A Beginner's Guide to the 7 ChakrasMeditation Dr Ashwini V Konnur
Chakra in Sanskrit literally means wheel. In Ayurveda, Yoga and Meditation, Chakra refers to the wheels of spiritual energy in one’s body. A chakra is thought to be an energy point or node in the subtle body. These are the meeting points of the subtle energy channels called Nadi where the life force or Prana or vital energy travels. The Chakras or whirling energy centers are in general about 3 to 4 inches in diameter. They control and energize the major vital organs of the physical body. In simple words one could say that the chakras are the power stations that provide energy to our vital organs. When there is disturbance in these power station or chakras it leads to malfunctioning of the vital organs or physical body gets diseased due to improper energy flow.
Chakras play a significant role in the absorption and distribution of Prana to different parts of the body. These energy centers control, energize and are responsible for proper functioning of the physical body and its major organs including the endocrine system. It is said that a lot of body ailments are caused by improper functioning of the Chakras. Important function of the chakras is to spin and draw in energy to keep the spiritual, mental, emotional and physical health of the body in equilibrium.
The knowledge of the chakras is based on the relationship of consciousness, mind and spirit with different energy centers or Nadi Kendras present in vertebral column. A few scholars relate the chakras with certain nerve plexuses present in, on or near the spinal column. The chakras are being aligned in an ascending column from the base of the spine to the top of the head. There are seven major Chakras in the subtle body and each Chakra is visualized as lotuses with a different number of petals in every chakra. Also each chakra is associated with different color. Let us now understand each chakra in detail.
The Seven Chakras, starting from the base of the spine to the vertex of the head are:
- Mooladhara Chakra: It is called as the Root chakra. Moola in Sanskrit means root and Adhara means support. It is located at the base of the spine in the coccygeal region and it is connected to the opening of the Sushumna kanda (spinal cord) in its center. It looks like a down faced red lotus. It is said to relate to the gonads and the adrenal medulla, responsible for the fight-or-flight response when survival is under threat. Physically, Muladhara chakra directs sexuality, mentally it manages stability, emotionally it rules sensuality, and spiritually it heads a sense of security. It is said that this Chakra consists of a light (jyothi) equivalent to the light of Koti chandras (10 million moons) and is kept ablaze. Kundalini rests here in this chakra.
- Swadhishtana Chakra – Sacral Chakra it is situated about 3 inches above the mooladhara chakra. It is orange color and resembles lotus with 6 petals. This chakra is located in the sacrum and is considered to correspond to the testes or the ovaries that produce the various sex hormones involved in the reproductive cycle. Svadhishthana is responsible for relationships, violence, addictions, basic emotional needs, and pleasure. Physically, Svadhishthana guides reproduction, mentally it governs creativity, emotionally joy, and spiritually enthusiasm.
- Manipura Chakra – Solar plexus or Naval Chakra is symbolized by a downward pointing triangle with ten petals. It is yellow in color. Manipura is related to the metabolic and digestive systems. Manipura chakra is associated with personal power, fear, anxiety, opinion-formation, introversion, and transition from simple or base emotions to complex. Physically, Manipura directs digestion; mentally it governs personal power, emotionally expansiveness, and spiritually is connected to all matters of growth.
- Anahatha Chakra – Heart Chakra is situated in the Hridaya sthana and is symbolized by a circular flower with twelve green petals called the heart-mind or bodhicitta. Within it is a yantra (diagram) of two intersecting triangles, forming a hexagram, symbolizing a union of the male and female. Anahata is related to issues related to complex emotions, compassion, tenderness, unconditional love, equilibrium, rejection and well-being. Physically Anahata governs circulation, emotionally it balances unconditional love for the self and others, mentally it directs passion, and spiritual devotion.
- Vishuddha Chakra – Throat chakra is situated in the throat or kantha region. It is depicted by as a silver crescent within a white circle, with 16 light or pale blue or turquoise petals. This chakra is not as shiny as other chakras are. This chakra is related to communication and growth through expression. It is also related to the functioning of the thyroid gland. Physically, Vishuddha manages communication, emotionally independence, mentally fluent thought, and spiritually, it governs a sense of security.
- Agna Chakra - Third-eye chakra is located in-between the eye brows and is symbolized by a lotus with two petals, and is related to violet, indigo or deep blue color. It is responsible for intuition, imagination, wisdom and the ability to think and make sound decisions. This chakra is related to pineal gland that is light sensitive and is responsible for sleep and waking up. Mentally, Ajna deals with visual consciousness and emotionally, with clarity on an intuitive level.
- Sahasrara Chakra – Crown chakra also called as Sahasrara Padma. It is situated in the center of the cranium. Symbolized by a lotus with one thousand multi-colored petals, Sahasrara is represented by purplish white color and is related to issues such as inner wisdom and death of the body. Sahasrara's inner feature deals with the release of karma, physical action with meditation, mentally related to universal consciousness and unity, and emotionally with being-ness.
Healing the Chakras:
Cognizance to which chakras is out of balance is the key to aligning or heal them. Our body is many a times fluctuating between balance and imbalance. Our prana gets exhausted by conflict and stress created by our ego mind. Major block to the free-flowing movement of energy is our mind. Cleansing, balancing and removing energetic blockages from chakras are fundamental for maintaining optimal health. This also eradicates that feeling of being “stuck” in one’s repetitive circumstance of the past that creates stress, disharmony and illness. Yoga can help you in restoring the balance in the chakras which intern will help in a proper energy flow from the 1st to 7th chakra.
- Breathing – Conscious and slow breathing will help remove the negative thoughts.
- Practising Asanas – the stored energy is distributed to all parts of body when Yoga asanas are practiced in a proper way.
- Pratyhara – One has to withdraw his/her outgoing responsive thoughts, actions and emotions to remain calm and stress-free.
- Visualize – Picture the chakras in sitting position with your eyes closed. Visualize the yantras (diagram) along with its color to concentrate on them.
- Mantra – Chanting Beeja Mantras while concentrating on each chakra. Beeja Mantras are one-syllable sounds (pictured above) that, when said aloud, activate the energy of the chakras and helps purify & balance the mind & body.
- Meditate – Meditating will help in proper energy flow. The prana flows from the 1st chakra to the 7th chakra to give a feeling of bliss.
These techniques mentioned above will help in removing all the negative thoughts and blocks in the chakra and also helps in Kundalini awakening.
Reiki, Pranic healing, Color therapy, EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), Musical Composition Incorporating Potent Brainwave and Chakra Harmonics are some of the other techniques or healing therapy to energize the chakras.