What are the chakras?
By Jacinta Hoogenboom
The chakras are energy centers within the human body through which prana (energy) flows. They regulate the flow of subtle energy throughout the body and are linked to mental, spiritual and physical attributes. Chakra is a Sanskrit word meaning wheel or vortex and the knowledge of them originates in the ancient Indian healing system. The earliest mention of the term chakra is said to come from the Vedas, the holy books of the Hindus believed to date back to before 2500 BC.
Chakras symbolize the connection between the spiritual and the physical and it is thought that they need to be flowing in a balanced and harmonious way in order for the body to be in a state of harmony and health. When the chakras are in balance, each one helps a particular part of the body to function perfectly. When they are blocked or dysfunctional a whole range or physiological, mental or emotional conditions can manifest.
There are thought to be many chakras in the body but generally seven are considered the most important. Each chakra is located in a different area and they are associated with different nerve plexuses and endocrine glands. Each chakra has basic characteristics, issues and elements.
The seven major chakras are:
- Root chakra (Muladhara)
Located between the anus and the genitals the root chakra is associated with security and basic physical and survival needs. It is associated with being grounded and present in the here and now.
- Abdominal chakra (Svadhisthana)
This chakra effects the reproductive system, the sexual organs and the lumber plexus. It is associated with the parts of the consciousness concerned with food and sex.
- Solar plexus chakra (Manipura)
Located in the solar plexus, the parts of the consciousness associated with this chakra include perceptions of power, control, and freedom and the ease of which one is able to be themselves.
- Heart chakra (Anahata)
This chakra is associated with perceptions of love and with relating to people close to a person. Difficulty breathing or with the lungs indicates tension of the heart chakra.
- Throat chakra (Visudda)
This chakra is connected to a person’s ability to express and receive. It is located in the base of the throat and is connected to the thyroid gland.
- Brow chakra (Ajna)
This chakra is associated with a person’s consciousness awareness centre or their third eye. It is associated with the spirit and is the level of consciousness that directs a person’s actions and their lives.
- Crown chakra (Sahasrara)
This chakra represents that part of a person’s consciousness concerned with perceptions of unity or separation.
There are many yoga postures, meditations and healings to help to clear blockages in the chakras and to bring them into harmony and balance. These exercises and treatments will help a person to experience optimum health, wellbeing and happiness in their lives.