Yoga: The Art of Transformation
The Chakras of the Subtle Body
Finely painted with glowing mineral colors, this monumental folio depicts nine chakras arrayed on the body of a Nath yogi, whose eyes are crossed in inward meditation. The artist, Bulaki, represented the chakras both abstractly and figuratively. The absolute emptiness (shunya) that is the sixth chakra (located near the palate) appears as a black circle on the yogi’s chin; Kundalini Shakti, here the third chakra, is a goddess sitting atop the snake coiled around the yogi’s waist.
In Tantric and hatha traditions, the subtle body is the interface that enables yogic transformation. Situated within the individual gross (physical) body, yet made of the subtle matter of the universe, its features include energy channels (nadis) and centers (chakras and ghrantis). By manipulating the subtle body through meditation, physical practices, or a combination of the two, practitioners can realize their equivalence with the cosmos.