In Hinduism’s Ayurvedic medicine, a chakra is thought to be an energy node or region in the human body. The word comes from the Sanskrit “cakra” meaning “wheel, circle”, and sometimes also referring to the “wheel of life”.
The seven main chakras are described as being aligned in an ascending column from the base of the spine to the top of the head. Each chakra is associated with a certain color, multiple specific functions, an aspect of consciousness, and other distinguishing characteristics. Chakras are thought to vitalize the physical body and to be associated with interactions of both a physical and mental nature. They are considered areas of life energy, or prana.
Prana (Sanskrit) is thought to be a life force, similar to chi or qi in Traditional Chinese systems. It is also said to have an extrasensory function, playing a part in empathic and instinctive responses. The chakras are first described in the tantric texts, in which they are described as emanations of consciousness.
In Ayurvedic philosophy, the charkas are the grounding force between the spiritual and physical world. The chakras draw down spiritual energy and cause it to assume a physical existence. It is like the negative pole in an electrical circuit, which provides the potential for the evolution of form.
The charkas are related to the physical processes of life, and also to the various fear and guilt complexes associated with them. All a person’s Samskaras ( potential karma ), are expressed here, in a physical form. These themes appear and reappear in most spiritual texts.
Apart from this primary text from India, different western authors have tried to describe the charkas. The seven chakras are said by some to reflect how the unified consciousness of man is divided to manage different aspects of earthly life.
The earliest known mention of chakras is found in the later Upanishads, in India. These Vedic models were adapted in Tibetan Buddhism as Vajrayana theory, and in the Tantric Shakta theory of chakras. It is the shakta theory of the 7 main chakras that most people in the West adhere to because of early English translations. Many present day Vedic teachers from both the east and the west incorporate chakras within their systems of philosophy.
There are various other models of chakras in other cultures, notably in Chinese medicine, Tibetan Buddhism, and variations in Jewish Kabbalah. In Islamic Sufism , there are psycho-spiritual “organs” or faculties of sensory perception, and when activated, makes a man complete .
The chakras are placed at differing levels of spiritual subtlety, as well as different positions within the body.
The Seven Chakras
1- Base or Root Chakra, usually the color red and located at the base of the spine. It is thought to contain the primary 8 cells that have all of the knowledge of creation and life. It grounds us in the physical world. Blockages manifest as a sense of “not belonging”. The symbols associated with this chakra are Earth, survival, grounding, stillness, & elephants
2- Spleen Chakra or belly, usually the color orange, and located just beneath the navel, and related to our sexual and reproductive capacity. Blockage manifests as emotional imbalance or guilt.
The symbols associated with this chakra are the moon, water, emotions, sexuality, desire, tears, & crocodiles.
3- Solar Plexis Chakra, usually the color yellow and located at the base of the xyfoid process. This is considered the seat of emotions. It gives us a sense of personal power in the world, however, blockage manifests as anger or a sense of victimization. The symbols associated with this chakra are the sun, fire, will, power, anger, joy, laughter, and the ram.
4- Heart Chakra, usually the color green, and located in the center of the chest. In some cultures, this is considered the “seat of the soul”. This is associated with trust and our ability to love and have compassion. Blockage can manifest as a weak immune system or heart problems, loneliness, or a lack of compassion. The symbols associated with this chakra are air, love, balance, compassion, and the antelope.
5- Throat Chakra, usually the color blue and located at the hyoid bone. This is associated with creativity, expression, and communication. Blockage can manifest as an inability to express yourself, or not able to communicate your emotions properly. The symbols associated with this chakra are ether, sound, expansion, communication, creativity, excitement, and the deer.
6- Third Eye Chakra, usually the color indigo, and is located in the middle of the forehead. This is associated with the Pineal Gland, the all knowing gland of the endocrine system, which is responsible for balance and harmony, and the ability to see the big picture. Blockage can manifest as being self-centered and un-imaginative. The symbols associated with this chakra are light, clairvoyance, psychic abilities, imagination, dreaming, and the owl.
7- Crown Chakra, usually the color purple, and is located above the cranium. This chakra connects you with messages from other realms, (non earthy realms). This is associated with “doing the right thing”. Blockages can manifest as poor boundaries, and an inability to determine right from wrong. The symbols associated with this chakra are god, thought, spiritual connection, understanding, knowing, and bliss. There is no earthly animal associated.
“There is a vitality, a life force, and because there is only one of you, this expression is unique, and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium, and be lost.
It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours, clearly and directly — to keep the channel open”.