You have probably heard the word chakra before, but unless you are a dedicated yogi or you work in the complementary medicine world, you may not be fully aware of the purpose they serve. The chakras are an energy system located in the area of the spinal cord. Although there are seven well-known chakras, there are actually 114 in total.
A human being is made of energy, and the chakras are the energy centers that control how we think, feel and behave. The energy system in our body also contains what is known as nadis; these are the channels along which our vital prana energy travels, and there are said to be 72,000 of them! At the various points where the nadis meet, a triangle is formed; this energetic triangle is what we call a chakra.
The chakras are seen as spinning discs of energy
Despite being triangular, the chakras are symbolized by wheels, which are representative of growth, movement, and progression; the word ‘wheel’ is the translation of the word ‘chakra’.
Sanskrit is the primary language of Hinduism, and it is also a philosophical language of Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism, and Buddhism. The word chakra originated with Indian dharmic religion Jainism, and it appears in ancient literature all over the world. The Hindi translation literally means ‘wheel of spinning energy’; the Sanskrit term cakra also means ‘wheel’, but it is representative of dominion. Cakra also represents the circle of death and rebirth, or reincarnation.
There are seven major chakras
Although there are many minor chakras in the body, we’re focusing on the seven major ones that run down the spinal cord from the crown of the head to the base of the spine. Not all seven chakras are equal in terms of power, but each has a distinct influence over our feelings, thoughts and behaviors.
Your chakras are similar to batteries. They take their recharge from the universal free energy source – or whatever name you prefer to give it! Ultimately, they are our main energy source. They connect our physical selves to our spiritual selves, and when they become imbalanced, our mental, emotional and physical states do too.
Life brings us many challenges that result in stress. This is a major cause of chakra blockages; energy ceases to flow freely between the chakras and we may even become physically ill.
We can learn to harness the power of the chakras
All energy contains information. With awareness, practice and discipline, we can learn to tune into our vital energy centers and interpret their messages. This is a very rewarding spiritual practice that brings us many life benefits. It is a way for us to control our emotions rather than being ruled by them. We can also access deeper intuitions so that we can rely on them to make the best possible decisions for our lives.
The reach of our energy centers goes beyond the physical parameters of our bodies. They can connect with the energies of others, and that energetic information gives us a feeling about the person in front of us. That’s why when we walk into a room full of people, we sometimes get a sense of who we should and shouldn’t talk to. We feel inexplicably drawn to certain people, and our intuition later proves to be accurate.
An overview of the seven chakras
The root (or base) chakra: Muladhara
The root chakra, known as Muladhara is found at the base of the spine and it is considered to be the ‘first’ chakra. Depicted in red, it gives energy to the chakras above it, all the way up to the Sahasrara, or ‘crown’ chakra at the top of the head.
The Muladhara relates to earthly grounding and is concerned with survival. It is associated with your lower extremities and organs; in particular the feet, legs, bones, large intestine and adrenal glands. When you feel the fight or flight response, this originates in your root chakra. When blocked, you may experience feelings such as fear, disconnection from the physical world and other people, procrastination, anger, paranoia or defensiveness.
Muladhara also contains the kundalini energy, which when released, is said to travel up the spine to invoke a spiritual awakening (an expanded state of consciousness).
The sacral chakra: Svadhisthana
Our second chakra is called Svadhisthana, and it can be seen as our pleasure center. This chakra, depicted in orange, is positioned just above the sex organs, between the base of the spine and the navel.
It helps us to appreciate the physical world, and is associated with emotion, desire, creativity, sexuality and procreation. The areas of the body ruled by this chakra are your abdomen, kidneys and bladder, as well as your circulatory and reproductive systems.
When blocked, you can experience emotional difficulties, obsessions and compulsions, and unpleasant feelings such as shame and guilt.
The solar plexus chakra: Manipuraka
The solar plexus chakra is Manipuraka, and is situated just above the navel. This chakra is responsible for drive toward action. Ambitious types who are great at multi-tasking may be strongly influenced by this chakra. Those times in your life when you feel alive, joyful and on top of your game – powerful, even – your solar plexus chakra is spinning as it should be.
The solar plexus chakra is yellow, and physically it affects your adrenals, muscles, pancreas and digestive system. You may notice that when you enter into a particularly excited or nervous state, you physically feel it as a flipping sensation in your solar plexus area. That’s because this chakra has a dominant influence on your emotions. If you’re laughing, angry or bouncing with vibrancy, it’s your solar plexus chakra.
If this chakra gets blocked, you might find that you’re more often angry or frustrated; you may feel you’ve lost your way, or that you’re a victim in some way.
The heart chakra: Anahata
Anahata is a word you may have heard within spiritual circles, especially in music. It is the green chakra, positioned in the heart, and relates to all matters of the heart… so naturally it’s a popular chakra! In a way it is the central point between the other chakras, something like a hub for all the emotions to be processed as they pass through.
The word Anahata means ‘unstruck sound’ and it is said to be the house of the soul in Asian cultures. It’s all about love, liberation, creativity, compassion, peace and harmony – the things most people strive for. When that warm feeling of being ‘in love’ overwhelms you, your heart chakra is glowing! These feelings then move down through the solar plexus and into the root chakra, which instigates physical expression.
The heart chakra is associated with the heart and lungs, arms and hands, and the thymus gland. When it’s blocked, you could have problems with these parts of the body, or your general immunity. On an emotional level, compassion and empathy may dwindle, and your behavior may be perceived as immoral.
The throat chakra: Vishuddhi
Interestingly, the word Vishuddhi means ‘filter’. The throat chakra is associated with expression, communication and power, because your voice is one of your most powerful tools. People with clear and functional throat chakras are likely to be good communicators: articulate, succinct and tactful. They will also be adept at manifesting what they want into their lives.
The throat chakra is also responsible for self-expression and judgment, processing of ideas, and transformation. Like the heart, it largely influences creativity. This chakra is usually depicted in light blue or turquoise and is positioned in the throat area. Physically it relates to the neck, shoulders and thyroid gland.
When blocked, you may feel unable to communicate your needs or opinions to others effectively. Sometimes dishonesty is also a symptom of a blocked throat chakra.
The third eye chakra: Ajna
The Ajna chakra is your third eye (or brow) chakra, and it’s responsible for your inner vision, wisdom, imagination and spiritual liberation. Located between your eyebrows, it is associated with the pineal gland in your brain, which was labeled the ‘seat of the soul’ by French philosopher René Descartes.
This chakra is responsible for enlightenment; when functioning optimally, it helps us to release attachment to the trials and tribulations of the outer world.
The third eye chakra is represented by the color indigo. Your inquisitive nature is influenced by it and your deeper perceptions and inner knowing originate here. It is said that when you recall previous lives, you do so through the Ajna chakra. When blocked, your intuition may be stunted, your dreams confused, and your decisions unwise. Depression and austerity may be other symptoms.
The crown chakra: Sahasrara
Situated on the top of the head and depicted in violet, the crown chakra, Sahasrara, relates to information, understanding and acceptance. Said to be our direct line to the creator, it is responsible for connection to source, destiny and ecstatic states.
When the crown chakra is as it should be, you are apt to experience blissful and peaceful states. You may well be living at your highest potential. On a physical level, this chakra is associated with the central nervous system, the pituitary gland and the cerebral cortex.
When blocked, your problems are likely to be of a psychological nature, such as depression, insomnia, and even delusions and schizophrenia; on a physical level you might experience neurological disorders, nerve pain, headaches or migraines.
Your chakras are the keys to bliss, balance and success
The chakra energy system is a fascinating part of human life. The way our bodies react to chakra activity is evidence in itself of the powerful influence these whirling energy centers have over our daily lives. It is prudent to pay attention to these feelings and dedicate yourself to daily practices that help them to function optimally.
Yoga, meditation, healthy eating and sincere self-work are excellent ways to stay balanced and clear blockages daily. The benefits will be abundant, so make the commitment… you’ve got nothing to lose!
If you are interested in the chakra system and want to experience the chakra energy yourself, get our free 7 DAYS TO BLISS WORKBOOK!