So, what is a Chakra?
You may have noticed the word Chakra pops up a lot, virtually all human cultures known to us have a concept of mind, spirit, and soul as distinct from the physical body. Whilst this is fine if you know it’s meaning this is not so great if you don’t. So, if you are feeling a little confused worry no more, here is our simple guide to the 7 main Chakra centres.
The word Chakra is derived from the Sanskrit word meaning ‘wheel’. Literally translated from the Hindi it means ‘Wheel of spinning Energy’. All things animate and inanimate are believed to have Chakras and this is because everything in existence is energy.
There are seven main Chakras which align with the spine, starting from the base of the spine and running up through to the crown of the head. You can visualise the bodies Chakras as swirling wheels of energy where matter and consciousness meet. We can think of the Chakras as invisible, recharging batteries.
The Chakras are charged and recharged through contact with the stream of cosmic energy and
this contact regulates the flow of energy throughout the body.
The concept of Chakras can be found particularly in the tantric traditions of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. Kundalini in the concept of Dharma refers to a form of primal energy said to be located at the base of the spine. There is a lot of literature about Chakras and this means that many differences between accounts can be found.
Whilst esoteric Buddhist literature mentions four main Chakras, estoteric Hindu tests state seven and others mention 12 and even 114 Chakras. Chakras are believed to be part of the subtle body, not the physical body and connect with one another through the energy channels called Nadi. In the Kundalini version of yoga, breath exercises focus, in part, on mastering and channelling energy through Chakras.
The subtle body is energy whereas the physical body is mass. It is thought that the swirling wheels of energy (the subtle body) correspond to the physical body, our organs, psychological, emotional, and spiritual states. Since everything is moving, it is essential that our Chakras stay open, aligned and fluid. Sometimes Chakras become blocked because of stress, emotional or physical problems and if there is blockage energy cannot flow freely. If the body’s energy systems cannot flow freely it is likely that problems will occur.
Let’s go over the 7 main Chakras one at a time.
The Chakras are stated in Buddhist and Hindu texts to be arranged in a column along the spinal cord from its base to the top of the head. Each Chakra is symbolically mapped to a specific human physiological capacity, seed syllables (bija), sound, subtle elements (tanmatra), deities, colours and motifs.
The Chakras of Matter
The first three Chakras starting at the base of the spine are Chakras of matter. They have more physical associations and are thought to control instinctual properties.
The Muladhara is also known as the base or Root Chakra (Sanskrit: मूलािार, IAST: Mūlādhāra, English: “root support”).
This is where the three main Nadi separate and begin their upward movement. It is symbolised as a four-petal lotus and represented by the colour red. The seed syllable is Lam (pronounced lum in mantras), the deity is Ganesh and the Shakti is Dakini.
It is located at the base of the spine and often associated with an elephant. This Chakra represents our foundations and feelings of being grounded. This is the Chakra of stability and security so when it is open we should feel safe and fearless.
The Svadhisthana is also known as the Sacral Chakra (Sanskrit: स्वाविष्ठान, IAST: Svādhiṣṭhāna, English: “one’s own base”)
This is located at the root of the sexual organs between the base of the spine and the navel. It is symbolised as a six-petaled lotus and represented by the colour orange. The seed syllable is Vam, the deity is Brahma and the Shakti is Rakini (or Chakini).
This Chakra is often associated with our ability to connect with others. It is particularly concerned with emotion, creativity and expression. In esoteric Buddhism it is called Nirmana and is considered to be the petal lotus of “Creation” and corresponds to the first state of Four Noble Truths.
The Manipura is also known as the Solar Plexus or navel chakra (Sanskrit: मविपूर, IAST: Maṇipūra, English: “jewel city”). This Chakra is symbolised as a ten-petaled lotus and represented by the colour yellow. The seed syllable
is Ram, the deity is Braddha Rudra and the Shakti is Lakini. It is located a few inches above the navel and represents our ability to be confident and in control of our life. This Chakra is concerned with emotions, personal
power, and joy.
The Chakras Connection
The fourth Chakra is believed to connect the Chakras of matter with the Chakras of spirit. The middle of the seven unites the lower Chakras with the higher Chakras.
Anahata is also known as the Heart Chakra and the house of the soul (Sanskrit: अनाहत, IAST: Anāhata, English: “unstruck”).
This Chakra is located at your heart and is represented by the colour green. It is symbolised as a lotus with twelve petals called the heartmind. The seed syllable is Yam, the deity is Ishana Rudra Shiva and the Shakti is Kakini.
This Chakra is often associated with our ability to love with pure selfless love. This Chakra is concerned with compassion and harmony. It is a bridge between the body, mind, emotions, and spirit. In esoteric Buddhism this Chakra is called Dharma and it is considered to be the petal lotus of “Essential nature” and corresponds to the second state of Four Noble Truths.
The Chakras of Spirit
The three Chakras starting at the throat and going through to the top of the crown are considered the Chakras of spirit. These higher Chakras are believed to control the mental and spiritual properties.
Vishuddha is also known as the Throat Chakra (Sanskrit: विशुद्ध, IAST: Viśuddha, English: “especially pure”).
This Chakra is located within the throat and is represented by the colour blue/turquoise. It is symbolised as a sixteen petaled lotus. The seed mantra is Ham, the deity is Panchavaktra shiva and the Shakti is Shakini. T
his Chakra is often associated with our ability to communicate. It is particularly concerned with communication, creativity, self-expression, and judgement. This Chakra is thought to be the source of verbal expression and the ability to speak our higher truth, purification, and transformation. In esoteric Buddhism this Chakra is called Sambhoga and is considered the petal lotus of “Enjoyment” and corresponds to the third state of Four Noble Truths.
Ajna is also known as the Third Eye or Brow Chakra (Sanskrit: आज्ञा, IAST: Ājñā, English: “command”).
This Chakra is symbolised as a lotus with two petals and represented mainly by the colour indigo but also by deep blue and white. This Chakra is also known as the guru Chakra as it is the spot where the tantra guru touches the seeker during initial ritual.
This Chakra represents our ability to focus on and see the big picture. It is concerned with the inner vision, intuition, and wisdom in which we should listen to. This Chakra is used to question the spiritual nature of our life, our perception and our knowing.
Sahasrara is also known as the Crown Chakra (Sanskrit: सहस्रार, IAST: Sahasrāra, English: “thousand-petaled”).
This Chakra is located at the crown of the head and is represented by the colour violet. It is symbolised by a lotus with one thousand multi-coloured petals.
This Chakra is seen to be the highest spiritual centre and the state of pure consciousness, where there is neither object nor subjects. This Chakra represents our ability to be fully connected spiritually. This Chakra is concerned with information, understanding, acceptance and bliss. Importantly this Chakra is of enlightenment and having a spiritual connection to our higher selves.