What Are Chakras?
The word ‘chakra’ has many meanings when translated but for our purposes, it generally means ‘energy wheel of light’ in Sanskrit. It is pronounced chuck-rah, instead of the popular pronunciation of chak-rah. It is a model for the subtle flow of energy in the body.
The original idea of the chakra comes from East Indian philosophy and is considered to be very, very old. In the original tradition, there are actually many systems. The original work that describes the 7 chakras that are predominant today was written in 1577. It is not meant to be a religion but a holistic system of health for the entire mind, body, and soul.
There are many chakras in the body, but most people are only aware of the seven main chakras. The idea of chakras as we now know it is quite recent and has been popularized by the new age movement. Much of the current chakra theory is from the writings of Judith Anodea and Jungian psychology. There have been many books and papers written on this subject but the most interesting one I have read lately is by Chris Wallis and is called ‘The five most important things you never knew about chakras’. His paper is very controversial and has a very different take on the theory of the chakras. I highly recommend it.
In our current paradigm of the chakras, there is no unifying ideas as to the shape, size, meaning, locations, specific organs, or emotions relating to them. Also, there is no specific way to align, balance them or to even clean them.
There are a number of healing techniques that use chakra theory. The ones I have studied are chakra dance, pranic energy healing, reiki and various forms of yoga.
Here are the names of the predominantly used 7 chakra system:
- Base or Root Chakra – Muladhara
- Sacral Chakra – Svadhisthana
- Solar Plexus Chakra – Manipura
Connection between the physical and spiritual Chakras
- Heart Chakra – Anahata
- Throat Chakra – Vishuddha
- Third Eye Chakra – Ajna
- Crown Chakra – Sahasrara
The chakras do not spin in just one direction but in both. As they take in energy from the universal life force, they spin in one direction. As they release energy from the energetic body system, they spin the opposite direction. If a specific chakra is ‘blocked’, energy ceases to flow into and through that chakra. A chakra can also be over-energized or congested. This is when there is too much energy residing in the specific chakra. One must continually work to balance and align the chakras to keep them in a state of equality.
Chakras are generally seen as cones that extend from the body. The small tip of the cone is at the point where the energy body connects to the physical body. The outside of the chakra’s cone is called the ‘body’. The cone’s ‘body’ extends from the physical self in an ever widening cone. The end of the cone is called a ‘lip’. The ‘lip’ of the chakra is generally considered to be a round, energy wheel.
The chakras are mysterious and for a long time were considered just a theory. But with the advent of Kirlian photography and new research, it is being shown that it is more than that. Even with the mounds of articles being written, one thing is for sure. It is a very interesting, evolving subject. As with all things that are studied, it doesn’t matter what others tell you, take the information given, and do what feels right for you.
– Nancy Cardinal