Yoga as energy channels
Western methods of energy healing view the body as a series of vibrations ranging in increasing density from "true self" to physical body. Eastern medicine starts from the principle that the body is a lattice structure of energy channels.
Western medical scientists, concerned only with what can be seen, ask where such energy channels are in the body. The traditional answer has been that, being part of the subtle bodies, they are not visible through the eye or the microscope.
However, recent research, by scientists trained in both eastern and western medicine, has been able to point with considerable justification to an actual physical location of the energy channels—the connective tissue.
Connective tissue doesn't just connect bone to bone. In the form of fascia, it both covers and permeates the muscles, interlacing through and around muscle fiber, lining organs, covering nerves, connecting everywhere in the body.
So how does yoga apply to this? Yoga teaches that the body and mind are not separate. Both are permeated with energy, called prana in yogic terminology. Prana is the Sanskrit word equivalent to ki, chi, or life force. Prana, in other contexts, can mean breath. Specific exercises exist to move energy through focus on the breath.
Yoga agrees with most energy healers that the mind affects the body as much as the body affects the mind, while spirit interacts with both. Yoga seeks balance between the mind, body and spirit. At the early levels of practice, yoga works mainly through the body to achieve this balance
Energy healers mostly agree that both the subconscious mind and the body remember our experiences. These memories, especially traumatic ones, may be stored in physical locations. Where they are stored may be related to the actual event itself, or to a symbolic location within the body.
And where is this stored? In the soft tissues—the muscles, fascia, and organs. The body remembers long after the conscious mind has forgotten. The longer such a knot of energy stays in one location, the more entrenched it becomes, and the harder it is to dissolve. Other trauma gathers to it and the problem escalates.
Yoga, whether active hatha or restorative hatha, works to release stress from the physical body itself, thus allowing the ki to flow to those areas where it was previously blocked. So yoga works at the same problem from the other end, releasing the energy through movement, stretching and relaxation of the muscles and fascia.
All types of yoga will enhance energy flow but some work on it more overtly than others. Kundalini yoga, for example, works to enhance the energy systems of the body with a combination of mantras and physical actions to draw energy from the root chakra up and into the crown.
The more active forms of hatha yoga work to strengthen the body and to encourage the flow of prana within it. Breathing exercises, called pranayama, promote the circulation of energy through the breath, while restorative yoga concentrates on re-training the mind and body to relax.
Just as we store memories of trauma in the body, we also can store memories of its release and the feelings of deep relaxation. Whatever we practice, we train the body to do. Therefore, it would seem advisable to train the body to release stress on command. Releasing the stress knots of the body and mind allows for clearer energy channels and clearer opening to our deeper selves as spirit.
Therefore, working at a ”tangle” will always go better if you work from both ends.