In yoga philosophy, atma shakti is the primordial cosmic energy that governs the spiritual. Atma is the Sanskrit word for "inner self" or "soul." Shakti is associated with feminine and creative energy. Atma shakti, therefore, is the energy associated with reaching the spiritual, inner self and unity with the universe. The term is sometimes used synonymously with kundalini or cosmic energy.
It is one of three forms of shakti energizing the body, mind and soul. Prana shakti controls the physical, while chitta shakti controls the mental.
In Hatha yoga, when the prana shakti and chitta shakti are in balance, the harmony of the two types of energy open the door for atma shakti, which is a transcendental, nonphysical energy. When atma shakti is awakened, the dormant areas of the mind become active.
Atma shakti is associated with the sushumna nadi, the channel through which energy travels. This nadi runs straight up the inner part of the spinal cord and through the chakras, from just below the root chakra to the sahasrara (crown) chakra. It is the nadi of spiritual awareness. The nadis that carry prana and chitta shakti weave around the spine on opposite sides.
By awakening atma shakti, the yogi is united with cosmic energy and the universe. Methods for balancing shakti and opening the pathway for atma shakti include yoga asanas, pranayama, mudras and meditation with particular focus on the chakras.
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