“What is a Chakra?”, I was recently asked. What a great question! I guess we don’t really learn much about “chakras” in our Western world teachings, do we? I’ll break it down for you as simply as I can.
The “Chakras” are the energetic system of our bodies. While we have the physical body, we also have what is called the “subtle” body. The subtle body is an energetic field that exists in a plane just outside of the physical body. It is not visible to the naked eye but can be seen through the third eye and otherwise “sensed” (let’s say, our “vibes”). This energetic plane is where our chakras are housed.
The concept of chakras date back to at least 500 BC, found in the ancient Hindu text, the Vidas. The Sanskrit word for chakra means “wheel”. A chakra might be visualized as a turning wheel of energy (called “prana”) where the physical world meets one’s consciousness. There are seven chakras which work like a network to continually renew our bodies energy. When they are each opened and aligned, we may be able to experience well-being with the mind and body at ease.
One way I like to demonstrate the chakra system within our Western culture is through Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs. This may help you better understand the meaning of each chakra and the system as a whole. They lay the energetic foundation of our fundamental, physical, emotional and spiritual needs.
The Root Chakra, “Maludhara”, exists at the very base of the spine between the anus (for lack of a better term) and the genitals. When we break down the Sanskrit term for the root chakra we get mula-, which means “root” or “base” and -adhara, which means “support”.
Working up the spine from the base, we get to the second chakra, the Sacral Chakra. This is our safety center, located below the naval. It is associated with our emotional body, creativity and sensuality.
Next we arrive at the Solar Plexus Chakra, “Manipura”, located from the center of the naval up to the sternum. This is where we hold a sense of power, confidence, self-respect and positivity.
“Anahata”, or the Heart Chakra is located at the center of the chest and deals with love, compassion and acceptance.
The last three chakras are grouped with the “self-actualization”, spiritual or higher consciousness category. This is the out of body experience. These are the Throat, Third-Eye and Crown Chakras. The throat chakra, located at the center of the neck represents the ability to speak and communicate clearly and effectively. Your third eye is located between the brows and is responsibly for intuition and imagination, while the crown chakra, located at the top of the head, represents a divine connection and higher consciousness.
Each chakra is highly important. If one chakra is off, it can throw off your entire physical and energetic system, allowing disease and disability to creep into the mind and body. I will dive deeper into each chakra and how to keep them healthy and aligned in posts to follow. Please also subscribe to my YouTube channel for FREE yoga classes relating to each chakra.