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Nervous System & Endrocine Glands

Our brain:

Now, lets continue our journey of self discovery and lets take a look at our very important physical body, lets begin with our brain which is part of our central nervous system, then we will get to the Endocrines glands, soon you will see that the physical and the subtle or etheric body function as one, they are interdependent, as everything in nature is. The next few pages talks about anatomy, so I have taken what is relevant to Kundalini From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia which I consider to be common knowledge but for a detailed study of this section you can refer to any book on anatomy.

The human brain is vast and complex. It contains some one hundred billion neurons, which are capable of electrical and chemical communication with tens of thousands of other nerve cells. Nerve cells in turn rely on some million billion connections for their communications. For the sake of study and related to our path, we can divide the brain into four sections.

The telencephalon is the name for a large region within the brain that is attributed to many functions. Many people refer to it as the cerebrum; however, it is technically referred to as the telencephalon.

A more technical definition: the telencephalon refers to the cerebral hemispheres and other smaller structures within the brain, although the telencephalon is one of the larger divisions (in terms of number). It is the anterior-most embryological division of the brain that develops from the prosencephalon; the pineal gland which plays a very important role in Samadhi and psychic phenomena is situated here.

The cerebellum (Latin: "little brain") is a region of the brain that plays an important role in the integration of sensory perception and motor output. Master Sivananda say that the Mind rests here during dreams.

The medulla oblongata is the lower portion of the brainstem. It controls autonomic functions and relays nerve signals between the brain and spinal cord.

The Medulla oblongata is responsible for controlling several major autonomic functions of the body, such as:

  • respiration (via dorsal respiratory group and ventral respiratory group)
  • blood pressure
  • heart rate
  • reflex arcs
  • vomiting

The medulla ablongata is important to us because its plays a very important role in Asanas and Pranayama, which are essential practice on the path of Enlightenment and Self -Realization.

The Pons Varolli are a band of nerve fibers on the ventral surface of the brainstem that links the medulla oblongata and the cerebellum with upper portions of the brain.

There are five ventricles of the brain. The fourth it is the one important to us. It is situated in the Medulla Oblongata. The fourth ventricle is the central canal of the spinal cord, this canal is known as “ Canalis Centralis” when it enters the cranial cavity this tiny canal becomes bigger in size. Canalis Centralis is Sushuma, the central Nadi which is the traveling path of Kundalini where it enters the brain.

At this point Kundalini energy, energizes and rewires Neuron pathways, giving a new perception of life, here Enlightenment begins. Sushuma goes out piercing the head through the fontanelle; the portion that is very soft in babies, as the child grows the bones harden and close to form the sutures of the neurocranium to protect the brain. When Kundalini pierces the fontanelle it reaches the Crown Chakra, Sahasrara, eight inches above the head. At this point it is said “that one has attained immortality.” It is also through the fontanelle that the soul leaves the physical body at the moment of death.

The lobes of the cerebral cortex include the frontal (red), temporal (green), occipital (yellow), and parietal lobes (orange). The cerebellum (blue) is not part of the telencephalon. In vertebrates a gross division into three major parts is used.Image:Pnsagittal.jpg

(1)This image is a work of the National Institutes of Health, part of the United States Department of Health and Human Services. As a work of the U.S. federal government, the image is in the public domain.

(2) I, the creator of this work, hereby release it into the public domain. This applies worldwide.
In case this is not legally possible,
I grant any entity the right to use this work for any purpose, without any conditions, unless such conditions are required by law.

Endocrines glands: ( internally secreting glands)

These glands are also called ductless glands, since they lack excretory ducts. Instead, the secretors cells release their products, hormones, into the extra cellular space. From the extra cellular space, the hormones may enter the blood stream, by which they reach their target organs. Alternatively, the hormones may affect nearby cells (paracrine acting hormones).

Image:Illu endocrine system.jpg

(Illu_endocrine_system.jpg from the Wikimedia Commons.)

The pituitary gland, or hypophysis, is an endocrine gland about the size of a pea that sits in a small, bony cavity (pituitary fossa) covered by a membrane. The pituitary fossa, in which the pituitary gland sits, is situated in the sphenoid bone at the base of the brain.

The pituitary gland secretes hormones regulating homeostasis,( Homeostasis is the property of an open system, especially living organisms, to regulate its internal environment to maintain a stable, constant condition, by means of multiple dynamic equilibrium adjustments, controlled by interrelated regulation mechanisms) including trophic hormones that stimulate other endocrine glands. The Pituitary gland it is also called the master gland because of its homeostatic role.

The pineal gland (also called the pineal body or epiphysis) is a small endocrine gland in the brain. It is located near the center of the brain, between the two hemispheres, tucked in a groove where the two rounded thalamic bodies join. The pineal gland was originally believed to be a "vestigial remnant" of a larger organ (much as the appendix was thought to be a vestigial digestive organ). It was only after the 1960s that scientists discovered that the pineal gland is responsible for the production of melatonin, which is regulated in a circadian rhythm. Melatonin is a derivative of the amino acid tryptophan, which also has other functions in the Central Nervous System. The production of melatonin by the pineal gland is stimulated by darkness and inhibited by light. The retina detects the light, and directly signals and entrains the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). Fibers project from the SCN to the paraventricular nuclei (PVN), which relay the circadian signals to the spinal cord and out via the sympathetic system to superior cervical ganglia (SCG), and from there into the pineal gland. The pineal gland is large in children, but shrinks at puberty. It appears to play a major role in sexual development, hibernation in animals, metabolism, and seasonal breeding. The abundant melatonin levels in children is believed to inhibit sexual development, and pineal tumors have been linked with precocious puberty. When puberty arrives, melatonin production is reduced. -Calcification of the pineal gland is typical in adults.

Normally, the production of melatonin by the pineal gland is inhibited by light and permitted by darkness. For this reason melatonin has been called "the hormone of darkness". The secretion of melatonin peaks in the middle of the night, and gradually falls during the second half of the night. Until recent history, humans in temperate climates were exposed to up to eighteen hours of darkness in the winter. In this modern world, artificial lighting typically reduces this to eight hours or less per day all year round. Even low light levels inhibit melatonin production to some extent, but over-illumination can create significant reduction in melatonin production. Reduced melatonin production has been proposed as a likely factor in the significantly higher cancer rates in night workers, and the effect of modern lighting practice on endogenous melatonin has been proposed as a contributory factor to the larger overall incidence of some cancers in the developed world. As inadequate as blood concentrations may be in brightly-lit environments, some scientists now believe that people's overnight output of melatonin can be further jeopardized each time they interrupt their sleep and turn on a bright light (suggesting that the lower brightness level of a nightlight would be safer). Others suggest that such short exposures do no harm. Melatonin is a powerful antioxidant that can easily cross cell membranes and the blood-brain barrier. Unlike other antioxidants, melatonin does not undergo redox cycling, the ability of a molecule to undergo reduction and oxidation repeatedly. Redox cycling may allow other antioxidants (such as vitamin C) to act as pro-oxidants, counterintuitively promoting free radical formation. Melatonin, once oxidized, cannot be reduced to its former state because it forms several stable end-products upon reacting with free radicals.

The pineal gland is associated with the Sixth Chakra called Ajna, or sometimes is associated with the Seventh (Crown) Chakra, this is because the two glands are very very close to each other and it is difficult to distinguish which Chakra energize which gland, but is very easy to detect. The master gland Pituitary is energized by the master Chakra Sahasrara, also call the Crown Chakra; the Pineal gland it is energize by Ajna, also call the Third Eye.

 

The thyroid (from the Greek word for "shield", after its shape) is one of the larger endocrine glands in the body. It is a double-lobed structure located in the neck and produces hormones, principally thyroxine and triiodothyronine, that regulate the rate of metabolism and affect the growth and rate of function of many other systems in the body. The parathyroid glands are small endocrine glands in the neck, usually located behind the thyroid gland, which produce parathyroid hormone. In rare cases the parathyroid glands are located within the thyroid glands. Most often there are four parathyroid glands but some people have six or even eight. The sole purpose of the parathyroid glands is to regulate the calcium level in our bodies within a very narrow range so that the nervous and muscular systems can function properly. The thyroid and parathyroid glands are associated with the Fifth Chakra call Vishuda.

 

 

 

The thymus is an organ located in the upper anterior portion of the chest cavity. It is of central importance in the maturation of T cells. The thymus plays an important role in the development of the immune system, being the primary site of T cell maturation. The organ is most active between the late stages of gestation and early puberty, when most of the T cells an individual will carry for their lifetime are formed. With the onset of puberty the organ atrophies, gradually shrinking in size and function. The atrophy is due to the increased circulating level of sex hormones, and chemical or physical castration of an adult results in the thymus increasing in size and activity. In the two thymic lobes, lymphocyte precursors from the bone-marrow become thymocytes, and subsequently mature into T cells. Once mature, T cells emigrate from the thymus and constitute the peripheral T cell repertoire responsible for directing many facets of the adaptive immune system. Loss of the thymus at an early age through genetic mutation or surgical removal results in severe immunodeficiency and a high susceptibility to infection. The Chakra that energize the thymus is the Forth Chakra called Anahata. Healthy Chakra = strong inmune ssystem.

The adrenal glands (also known as suprarenal glands) are the triangle-shaped endocrine glands that sit atop the kidneys; their name indicates that position (ad, "near" or "at" + renes, "kidneys"). They are chiefly responsible for regulating the stress response through the synthesis of corticosteroids and catecholamines, including cortisol and adrenaline. Anatomically, the adrenal glands are located in the abdomen, situated on the anteriosuperior aspect of the kidneys. In humans, the adrenal glands are found at the level of the 12th thoracic vertebra and receive their blood supply from the adrenal arteries. It is separated into two distinct structures, both of which receive regulatory input from the nervous system. As its name suggests, the adrenal medulla is at the center of the adrenal gland surrounded by the adrenal cortex. The adrenal medulla is the body's main source of the catecholamine hormones adrenaline (epinephrine) and noradrenaline (norepinephrine). By contrast, some cells of the adrenal cortex belong to the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and are the source of cortisol synthesis. Other cortical cells produce androgens such as testosterone, while some regulate water and electrolyte concentrations by secreting aldosterone. The adrenal glands secrete steroids, including some sex hormones, and catecholamines. Steroids are synthesized and secreted by the adrenal cortex, while catecholamines are synthesized and secreted by chromaffin cells of the adrenal medulla. The principal steroids are aldosterone (a mineralocorticoid) and cortisol (a glucocorticoid). Aldosterone promotes sodium retention and potassium excretion and is therefore important in maintaining fluid balance and blood pressure. Cortisol on the other hand has a wide range of metabolic effects such as protein and fat breakdown that aim to elevate blood glucose levels. Many sex hormones are secreted including testosterone and oestrogen. The sex hormone that is secreted by the adrenals that has the most influence is dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). It has virilising effects and is important in development and maintenance of pubic hair, axillary hair, pubertal growth spurts, and sex drive. The effects are only significant in females as the effects are masked by high testosterone levels in males. Catecholamines that the adrenal glands secrete are adrenaline and noradrenaline. Adrenaline has the more influential effects. The effects of adrenaline and noradrenaline are wide ranging; adrenaline has a more marked effect on the heart and metabolic activities while noradrenaline is involved more in peripheral vasoconstriction. Adrenaline and noradrenaline secretion is stimulated directly by sympathetic neurons in response to stressors. The adrenal glands secrete other hormones as well. This tiny but very important glands are energize by Manipura, the Third Chakra call by some the solar plexus.

The pancreas is an organ in the digestive and endocrine system (of vertebrate) that serves two major functions: exocrine (producing pancreatic juice containing digestive enzymes) and endocrine (producing several important hormones, including insulin). In humans, the pancreas is a 15-25 cm (6-10 inch) elongated organ in the abdomen located retroperitoneal. It is located posterior to the stomach and in close association with the duodenum. It is often described as having three regions: a head, body and tail. The body of the pancreas lies at the level of L2 on the spine. The pancreatic head abuts the second part of the duodenum. The tail of the pancreas extends towards the spleen. Under a microscope, when properly stained, it is easy to distinguish two different tissue types in the pancreas; These regions correspond to the main pancreatic functions: Endocrine pancreas, secretes hormones that regulate blood glucose levels. Exocrine pancreas, produces enzymes that break down digestible foods. The Pancreas as the Adrenals is energize by the Third Chakra Manipura.

Ovaries are egg-producing reproductive organs found in female organisms. They are part of the vertebrate female reproductive system. Ovaries in females are homologous to testes in males. The term gonads refers to the ovaries in females and testes in males. Normally, a female will have two ovaries, each performing two major functions: producing eggs, or (exocrine function) and secreting hormones, or (endocrine function). For our study we are interested in the endocrine function of the ovaries. Ovaries produce various steroid and peptide hormones. Estrogen and progesterone are the most important ,these hormones serve many functions: They induce and maintain the physical changes of puberty and the secondary sex characteristics; They support maturation of the uterine endometrium in preparation of implantation of a fertilized egg; They provide signals to the hypothalamus and pituitary that help maintain the menstrual cycle; Estrogen plays an important role in maintaining subcutaneous fat, bone strength, and some aspects of brain function.

The testicles, or testes (singular testis), are the male generative glands in animals. Male mammals have two testicles, which are often contained within an extension of the abdomen called the scrotum. In land mammals, with the exception of the elephant, the testes are located outside of the body, as they are suspended by the spermatic cord and within the scrotum. This is due to the fact that fertile spermatogenesis in mammals is more efficient at a temperature somewhat less than the core body temperature (37 °C or 98.6 °F for humans). The cremasteric muscle is part of the spermatic cord. When this muscle contracts, the cord is shortened and the testicle is moved closer up toward the body, which provides slightly more warmth to maintain optimal testicular temperature. When cooling is required, the cremasteric muscle relaxes and the testicle is lowered away from the warm body and are able to cool. This phenomenon is known as the cremasteric reflex. It also occurs in response to stress (the testicles rise up toward the body in an effort to protect them in a fight), and there are persistent reports that relaxation indicates approach of orgasm. There is a noticeable tendency to also retract during orgasm. Like the ovaries (to which they are homologous), testicles are components of both the reproductive system (being gonads) and the endocrine system (being endocrine glands). The respective functions of the testicles are: Producing sperm (spermatozoa), producing male sex hormones, of which testosterone is the best-known; Both functions of the testicle, sperm-forming and endocrine, are under control of gonadotropic hormones produced by the anterior pituitary. The Svadishtana Chakra (Second Chakra) energize the ovaries in women and the testicles in men, that is why this is call the sexual chakra.

The First Chakra Muladara translates to "root" and is one's connection to the entire physical body, here within the Kunda lies Kundalini, our divine life force, it is the root that feeds all other Chakras, making life possible. For men, Muladara is located inside the perineum at the prostate gland. For women, it is located behind the cervix on the back wall of the vagina.

Nervous System:

Now, our very important Nervous system which coordinates the activity of the muscles, monitors the organs, constructs and also stops input from the senses, and initiates actions. Prominent participants in a nervous system include neurons and nerves, which play roles in such coordination. All parts of nervous system are made of nervous tissue. The nervous system of vertebrate animals is often divided into the central nervous system (CNS) and the peripheral nervous system (PNS). The CNS consists of the brain and spinal cord. The PNS consists of all other nerves and neurons that do not lie within the CNS. The large majority of what are commonly called nerves (which are actually axonal processes of nerve cells) are considered to be PNS. The peripheral nervous system is divided into the somatic nervous system and the autonomic nervous system.

The somatic nervous system is responsible for coordinating the body's movements, and also for receiving external stimuli. It is the system that regulates activities that are under conscious control. The autonomic nervous system is then split into the sympathetic division, parasympathetic division, and enteric division. The sympathetic nervous system responds to impending danger or stress, and is responsible for the increase of one's heartbeat and blood pressure, among other physiological changes, along with the sense of excitement one feels due to the increase of adrenaline in the system. The parasympathetic nervous system, on the other hand, is evident when a person is resting and feels relaxed, and is responsible for such things as the constriction of the pupil, the slowing of the heart, the dilation of the blood vessels, and the stimulation of the digestive and genitourinary systems. The role of the enteric nervous system is to manage every aspect of digestion, from the esophagus to the stomach, small intestine and colon .

The spinal cord is a thin, tubular structure that is an extension of the central nervous system from the brain and is enclosed in and protected by the bony vertebral column. The main function of the spinal cord is transmission of neural inputs from the periphery to the brain and vice versa and is a vital structure in our survival and functional capacity. The spinal cord extends from the medulla oblongata in the brain and continues to the conus medullaris near the lumbar level at L1-2, terminating in a fibrous extension known as the filum terminale. The adult spinal cord is approximately 18 inches long, ovoid-shaped, and is enlarged in the cervical and lumbar regions. The peripheral regions of the cord contains neuronal white matter tracts containing sensory and motor neurons. The central region is four-leaf clover shaped that surrounds the central canal (an anatomic extension of the fourth ventricle) and contains nerve cell bodies. The three meninges that cover the spinal cord -- the outer dura mater, the arachnoid membrane, and the innermost pia mater -- are continuous with that in the brainstem and cerebral hemispheres, with cerebrospinal fluid found in the subarachnoid space. The cord within the pia mater is stabilized within the dura mater by the connecting denticulate ligaments which extends from the pia mater laterally between the dorsal and ventral roots. The spinal cord is divided into 31 different segments, with motor nerve roots exiting in the ventral aspects and sensory nerve roots entering in the dorsal aspects. The ventral and dorsal roots later join to form paired spinal nerves, one on each side of the spinal cord.

Image:Illu vertebral column.jpg

(This is a file (Picture Illu_vertebral_column.jpg‎) from the Wikimedia Commons.)

There are 31 spinal cord nerve segments: 8 cervical segments, 12 thoracic segments, 5 lumbar segments, 5 sacral segments, 1 coccygeal segment.

Because the vertebral column grows longer than the spinal cord, spinal cord segments become higher than the corresponding vertebra, especially in the lower spinal cord segments in adults. In a fetus, the vertebral levels originally correspond with the spinal cord segments. In the adult, the cord ends around the L1/L2 vertebral level at the conus medullaris, with all of the spinal cord segments located superiorly to this. For example, the segments for the lumbar and sacral regions are found between the vertebral levels of T9 and L2. The S4 spinal nerve roots arise from the cord around the upper lumbar/lower thoracic vertebral region, and descend downward in the vertebral canal. After they pass the end of the spinal cord, they are considered to be part of the cauda equina. The roots for S4 finally leave the vertebral canal in the sacrum.

The picture below shows the aproximative location of the major Chakras in relation to the spine. A Chakra is like a miniature sun or a miniature energetic planet about the size of a Canadian 2 dollar coin almost 2 inches in diameter. The First Chakra Muladara in the centre has another litlle planet halve the size, call the Kunda, and it is here that lies our divine Kundalini, called by some” The Fire Serpent;” so now you can imagine the miniscule size of it. When Kundalini energy rises throuht the Nadis the stream of energy is no thicker than a human hair. Can you imagine such a miniscule bit of energy with the power of an atomic bomb, that is God! The Chakras spin and draw in the Universal Life Force Energy (Prana) to keep the spiritual, mental, emotional and physical health of the body in balance.

 

Image:ChakraDiag.jpg

(This is a file: Picture ChakraDiag.jpg) from the Wikimedia Commons.Kim.Diagram of the location of chakras as described by some writers on the subject. (Not everybody agrees in regard to all details).

This Diagram shows only seven major Chakras, but gives you a visual on the location of the main Chakras.