The Chakras

Many types of yoga incorporate the awareness of a person’s chakras. Understanding and even more importantly, experiencing the chakras, can help a practitioner evolve and grow not only as a yogi, but also as a human being. The chakra system has been used for thousands of years by many dedicated yogis. They were first mentioned in the Vedas, ancient Hindu texts of knowledge, and are still integral parts of many different branches of yoga into modern day.

What is a chakra?About Yoga - chakras

Literally, chakra translates as “wheel”. There are seven main energy centers (wheels) in a person’s subtle energy body that reside along the spine or sushumna channel. The first one sits at the base of the spine (perineum), the seventh one sits at the crown of the head. When learning about the chakras, it can be helpful to know that each of the seven chakras correspond to specific organs and glands of the body. So, there is a physiological correlation with each chakra to the human body, and they are not just esoteric representations of “Yoga Magic”! The eighth chakra is also known as the Aura. It radiates 12-18 inches outside of the physical body. It is a representation of our personal projection and it serves to protect us from negative influences.

Why is it helpful to be aware of the chakras?

The chakras can provide us with very valuable information and help us navigate through life. Each of these energy vortexes is associated with a sound (mantra), a shape, a color, a symbol, an animal, a planet and many more things. Most importantly, each chakra is related to specific feeling states, or emotional states. When a particular emotion arises or if we notice a “lack” of emotion, like love for example, we can do exercises that bring more awareness around the related chakra to help bring more balance into our lives.  Chakra related exercises are generally about healing and balancing. Consequently, when the chakras are more balanced, life is more balanced.  It is an amazing, ancient system that can support us as we grow and evolve as human beings.

The chart below lists the chakras in order starting with the first (“Muladhara”) to the eighth (Aura) and describes each chakras relationship to the physical and subtle bodies:

Chakra

Location Organs/Nerves Glands Proper Functioning Malfunctioning
Muladhara Perineum Anus/large intestine Adrenals We have feelings of security, patience, trust Poor elimination, poor decision making
Svadistana Yoni/Lingham Sex organs Reproductive glands/gonads Healthy sex life, healthy intimate relationships, lots of creativity, healthy desires Fertility issues, poor relationships, over-indulgent sex life, misusing sexual activity
Manipura Solar Plexus Liver, gall bladder, spleen Pancreas Feeling a lot of personal power, will power & self-motivation Feeling anger, running into obstacles, greed, ego-related issues, fear, control
Anahata Heart/Sternum Heart & lungs Thymus Feelings of LOVE, compassion, acceptance & fulfillment Feelings of jealousy, possessiveness, prolonged sadness, attachment
Vishuddha Throat Trachea, throat, cervical vertebra Thyroid Having something to say, feeling heard, listening Shyness, insecurity, inability to express oneself
Ajna Between Eyebrows Brain Pituitary Feeling intuitive, illumination, intelligence, seeing Divinity in all, psychic abilities, imagination Feeling confused & being over-intellectual, mental health problems, headaches & sinus issues
Sahasrara Crown Brain Pineal Feeling connected with Divinity, being wise & feeling deep Inner Peace; Development of psychic abilities Feelings of closed-mindedness, intense anxiety, migraines, cerebral tumors, sleep disorders
Aura Electro-magnetic field N/A N/A When strong, negative influences are more easily repelled, one experiences feelings of Universal connectedness When weak, vulnerability abounds

What is Yoga?

Yogic Philosophy

Why Practice Yoga?

Yoga and Physical Health

The Six Main Branches

Vocabulary