CHAKRAS: A Commentary of the 7 Energy Centers in the Body

“The chakras are major junction points between consciousness and the body, and each one is associated with a specific vibration.”

– Deepak Chopra and David Simon

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The 7 chakras, in order, are:

  1. Muladhara
  2. Swadhisthana
  3. Manipura
  4. Anahata
  5. Vishudda
  6. Anja
  7. Sahasrara

These chakras can also be termed ‘The 7 Minds of Yoga’.  Let us explore them individually…
 
The First Center: Muladhara Chakra
Also called the Root Chakra
Mula: root
Adhara: support or vehicle of consciousness
Muladhara
Location: Base of the spine (Root Chakra)
Neural Association: sacral plexus
Hormonal Association: adrenal glands
Element: earth
Sense of: smell
Colour/Shade: red
Presiding Deity: Brahma
Bija Mantra: “lam”
My Thoughts:

This is the chakra that governs our basic needs for survival: safety/shelter, food, water, sleep.  It is also the center that governs lust – both sexually and for material objects.  The Root Chakra connects you with the earth and gives you the information you need as to whether your actions will be nourishing or toxic to your body.  This is the lowest level chakra so it is important to settle it so that you no longer need to consume your mind with it.  Some ways to settle this chakra:

  • Be wary of what you put into your body:
    • nourish your body with a nutritious and balanced diet
    • do not deprive or starve yourself
    • do not overeat – eat because you need to, not because you are bored
    • keep your body hydrated
  • Rest:
    • determine how much rest your body requires in order to function at its optimum
    • set a routine for when you should wake up and go to sleep each night
  • Listen to your body: it will tell you whether what you are doing is beneficial or detrimental by making you feel comfortable or uncomfortable, respectively.
  • Recognise that your partner is not a sexual object or someone you use to feel sexual gratification – he/she is a complex soul to which you should connect with at a deeper level.

“Keeping energy open and flowing in this source chakra is key to both physical and emotional abundance”

– Chopra and Simon (2004)

 
The Second Center: Swadhisthana Chakra
Also called the Creativity Chakra
Swa: self
Dhisthana: abode, where you live
swadhisthana
Location: genital organs
Neural Association: lumbar plexus
Hormonal Association: reproductive glands
Element: water
Sense of: taste
Colour/Shade: orange
Presiding Deity: Vishnu
Bija Mantra: “vam”
My Thoughts:

This is a level up from the Root Chakra, so you are no longer concerned with the basic needs for survival.  Because it is located in the area of the reproductive organs, activating this chakra can aid in reproduction.  This chakra governs: jealousy, the need for attention, success drive and indulgence.  Some ways to settle this chakra:

  • Rather than being jealous of another’s success, be happy for them and try to encourage their success – get rid of the idea that another’s success takes away from your own success!
  • Don’t seek attention or approval from others in order to feel worthy – worthiness comes from within.
  • It is healthy to strive for success but don’t become obsessed with it and don’t let it consume your life – don’t bulldoze people along the way.
  • Indulgence is great when you are not using material objects to define yourself or to show off – enjoy and appreciate nice things but don’t be attached to those things and don’t be wasteful.
  • Love and accept yourself completely so that you are able to love and accept others completely.

When energy is flowing freely in the Swadhisthana Chakra, your creative juices also flow freely.  Express yourself fully and completely without the fear of judgement.

“When you are aligned with your creative juices, the expressions that emerge arise effortlessly.  The second chakra utilises the raw material of the root chakra to create the world anew each day.”

– Chopra and Simon (2004)

This is the chakra that
The Third Center: Manipura Chakra
Also called the Energy Chakra
Mani: jewell
Pura: city 
Manipura
 
Location: navel
Neural Association: solar plexus
Hormonal Association: pancreas (insulin)
Element: fire
Sense of: sight
Colour/Shade: yellow
Presiding Deity: Rudra
Bija Mantra: “ram”
My Thoughts:
This is the turning point chakra, where we use the fire element to create a transformation within ourselves.  The Manipura Chakra is a very large energy centre and is more exposed and obvious.  This is where your opinions and feelings and sense of  “self” are developed and expressed.  This chakra has a very strong self-esteem aspect.  This is also where you use the fire element to turn your desires into reality.  In this chakra, your creativity can be channeled into great things.  Some ways to settle this chakra:

  • Do not be afraid to express yourself and your opinions even if they may be different from others’ – do not be fearful of non-acceptance.
  • Accept yourself completely so that you can accept others completely.
  • Accept others as unique individuals – do not try and mould people to be like yourself and do not force people to agree with your ideas about life (practice Ahimsa).
  • Believe in yourself and take risks – don’t be stifled by the fear of failure.
  • Fire up and rise above the lower chakras in order to move closer to your highest potential.

“You can control your actions, but you cannot control the fruit of your actions.  Keep your life energy flowing through your third chakra and the light and heat of your intentions will radiate to the world.”

– Chopra and Simon (2004)

 
The Fourth Center: Anahata Chakra
Also called the Heart Chakra
Anahata: un-hurt, un-struck, un-beaten
600px-Anahata_green.svg_
 
Location: the heart
Neural Association: cardiac plexus
Hormonal Association: thymus gland
Element: air
Sense of: touch
Colour/Shade: green
Presiding Deity: Isha
Bija Mantra: “yam”
My Thoughts:

The Anahata Chakra represents  the energies of love and compassion.  This is where your focus is more internal and you are not as phased by what is happening in the outside world.  When your heart chakra is blocked, you feel alienated from others.  When it is open and energy and flowing freely, you feel deeply connected to all beings in your life.  To awaken this chakra:

  • Love yourself, others and all things completely and without condition.
  • Encourage this by closing your eyes and taking your focus to your heart – listen to the calming sound of your heart beat.
  • Aim to be boundless – not object related or circumstance related.
  • Focus on overcoming any separation and division in your life – see a person as a soul rather than classifying them by race, gender, intellectual ability, appearance etc.
  • You know that energy is flowing freely through this chakra if you can love a stranger as much as you love your family member.
  • Lust should no longer exist.
  • Have no fear.

“The love of a child for his mother is different fromm a mother’s love for her child.  A friend’s love is different from a passionate lover’s love or the love of a student for his teacher.  The common thread in each of these expressions of love is the impulse to unify – to overcome separation.  This is the nature of the heart.”

– Chopra and Simon (2004)

 
The Fifth Center: Vishuddha Chakra
Also called the Expression Chakra or as the Purification Center
Vishuddha: pure place
vishuddha
Location: the base of the throat
Neural Association: laryngeal plexus
Hormonal Association: thyroid gland
Element: ether
Sense of: hearing
Colour/Shade: blue
Presiding Deity: Sadasiva
Bija Mantra: “ham”
My Thoughts:

This chakra is the center of expression.  When it is open and flowing, you have the confidence that you can communicate your needs freely.  When this center is blocked, you tend to feel like you are not being heard.  This chakra is flowing freely when you:

  • Express your truth without fear of critics.
  • Listen to others with an open heart and open mind without forming any judgement of  “good” or “bad”.
  • Aim to positively influence others without being drawn to the outcome of your help.
  • Give emotionally and physically without any expectation of return.
  • Aim to empower others.

When your intentions are clear and your heart is open, you will spontaneously demonstrate right speech, trusting that the universe will handle the details.”

– Chopra and Simon (2004) 

 
The Sixth Center: Ajna Chakra
Also called the Intuition Chakra or the Third Eye
Ajna: command or summoning
ajna
Location: the forehead
Neural Association:  carotid plexus
Hormonal Association: pituitary gland
Element: Avyakta – the primordial cloud of undifferentiated energy and matter
Sense of: inner sound, independent of outside vibrations
Colour/Shade: indigo
Presiding Deity: Paramasiva
Bija Mantra: “sham”
My Thoughts:

This chakra is the center of insight and intuition.  If this centre is open, you have a deep sense of connection to your inner voice and feel guided in your choices.  When it is blocked, there is a sense of self-doubt and distrust.  To open this chakra:

  • Have a clear sense of your purpose in life.
  • Constantly remind yourself that you are a being that is far beyond this physical word.
  • Learn from your past experiences in order to plan for your future.
  • Trust and listen to your intuition but also be careful about what it is telling you – your intuition is not always right and may be influenced by your fears and insecurities!
  • Focus on mediation to clear your mind and be still so that your inner voice can emerge.

“You have within you a wise voice guiding you to express the highest aspects of your nature.  Listen to this inner still voice, which is guiding you to manifest your full potential.”

– Chopra and Simon (2004)

 
The Seventh Center: Sahasrara Chakra
Also called the Consciousness Chakra or the Crown Chakra
Sahasrara: one thousand (for one thousand petals)
A07-Sahasrara Chakra
 
Location: at the crown of the head
Neural Association:  cerebral cortex
Hormonal Association: pineal gland
Element: Avyakta – the primordial cloud of undifferentiated energy and matter
Sense of: compassion that comes from seeing someone as a reflection of yourself (Chopra, Simon 2004)
Colour/Shade: violet
Presiding Deity: Siva
Bija Mantra: “aum” or “om”
My Thoughts:
When this chakra is awakened, you have reached the ultimate enlightened state.  You are reminded that you are boundless, eternal and infinite.  To awaken this chakra:

  • Mediate while looking at an imaginary flame flickering in the center of your head/mind.
  • Believe that your essential nature is boundless, eternal and infinite and that you are a spirit in disguise as a human body – or that your body is just a temporary vehicle for your everlasting and limitless soul.

“As you recognise the universality underlying your individuality, you gain access to your full potential.  Your identity shifts from local to non-local, from constricted to expanded.  Fear and anxiety dissipate because you lose your attachment to specific outcomes, trusting that the universe is unfolding in the most evolutionary way possible”

– Chopra and Simon (2004)

 
The Flow of Energy Through the Centers:

The energy that flows through the chakras is called Kundalini Shakti – it is a female energy and lays dormant like a coiled snake at the bottom of the spine.  When the Kundalini is awakened, it passes up from the Muladhara and “snakes” up, in spiral staircase fashion, through the chakras.  The Kundalini energy takes 3 and a half turns from the bottom chakra to the top.

Each of the chakras is represented by a lotus with a specific number of petals (depicted in the diagrams above).  When dormant, the petals point downwards towards the Root Chakra.  When awakened they point upwards according to the direction of the Kundalini energy.

When the Kundalini Shakti reaches the highest Sahasrara Chakra, it is united with Siva and brings about a state of supreme consciousness and spiritual experience.

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