What is a Chakra?
By definition it’s an energetic wheel or vortex of energy within the subtle body. It is associated with the Prana or “life force energy” that circulates through various Nadis, “energy pathways”. The seven main chakras you may have heard of all align with the central channel called the Sushumna Nadi. Along this central channel, Sushumna Nadis are the Ida, lunar/feminine,and Pingala, solar/masculine, nadis criss-cross like a figure eight up the spine joining at the sixth chakra.
How do Chakras function?
Each chakra holds specific characteristics within the physical, psychological, emotional, energetic and spiritual experiences we encounter. We can rebalance our chakras through yogic asana practice, mantra or chanting, aromatherapy, meditation, crystal and sound healing even. Understanding the chakras can help you to understand and even enhance your yoga practice, rather than purely focusing on the physicality of yoga. Taking poses may become more of an energetic expression rather than muscular contraction.
Each Chakara is associated with a color of the rainbow. Perhaps gaining a better understanding of each will help you to add a new dimension to understanding and relating to the environment around us. Plus it’s fun to learn the wisdom of an ancient system that can bring forward better understanding and vitality.
Let’s explore each Chakra more deeply starting at the base of our bodies moving up.
Root Chakra (muladahara)
Located at the base of the coccyx (butt bone). It is associated with the element of earth. We relate this chakra to our most basic survival needs; food, water shelter, air and our physical bodies interacting with nature. When we are able to keep this chakra balanced we tend to feel more stable, supported, grounded and safe.
Sacral Chakra (svadhisthana)
This chakra is located right below the navel and above the pubic bone. It is associated with the element of water. It is from this chakra that we are able to experience a sense of self, creativity, playfulness, joy, abundance, and connection to desire.
Solar Plexus Chakra (manipura)
Located at the navel center and is associated with the element of fire. It is home to our personal power, motivation, and determination to manifest our deepest goals and desires. It also controls digestion-the location where we turn nourishment into valuable energy for the body.
Heart Chakra (anahata)
This chakra is located at the center of the chest and governs the heart, lungs, and arms. It is associated with the element of air. It relates most closely with our feelings of compassion, connection, understanding, love and forgiveness. At this point our spiritual and physical chakras intersect. The reason the arms are included in this chakra is because we use them to connect to others through embraces or handshakes (the physical communication of the heart chakra).
Throat Chakra (vishuddha)
Located at the base of the throat, this chakra governs our mouth, jaw, neck, and ears. It is associated with the element of space. It is the home to our communication and is the place for purification since it also presides over our thyroid. Our thyroid balances hormones and keeps our immune systems healthy. When we open up this charka we can communicate more efficiently, authentically, and clearly.
Third Eye Chakra (ajna)
This chakra is located between the eyebrows and governs our pituitary gland, lower brain, eyes and skull. It is most recognized as ruling our intuition, intellect, understanding, wisdom and imagination. When we are able to balance and tap into our third eye chakra we can experience a clearer path in life and believe in our connection to the world around us.
Crown Chakra (sahasrara)
This chakra is also known as the thousand-petal lotus flower that rest on the seat of the head. It connects us to a divine source, God or universal consciousness. When this chakra is open we feel the flow of energy and connection with others.