Granthi is a Sanskrit word that translates as ‘knot,’ ‘doubt’ or ‘a difficult knot to untie.’ It is an important concept within spirituality, and yoga in particular, as it explores the idea that we can be prevented from rising and achieving our full potential as a result of these ‘knots.’
Within Kundalini yoga, there is a belief that granthis prevent prana from rising through the central channel of the energetic body. This block acts as a barrier to true freedom and spiritual liberation, as they prevent one from achieving their full potential, and attaining spiritual advancement and development. They keep the practitioner entangled and trapped within their preferences, fears, and desires, and work and knowledge are required to help them to be released.
Yoga offers the opportunity to release and untie granthis, usually through aiding the flow of prana to help the individual to transcend the knots. There are three main granthis:
- Brahma granthi: Found in the root chakra, or ‘Muladhara,’ and the spleen or sacral chakra - ‘svadhisthana.’ Anxiety about basic human needs, such as food, shelter, and survival help to cause it, along with primal fears of death, and a lack of grounding or stability.
It can be transcended through the root lock or ‘mula bandha.’
- Vishnu granthi: Located between the naval chakra - ‘Manipura’ - the heart chakra - ‘Anahata’ - and the throat chakra - ‘vishuddha.’ Sometimes called the ‘naval knot’ it is caused by ego. An obsession with seeking personal power, accumulating and clinging to possessions, and a focus on one's ego can help to grow and nurture this knot.
This knot can only be overcome by surrendering to love, letting go of any desire for power, and opening yourself up to the greater good. It can be untied by the ‘upward abdominal lock’ or ‘uddiyana bandha.’
- Rudra granthi: Located in the third eye chakra - ‘ajna’ and crown chakra - ‘Sahasrara.’ Sometimes called the forehead knot, it is caused when we lose sight of experiencing unity with all living beings. Chin lock - ‘jalandhara bandha’ - can help make the transition to higher consciousness.