The seven major chakras are centers of energy in the human body. Each has a physical location and unique attributes. I thought it would be fun to provide you with some more information and background of the chakras, along with a chakra test to determine if your energies are in balance.
I became interested in the chakras when I decided to get a yoga chakra tattoo and started researching yoga symbols. Through my research, and yoga teacher training, my fascination with this concept has continued to grow.
Chakras correspond to vital points in the physical body, but are generally understood as being part of the self which cannot be found through autopsy. However, there are those who believe that chakras have a physical manifestation as well. In The Yoga Book: A Practical Guide to Self-Realization, author Stephen Sturgess links the lower six chakras to specific nerve plexuses along the spinal cord as well as glands.
Regardless of your belief of these energy centers, the aspects that they represent: survival, sex, power, love, expression, perception, and spiritual are very much rooted in the essence of what it is to be human, and aware of our present existence.
Feeling like you are on the right path in life, feeling content, and even feelings of happiness can all be related to these aspects of ourselves.
The 7 Chakras
The root chakra is symbolized by a lotus with four petals and the color red. This center is located at the base of the spine. It is said to be responsible for the fight-or-flight response when survival is under threat. The seed mantra is Lam.
Muladhara is related to instinct, security, survival and to basic human potentiality. Physically, Muladhara governs sexuality, mentally it governs stability, emotionally it governs sensuality, and spiritually it governs a sense of security.
This chakra is where the three main nadis separate and begin their upward movement. Dormant Kundalini rests here, the sleeping potential force in the human organism
The chakra is located in the sacrum (hence the name) and is considered to correspond to the testes or the ovaries that produce the various sex hormones involved in the reproductive cycle. Swadisthana is also considered to be related to the adrenal glands. The key issues involving Swadisthana are relationships, violence, addictions, basic emotional needs, and pleasure. Physically, Swadisthana governs reproduction, mentally it governs creativity, emotionally it governs joy, and spiritually it governs enthusiasm.
Manipura is related to the metabolic and digestive systems. Manipura is believed to correspond to groups of cells in the pancreas, as well as the outer adrenal glands and the adrenal cortex. These play a valuable role in digestion, the conversion of food matter into energy for the body. The colour that corresponds to Manipura is yellow. Key issues governed by Manipura are issues of personal power, fear, anxiety, opinion-formation, introversion, and transition from simple or base emotions to complex. Physically, Manipura governs digestion, mentally it governs personal power, emotionally it governs expansiveness, and spiritually, all matters of growth.
The heart chakra is symbolised by a circular flower with twelve green petals. Within it are two intersecting triangles, forming a hexagram, symbolising a union of the male and female. The seed mantra is Yam.
Anahata is related to the thymus, located in the chest. The thymus is an element of the immune system as well as being part of the endocrine system. It is the site of maturation of the T cells responsible for fending off disease and may be adversely affected by stress. Anahata is related to the colours green or pink. Key issues involving Anahata involve complex emotions, compassion, tenderness, unconditional love, equilibrium, rejection and well-being. Physically Anahata governs circulation, emotionally it governs unconditional love for the self and others, mentally it governs passion, and spiritually it governs devotion.
Vishuddha may be understood as relating to communication and growth through expression. This chakra is paralleled to the thyroid, a gland that is also in the throat and which produces thyroid hormone, responsible for growth and maturation. Physically, Vishuddha governs communication, emotionally it governs independence, mentally it governs fluent thought, and spiritually, it governs a sense of security.
The 3rd eye chakra is symbolized by a lotus with two petals, and corresponds to the colors violet, indigo or deep blue. It is at this point that the two side nadis, Ida and Pingala, are said to terminate and merge with the central channel Sushumna, signifying the end of duality. The seed mantra for this chakra is OM.
Ajna is linked to the pineal gland which may inform a model of its envisioning. The pineal gland is a light-sensitive gland that produces the hormone melatonin which regulates sleep and waking up. Ajna’s key issues involve balancing the higher and lower selves and trusting inner guidance. Ajna’s inner aspect relates to the access of intuition. Mentally, Ajna deals with visual consciousness. Emotionally, Ajna deals with clarity on an intuitive level.
The spiritual is generally considered to be the chakra of pure consciousness, within which there is neither object nor subject. When the female kundalini Shakti energy rises to this point, it unites with the male Shiva energy, and a state of liberating samadhi is attained. Symbolized by a lotus with one thousand multi-coloured petals, it is located either at the crown of the head, or above the crown of the head. Sahasrara is represented by the colour white and it involves such issues as inner wisdom and the death of the body.
Its role may be envisioned somewhat similarly to that of the pituitary gland, which secretes hormones to communicate to the rest of the endocrine system and connects to the central nervous system via the hypothalamus. Sahasrara’s inner aspect deals with the release of karma, physical action with meditation, mental action with universal consciousness and unity, and emotional action with “beingness”.
In addition to the seven chakras, there is a network of subtle energy channels known as Nadis. According to the tantric treatise The Shiva Samhita, there are fourteen principal nadis. Of these, Ida, Pingala and Sushumna are considered the most important.
The literal meaning of nadi is ‘flow’. Just as the negative and positive forces of electricity flow through complex circuits, in the same way, vital life forces (prana) flow through every part of our body via these nadis.
You can see these three main energy channels represented in the 2nd picture above, as the lines that intertwine through the body and cross at the chakras.
Ida is the left energetic channel. Originating in Muladhara, Ida ends up in the left nostril. It’s associations include cold, femininity, and the moon.
Pingala is the right energetic channel. Originating in Muladhara, Pingala ends up in the right nostril. Its associations include heat, masculinity, and the sun.
Sushumna is the central energetic column. Running up the body from just below Muladhara chakra to Sahasrara chakra at the crown of the head.
Muladhara is the meeting place of the three main nadis. From Muladhara chakra, Ida and Pingala alternate at each chakra until they reach Ajna chakra where they meet again with Sushumna.
In Ajna chakra the meeting of the three main nadis is called Mukta Triveni (Mukta : “liberated”). Continuing beyond Ajna chakra, Ida and Pingala end in the left and right nostrils respectively.
Using rhythmical breathing and special breathing techniques, particularly in yoga and meditation, one can influence the flow of these energetic currents, with the goal of awakening kundalini, and channeling or realizing our full potential.
Sounds of the Chakras
Each yoga chakra has its own sound, just like it has its own color. Each chakra vibrates at a different frequency. The lowest, deepest, and slowest frequencies are at the root; with the highest, and fastest frequencies found at the crown of the head.
Sound is vibration. Music and sound, influence us and impact our energy systems in ways we don’t totally understand.
Sound, either as music, musical notes, or chanting can be used for chakra balancing. Repetition of these sounds supports bringing the bodymind-soul complex into a meditative state, where healing occurs.
Visualization of the associated chakra colors, while using sound, can deepen & amplify the experience.
Finding Chakra Balance
Every aspect of your life can affect the energies associated with your chakras. Therefore, since health, stress, noise, friends, and people you interact with all affect your chakras, you might find that their balance is continually in flux.
How are your chakras balanced today?