What's a chakra?
The word "chakra" is Sanskrit for "wheel." Chakras are simply main hubs or energy centers within the body based on the way that energy moves and flows up and down along the spine. In Western science, we recognize the chakra centers at the axis of the 7 main centers of nerve ganglia that run up and down the length of the spine. Many Western psychologists also use the chakra system to map the development of the human personality.
The 7 main chakras stack from the tailbone up to the crown of the head and the science originated in India between 1500 and 500 BC.
How many chakras are there?
There are seven main chakras within the body that are regularly incorporated into yoga philosophy. But including minor energy centers such as at the center of the palms or the roof of the mouth, there are about 114 total chakras. They all exist within the subtle body (deep within muscle and bone, not visible to the naked eye), overlaying the physical body.
Your lower two chakras deal with external reality (how secure and stable your life is), the middle three deal with your internal reality and how you relate to others, and the upper chakras are our source of spiritual connection.
How do the chakras effect me?
Just like muscles and organs in the body, the chakras take on whatever types of chronic stress, emotions or signals they are regularly sent. Weakness in one chakra center will manifest in physical ailments or disease, and may effect the chakra centers above and below it.
How do the chakras relate to yoga practice?
Yoga science is closely related to Traditional Chinese Medicine in the personalized and holistic approach toward healing. Whether you know it or not, every yoga asana you take is manipulating the chakras. (This is why sometimes certain seemingly random or unexplained emotions can come up in certain postures.) Part of the reason yoga asana exists is to balance and support the chakra system, which in turn balances and supports our emotional, mental and physical bodies as well.
The chakras are used by various healing arts to support the physical body just as the physical body supports the chakras. For instance, a sore lower back will inevitably effect the sacral chakra center, just as a compromised chakra can cause a sore lower back. The chakras are often referred to as 'The 7 Healing Chakras' because they offer us powerful information for our healing.
How can I learn more?
Sign up for The Chakra Project! A 7 week virtual journey into the subtle body. For $50, you receive 3 weekly emails for 7 weeks (start anytime), lifetime access to ebooks, videos, meditations and private Facebook community.
In the meantime, feel free to download and print these chakra balancing affirmations below. Each of these phrases support the energetic qualities of the chakra the represent. Notice the ones that resonate with you most and read or repeat them out loud daily.
Enjoy! Hope to see you within The Chakra Project!