What are Chakras?

Chakra is a Sanskrit word meaning ‘wheel’, ‘circle’, or ‘revolving disc’. Chakras, or energy centers, are the gathering places of energy within and adjacent to your physical body – these are energy vortexes that exist within each of us.

It is important to study them because these energy centres determine where, how, and for what purpose energy is flowing within your physical body and your etheric body (this is the first layer of the aura or human energy field).

Energy flow is vitally important as it dictates your health, happiness, and whether you are in harmony with your environment. That’s why understanding your chakras and improving energy flow through them can literally bring you greater health, happiness, harmony, prosperity, love, wellness, protection, and comfort.

Your chakras are doorways to spiritual power and possibility, and in this series, we will introduce you to chakras, their characteristics, functions, connection to the endocrine and nervous systems and share with you, various techniques to balance your chakras.

The yoga traditions recognize seven major chakras, confluences of consciousness and energy, distributed along the midline of the body, located above the crown of the head, at the forehead, the throat, the chest, the navel, the genital area, and at the base of the spine.

The Seven Chakras

  1. Root chakra (Muladhara)                              Colour: Red                       Location: At the base of your spine.
  2. Sacral chakra (Svadhisthana)                     Colour: Orange                Location: Just below the navel.
  3. Solar plexus chakra (Manipura)               Colour: Yellow                  Location: Stomach area.
  4. Heart chakra (Anahata)                                 Colour: Green                     Location: Centre of the chest.
  5. Throat chakra (Vishuddha)                        Colour: Blue                         Location: Base of the throat.
  6. Third eye chakra (Ajna)                                Colour: Indigo                     Location: Forehead, between the two eyebrows.
  7. Crown chakra (Sahasrara)                          Colour: Violet                      Location: Top of the head.

The higher the chakra, the more subtle and finer the vibrational frequency. These higher chakras are closely related to the innermost sheaths and higher levels of consciousness. Hence, the upper three are considered the spiritual chakras which focus on our connection to the Divine, as well as our Higher Self – that version of ourselves that is tapped into our purest expression of love, wisdom, and power.

The lower three chakras are considered the physical chakras. They ground us as human beings on Earth. Both the spiritual and physical chakras are connected in the center through the heart chakra.

Every chakra governs a specific type of energy associated with various human characteristics. For example, the heart chakra is the seat of consciousness, as well as of feelings, and emotions. When the heart chakra is balanced, the person is able to relate to others in a caring, understanding, and selfless manner. A balanced heart chakra is characterized by love and the ability to forgive.

People who tend to close themselves off from others or who are dominated by emotions, on the other hand, may have energy blockages in the heart chakra.

Essentially, the chakras relate to our individual growth and development. The first three chakras, the lower centres of consciousness, are primarily concerned with the primal issues of survival and self-preservation, sexuality and power, while the upper chakras are concerned with issues of personal expression, spiritual insight, and spiritual realization. We begin individual growth and development at the first chakra or ‘root’ chakra in infancy and develop our upper chakras as we mature into adulthood. When our chakras are in balance, our lives are in complete harmony and our health is good. If a chakra becomes blocked, we will eventually experience emotional distress or disease.

Because everything is energy, when we heal and maintain our energy body’s health—through modalities like Reiki, meditation, qi gong, Yoga, acupressure, among others—and make better lifestyle and diet choices, we heal the health issues that may come up before they manifest in the physical body.

While each chakra has its own distinct characteristics, all seven chakras work as a system, so if any one chakra is out of balance, it affects all the rest. Meditation, breathing, and yoga asanas help align and balance your chakras creating a clear channel for prana to flow from head to toe.