“The Chakra System is a map for the journey through life. Its seven rainbow colors represent the full spectrum of human possibility that stretches from the ordinary to the extraordinary, from Earth to heaven, forming a bridge and describing the steps between them. The map is an archetypal formula for wholeness that addresses the full spectrum of human possibility. To navigate its territory is to take an exciting journey of awakening – in body, mind, and spirit.” From Chakra Balancing Workbook by Anodea Judith
The chakras were first mentioned in the Upanishads – ancient Hindu texts written down somewhere between 1,200 and 900 BC. In Sanskrit chakra means wheel or a vortex. Chakras are important energy centers in the human body. They are not to be understood as physical organs, but rather as energy “junctions”. They are the aspects of our consciousness that are responsible for the energy flow within our bodies as well as our interaction with the outside world. They cover the entire spectrum of consciousness and can be described as spinning energy vortices within the subtle body. They are visualized as such during meditation. Subtle body is understood as our energy field where emotions, feelings, desires, habits, and experiences are seated.
Chakras are energy centers where the dominant patterns “crystallize” into the predominant traits of personality. Chakras draw in and process the external energy internally and then, express it externally. They are the centers in which the life force energy is received, assimilated, and expressed. They are like energy “engines” that mitigate everything we think, experience, or do. They are the portals that allow the exchange between the outer and the inner worlds. For a better understanding of the concept, some authors compared chakras to spinning discs that store all the information that is being constantly exchanged between the outer and the inner worlds. Our physical and emotional well being depend on the harmonious flow of energy in the chakras and between them.
There are many chakras in the body, but seven of them are considered to be the major ones. (Some systems of thought have a more complex systematization and include minor chakras as well as chakras existing outside of the physical body.) The seven major chakras are aligned along the spine beginning at the perineum and ending at the crown of the head. Each chakra governs particular aspect of life and is related to a particular set of emotions and behaviors. A chakra can be either overactive, under-active, or completely blocked. Because our well being depends on a properly functioning chakras, it is important to keep the open. Open and well functioning chakras contribute consciously to our awareness. Blocked chakras, on the other hand, obstruct the energy flow in the body and create psycho-physical “complexes”. We might develop a physical disorder in a particular organ, or a pattern of behavior, or a set of emotions that corresponds with the anomaly in the affected chakra. Chronic disease is often seen as a result of imbalance in one or more chakras and lack of alignment between them.
The seven major chakras:
* Muladhara – Root chakra located on the last bone of the spine and corresponding to the perineum area is associated with our survival. Its tendency is self-preservation. Its goals are stability, physical health, prosperity, and trust. Pathological emotion here is fear. Excess of energy in this chakra leads to sluggishness, monotony, obesity, greed, hoarding, and materialism. Under active root chakra leads to fear, lack of discipline, restlessness, lack of grounding, and underweight. This chakra characterizes our physical identity and manifests our right to be and to have.
* Svadhisthana – Sacral chakra corresponding to ovaries and prostate is associated with sexuality and emotions. Its tendency is self-gratification. Its goals are pleasure, healthy sexuality, and emotions. Pathological emotion here is guilt. Excess energy here leads to sexual addictions, excessive emotionality, poor boundaries, and obsessive attachments. Lack of energy in the second chakra manifests itself as frigidity, impotence, emotional indifference or numbness, and fear of pleasure. This chakra characterizes our emotional identity and expresses our right to feel and to desire.
* Manipura – Solar Plexus chakra located in the navel area is associated with will and power. Its tendency is self-definition. Its goals are vitality, spontaneity, purpose, determination, and self-esteem. The pathological emotion here is shame. Excess energy is visible as tendency to dominate and control, aggressive behavior, and incessant activity. Deficit in energy here leads to weak will, lack of self-esteem, passivity, sluggishness, and fearfulness. This chakra characterizes our ego identity and expresses our right to act.
* Anahata – Heart chakra located in the center of the rib cage is associated with love and relationships. Its tendency is self-acceptance. Its goals are balance, compassion, self-acceptance, harmonious relationships. Pathological emotion here is grief. Overactive heart chakra leads to codependency, possessiveness, jealousy, and poor boundaries. Lack of energy here produces shyness, loneliness, isolation, bitterness, criticism, inability to empathize. This chakra characterizes our social identity and our right to love and be loved.
* Vissudha – Throat chakra corresponding to the throat and neck area is associated with communication. Its tendency is self-expression. Its goals are clarity of communication, resonance, and creativity. Pathological emotion is tendency to lie. Overactive Vissudha is characterized by excessive talking and inability to listen. Lack of energy here leads to fear of speaking and poor rhythm. speech disorders are associated with this chakra. Our creative identity and our right to speak and be heard lie here.
* Ajna – Third Eye corresponding to pineal gland located on the forehead between the eyes is associated with intuition. Its tendency is self-reflection. Its goals are psychic perception, imagination, accurate interpretation, and clear vision. Pathological emotion associated with this chakra is illusion. Overactive third eye chakra leads to headaches, nightmares, hallucinations, delusions, and poor concentration. Lack of energy here leads to poor memory, poor vision, lack of imagination, and denial. Our archetypal identity is embedded here as well as our right to see.
* Sahasrara – Crown chakra located at the top of the head is associated with cognition. Its tendency is self-knowledge. Its goals are wisdom, knowledge, consciousness, spiritual connection. Pathological emotion here is attachment. Overactive crown chakra leads to spiritual addiction, extreme intellectualism, confusion, and dissociation. Lack of energy here results in learning difficulties, spiritual skepticism, materialism, and apathy. Crown chakra expresses our universal identity and our right to know.
Energetic deficiencies in the chakras and the overall imbalance in the energy flow can be alleviated with a special form of meditation and with a set of physical exercises. Stagnant chakras can be set into motion, overactive ones can be quieted down.
There are different techniques that can be used to align the chakras:
* yoga postures
* breathing exercises
* color therapy
Chakra meditation is designed to balance and align the chakras and to allow the individual a full expression of his or her potential. Unlike for instance Zen meditation that requires practitioner to empty his or her mind, chakra meditation allows things to come up and enter the stream of consciousness.
There are many forms of chakra meditation that assign different colors and sounds to the chakras. There is no universal understanding of a chakra system and therefore it is sensible to learn the chakra meditation under the guidance of a compassionate, qualified teacher, especially if one does not have any previous experience with meditation. Experienced practitioners and yogis may not have any difficulty in learning the chakra meditation from a guide book or a DVD. However, caution is advised. Repressed emotions that are locked within a particular chakra may surface and enter awareness causing discomfort. Chakra meditation is a shadow work and may have a powerful impact on individual’s emotional state. In some severe cases a psychotherapy may be necessary to work through the complexes that were released in the process.
It is possible to meditate upon a single chakra to open or enhance it, although in my opinion such meditation does not make much sense. This could crudely be compared to an athlete who is trying to exercise only one group of muscles in his body. The preferable and probably more effective form of chakra meditation begins at the root chakra and ends at the crown chakra in one session. It is like a journey through all the aspects of one’s being. The meditation is usually done while sitting comfortably on a chair, although some people meditate in a cross legged position on the floor. I personally prefer to lie down comfortably on a flat surface. In this position I can feel the energy flow and my chakras spin.
Chakra meditation may help you clarify old emotions and discover hidden abilities or develop new ones. It may help you heal your relationships and find your place in life. Regular practice will help you develop higher awareness and connect with other people on a more profound level.
By Dominique Allmon
*This article was written for educational purposes and is not meant to diagnose or cure a disease