As I learn more about Chakras in this YTT course, I come to realise Chakras and Meridian points in TCM are quite similar and are often talked about together.
Chakras: Disk, vortex, or wheel in sanskrit. These are non-physical energy fields that map onto our physical body from the base of the spine to the top of the head. There are 7 major chakras in our body:
- Root Chakra – Centre of Stability and Support
- Sacral Chakra – Centre of Sexuality and Imagination
- Solar Plexus Chakra – Centre of Self-Esteem
- Heart Chakra – Centre of Love and Self-Acceptance
- Throat Chakras – Expression and Communication
- Third Eye Chakra – Wisdom and Intuition
- Crown Chakra – Knowing and Enlightenment
Meridians: A network of energy pathways that carry energy like how arteries carry blood. These pathways create flow of information and link the connective tissues of the body with different organs and parts of the body. There are 12 Principal Meridians and they are divided into Yin and Yang groups.
- Yin – feminine, dark, associated with slow, soft, cold and wet (represented by water, earth, moon and nighttime)
- Yang – masculine and light, associated with action, speed and aggressiveness (represented by sun, sky and daytime)
The Yin meridians of the arm are the lung, heart and pericardium. The Yang meridians of the arm are large intestine, small intestine and triple burner. The Yin Meridians of the leg are the spleen, kidney and liver. The Yang meridians of the leg are the stomach, bladder and gall bladder.
- Both energies need to be well balanced for a person to be physically, emotionally, mentally and spirituality healthy.
The degree of Chakra and Meridian activity in a person’s body is dependent on the person’s physical, mental, emotional and spiritual state of health.
In chakras, if there are deficiencies/excesses or ‘blocked’ or ‘open’ chakras, it might lead to certain physical and psychological problems. Eg. if root chakra is blocked or deficient, one may experience insecurity or fear.
In meridians, if the body has too much yin or too little yang, the body will be cold and slow, showing signs of low thyroid or metabolism. Similarly, if there is too much yang and too little yin, the body becomes hot and stimulated, showing signs of high thyroid state.
2. Both have ‘tell-tale’ signs or symptoms that can be treated
In chakras, if someone feels that it is difficult to get emotionally close with people, his heart chakra might be blocked. If he or she is confused in his/her thoughts, it may be because of their 7th chakra (cognition may be overactive) etc. Yoga exercises (asanas or prayanamas) can help to solve these problems if one can be more aware of their emotions and problems.
In meridians, acupuncture points can be stimulated with needles or physical pressure to release or redistribute energy along the meridian pathway. If you feel tiredness or soreness in your body, acupuncture can be used to treat these points to improve body condition.
3. Different yoga asanas can help to stimulate chakras and meridians
In chakras, to overcome inertia and lack of motivation, one can do yoga exercises such as ‘Breath of Fire’, backbends and twisting poses) to help stimulate the third chakra and heat up the body and fill it with energy.
In meridians, if you want to bring forth the dark, slow, evening feminine energy of yin, you can do poses such as low lunge and forward bends whereas sun salutations and twisting poses help to create hot, bright, morning and masculine energy of yang.
4. Interconnectedness with other parts of the body
In chakras, a sensitive practitioner’s hand held over a chakra may resonate with pain in a related organ, congestion in a lymph node or even areas of emotional turmoil.
In meridians, if you press specific points along the skin where the meridians surface, they may be interconnected and you can feel the aches and tingles along the same meridian points.
Chakras were described as centers of consciousness in ancient Indian texts like the Yoga Upanishads and in the Yoga Sutras or Pantanjali.
The meridian theory was originally expressed by the Chinese on the basis of observations of illnesses and holistic treatment.
2. Functions of the energy
The chakras are like pools or swirling disks of energy that bathe and fuel the organs in their proximity. They govern the endocrine system and carry information about the person’s history. They also encode and process physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual experiences.
In meridians, they deliver their energy to the organs. As the body’s energy bloodstream, the meridian system brings vitality and balance, removes blockages, adjusts metabolism, and even determines the speed and form of cellular change. The flow of the meridian energy pathways is as critical as the flow of blood. No energy = no life. Meridians affect every organ and every physiological system, including the immune, nervous, endocrine, circulatory, respiratory, digestive, skeletal, muscular, and lymphatic systems.
3. Exercises to improve Chakra and Meridian
One can perform yoga exercises such as meditation, prayanama or practice asanas to improve specific chakras.
The fluid movements of Sundao, Tai Chi and QiGong and techniques of acupuncture and acupressure apply the knowledge of the meridians to eliminate the blockages of energy and treat the disease.
Be it chakra or meridian, they work well together. Chakras bring energy into your body, while meridians sends the energy around your body. When they are in harmony, they are very powerful in enhancing your energy supply.