We’re all well aware of our physical bodies but did you know we have another body? Within and beyond our flesh and bones lies another realm of our being, our energy body. Perhaps you’ve heard of this, perhaps it’s a whole new concept. Whatever the case, working with this level of self is fundamental to a well-rounded yoga practice. It enhances self-awareness, personal growth and physical/emotional healing. This blog provides a brief overview of the chakra system, the main aspect of our energy body, to help you understand these personal power centers and how exploring and balancing them through yoga can support you in life.
The subtle body is a field of energy that carries our urges, emotions, and habits, as well as imprints of all that has happened to us throughout our life and even before we incarnated. It’s composed of seven main hubs or concentrations of energy called the chakras and a pillar of light that runs through crown of the head into the heavens and down to the base of the spine. About 72,000 nadis, energy “veins”, branch off that pillar and a grounding cord extends from our tail bone down into the center of the earth. Crazy, right? I know! I was skeptical myself but yoga, acupuncture and energy medicine have made me a believer.
Chakras are “wheels” of energy created by the presence of consciousness (our soul) within the physical body. They serve as vital portals between the body and mind. They function to organize the reception, assimilation, and expression of our prana (life force energy) thereby affecting how we feel and function. Similar to taking food into our physical bodies, we take in life’s experiences though the subtle body. What we consume on both levels needs digested, assimilated and eliminated effectively. If we’re unaware of, or inattentive to, our subtle body this process is hindered along with our personal development.
As we experience the harsh realities of the human path our chakras can easily become congested, armored or imbalanced. This causes us to develop alternate defensive habits. These are well intended attempts to clear and rebalance the chakras but over time they actually cause more instability. Chakra work helps shift us back into balance by healing what wasn’t processed properly in the first place. We’re then able to move on and know peace more easily no matter what life throws our way. I do a great deal of chakra work with many of my private clients around the area of body image and the relationship with food. Here’s a brief outline of the chakras and their attributes but to dive deep, check our my free Body Peace eCourse .
Chakra One: Muladhara
Located at the base of the spine, this chakra forms our foundation. It represents the element earth, and is therefore related to our survival instincts, and to our sense of grounding and connection to our bodies and the physical plane. Ideally this chakra brings us health, prosperity, security, and dynamic presence.
Chakra Two: Svadhisthana
The second chakra, located in the abdomen, lower back, and sexual organs, is related to the element water, and to emotions and sexuality. It connects us to others through feeling, desire, sensation, and movement. Ideally this chakra brings us fluidity and grace, depth of feeling, sexual and other fulfillment, and the ability to accept change.
Chakra Three: Manipura
This chakra is known as the power chakra, located in the solar plexus. It rules our personal power, will, and autonomy, as well as our metabolism. When healthy, this chakra brings us energy, effectiveness, spontaneity, and non-dominating power.
Chakra Four: Anahata
This chakra is called the heart chakra and is the center of the system. It is related to love and is the integrator of opposites in the psyche: mind and body, male and female, persona and shadow, ego and unity. A healthy fourth chakra allows us to love deeply, feel compassion, have a deep sense of peace and centeredness.
Chakra Five: Vishuddha
This is the chakra located in the throat and is thus related to communication and creativity. Here we experience the world symbolically through vibration, such as the vibration of sound representing language.
Chakra Six: Ajna
This chakra is known as the brow chakra or third eye center. It is related to the act of seeing, both physically and intuitively. As such it opens our psychic faculties and our understanding of archetypal levels. When healthy it allows us to see clearly, in effect, letting us “see the big picture.”
Chakra Seven: Sahasrara
This is the crown chakra that relates to consciousness as pure awareness. It is our connection to the greater world beyond, to a timeless, spaceless place of all-knowing. When developed, this chakra brings us knowledge, wisdom, understanding, spiritual connection, and bliss.