In Incan tradition, the puma is the keeper of the Earthly realm where we humans reside. The importance of the puma resonates throughout Incan architecture, artwork and places of worship. Therefore, it is no surprise that the city of Cusco, the capital of the Incan empire, was said to be built in the shape of the puma. The Incans had a strong connection to the spiritual realm, giving the city of Cusco a cosmically charged energy. In addition to these powerful roots, it is thought in the spiritual community that the Earth’s life force energy, also known as the Earth’s kundalini, has shifted from India to the Sacred Valley. This shift has magnified the already powerful Puma of the Sacred Valley.
All about chakras
In each body, there are chakras, or energy wheels. In our bodies, there are seven major chakras, each responsible for different realms of our being. The first is the root chakra, situated at the base of our spine, and responsible for our sense of safety and security. The second is the sacral chakra, situated at our lower abdomen, and responsible for our emotions and creation. The third is the solar plexus chakra, situated around our navel, and responsible for willpower and self-esteem. The fourth is the heart chakra, located at our heart center, and responsible for our compassion and relationships. The fifth is the throat chakra, also known as the third ear, located in our throat, and responsible for our ability to communicate and creatively express. The sixth is the third eye chakra, located in between our eyebrows at our pineal gland, and is responsible for our intuition and spiritual connection. The seventh is the crown chakra, located at the crown of our head and responsible for our deeper connection with ourselves, everything in our existence and our higher self. The Cusquenan puma is believed to embody the seven major chakras at several different sites in Cusco. Therefore, let’s take a meditation journey along the Chakras of the puma to invoke the opening and expansion our own chakras!
Koricancha: root and sacral chakras
The journey along the puma begins at Koricancha, a stunning church with a mix of Incan and Spanish architectural influence. It is said that both the root and the sacral chakra of the puma lie on the beautiful grass terrace outside of the church. The church is easy to walk to only five to ten minutes away from the Plaza De Armas and offers beautiful views of the surrounding mountains. On a sunny day, the Koricancha patio is a beautiful place to sit and soak up some rays. You can enter Koricancha with the tourist boleto that costs 130 PEN (~46 USD). If you do not want to buy the ticket, you can sit on the sidewalk next to the terrace.
Please note: With the boleto tourism ticket you will be able to visit many of the ruins around Cusco, including the Pisac ruins mentioned here. This ticket is valid for 10 days. Tickets can be purchased at the COSITUC office on 103 Avenida del Sol in the centre of Cusco, Open Monday – Friday 8:00 AM – 6:30 PM and Saturday from 8:00 AM – 2:00 PM.
So now that you’ve found the start of the journey through the chakras, what do you do to tap into this sacred energy. Seated in your easy comfortable position you will place your hands in the root chakra mudra, also known as gyan mudra. In this mudra your index finger and thumb touch, making a circle and the other three fingers relax in an open position. You will rest your wrists on your knees or wherever they reach on your legs here. Now that you have the mudra, close your eyes and on your exhale you can begin chanting the Sanskrit mantra that activates the root chakra, LAM. If you prefer a more passive meditation you can repeat the mantra in your mind on each exhale. If you are ready to take the meditation to the next step imagine in your mind’s eye a red circle of light at the base of your spine.
Once you have completed your root chakra meditation, you can stay seated and move onto the sacral chakra. For the sacral chakra our hands move together. In this mudra we rest our right hand on our lap and our left hand on our right hand. Lastly, we gently touch the tips of our thumbs. Once comfortable with the mudra, you can begin chanting internally or externally, on your exhale, the sacral chakra mantra, VAM. If this comes naturally and you are ready to take it one step further, visualize in your mind’s eye an orange circle of light in your lower abdomen. Continue chanting for five, ten, twenty minutes or until you feel ready to move on. There is no right amount of time to meditate, just trying is enough! Once you feel ready, take a couple of grounding, deep breaths and prepare yourself to move on.
Archbishop’s Palace: solar plexus chakra
After completing the root and sacral chakra meditations, it is time to take a journey to the Archbishop’s Palace. From Koricancha, walk through the Plaza De Armas. Take Portal Belen, the street on the right side of the Plaza De Armas and walk past the Cusco Cathedral. Once you reach the cross section of Calle San Agustin, the Archbishop’s Palace, also known as the Museo de Arte Religioso, is on the right side of the street.
Here you can enter the museum with the tourist boleto that costs 130 PEN (~46 USD). Once you enter take a seat in the plaza. If you do not want to buy the ticket you can sit in the lobby or right in the entrance. Once seated comfortably, place your hands in the solar plexus chakra mudra. In the mudra you will put your palms together with your wrists by your stomach and your fingers pointed perpendicular to your body outward. Then, cross your right thumb over your left thumb. Once comfortably seated with the appropriate mudra begin to internally or externally chant the naval chakra mantra, RAM, on your exhale. Once you have mastered the mudra and mantra, begin to visual a yellow circle of light around your navel point in your stomach. Once you are ready to move on, open your eyes, give any thanks you feel inspired to give and move on to the heart chakra.
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Plaza Nazarenas: heart chakra
The puma’s heart chakra lies in a quaint little square called Plaza Nazarenas in a beautiful up and coming town, San Blas. To reach Plaza Nazarenas, make a left onto Calle Palacio (and extension of Herrajes). You will reach Plaza Nazarenas on the left hand side of the street. Take a seat in this lovely grassy plaza and begin the heart chakra meditation.
To get prepared for the heart meditation place your hands in the heart mudra. The heart mudra begins the same way as the root chakra mudra. Place your hands in gyan mudra with your thumb and pointer finger making a circle and the rest of your fingers relaxed, open. Place your wrists comfortably on your knees. Then with your right hand, take the point where your pointer finger and thumb meet and place it on your heart center, in the middle of your chest. Once you are comfortable with the heart chakra mudra, begin chanting the heart mantra, YAM, on your exhale. When you have mastered the mudra and chant, begin to visualize a circle of green light in your heart center. After you feel your heart opened or enough time has passed, begin to come back into the space and get ready to move to the throat chakra.
Huaca Sapantiana, Colcampata: throat chakra
When you have completed your heart meditation, move to Huaca Sapantiana/Colcampata, the throat center. To get to the throat chakra, walk through the pedestrian street, 7 Culebras and make a left on Choqechaka street. Walk up Choqechaka street and once you reach the end, the pile of giant rocks is your destination. You have reached the throat center. Take a comfortable seat on the rocks and gaze down upon the city of Cusco. Here you will have a beautiful view of the city and the mountain backdrop.
To enter the throat chakra mudra you begin in the sacral chakra mudra. Instead of layering your hands, this time you will interlace your fingers in your lap. Similar to the sacral chakra mudra, connect the tips of your thumbs. Once you feel comfortable in your position, close your eyes and begin to chant the throat chakra mantra, HAM. Huaca Sapantiana is a beautiful location for chanting as it is tucked away from big crowds and has great vocal effects. Remember to chant on your exhale. Once you are in the flow of your chanting, begin to see a blue light around your throat in your mind’s eye. When you feel ready to move on, begin to come back to the space and get ready to move to the final chakra location.
Saqsaywaman: third eye and crown chakras
The third eye and crown of the puma are located at the breathtaking archeological site of the Saqsaywaman ruins. To get to the ruins you will take a left at the end of Choqechaka street, right before the rock pile. Then you will walk over to Pumacorca street. Pass Pumacorca and you will reach Don Bosco street. Make a right and you will find the steps that lead up to Saqsaywaman. To enter Saqsaywaman you will also need to buy the boleto needed to enter Koricancha and the Archbishop’s Palace.
Once you have arrived at Saqsaywaman take a comfortable seat and set up for the third eye mudra. To use the third eye mudra begin with your hands at your heart center in prayer position. Then bending the pinky, ring and pointer rest the backs of the fingers against each other. The pointer, ring and pinky fingers should be pointing down to the earth and the middle finger pointing toward the sky. Then place the tips of the thumbs together. Your hands should make the shape of a heart with a triangle on top. Once you have established your third eye mudra on your exhale, begin to chant the third eye mantra, OM. After you have comfortably established the mudra and mantra, you can begin to visualize an indigo light in your third eye, the space between your eyebrows.
When you have completed the third eye meditation, move on to the final chakra, the crown. The crown chakra is also at Saqsaywaman so you will not have to move. To move into the crown chakra mudra, start with the throat chakra mudra of interlaced fingers and thumbs connected, palms face up. Then rotate your hands 180 degrees, turning the palms face down. Then connect the pads of the pinky fingers, pointing them to the sky. Once you have mastered the crown mudra you can begin the mantra. The mantra is a silent OM at the crown of your head. Here you will hear the sound OM in your mind as if it is sprinkling out of the top of your crown. After a steady flow of the mantra, you can begin to imagine a white or purple light coming out of the top of your head. Continue this meditation for as long as you would like.
Journey completed: let the light shine in
You have entered a journey through the chakras of the Cusquenan Puma. During this meditation you have brought awareness to your energetic flow in alignment with the energetic flow of the puma, the Incan spiritual symbol for the Earthly realm. By meditating in this charged land, full of magical mountains and vortexes, you too should feel energized and aligned. This journey has taken you to many of the beautiful sites where spirituality and connection were shared first by the Incans and then by the Spanish conquistadors. Whether you are new to meditation or have been meditating your whole life, a trip to the Sacred Valley offers opportunity for radical change and growth. By enjoying this meditation you are experiencing the Sacred Valley in an authentic way, similar to many of the ancestors who walked the land before. Visiting Cusco can be a pilgrimage to ruins and old Incan land as well as a spiritual journey inward.
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