The chakras are the subtle energy centres of the body. They are visualized as spinning wheels of energy or sometimes as lotus flowers that can be more or less open. The Sanskrit word “chakra” means wheel or disk (or something circular).
The chakras accept, absorb and transmit energy through our systems (both the physical and energy bodies).
There are seven major chakras (some say 8 or 9) and hundreds of minor ones throughout our system. Each chakra is associated with particular physical, emotional, mental or spiritual qualities.
For optimum wellness, all chakras should be healthy. Defining “healthy” is a complex matter involving the degree to which a chakra is “open,” how the energy moves within it, whether it is balanced within itself and in relation to the other chakras, etc. Old, unhelpful patterns of thought and behaviour often cause energy blockages and require us to deal with our issues and cleanse our chakras through inner work.
The Seven Major Chakras
1. Muladhara, known in English as the Base or Root chakra.
Location: at the base of the torso, in the perineum.
Associated with survival, basic needs (food, water, shelter), overall vitality, “groundedness;” some also link this chakra to a sense of “tribe” as in feeling connected to and identifying with a family or a community. Governs the adrenal glands, rectum, legs, feet, bones.
2. Svadhisthana, known as the Sacral chakra.
Location: lower adbdomen.
Associated with sexuality, sex, procreation, creativity and emotion. Governs the sexual organs, the reproductive system, testicles, ovaries; pregnancy, childbirth.
3. Manipura, known as the Solar Plexus chakra.
Location: Solar Plexus.
Associated with ego, a sense of self, power, will, self-esteem. Governs the pancreas, liver, gall bladder, stomach, spleen; digestion.
4. Anahata, known as the Heart chakra.
Location: the centre of the chest (NOT the left side of the chest). Associated with love, at its best unconditional love; other emotions (including hurt). Governs the thymus and the immune system, the heart and the chest.
This chakra is a bridge between the 3 lower and the 3 higher chakras.
5. Visuddha, known as the Throat chakra.
Location: the throat.
Associated with communication; higher creativity or inspiration; self-expression as in speaking your truth. Governs the thyroid gland, throat, lungs; metabolism.
6. Ajna (pronounced Agnya), known as the Third Eye chakra.
Location: in the centre of the forehead or between the brows (opinions vary).
Associated with intuition, clarity of vision and clairvoyance. Governs the pituitary gland and hormones.
7. Sahasrara, known as the Crown chakra.
Location: top of head.
Associated with transcendental consciousness. Governs the pineal gland and the whole being.