Chakra means "wheel". Chakras are energy centers, or energy vortices. They exist as dynamic energies. Understanding the chakras can help us to understand the way energy is processed by a human being within the vast and complex interplay of a multi-leveled existence. The chakras affect our perceptions, feelings, and choices. They affect the flow and types of thoughts we have, and the energies we can gather to act upon them, and manifest our thoughts. In all of our behavior, they affect the relationship between the conscious and the subconscious. Opening and balancing the chakras opens the senses, and integrates them into a responsive network that can relate to the larger source field of energy from which we come and to which we return.
Yoga focuses on the 8 major Chakras:
- Seven of the eight chakras correspond to areas of the endocrine system or to nerve plexes in the physical body, and the eighth corresponds to the Aura or magnetic field of the body.
- The first three chakras are known as the Lower Triangle and the Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh chakras are known as the Upper Triangle. The Fourth Chakra, the Heart Chakra is the point of balance between them, where experience shifts from "me to Thee", or from "me to we".
- No chakra stands alone. When exploring Yogic Anatomy, we need to shift our understanding from the need to analyze and separate, to a more holistic approach that recognizes that everything works in unison. The chakras are all part of a larger cycle of evolution and devolution, manifestation and sublimation. The Lower Triangle chakras focus on elimination and reduction, and are balanced by the Upper Triangle chakras which accumulate, create and refine.
- The first Five Chakras are associated with each of the five Tattvas or gross elements: Warth, Water, Fire, Air, and Ether, and the qualities each element represents. The upper three chakras correspond to more subtle realms, therefore there is no correlation with the Tattvas.
- Prana, the life force, powers the chakras, by clearing the blocks to the free, natural flow of energy through them. Yoga, and especially Kundalini Yoga, facilitates this clearing, balancing, and maximizing of the functioning of body, mind, and spirit.
A Profile of the Chakras
The Lower Triangle
1. Root Chakra: Muladhara
Earth, Foundations, survival, security, habit, self-acceptance.
Location: The end of the spine between the anus and the sexual organs.
Organ/Gland: Organs of elimination.
Qualities: Grounded, centered, secure, loyal, stable. Healthy functions of elimination.
Shadow: Fear, insecurity. Life feels like a burden; feeling of not really belonging on Earth or in one's culture or family. Weak constitution, elimination problems, reduced physical and mental resistance, sexual perversions.
Yoga Exercises: Crow Pose, Chair Pose, Body drops, Frog Pose, Mulbhandh, Front Sretches, Lying on the stomach, feet kicking buttocks.
2. Sexual- (Sacral-) Chakra: Svadisthana
Water, Creativity, to feel, to desire, to create.
Location: The sexual organs.
Organ/Gland: Sexual organs, reproductive glands, kidneys, bladder.
Qualities: Positive, relaxed attitude to sexual functions; patience; creativity; responsible relationships.
Shadow: Rigid emotions, frigidity, guilt, no boundaries, irresponsible relationships. Problems with reproductive organs, or kidneys.
Yoga Exercises: Frog Pose, Cobra Pose, Butterfly, Sat Kriya, Cat-Cow, Maha Mudra, Pelvic Lifts.
3. Navel Chakra: Manipura
Fire, action and balance, the will of the spiritual warrior.
Location: The area of the Navel Point, solar plexus.
Organ/Gland/Nerves: Navel plexus (autonomous network of sympathetic nerve fibers, 72,000 nerve endings), liver, gall bladder, spleen, digestive organs, pancreas, adrenals.
Qualities: The center of personal power and commitment. Self-esteem, identity, judgment. This is where the strength for inner balance, inspiration and good health is developed.
Shadow: Anger; greed, shame, despair. Obstacles everywhere. Not enough strength and spontaneity. Conforming in order to be recognized. Refuting ones own wishes and emotions. Problems with digestion, the liver, the gallbladder, and the pancreas.
Yoga Exercises: Stretch Pose, Sat Kriya, Peacock Pose, Bow Pose, Fish Pose, Diaphragm Lock, Breath of Fire; all exercises which train the abdominal muscles.
Balance Point between Lower & Upper Triangles
4. Heart Chakra: Anahata
Air, Love and compassion, Love and awakening. From "me to we".
Location: The middle of the chest on the breast bone at the level of the nipples.
Organ/Gland: Heart, lungs, thymus gland.
Qualities: Compassion; kindness; forgiveness; service; love. Recognizing and understanding these qualities in others. Sacred transformation. Awakening to spiritual awareness.
Shadow: Grief. Attachment. Closed to surroundings. Easily hurt. Dependent on love and affection from others. Fear of rejection. Helper syndrome. Heartlessness. Heart problems; lung problems; blood pressure problems.
Yoga Exercises: Ego Eradicator, Yoga Mudra, Bear Grip, Baby Pose (strengthens the heart muscles). All arm exercises, and exercises which twist the upper torso. All Pranayamas (breathing exercises).
The Upper Triangle
5. Throat Chakra: Vishuddha
Ether, projective power of the word. Hearing and speaking the Truth. The Teacher.
Location: the throat.
Organ/Gland: Trachea, throat, cervical vertebrae, thyroid.
Color: Light blue.
Qualities: The center for truth, language, knowledge and the ability to communicate effectively. Authenticity. Healthy selfexpression and interactions. Inspiring, teaching. Embodying God's Will.
Shadow: Lethargy, weakness in expressive and descriptive abilities. shyness, voice problems, insecurity, fear of other people's opinions and judgments. Throat problems, neck problems, thyroid problems.
Yoga Exercises: All Chanting. Shoulder Stand, Cobra Pose, Plow Pose, Camel Pose, Cat-Cow, Neck Rolls, Neck Lock, nose to knees.
6. Chakra (Third Eye): Ajna
Intuition, Wisdom, Identity. The union of opposites.
Location: Between the eyebrows.
Organ/Gland: Brain; pituitary gland.
Qualities: Center of intuition, clairvoyance; visualizing; fantasizing; concentration and determination. Self-initiation. Power of projection. Understanding your purpose.
Shadow: Confusion, depression. Rejection of spirituality. Over-intellectualizing.
Yoga Exercises: Meditating on the Third Eye, Long Chant, Kirtan Kriya. Archer Pose. Whistle Breaths. Yoga Mudra. All exercises where the forehead rests on the floor.
7. Crown Chakra: Sahasrara
Humility and vastness, Transcendence. The Tenth Gate.
Location: Crown of the head.
Organ/Gland: Brain; pineal gland.
Qualities: The seat of the soul. Connection to the Highest Self. Enlightenment. Unity. Elevation. Relationship to the Unknown.
Shadow: Deep grief. The feeling of being separated from existence, and from abundance. Fear of death.
Yoga Exercises: Ego Eradicator, Mahabandha, Sat Kriya. Concentrating on the tip of the nose. All meditations.
8. Chakra: The Aura
Location: The electromagnetic field.
Qualities: The aura combines the effects of all the chakras, and constitutes their total projection. The aura projects and protects.
Shadow: Shy, withdrawn, vulnerable.
Yoga Exercises: Triangle Pose, Ego Eradicator, Archer Pose. All arm exercises. All meditation.
Source: The Aquarian Teacher
© Kundalini Research Institute