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Chakras

The entire universe is made of energy, and your body is no exception.

 

 

Long before our modern world of technology and science, ancient cultures lived with the knowledge that all living things carry a life force within them. They called the centers of energy that move inside of us, the 7 chakras. So what are the seven chakras? Chakra is an old Sanskrit word that literally translates to the wheel.

 

This is because the life force, or prana, that moves inside of you is spinning and rotating. This spinning energy has 7 main centers in your body, which are the areas where major energy flows intersect, starting at the base of your spine and moving all the way up to the top of your head—connected with the spinal column in an upward flow of energy. In a healthy, balanced person, the 7 chakras provide exactly the right amount of energy to every part of your body, mind, and spirit. However, when one of your chakras is too open and spinning too quickly, or if it is too closed and moving slowly, this will hinder the flow of energy not only within that chakra, causing disturbances in the related part of the body, but also between all the chakras which will affect other parts of the body.

 

By learning about the 7 chakras, you can become more in tune with the natural energy cycles of your body. The chakras control the organs and glands of the body and each of the seven main chakras relates to a specific area in the body. You can use this information to connect physical, emotional and spiritual imbalances with the chakras that empower them. The seven chakras are each associated with different body parts, attitudes, and energies. Of course, with those discoveries, you can begin to balance your chakras and live a healthy and harmonious life. 

 

The chakra system and Kundalini yoga arose within the Tantric tradition, during the second half of the first millennium, common era. The word Tantra means tool (tra) for stretching (tan) and can be thought of as a loom in which the fabric of nature is woven from the union of opposites. In the West, Tantra is thought of primarily as a sexual tradition, yet sacred sexuality is only a small part of a broad weaving of philosophy which includes many practices of yoga, worship of deities, especially the Hindu goddesses, and integration of the many polaric forces in the universe.

 

In these traditions, there are seven basic chakras, and they all exist within the subtle body, overlaying the physical body. Through modern physiology, we can see that these seven chakras correspond exactly to the seven main nerve ganglia which emanate from the spinal column. There are minor chakras mentioned in the ancient texts, the soma chakra, located just above the third eye, and the Anandakanda lotus, which contains the Celestial Wishing Tree (Kalpataru) of the Heart Chakra, and other texts mention minor sub-levels to the major chakras.  

 

It is thought that the positive vibration of gemstones can harmonize the chakras and allow the energy to flow freely. Different stones are thought to be more effective with each chakra, usually associated with the color of the stones. Some stones, like rock crystal, diamonds, and sugilite, are considered to be helpful in clearing blockages in all the chakras.

 

Chakra Diagram

 

 

The Seven Chakras

 

MULADHARA, THE BASE/ROOT CHAKRA (FIRST CHAKRA)

Muladhara, the base or the root chakra is related to security, survival and the basic human potentiality. The official name of this chakra, Muladhara, comes from the words Mula, which means root and Dhara, which means support. So, this chakra’s role is to connect all of your energy with the Earth, which is called grounding. When you think of your Root Chakra, think of your day to day survival here on earth. This energy center’s role is to give you everything you need to survive. For us in this modern age, that typically translates to financial and emotional security. This center is located at the very base of your spine, near your tailbone in the region between the genitals and the anus. It goes up to just below your belly button. The areas that relate to this chakra are the spinal column, the large intestine, and the bones. Although no endocrine organ is placed here, it is said to relate to the inner adrenal glands, the adrenal medulla, responsible for the fight and flight response when survival is under threat. In this region is located a muscle that controls ejaculation in the sexual act. A parallel is drawn between the sperm cell and the ovum, where the genetic code lies coiled, and the kundalini. The color associated with the Root Chakra is red and red stones, such as garnets and rubies, as well as red agate,  are applicable. Symbolized by a lotus with four petals encircling a rectangle, with an inverted triangle in it. Ganesha is its presiding deity, with Dakini as his Shakti. LAM is the seed syllable. 


SWADHISTHANA, THE SACRAL CHAKRA (SECOND CHAKRA)

Swadhisthana or the sacral chakra is located in the groin, below the navel and provides harmony in the lower abdomen. The sacral chakra is related to emotion, sexuality, and creativity. Swadhisthana translates to “the place of the self.” This chakra is all about your identity as a human and what you do with it. From of all 7 chakras, this chakra is responsible for bringing you creative energy to help enrich your life. It’s the energy that motivates you to enjoy the fruits of your labor, including indulging in pleasurable activities like sex and intimacy. Your sacral chakra is the home of the creative life force energy that helps you enjoy your life here on Earth. This chakra is said to correspond to the testicles or the ovaries, that produce the various sex hormones involved in the reproductive cycle, which can cause dramatic mood swings. If there is a blockage in the sacral chakra, it will be reflected in the kidneys, bladder, digestive system, or reproductive organs. Orange is the color associated with the sacral chakra and carnelian is the stone usually used for revitalizing this chakra. Symbolized by a white lotus with six petals and a crescent moon inside. With Brahma as its presiding deity and Rakini as his Shakti, it is represented by the syllable VAM. As the charka which empowers the reproductive organs, it is the source of creative and reproductive power.


           

MANIPURA, THE STOMACH/SOLAR PLEXUS CHAKRA (THIRD CHAKRA)

Manipura which translates to “lustrous gem” or the solar plexus chakra is where your self-confidence, identity, and personal power are born. Have you ever been in a situation that you just knew wasn’t right for you? Where did you feel those cues in your body? Most people say they feel those types of cues in their “gut.” In reality, this is the seat of your personal power, your solar plexus, and you can physically feel that confidence and wisdom in its location. Located below the breastbone and behind the stomach. The solar plexus chakra is related to metabolism, energy, assimilation, and digestion, and is said to correspond to the roles played by the pancreas and the outer adrenal glands, the adrenal cortex. These play a valuable role in digestion, the conversion of food matter into energy for the body. The color associated with this chakra is yellow and the stones used for revitalization include citrine, yellow topaz, and amber. Symbolized by a lotus with ten petals with a downward triangle at the center. It is presided over by Bradda Rudra, with Lakini as his Shakti, and represented by the seed syllable RAM. It is the source of physical and mental power, will and resolve. 


ANAHATA, THE HEART CHAKRA (FOURTH CHAKRA)

Anahata which translates to “unhurt” or the heart/emotions chakra is related to love, equilibrium, and well-being and acts as the source of emotional intelligence. This chakra is where your love, compassion, and kindness are empowered. It’s not hard to understand this chakra. We all associate our hearts with love, and that’s exactly what the 4th chakra is all about. And this includes love for others and love for yourself, which is why this chakra is also associated with health and healing. As it’s name implies, the heart chakra is located in the center of the chest at the same level as the heart. Disturbances in the heart chakra usually show up as problems with the heart or the lungs as well as disturbances in the circulation of the blood. Also in the area affected by the heart chakra is the thymus gland, which strengthens the immune system and stimulates growth. This organ is part of the immune system and the endocrine system. It produces T cells responsible for fighting off disease and is adversely affected by stress. The colors are green and pink and the stones that have had a healing effect are emerald, green and pink (as well as watermelon) tourmaline, and rhodochrosite. Symbolized by a lotus with twelve green petals called the heart-mind, which encircles a yantra of two intersecting triangles, forming a hexagram, symbolizing the union of the male and female. It is represented by syllable YAM and said to be the seat of emotions and passions.


         

VISHUDDHA, THE THROAT CHAKRA (FITH CHAKRA)

Vishuddha which translates to “very pure” or the throat chakra is the source of sacred speech and related to communication and growth, growth is a form of expression. This chakra gives a voice to your personal truths. So, where does your voice come from? What provides the energy for you to speak? On a physical level, of course, the answer is the throat, but on an energetic level, this energy actually comes from your 5th chakra. This chakra lets you speak your truth with clarity. Resting right above the heart, the throat chakra is connected to the compassion and love you have for yourself and others. This chakra is located in the throat just above your collarbone. Blockages would be reflected in swallowing difficulties and sore throat as well as problems in the jaw and the area around the nape of the neck. Also affected by the throat chakra is the thyroid gland, which regulates growth and development through the rate of metabolism. The associated color is light blue and suitable stones include chalcedony, blue topaz, and aquamarine. It is presided over by the fivefold Shiva (Panchavaktra Shiva) who performs the fivefold functions of creation and represented by the syllable HAM. Shakini is his associated Shakti. This chakra is paralleled to the thyroid, a gland that is also in the throat, and which produces thyroid hormone, responsible for growth and maturation. Symbolized by a lotus with sixteen turquoise petals encircling a triangle with a silver moon inside.


AJNA, THE THIRD EYE CHAKRA (SIXTH CHAKRA)

Ajna which translates to “beyond wisdom” or the third eye opens up your mind to information beyond the material world and the 5 senses. Extrasensory perception, intuition or psychic energy, all come from the third eye. Ajna is the chakra of time and awareness and of light. There is actually a small pine cone-shaped gland in your brain that takes in light. This gland, the pineal gland is a light-sensitive gland, that produces the hormone melatonin, which regulates the instincts of going to sleep and awakening. It has been conjectured that it also produces trace amounts of the psychedelic chemical dimethyltryptamine. Long before brain imaging, ancient cultures knew this Third Eye existed, and they also realized it received information from sources outside of the five senses. This chakra is located in the center of the forehead between and above the eyebrows. Disturbances result in eye, nose and throat problems as well as inflammation of the sinuses. The color for this chakra is dark blue and lapis lazuli is considered to be the strongest stone for the “opening” of the third eye. It represents, the syllable AUM and the dual state of Shiva as Shiva and Shakti. Hence, it is said to be presided over by Ardhanarisvara. Symbolized by a lotus with two petals. (Some argue that the pineal and pituitary glands should be exchanged in their relationship to the Crown and Brow chakras, based on the description in Arthur Avalon's book on kundalini called Serpent Power or empirical research.) 


 

SAHASRARA, THE CROWN CHAKRA (SEVENTH CHAKRA)

Sahasrara which translates to “thousand-petaled” or the crown chakra is the source of the highest intelligence (prajnanam). This chakra is pure consciousness energy. The Crown chakra is one of those energies that’s hard to explain. You can think of it like magnetism. When you hold a piece of metal to a magnet, you can feel the energy and tension, but you can’t see it. Consciousness energy is everywhere and in everything. It connects us to the entire universe. Our own personal consciousness is located in the 7th chakra, but it’s really more like the seed of a universal energy than something personal or individual. Located at the tip or crown of the head, it is said to be the chakra of pure consciousness, the master chakra that controls all the others, and the destination of the rising Kundalini whereupon one enters the state of Samadhi or unified consciousness without the distinction of subject and object. The crown chakra vitalizes the cerebrum, the seat of conscious mental processes in the brain. Its role would be very similar to that of the pituitary gland, which secretes hormones to control the rest of the endocrine system, and also connects to the central nervous system via the hypothalamus. The thalamus is thought to have a key role in the physical basis of consciousness. For a harmonious crown chakra, energy must flow freely from all other chakras. When this occurs and the crown chakra is clear and vitalized, there is a feeling of fulfillment and negative feelings such as envy and hatred are diminished. Violet, white, and gold are the colors associated with the crown and suitable stones include amethyst. Symbolized by a lotus with a thousand petals.