Swirling Wheels of Energy: An Introduction to The Chakras
In Yoga, meditation and Ayurveda, the term “Chakra” refers to energy centers in the body. Imagine a Chakra like a wheel of energy where matter and consciousness meet. These swirling wheels of energy correspond with the nervous system and contain our emotional, psychological and spiritual states of being. There are seven main Chakras, starting at the base of the spine through the crown of the head. These invisible wheels of energy are transformers of subtle energy that is all around us. Our Chakras help transform the energy around us into the various frequencies our subtle energy system needs to keep us healthy. The Chakras coordinate with our aura, which is a beautiful field of ever changing energy patterns that completely surround all living things. Our aura is created by all our thoughts and feelings both unconscious and conscious, as well as energies flowing through the physical body.
Located at the base of the spine, pelvic floor and first three vertebrae is the Root Chakra. The Sanskrit name is “muladhara”. The color associated with this area is red. This Chakra represents the earth and our safety, security, order, action and grounding. It is the deepest connection to our physical body. The Root Chakra can be exercised with asana. A few poses that strengthen the root Chakra are sukasana, balasana, malasana, uttanasana and tadasana.
The Sacral Chakra is located below the navel and includes the digestive and sexual organs. The Sanskrit name is “swadistana” and the color associated with this area is orange. This Chakra represents the element of water and fluidity, creativity, sensitivity and sexuality. A few poses to strengthen the second Chakra with Asana are anjaneyasana, virasana, arda hanumanasana, utkata konasana and virabhadrasana II.
The third Chakra is the Solar Plexus and the Sanskrit name is “manipura”. It is located above the navel and considered the core area. The color is yellow and it represents the element of fire. Our personal strength, power and self-esteem are associated with this core area. The solar plexus can also be exercised with asana. Plank, virabhadrasana II, dhanurasana, balasana and savasana are strengthening poses for the solar plexus.
The Heart Chakra balances and connects the lower and upper Chakras and is located in the center of the chest. It is named “anahata” in Sanskrit and represents the element air. Here resides our love, compassion and service. The heart Chakra can be exercised with pranayama, which is breath work. You can also exercise the heart Chakra with ustrasana, bhujangasana, marjyasana, and matsyasana.
The fifth Chakra is located at the throat and named “vishudda” in Sanskrit. This Chakra represents the element of space and is associated with the color blue. Communication and speaking your truth can be strengthened with pranayama. To strengthen the throat try these yoga poses: halasana, viparita karani asana, singhasana and mantra chanting.
The third eye Chakra is located in the middle of the forehead just above the brows. The element of the mind and the color purple are connected to the third eye. This is the area the pineal gland resides in and is associated with wisdom, knowing and insight. It is said we have two eyes to look through and one to see with. The third eye can be exercised with meditation. Four yoga poses to help open the third eye include uttasana, janu sirsasana, makarasana and balasana.
At the very top of the head is the Crown Chakra. The Sanskrit name is “sahaswrara” and the color white is often connected to the crown. This is the cosmic lotus element and our source of connection to one, non-duality, beyond thought and description, where there is nothing and everything. Padmanasana, paschimottasana, sirasana are poses to help strengthen the crown Chakra connection, while meditation strengthens the connection as well.
Diet is always important to our health and well being. Below is a chart that shows symptoms that may occur in the physical body that correlate with stuck energy in different Chakras. The foods listed may also help in opening and clearing that Chakra. Restoring the power of your Chakras is one way to take back control of your health and well being. Mind, body, soul and spirit are intimately connected and awareness of imbalances is key to restoring homeostasis in the body.