What are the chakras?
Chakras are part of the subtle energy system in the body. They govern all elements of our health and well-being; physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Chakra is the Sanskrit word for “wheel”, and chakras are often referred to as spinning wheels or wheels of light.
There are seven major chakras and 21 minor chakras. The ones we’ll be exploring are the seven main chakras which are positioned along the length of your spine, from your root – the space just below your tailbone – to your crown, the top of your skull.
When speaking of the chakras it helps to understand the nadis, which are energy channels in the body. There are said to be 72,000 nadis, but the three primary ones are sushumna, ida, and pingala.
Sushumna nadi runs along the spine and is your central energy channel. Sushumna is the channel for awakening Kundalini, or consciousness.
Ida and pingala begin in muladhara, the root chakra, and criss-cross their up the spine to the crown. Each place they meet is a chakra point.
Ida is represented by the moon and governs elements of the divine feminine.
Pingala is represented by the sun and governs elements of the divine masculine.
In this way, each chakra has the potential to be balanced and whole
Exploring the chakras offers a path for greater healing. As we travel along the chakra system we start to discover more about ourselves and our place in the world. Moving from our root to our crown, we shed old skin and open space for our true unique talents and gifts.
The seven main chakras are interdependent, and if one is out of whack it will affect the others. Conditions that can throw a chakra off balance included elements from childhood, societal pressures, injuries, illness, habits, and relationships.
The practice is in learning to find balance in the chakras, and our bodies and everyday life. By studying the chakras through reading and movement, we develop a deeper understanding of ourselves.
Working through the chakras is not for the faint of heart. But if you’re open to change and open to channeling in some major energy and light than this is the work for you.
Muladhara (Root) Chakra
Root chakra deals with fundamentals for survival – shelter, food, warmth and water. These basic needs must be met before we can move up the chakras and explore the realms of love, power and ideas.
This chakra governs our relationships with food, body image, family and finances.
Building a stable and secure structure that supports our life is a function of the root chakra. Knowing yourself and your place in the world helps you to stay grounded through life’s changes. A sense of security helps us to feel stable and grounded. We lose our energy and this chakra becomes unbalanced when we don’t feel secure.
Svadisthana (Sacral) Chakra
The second chakra governs health and well-being as well as our motion and emotion.
Balance is key for this chakra to function. Knowing when to hold on and when to let go. Sthira and Sukha. Effort and ease. Balancing work and play, exercise and rest. It’s important to take care of ourselves and take time to allow this second chakra to rejuvenate and replenish itself, or it will drain all other chakras in an attempt to do so.
Manipura (Solar Plexus) Chakra
The solar plexus chakra is the first stop along the path to an awakened life. The first two chakras deal with karmic imprints from our ancestors and our past and clear the way for us to focus on our Self. Manipura is about realising our own hearts desires and tapping into our truest, purest potential.
Center of personal power, self-esteem, warrior energy and the power of transformation. Rules all aspects of our personality and ego – influences self-confidence, personal power and freedom of choice. 3rd chakra develops as we form our personality and sense of individuality.
Anahata (Heart) Chakra
The heart chakra, the 4th chakra, is the center of the chakra system. It sits at the center of the chest, connecting the physical realm with the spiritual. The lower three chakras provide us with a stable base for us to now explore ourselves and our place in the world – our connection with the universe.
Directly behind the heart is where the soul resides, and it’s within the heart that the Divine dwells. We can call upon the Divine whenever we need guidance. Heart chakra energy vibrates out from the center of your chest. Love, by nature, is unconditional, unlimited and free; and it’s all around us all the time. Heart chakra energy is very powerful and resilient and we need to trust and believe in it and let it heal us.
Vishuddha (Throat) Chakra
Just as the theme for the heart chakra was all about love, the theme for the throat is all about the Truth. Speaking the Truth, hearing the truth, living from a place of truth.
Vishuddha, means pure or purification and refers to us expressing our Truth and living a clean and healthy life.
The throat chakra is directly linked to communication. When we speak our Truth and stand our ground we’re acting out of a place of our true Self and asserting our place in the world. It’s essential for our health and well-being to express ourselves freely, openly and truly from the heart. Repressed feelings of anger, fear and grief can block the throat chakra. So too can lying, gossip and saying ‘yes’ when you really mean ‘no’.
Ajna (Third Eye) Chakra
This is the command center and the center of perception.
The 3rd eye chakra goes beyond the elements and brings us into the realm of light. This chakra is concerned with positive thinking. A healthy 3rd eye can aid in the control of our physical bodies as well as our minds.
This chakra is about the power of the mind. It’s in the mind that we begin to transform our lives and implement our dreams. Really responsive to positive affirmations – planting seeds in the subconscious mind – re-programming our thought patterns to include greater happiness and well-being.
Sahasrara (Crown) Chakra
Sahasrara means thousand fold and represents the realm of infinite and unlimited space, spirit and potential.
This chakra contains all the elements of the first six chakras and the element now is the cosmos.
The chakra system works as a ladder, working up from the base energy in the root chakra up to spiritual energy at the crown. Each chakra is a well of un-tapped potential until it is activated. Each rung of the ladder, each chakra, needs to turn on so that our unlimited potential can unfold at the top, our crown. The energy from the crown chakra projects upwards from the top of the head out into space. This is where we connect our finite selves with our infinite nature
Wanna go deeper? Download the free ebook “Introduction to the Chakras“.