The Chakra System
Chakra is a Sanskrit word literally meaning “wheel” or “vortex”. They were named as such because of the circular shape of the spinning energy centres which exist in our subtle etheric body, the non-material, energetic counterpart to our physical body. There are seven main chakras and they are located along the spine, extending out the front, back and around the body. Each chakra has a number of specific qualities that correspond to the purification of energy from the base-level material self-identity, located at the first chakras, up to the higher vibration spirit-level awareness of being, found at our crown. Our energetic centres represent our highest level of integration split prism-like into a spectrum of colours. The aim is to master and remain balanced to unite them into one unified field of brilliance, where we re-unite our disparate parts into a radiant light of self-awareness.
The chakras are formed at the union of three connected energy shafts that ascend the spine, one on each side of the central channel, the Shushumma. The two lesser channels of energy – the Pingala (masculine/solar) on the right and the Ida (feminine/lunar) on the left – run parallel to the spinal cord. Chakras both take up and collect prana (Sanskrit for life force energy) and transform and pass on energy. Our material bodies could not exist without them for they serve as gateways for the flow of energy and life into our physical bodies.
Each chakra is associated with a certain part of the physical body and a certain organ, which it provides with the energy it needs to function. i.e. The thymus gland relates to the heart chakra and the physical, emotional and subtle aspects of this part of the body. Additionally, just as every organ in the human body has its equivalent on the mental and spiritual level, every chakra corresponds to a specific aspect of human behaviour and development. Our circular spirals of energy differ in size and activity from person to person. They vibrate at different levels relative to the awareness of the individual and their ability to integrate the characteristics of each into their life. The lower chakras are associated with fundamental emotions and needs, as the energy here vibrates at a lower frequency and is, therefore, denser in nature. The finer energies of the upper chakras correspond to our higher mental and spiritual aspirations and capacity.
The openness and flow of energy through our chakras determines our state of health and balance. Knowledge of our more subtle energy system empowers us to maintain balance and harmony on the physical, mental and spiritual level. All meditation and yoga systems seek to balance out the energy of the chakras by purifying the lower energies and guiding them upwards. Through the use of grounding, creating “internal space” and living consciously with an awareness of how we acquire and spend our energy, we become capable of balancing our life force with our mental, physical and spiritual selves.
In order for us to become fully self-realised and in harmony with our physical and spiritual nature, our denser lower energies need to be harmonised with the lighter energies of the upper centres. Indeed, each of the upper-level energies corresponds and refines a lower level counterpart:
7th with 1st (Crown with Root)
6th with 2nd (Third Eye with Sacral)
5th with 3rd (Throat with Solar Plexus)
In the centre of our being is full integration into the heart, the 4th chakra.
Kundalini energy is stored at the base of your spine in your root chakra. Its only divine purpose is to travel up through your chakra energy centres on the Shushumna path, rousing all the other chakras to merge with the universal consciousness, through the crown chakra and beyond. Each centre has an integral function in creating an energetic balance. Through the study of our energetic and physical being, we can create health, emotional stability and spiritual bliss. The following chakra charts map out the main qualities of each chakra, its corresponding location in the body, its colour, its physical and emotional realms of influence and its greater significance.
There are two chakra charts I’d like to share with you. Both are informative, with minor variations to each other. Go with what resonates with you.