Seven ways to make 2023 a masterpiece with the ancient wisdom of the chakras.


“The chakras are the medium in which karma is carried. They are part of our spiritual anatomy. Just as there is an anatomy to the physical body and maps of the physical world, so there is an anatomy of our spiritual being, as well as maps and guideposts to follow along the path of inner awakening.”

Swami Kriyananda

The chakras are an ancient system of Indian philosophy, thousands of years old. They are aspects of consciousness that make up our subtle body, so we can’t see them or touch them. The fact that the chakras are metaphysical aspects of our being make them a very tricky subject of study, thus one of the best ways to understand the chakras is to experience them for ourselves in Dhyana (meditation) and Svadhyaya (self-study). 

American Hindu yogi Kriyananda – direct disciple of Indian guru Paramahansa Yogananda – in his teachings described the chakras as a map outlining the spiritual anatomy of our being. In this light, they can be thought of as our spiritual nervous system, and an invaluable template of inner knowledge, revealing how consciousness is stored in the body, in every organ, every gland, and every cell. 

For the more scientific minded, the chakras are essentially spinning wheels or vortices of energy (energy stations) that run the length of the spine, effected by both internal and external stimuli, triggering the nervous and endocrine systems. The endocrine system plays a major role in health and wellness. The glands of the endocrine system release hormones directly into the blood, controlling all aspects of our growth and development. 

The chakras transmit energy and distribute Chi, or Prana, throughout the body. Chakras are both transmitters and receivers of energy, which means they have an input and an output. A cause and an effect. The input / the cause is what is received into the brain and body and is filtered down through the nervous and endocrine systems. This comes in the form of various stimuli… from thoughts, to food, to emotions, to things happening in the world around us. The output, or the effect, is what is transmitted out, and comes in the form of productivity or stagnation, positive or negative action, vitality or sluggishness, health and wellness or dis-ease. 

At some point in history, these mystical energy centers became affiliated with the various colours of the rainbow (ROYGBIV), making the chakras colourful points in meditation and yoga practice. There have been various chakra systems documented over time, depicting from five to over one hundred chakras in the human body. The system we have become most familiar with here in the West is the seven chakra system. In studying the aspects and characteristics of these seven energy centers, including the elements that each chakra represents, we gain access to the rich well of innate wisdom available to each of us along the way of the journey into the Self. What’s more, the more we understand the chakra system, and the energy patterns of consciousness, the better we can navigate our lives, and indeed, play an active role in shaping our destinies. 

Some inspiration for the year ahead from my own svadhyaya and meditations on the seven chakras… here are seven ways you can make your new year a magnificent masterpiece, or at the very least, an improvement on the year that has been. 

1. be EARTH (Muladhara – Root Chakra)


In these uncertain times, stability and grounding comes in making peace with the unknown, and finding the courage to soften into the adversity we might feel all around us. The beautiful paradox is we feel more confident in our choices, and more capable of moving forward, on and up when we wrap our arms around what is holding us back. The concept of making peace with our pains can be a hard pill to swallow. But, in summoning the fearlessness to lean into life, and embrace its impeccable imperfections as an essential part of the journey, we can access newfound strength to take on the big work of ‘adulting.’

When we relax into uncertainty, and trust in the Divine laws of Nature, we can find solace in the resources inherent in our own hearts. In that, we cultivate a serene sense of Self-sustenance and repose. We are more equipped to stand on our own two feet and take on whatever this earthly experience presents to us. We take comfort in the knowing that the Divine laws of the earth – and indeed all of Nature – are working with us, and will continue to provide according to the needs of our highest Self.

In the Yoga sutras, the Yama and yogic virtue of Aparigraha (Non-possessiveness) teaches that in gracefully releasing the tight hold we have on all that binds us, we open to deeper dimensions of living and understanding. In yet another paradox, we become more accepting and grounded in the eternal truth of transience.

When Non-possessiveness is established, the hows and whys of life are Illuminated.

Yoga Sutra 2:39

In the practice of this Yama we trust that every upheaval is paving a foundation for necessary growth and new beginnings. We make peace with the notion that whatever is taken away from us was never ours to keep. But rather, it has served its Divine purpose, and reached its perfect fulfilment.

2. be WATER (Svadhisthana – Sacral Chakra)


Nothing in the world is more soft and yielding than water. Yet for battling the hard and strong, nothing can take its place.

In the Tao Te Ching, water is revered in a way that reminds us that nature is our greatest of teachers:

The supreme goodness is like water, which nourishes all of creation without trying to compete with it.

It benefits all things without contention.

In dwelling, it stays grounded.

In being, it flows to depths.

In expression, it is honest. In confrontation, it stays gentle.

In governance, it does not control.

In action, it aligns to timing.

It is content with its nature, and therefore cannot be faulted.

This taoist philosophy teaches us that the soft can overcome the hard, and the gentle can overcome the strong.

This year, flow like water flows, and bear witness as you open, expand and flow into creative abundance!

3. be FIRE (Manipura – Solar Plexus Chakra)


Derived from the Upanishads, an ancient yogic text, it is said…

You are what your deep, driving desire is.

As your desire is, so is your will.
As your will, so is your deed.
As your deed, so is your destiny.

Consider the momentum of moving consciously through life with clear intentions, and the magnitude of clarifying your intentions daily. In yoga this is Sankalpa, the setting of an intention at the commencement of each day, or at the beginning of a practice.
In quietening the mind through yoga or any other meditative practice, we open to the guidance of our most intelligent navigation system, the heart space, and are better able to connect with our most hearty intentions.

Yoga teacher and author Nischala Joy Devi offers a beautiful interpretation of Yoga sutra 1.2 on the goal of yoga. She says, Yoga is the uniting of consciousness within the heart.

In creating space in the mind, the heart opens by default. In creating space in our lives through cleansing on every level – mind, body, and home – the possibilities for manifesting your heart’s deepest desire, expands.

This year, to manifest more love and lightness, cleanse your life of that which weighs you down, and in doing so, feel yourself arriving in each moment with more clarity and vitality.

Recognise what you can change, and what you can’t, and call upon the wisdom to know the difference.

Contemplate Yoga sutra 2:41…

Upon purification of the mind, we attain cheerfulness, focus, control of the senses, and a clear perception of the Self.

4. be AIR (Anahata – Heart Chakra)


There’s a wise old saying, that pain is inevitable, and misery is a choice. Likewise, loving kindness is a choice.

In contemplating kindness, the Latin Proverb, primum non nocere reminds us to “first, do no harm.” This adage marries up with the foundation of yoga, Ahimsa (nonviolence). A most vital and valuable yogic virtue. Ahimsa asks us to ‘cause no pain’, and in the yoga sutras it is said that in the presence of one firmly established in nonviolence, all hostilities cease.

If we take the time to study the hostility in our lives, we can begin to unravel the patterns of our minds, and thus, the patterns of our lives. The very patterns that lead us away from love, and into the clutches of unkindness and violence.

For many of us, we would never in a million years identify as violent, as this would imply some kind of injurious physical force. But, we can be violent in ways that may even exceed the blow of an angry fist. Violence can be so passively aggressive that even the harshest of physical blows would heal faster than the wounds inflicted to the ego and heart from a harsh word or unkind gesture.

Indian philosopher, Jiddu Krishnamurti spoke of the subtle nature of some forms of violence when he said: 

It is violence when we use a sharp word, or when we make a gesture to brush a person away. Violence is often subtle, and deep.

We can’t control the karma of another’s actions, but we can control our own karma somewhat by practicing what Buddhist Monk Ajahn Brahm calls kindfulness. In choosing kindness, compassion, forgiveness, and gratitude over anger, bitterness, mercilessness, resentment, and judgement we can set ourselves free from the shackles within our own minds. 

American author Max Lucado sums it up like this…

Forgiveness is unlocking the door to set someone free and realising you were the prisoner.

5. be ETHER/SOUND (Vishuddha – Throat Chakra)


Author Ravi Ravindra spoke on the importance of truthfulness when he said.. 

The first requirement of Self-knowledge is sincerity, and as we begin to see the various ways we lie, we can understand the need for practicing truthfulness. 

In the Yoga sutras, Satya, (Sanskrit for truth) is the second of the Yamas and advocates the questioning of our thoughts, words, and deeds. With this yogic precept, we might ask… are our agendas, opinions, ideals, beliefs and attitudes aligned with our highest heart vision? To speak and live our truth in alignment with our highest Self is the essence of this Yama. 

The quest for truth, has been the impetus of many a yogi, philosopher, psychologist, and religion since the beginning of civilisation. But whose truth? Respecting the truths of others can be a hard task if they differ markedly from our own. In honouring every truth and path as equal to our own, we spiritually evolve and heed the message of Satya. Rather than expending our energy on fighting for what
we believe to be true, we might instead ask whether the truth that we’re fighting for is helpful, grounded in the Yama of Ahimsa, and considerate of all. If we were to walk in another person’s shoes we may well realise that their truth is as valid as our own. 

When we fight to be right, are we better off? More liberated? Is our life more meaningful? If not, why not? Are the words that we speak truthful? Kind? Do they improve the silence?

The worst kind of suffering we may ever encounter might well be the chain reaction of untruthful, unkind, and inauthentic expression. 

This year, as an experiment, or better yet, a daily practice, try communicating your truth from the heart and in doing so, experience for yourself the essence of Yoga sutra 2:36…

When grounded in truthfulness, the fruits of our actions are in harmony with our highest will.

6. be ETHER/LIGHT (Ajna – Third Eye Chakra)


Because of the many years of past conditioning and the intense training we have had in holding on to toxic thoughts, behaviours and unhealthy relationships, giving up on all that is unhelpful in our life – especially our very own citta vritti (mental chatter) – is not always smooth sailing. Be patient and gentle with yourself, and ask yourself this: 

If there were no limits to what I could do, be and achieve, how would my life look, and how would I feel?

Let your imagination run wild. Dream big! The richer your imagination, the more magnificent a life you can design. The possibilities are endless! See in your mind’s eye the best version of yourself, the life you would love to live (if you’re not already living it), and the relationships you would love to have (if you’re not already having them). 

Feel the feelings that come from living the life you have imagined and revisit those feelings every opportunity with regular doses of mind medicine such as meditation, prayer, or simply walking or sitting quietly in nature. 

Practice the Niyama of Svadhyaya (Self-study) and create moments of stillness everyday for Self-reflection. Consider the very wise words of American spiritual teacher and psychologist Baba Ram Dass…

If you think you’re enlightened, go spend a week with your family!

7. be ETHER/CONSCIOUSNESS (Sahasrara – Crown Chakra) 


In the powerful words of Eckhart Tolle…

Stillness speaks.

The only place you have to be is here. Slow down. Value relaxation response activators and self-healing practices as much as you value ‘getting stuff done’. These include meditation, prayer, laughter, hugs, playing with cuddly animals, hanging with the elderly, reading healing books, EFT (tapping), mind-body practices, and alternative therapies like acupuncture, massage, and energy medicine.

Try your best to stay for Savasana (the conscious rest at the end of class). Skipping Savasana and the moments of stillness throughout a yoga practice defeats the purpose of what we’re practicing for. There’s a yogi saying that skipping Savasana is like entering a lot of data into your computer and not clicking save. Conscious relaxation allows time for assimilation, digestion, and absorption of the practice we have just participated in. And, the absorption of life!

Above all, when all else fails this year, and beyond – because at times it will – remember the words of Ralph Marston….

There are plenty of obstacles on your path, don’t allow yourself to become one of them. 

Wishing You so much Love for the year ahead, and Beyond.

In Gratitude,

🕉️ ☮️ 💟 🙏


Tanaya Ti en

Tanaya Ti en

When she’s not at home in Western Australia with her favourite humans, Florence the Dalmatian, and Turbo the rescue cat, Tanaya Ti’en is an accredited Yoga Therapist and Yoga Teacher, Ayurvedic Lifestyle Coach, Civil Celebrant, and founder of Mind Body Collective Australia. Her passion, work, and philosophy is centred around the mind-body connection, and the mind’s role in illness, wellness, dis-ease, and the healing process.