When there are afflicted planets in Taurus and Libra, the person will have specific problems according to the nature of the afflicted planet, in sharing and in making good choices for their well-being. They will also be miserly with affection and can appear aloof or they may be a loner and very distrustful of others. Afflictions to Venus will also cause the same problems only in a more general sense. For specifics, look for which planets are afflicted in Taurus and Libra, if there are any. To regulate and balance the proper flow of energy through this Chakra, the following Yoga Asanas are very helpful.
- Lie flat on the floor, with your chin resting down. Place your hands flat on the floor under your shoulders, with your fingers pointing forward.
- Gently raise your body to a comfortable height as you curve your back backward. Keep your pubis in contact with the floor – do not lift your body right off the floor. Your arms do not have to be straight; you may bend your elbows. Flexibility of your spine will develop with practice.
Matsyasana (Fish Pose)
- Easy posture: lie on the floor with you legs stretched straight out. Place your hands or elbows on the floor to support you, then arch your back and place the top of your head gently on the floor, keeping your chest raised.
- Advanced posture: sit with your legs crossed in full lotus position and, on an exhalation, lie backward, supporting yourself on your elbows, until the top of your head just rests on the floor. Bring your hands to rest on your feet.
Vishuddha Chakra (Throat Chakra)
Parasara describes Mercury as ‘the consciousness spoken’. The phrase is an apt one to describe the Vishuddha Chakra as well because Sound in all forms is the energizing factor of this Chakra as its element is ether. The first chakra is our very being, our survival in the physical world, the second chakra is our creations and our emotional and psychological environment, the third chakra takes our creations and emotions and projects those into the world and uses them to sustain us, the fourth chakra takes the will and our sustenance and uses it for relating to others, and the fifth chakra, the Vishuddha Chakra, takes all of these experiences and communicates them through Sound. Even if the person is mute, they can write and others will ‘hear’ him through his words on paper. The Vishuddha Chakra governs over the thyroid gland and regulates the release of these hormones. Weight issues surround the unbalanced energy of the Vishuddha Chakra. This Chakra is also our ability to listen. If the Signs of Mercury, Gemini and Virgo, are afflicted, then the person has much frustration in communicating their thoughts to others and they also feel very misunderstood and like they are not being heard. Depending on the planet afflicting Gemini or Virgo, this will reveal the energy that is blocking the communication and the ability to listen and gain from listening. If Mercury is afflicted, then the energy of the chakra will be generally low and will be in need of remedies.
Yoga Asanas for Vishuddha Chakra (Throat Chakra)
- Lie down on the floor with your legs together and your hands, palms down, by your sides.Push down on your hand and raise your legs straight up above you. Lift your hips off the floor and bring your legs up, over and beyond your head. Bend your arms and place your hands in the small of the back. Your chin should be pressing into your neck and the rest of your body should be in a vertical line with the weight resting on the shoulders.
Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)
- Lie on your front, with your face down. Reach back, bending your knees and holding your ankles. Keep your knees together throughout the asa.
- Pulling on your ankles, slowly and cautiously raise your trunk and legs as high as possible. Stretch your neck. Hold the position.
Ajna Chakra (Third Eye Chakra)
The Sun and the Moon rule the Ajna Chakra, which is the seat of consciousness and the doorway into the Astral World. The Sun and the Moon rule the Soul and the Mind. The Soul and the Mind create everything that exists in the material world. That is why the elements follow in the descending Chakras. Leo and Cancer are the Signs here. Leo is the masculine force of the Third Eye or Ajna Chakra. What does the masculine force do here? It is Inspiration and Truth. When Leo is well-disposed in a chart, the person acts on their inspiration and projects that energy into the world. When there are afflictions to Leo and the Sun, then the person has trouble expressing his Inspiration and following his Inspiration. The Sign of Cancer is the Feminine force of the Ajna Chakra. What is the feminine force here? It is the perception and the Intuition. If Cancer and the Moon are robust, then the person follows their Intuition into happiness and they perceive with clarity. If the Moon and/or Cancer is afflicted, then the person does not listen to their intuition and they will suffer because of it.
Yoga Asanas for the Ajna Chakra (Third Eye Chakra)
Adho Mukha Avanasana (Downward Dog)
- Kneel on all fours, then walk you hands farther forward, with your palms flat on the floor.
- Raise your trunk, straightening your legs and keeping your feet flat on the floor. Pull in your abdomen. Your head should relax down in line with your arms and body. The shape of this asana is an inverted V.
Yoga Mudra in Padmasana
1.Sit with your legs crossed in the full lotus posture. Clasp your hands behind your back, locking your fingers together.
2.On an exhalation, bend forward and touch the top of your head to the floor (or as near as possible). Simultaneously raise your arms straight up behind your back Hold for as long as possible without breathing.
Copyright 2011 Laura Barat