Welcome to your e-guide to the chakra system! Here, we will be exploring what the chakras are, how they relate to you and how you can improve your health and wellbeing by giving yourself a chakra check-up. We’ll also look at the many many ways to balance and restore them. But first…
What Are Chakras?
The internet is full of images about the chakra system: a chain of discs running from the pubic bone to the crown of the head displaying a rainbow effect from red to violet. It’s all very pretty, but what exactly are those lovely colours all about and why should we pay any attention to them?
A chakra is a ‘focus’ of energy in your body. Chakra is the Sanskrit word for ‘wheel’ and is often artistically depicted as a spinning circle or disc. Unfortunately for us, we can’t see this energy or their colours unless we’re really well trained in these matters. There are seven main chakras in the human body and in this series of articles we will be exploring each one in detail, looking at how chakras affect every part of our lives physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally.
Chakras play an integral role in the yogic view of the energy of all life. We call this energy that runs through all things prāna and there is an ancient system of science behind these concepts. They were first written about in the Upanishads between the 3rd and 7th centuries BCE, but have been part of Hindu oral tradition for more than 5,000 years. One of the messages in the Upanishads is of achieving enlightenment through the cultivation of prāna or life force. It is thought that by harnessing and promoting this energy that great health, enlightenment and even immortality could be achieved (for the latter, actual results may vary)!
A Network Of Human Energy
In our article, First Steps to Demystifying Prāna, we looked at the philosophy behind prāna and how it runs parallel with Chinese beliefs about chi. Like chi, prāna flow is mapped out across the human body through channels called nadi. There are over 70,000 nadis in the human body and they all have a varying degree of prāna flowing through them.
There is a close relationship between the nadis and the chakras. The chakras play an important role in the regulation of prāna and two of the main nadis (called pingala and ida) interweave up the body, alternating left and right through the chakras. There is another important nadi called sushumna which rises from the base of the spine at the root chakra, and travels in a straight line right up to the crown chakra at the top of the head. If you’ve ever done Kundalini Yoga it is through sushumna that kundalini rises.
What Do Chakras Do?
The chakras are located at strategic points in the body that correlate to our major organs such as the heart or brain, and cooperate with the lymphatic and endocrine systems to help flush our bodies with ‘good’ energy and remove the ‘bad’ energy. This energy exchange is considered very important to our wellbeing and prevention of disease.
Chakras also work in conjunction with the bandhas to regulate the flow of prāna by allowing prāna to move in a controlled manner from the lower part of the body up towards the crown and open our energy channels. If you’re uncertain about the bandhas, check out our column about what bandhas are and how to use them!
Chakras In Relationship To You
A lot of research has gone into chakras and their relationship with the entire organism of the human entity. Here are just some of the more interesting points about chakras:
- Disease and illness are connected to a chakra imbalance
- Each chakra has its own unique note/vibration
- A mantra is associated with every chakra — chanting it balances it
- Emotions and mood have a connection to the healthy flow of your chakras
- Every chakra has gemstones linked to them which you can use to help balance and harmonise your chakras
- Different yoga poses affect different chakras in different ways
Chakra balancing is in no way a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. It can however work in conjunction with your doctor to restore you to health.
What can you do with chakras?
Chakras sometimes get depleted or too fired up. It’s not unusual to have chakra imbalance at some stages in our lives and understanding which ones are out of balance and correcting them can make a substantial difference in our health and wellbeing.
Chakra balancing is varied and engaging. It doesn’t have to take hours to do and there is a wide variety of therapies and do-it-yourself techniques to choose from including crystal healing, aromatherapy, chanting, yoga poses, listening to music, reflexology, self-inquiry, Reiki, meditation and more.
Discover the Chakra System
You are now ready to explore the rest of the chakras, where we will be looking at each one of the major chakras in turn including the related physical, mental and emotional symptoms we experience when our chakras are out of balance. We will look at what we can do to boost a depleted chakra and also calm an overactive one. We’ll also set some exercises so you can explore each chakra for yourself and understand your relationship with your chakras to see if you can restore some balance and harmony for yourself.