Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Getting to Know Your Chakras

by Laura Hamilton

We often hear the term “chakras” when we learn about yoga, energy work or metaphysics. The word chakra itself comes from a Sanskrit word meaning wheel or spinning. But what are they really? And what do they do? Basically they are energy centers located at various points throughout the body. Life force energy also known as chi or ki flows in and out of the aura through these centers. Like mini vortexes, these centers appear to vibrate or spin.

Whether we are aware of them of not, they have a great deal of influence on our mental, emotional, spiritual and even physical health. After all when you consider that we are essentially energy beings composed of spinning atoms and molecules, it makes sense that these centers would affect us. While there are many chakras throughout the body, we will briefly explore the seven major ones and their locations.

The First Chakra: The Root or Base Chakra

This chakra called Muladhara in Sanskrit is located near the base of the spine. It is associated with the color red and helps to anchor you to the earth. The concept of “feeling grounded” takes place in this chakra. Mental and emotional issues related to security and survival is encountered here. This chakra generally governs the legs, feet, bowels, and lower back.

The Second Chakra: The Sacral Chakra

The Sanskrit term for this chakra is Swadhisthana and is located in the lower abdomen approximately two to three fingers width below your navel. Orange is its associated color. This area is houses creativity as the sexual organs (to create life) are located here. Mental and emotional issues related to sex, guilt, pleasure and manifestation are found here. Other bodily areas influenced are the kidneys, intestines, adrenals and mid back region.

Whether we are aware of them of not, they have a great deal of influence on our mental, emotional, spiritual and even physical health.

The Third Chakra: The Solar Plexus Chakra

The third chakra called Manipura is found in the solar plexus region and associated with the color yellow. Our willpower and “guts” are ruled by this chakra. Mental and emotional issues related to self esteem and power is encountered here. The stomach, liver, gallbladder and upper abdominal regions are the related physical areas.

The Fourth Chakra: The Heart Chakra

The Anahata or heart chakra as the name implies, is located in the heart region. Green is the color association and this is where love or the wisdom of the heart resides. Mental and emotional issues around love, apathy and connections with others are experienced here. The heart, lungs, breasts and upper back are governed by this chakra.

The Fifth Chakra: The Throat Chakra

Vishuddha the Sanskrit name for the fifth chakra is found in the throat area with blue as the related color. The concept of “speaking one’s truth” is expressed here. Mental and emotional issues around communication and expression occur though this chakra. It affects the neck, throat, thyroid, and oral regions of the body.

The Sixth Chakra: The Third Eye or Brow Chakra

The sixth chakra known as Ajna in Sanskrit is located between the eyes or brows near the center of the forehead. Associated with the color indigo, clairvoyance or “clear seeing” happens here. Mental and emotional issues related to understanding, wisdom and judgments are related to the third eye chakra. Parts of the body influenced are the pineal and pituitary glands along with the eyes, ears, nose, and brain.

The Seventh Chakra: The Crown Chakra

The final major chakra is the Sahasrara or crown chakra located at the top of the head. Represented by the color violet, the connection with the Divine is sought through this chakra. Mental and emotional issues regarding life purpose, spirituality and connection with the higher self are experienced here. The top portion of the head is governed by this chakra.

Exploration and Awareness

Now that we have a basic understanding of the seven major chakras, let’s take some time to explore them. A good way to do this is by using the energy of your hands. Your hands contain minor chakras and this can help you sense the vibrations in your bodily chakra regions. Begin by rubbing your palms together to get some energy moving. Start by placing your palms on your lower back or root chakra. Just relax and notice any feelings or impressions that come up. You may not notice anything and that’s ok too. Just be aware that you are an energetic being with a great deal of power contained in this chakra. After a few minutes, move your palms to the sacral area and continue the exercise, maintaining your awareness. Continue moving up the body along all the chakra areas, saying hello to each one and finishing with the crown chakra.

Final Thoughts

Consider working with your chakras on a regular basis using the exercise above. You may also want to start a journal to record your feelings and sensations while doing this. Getting to know your chakras is a lifelong process of learning and growing. It’s definitely a relationship worth pursuing!