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Chakras

 

The dictionary describes 'Chakra' as 'wheel' or 'circle'. However, in our particular context, Chakras can be described as spinning vortexes of spiritual or psychic energy within the human body.

They are not physical. They do interact, however, with the physical body by ‘mirroring’ two major body systems: the endocrine system, and the nervous system.

The locations of the chakras coincide with major nerve or endocrine centers in the body. And, they represent not only parts of the body, but also parts of our consciousness. They function to integrate the different facets, physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual into a coherent whole.

To fully understand the concept of Chakras, one must first be aware of the concept of the 'astral body'. Yogic physiology ascribes to the human being  not one, but three bodies, the physical, the astral and the causal, each more subtle than the last.

The physical body is the dense form that we are familiar with, while the astral body is the etheric double of the physical body. 

At death, both the astral and the causal body are said to separate from the physical body, though not from each other.

The astral body houses the network of 72,000 energy channels through which flows the vital life sustaining energies (the Prana) that power the workings of both mind and body. 

These energy channels (termed nadi or meridiens) are vein-like passages which branch off from 3 main channels running from crown to groin (they are said to be joined at the groin).

The central channel is called the Sushumna, and only during meditation does the life force flow through it. The two side channels, the Ida and the Pingala, running on either side of the main channel, are the ones carrying the vital energy during times of normal activity.

At certain points within this network the 2 side channels loop around the central channel , forming knots which obstruct the passage of the subtle energy through the central channel. 

In the region of these knots, lie the Chakras, with the channels branching off like spokes of a wheel.

Located as they are, at the meeting points of the energy channels, the Chakras form powerful energy fields which control and influence the health and well-being of the body and mind.



The energy map of each chakra is represented by particular colors, and a designated number of lotus petals, each of which bears a letter of the Sanskrit alphabet. Each  chakra has its assigned sound and mantra .

7 such centers are associated with individual organs and glands within the human body, each of which plays a vital role in our physical body. They connect also with the different senses, sensibilities, emotions and physical responses, which together make up a person and lead to the Greater Consciousness. 

The three lower chakras relate to primal needs such as survival and procreation. The four higher chakras connect to our psychological and mental makeup relating to love, communication, knowledge, and spirituality.

Sahastrara Chakra, located at the crown, is associated with the pituitary gland. The 7th and highest chakra, it is represented by a 100 petalled lotus and the color white-gold.

Agnya Chakra, 'the third eye', is located in the middle of the forehead. It is associated with the pineal gland and has the mantra 'Om'.

Visuddhi Chakra, at the base of the throat is connected to the thyroid gland, the para-thyroid, the larynx and pharynx.

Anahata Chakra, or the Heart Centre, connects with the cardiac plexus and the thymus in the physical body. This chakra is a favored focal point for meditation.

Manipura / Nabhi Chakra, located in the region of the solar plexus is associated with the adrenal glands, the spleen, and liver.

Swadhishtana Chakra, situated along the Sushumna in the lower abdominal area is associated with the pancreas, also with the reproductory system.

Muladhara Chakra, located at the perineum, between the genitals and anus, is the resting place of the dormant  Kundalini ‘. It is connected to the reproductory organs


Purification of the nadis is of the utmost importance in ensuring healthy flow of the prana (life force) along the channels. Since an energy blockage would result in physical and mental diseases, the aim of yogic practice is to keep the nadis clear of blockages, and the chakras balanced and in harmony with each other.

Breath is considered to be the external manifestation of prana. And so yogic practice aims to develop control over breathing in order to gain control over the subtle energies, and thereby of the mind. The prana, when consciously controlled , is a powerful revitalizing force that can be used to heal oneself as well as others.

Interestingly, Taoist medicine, too, is based on the existence of a subtle life energy 'ch'i' which circulates through the astral bodies of all living creatures.

The channels through which this energy flows, are called meridiens and these meridiens too are linked to various organs and body segments ( two of which are unknown to Western Medicine).

Acupuncture treatments, widely used all over the world as alternative therapy, are also based on  the stimulation of these nodal points along the meridiens.

As such, one finds a commonality between many of the different holistic meditation and healing systems practiced throughout the world. Certain practices work to physically stimulate the various nerve plexuses and glands that form the nervous and endocrine systems. Over time a charge of energy builds up within the body and mind. Energy flows more smoothly through the central channel owing to a gradual elimination of obstructions. As this process gathers momentum, physical health and vitality shows improvement, while the mind becomes more powerful and evolved.


                                
  

 CREDITS

Portions of the explanatory material contained on this web site have been adapted from a large number of published books and research papers on related subjects.

 

 

 

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