You must have vaguely heard about Seven Chakras. These Seven Chakras are the main energy centers in our body around which energy flows. And thus, when any one of the Chakras or energy centers are blocked or disturbed, it affects the physical body as well as emotional, mental, and spiritual aspects that are associated with it.
What are the Seven Chakras?
The word Chakra comes from the Tantric philosophy of Hinduism. It is a Sanskrit word for “wheel” or “disk” and denotes a point of intersection where mind and body meet.
The notion behind the concept of the Chakras is the existence of the subtle energy within our bodies. This subtle energy, or Prana, moves within the body along a complex sequence of channels or nerves known as Nadis.
There are three main Nadis – Ida, Pingala, and Sushumna – all of which run along the line of the spinal column. The Ida Nadi is connected to the left nostril and the Pingala Nadi to the right. The third Nadi – Sushumna Nadi – is the main Nadi for spiritual awakening.
This subtle energy or Prana travels along the Nadis in our body. At the inner core of each one of us, spin seven wheel-like energy centers called Chakras. Together, these seven chakras form a profound formula for wholeness that integrates our mind, body, and soul.
In short, Seven Chakras refers to the main energy points in our body.Tweet
What Is Prana?
Prana is the Sanskrit word for breath, life force, vital energy, or life energy. Yoga Guru BKS Iyengar states in his book Light on Life,
Prana is the energy permeating the universe at all levels. It is physical, mental, intellectual, sexual, spiritual, and cosmic energy.Tweet
All vibrating energies are Prana. All physical energies, such as heat, light, gravity, magnetism, and electricity, are also Prana. It is the hidden and potential energy in all beings, released to the fullest extent as a response to any threat to one’s survival.”
Is Chakras found in the Patanjali Sutras?
Sage Patanjali refers to the concept of subtle energy when he discusses the transmigration of the soul, however, the idea of the system of Chakras is notably absent from the classical Yoga texts. As per the historian David Gordon White, the earliest mention of the Chakras is to be found between the 7th and 9th centuries AD.
What is the role of these Chakras?
The famous book on Chakras, Wheel of Life suggests,
“Our Chakras, as core centers, form the coordinating network of our complicated mind and body system. From instinctual behavior to consciously planned strategies, from emotions to artistic creations, the Chakras are the master programs that govern our life. As seven vibratory modalities, these Chakras form a mythical Rainbow Bridge connecting our mind and body.
“The Chakras are gateways between various dimensions-centers where the activity of one dimension, such as emotion and thought, connects and plays on another aspect, such as our physical bodies.”
Name of the Seven Chakras
The lowest of these Chakras, the Muladhara, is said to be located at the base of the spine. The others are located upwards along the spinal column to the very top of the head where the highest Chakra, the Sahasrara, is located.
Here is an illustration showing the location of the seven chakras.
The first six Chakras are located within the physical body, and the seventh one is situated slightly above the top of the head. This location indicates that physical limitations do not constrain subtle energy or Prana.Tweet
Every Chakra has an assigned mantra. These mantras help practitioners who are trying to make use of these energy centers.
Significance of Lotus Petals in Chakras
In Tantric representations of the human body, the Chakras are typically shown as lotus flowers; and each of these lotuses is ascribed a particular color and number of petals. The author of the popular book “Wheels of Life” writes,
“Growing from mud, they symbolize a path of development from a primitive being to a fully blossoming consciousness, mirroring the base Chakra rooted in Earth, which evolves into the “thousand-petaled lotus” at the crown of the head.”
The number of petals varies from Chakra to Chakra. Each Chakra comprises a specific number of petals that denote the vibration frequency. This is why we have bija or chakra sounds (it is a sound that can create stability in the Chakras). Each Bija sound balances the vibration frequency of each Chakra.
If you have heard about the Kundalini experience, it has something to do with these Chakras too. The idea is that there is spiritual energy lying dormant within the human body, which can be awakened if we know the correct technique or mantra.
This energy is visualized as a coiled serpent that lies sleeping at the base of the spine (Muladhara Chakra). One part of tantric practice focuses on the awakening of the Kundalini Shakti (energy) and raising it upwards through the chakras along the Sushumna Nadi.
When it finally reaches the Sahasrara, the entire body is energized, and the adept achieves great psychical and spiritual powers.
A Quick Look at the Seven Chakras
- Location: At the base of the spine
- Color: Red
- Petals: 4
- Mantra: LAM
- Element: Earth
- Sense: Smell
- Demon: Fear
- Balanced Chakra: Secure and stable
- Deficient Chakra: Laziness, Insecurity
- Excessive Chakra: Restlessness
- Location: In the lower belly area
- Color: Orange
- Petals: 6
- Mantra: VAM
- Element: Water
- Sense: Taste
- Demon: Guilt
- Balanced Chakra: Grateful
- Deficient Chakra: Unmotivated, Emotionally Dependent
- Excessive Chakra: Addiction, Obsessions
Solar Plexus Chakra
- Location: In the area of the solar plexus
- Color: Yellow
- Petals: 10
- Mantra: TAM
- Element: Fire
- Sense: Sight
- Demon: Shame
- Balanced Chakra: Humble and Confident
- Deficient Chakra: Lower Self-Esteem
- Excessive Chakra: Egoistical, Egomaniac
- Location: In the part of the heart
- Color: Green
- Petals: 12
- Mantra: YAM
- Element: Air
- Sense: Touch
- Demon: Grief
- Balanced Chakra: Compassionate
- Deficient Chakra: Unconnected, Suffering
- Excessive Chakra: Hatred, Prejudice
- Location: In the region of the throat
- Color: Blue
- Petals: 16
- Mantra: HAM
- Element: Space
- Sense: Hear
- Demon: Lies
- Balanced Chakra: Gifted Communicator
- Deficient Chakra: Poor Listener, Uninterested
- Excessive Chakra: Talk way too much, No filter
Third Eye Chakra
- Location: Located between the eyebrows
- Color: Indigo
- Petals: 96
- Mantra: OM
- Element: Light
- Sense: Thoughts
- Demon: Delusional
- Balanced Chakra: Inspiring Person
- Deficient Chakra: Poor Judgment, Forgetful
- Excessive Chakra: Overthinking, Judgmental
- Location: Located just above the cranium
- Color: Violet
- Petals: 1000
- Mantra: SILENCE
- Element: Cosmic Energy
- Sense: Wholeness
- Demon: Attachment
- Balanced Chakra: Enlightened
- Deficient Chakra: Confusion, Ignorance
- Excessive Chakra: Extreme attachment to the materialistic objects
Chakras represent the energy points in our bodies. Each of these seven Chakras is in motion and drives us. They should stay open and aligned, as they correspond to bundles of nerves, major organs, and areas of our energetic body. If we learn how to balance and align these seven Chakras, we will experience a positive effect on your mind and body.
This is a part of the Chakra Series blog. We will write about the different Chakras and what Asanas you can practice to stimulate them.
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Featured Picture Credit: Pixabay, Angela Yuriko