In yoga tradition there are 7 chakras or energy centers in the body. A chakra is a nerve center, in Sanskrit chakra means circle, and they are points or vortices at which energy is filtered through our system. They act as data collectors, collecting and storing information through our lives. Each chakra relates, among other things, to a particular area or emotional state.
These nerve centers correspond to zones within the spinal column where the nadis (nerves in this case) cross one another. These nerve crossings create energy fields or circles of light according to yogic thought. Interestingly they correspond with the major plexuses or groups of nerves and ganglia of the CNS.
It is interesting to note the similar pattern between the layout of the seven chakras in the magnetic body and the plexuses in the physical body.
I do think the plexuses are the chakras, as I dig deeper into the science behind yoga we are seeing many of the esoteric ideas the yogis had supported with science that are tangible in the body (for example prana and chi is biophotons and Ojas could be melatonin).
The First Chakra
The first chakra is located at the base of your spine (coccyx). The first chakra is the root of foundation that supports our structure. It is our center of community, where you store energy about your family, culture, and social habits. Our first chakra grounds us it is our connection to traditional family beliefs. It supports the formation of our identity and sense of belonging to a group. The emphasis is on loyalty and physical survival.
As tribal beings we are designed to live together, to create together, to learn together, to be together, and to need one another.
Difficult family challenges cause us to lose power primarily from our first chakra, making us susceptible to immune related diseases from the common cold to lupus.
You lose energy from your first chakra when you:
- Try to hold on to family or social beliefs that no longer serve you.
- Consider your religion, politics, beliefs, social class, etc to be better than others.
- Hold on to negative past experiences with your family.
Maintaining the health of our individual first chakra depends upon addressing our personal family issues.
You reinforce energy at first chakra when you:
- Recognize and nurture your connection with the natural world.
- Maintain a sense of pride in your ancestry and family traditions.
- Draw on your family for love and support.
The process of spiritual development challenges us to retain the family influences that are positive and discard those that are not.
When this center is balanced and filled with prana we will feel secure, calm, and connected to the earth. We will be grounded within ourselves, without depending on external objects for our sense of security.
The truth of the first chakra: ALL IS ONE
The Second Chakra
The second chakra is the partnership chakra. Location is from the lower abdomen to navel area. This chakra is not only the source of our physical, sexual, and creative energy, but also our financial concerns. It is our center of control. It resonates our need for relationships with other people and our need to control, to some extent, our environment.
With the second chakra energy shifts from obeying tribal authority to discovering other relationships that satisfy personal or physical needs.
The attachments by which we maintain control over our lives, such as authority, other people, or money, are linked through this chakra. The illnesses that originate in the energy center are activated by fear of losing control, or being controlled by another.
You lose energy from your second Chakra when you:
- Try to control others in relationships
- Hold onto feelings like jealousy, anger, promiscuous behaviors, or use sex as the basis for relationships.
- If you have fears about making or losing money.
- Gossip and manipulation drain power from our second chakra.
Second chakra energy is one of the primary resources we have for coping with the day to day events of our lives, providing creative solutions to mental, physical, and spiritual problems or issues.
You reinforce energy at the second chakra when you:
- Nurture supportive relationships.
- Let go of past sexual traumas
- Give up addictions.
The ability and stamina to survive financially and physically on one’s own and to defend and protect oneself are strengths of the second chakra.
When this center is truly flowing there is unlimited creativity and love. We are in touch with our intuitive voice and indecision gives way to certainty.
The truth of the second chakra: HONOR ONE ANOTHER
The Third Chakra
The third chakra is located at the navel (solar plexus). This is our center of personal power, the magnetic core of our personality and ego. You house feelings of self esteem, confidence, and honor in your third chakra. Where the first chakra resonates to group or tribal power, the second resonates the flow of power between the self and others, the third chakra relates to our personal power in relation to the external world.
You lose energy at the third chakra when you:
- Break commitments to yourself
- Manipulate others to gain approval
- Fail to maintain clear personal boundaries.
This is also where you house your fears of rejection, criticism, looking foolish, and all fears related to appearance such as obesity, baldness or aging.
Ways to reinforce energy in your third chakra are to:
- Take pride in your work
- Trust your intuition
- Keep your word.
When you are strong in this chakra you have self esteem, self respect, and self discipline, ambition, the ability to handle a crisis, the courage to take risks, generosity, and strength of character.
Our third chakra is filled with the energy of our personal ambitions, our sense of responsibility, and our respect for our strengths and weaknesses, as well as our fears and secrets that we are not yet ready to face.
The theme of the Third Chakra: Honor One-self
Life relentlessly brings us to realize the importance of these words: “To thine own self be true.” For without personal power, life is a frightening, painful experience.
The Fourth Chakra
This chakra is situated at the heart. This is your center of compassion and unconditional love. Love for everyone, everything regardless of color, background, species, or form. It is your emotional center. This chakra stores information about harmony, love, and forgiveness.
The fourth chakra is the central powerhouse of the human energy system. The middle chakra, it mediates between the body and spirit and determines their health and strength. Fourth chakra energy is emotional in nature and helps propel our emotional development. This chakra embodies the spiritual lesson that teaches us how to act out of love and compassion and recognize that the most powerful energy we have is love.
We are not born fluent in love but spend our life learning about it. Its energy is pure power. We are as attracted to love as we are intimidated by it. We are motivated by love, controlled by it, inspired by it, healed by it, and destroyed by it. Each of life’s challenges is a lesson in some aspect of love.
You lose energy at the fourth chakra when you:
- Allow past negative experiences to limit your choices
- When you hold onto resentments
- When you don’t allow others to love you.
Fears of loneliness, commitment, and following one’s heart are primary fears of this chakra. Loss of energy can give rise to jealousy, bitterness, anger, hatred, and an inability to forgive others as well as yourself.
Everything in and about our lives runs off the fuel of our hearts. We will all have experiences meant to break our hearts, not in half, but wide open. Regardless of how your heart is broken, your choice is always the same: what will you do with your pain? Will you use it as an excuse? Or can you release the authority of the physical world over you through an act of forgiveness?
Ways to reinforce energy at the fourth chakra:
- Forgive others
- Love yourself
- Love others enough to let them experience the world in their own way
The strengths of this chakra are love, forgiveness, compassion, dedication, inspiration, hope, trust, and the ability to heal.
According to the yogis, when you connect with life around you through the heart center, your love will flow like air.
Truth of the fourth chakra: LOVE IS DIVINE POWER
The Fifth Chakra
Is located at your throat it embodies the challenges of surrendering our own willpower and spirits to the will of God. It is in within this chakra we learn the important lesson that we will either be given solid ground to stand on ~ Or ~ Wings to fly and then not be afraid to take the leap.
At the fifth chakra you learn how to generate the power to move yourself out of energetically stuck places. Your ability to speak up and define your own needs is housed at this level, this chakra is affected by what goes in and out of our mouth.
Our fifth chakra and its spiritual lessons show us that personal power lies in our thoughts and attitudes.
You lose energy at this level when you:
- Let others define your needs and wants
- Resist change in your life
- When you experience shame
- When you tell lies.
Our fears within this chakra lie within having no authority over ourselves, being out of control with regard to substances, money, power, and another person’s emotional control over us. We fear the will of a god; the notion of releasing our power of choice to a Divine force remains the greatest struggle for the individual seeking to become conscious.
You reinforce energy here when you:
- Exercise self control
- Empower others
- Speak honestly.
The strengths of this chakra are faith, self-knowledge, and personal authority; The capacity to make decisions knowing that no matter what decisions we make we can keep our word to ourselves or to another person.
The fifth chakra is the center of choice and consequence. Every choice we make, every thought and feeling we have is an act of power that has biological, environmental, social, personal, and global consequences. We are everywhere our thoughts are.
Truth of the fifth chakra: SURRENDER PERSONAL WILL TO DIVINE WILL
Surrender to Divine will means that we are aware that our thoughts, words, and actions effect not just ourselves — but many many others, not just those around us as well, possibly people who don’t even know you. Surrendering does not mean from the delights and comfort of physical life, it’s a liberation from illusions.
The greatest act of will in which we can invest our spirits is to choose to live according to these rules:
- Make no Judgments
- Have no expectations
- Give up the need to know why things happen as they do.
- Trust that the unscheduled events of our lives are a form of spiritual direction.
- Have the courage to make the choices we need to make, accept what we cannot change, and have the wisdom to know the difference.
The Sixth Chakra
This is the chakra of wisdom. It is located at the center of the eyebrows and is said to control both incoming and outgoing thought. It is your center of intellect and reasoning, and involves your psychological skill at evaluating your beliefs and attitudes. A closed mind can jam your progress by insisting on rational reasons for your choices.
You lose energy at the sixth chakra when you:
- Hold onto grief
- Insist on rational explanations for your internal experiences
- When you close your mind to possibilities
The challenges of the sixth chakra are opening your mind, developing an impersonal mind, retrieving your power from “false truths”, learning to act on internal direction, and discriminating between thoughts motivated by strength and those by fear or illusion.
You reinforce your sixth chakra when you:
- Take emotional risks
- When you open your mind to extravagant possibilities
- When you follow your hunches.
Strengths of the sixth chakra are your intellectual skills, evaluation of consciousness, receiving inspiration, and emotional intelligence.
Search continually for the difference between truth and illusion, and for the ability to see through an illusion and grasp the deeper meaning behind the scenes. In becoming conscious one is able to detach from subjective perceptions and see the truth or symbolic meaning of a situation. Detachment does not mean ceasing to care. It means stilling your fear driven voices, not allowing external influences to negatively affect your consciousness. Detachment is the realization that no one person or group can determine your life’s path. Such clarity of mind and self is the essence of wisdom.
Becoming conscious means living fully in the present moment, knowing that no situation or person will be exactly the same tomorrow. Change is constant; we need to learn it is a natural part of life and to “flow with it, not against it.”
Truth of the sixth chakra: SEEK ONLY THE TRUTH
Interestingly; in the yogic textbooks when meditation and chakra work is initiated a good teacher will have you meditate and open your 6th chakra first, then work base to crown with your chakras. When we begin this work, many times our stability is shaken as our beliefs become more open or widened. If you 6th chakra is closed this can rock you. When your 6th chakra is open you are able to observe these changes and grow without losing your sense of self and stability.
The Seventh Chakra
The Sanskrit name for the seventh chakra is sahasrara, which means a thousand petals. It is the highest chakra in terms of location and consciousness; it is located at the crown of the head. The seventh chakra is our connection to our spiritual nature and our capacity to allow our spirituality to become an integral part of our physical lives and guide us. It is your center of mysticism and grace. When you experience connection with the divine, it is at the level of the seventh chakra.
The seventh chakra contains the purest form of the energy of grace or prana. It is the energy center for spiritual insight, vision, and intuition far beyond ordinary human consciousness. It is the mystical realm, a dimension of conscious rapport with the divine.
You lose energy at the seventh chakra when you:
- Live a life without faith
- When you put conditions on your spiritual experiences
- When you reject guidance unless it comes in a form you approve
Fears of this chakra are related to spiritual issues; fears of spiritual abandonment, loss of identity, and loss of connection with life and people around us.
You reinforce energy when you:
- Pray consciously
- When you express gratitude
- When you regard your life as a vehicle for spiritual development.
The strengths in this chakra are faith and what faith means to you, such as inner guidance, trust, devotion.
Seventh chakra energy motivates us to seek an intimate connection with the Divine. This is different from a connection to a religion. Religion is a group exercise; it is rooted in your first chakra. Spirituality on the other hand is an individual experience directed toward releasing fears of the physical world and pursuing a relationship with the Divine.
Truth of the seventh charka: LIVE IN THE PRESENT MOMENT
A Daily Chakra Meditation
In this daily meditation practice, you will evaluate the health of your body, your mind, and your spirit. Working with this meditation will let you feel the health of your spirit and your body. With it you can work to increase your awareness of the balance of power within your energy system.
Through this self evaluation you will develop the skill of reading energy and sensing intuitive guidance. Developing this skill requires daily practice – in times of crisis, even hourly. This simple act of awareness, coupled with a conscious commitment to learn from your experiences, will weaken your fears and strengthen your spirit.
We are meant to move toward self discovery and spiritual maturity, to be ready and able to live a life that matters to us and those around us. Ironically, once we realize the stuff of which we are made, we have no choice but to live a spiritual life.
The seven sacred truths of the body and spirit:
- All is One
- Honor One Another
- Honor Oneself
- Love is Divine Power
- Surrender Personal Will to Divine Will
- Seek Only the Truth
- Live in the Present Moment
Simple and powerful these truths help focus the mind, body, and spirit back to a contact point with Divine Awareness. So long as you use these truths as reference points, you can evaluate any loss of power and retrieve your spirit by consciously recognizing which truth you are not honoring.
As a daily act of meditation, draw your attention consciously into each of your chakras, beginning with the first and working your way up.
For chakra one: feel yourself connected to all of life, bless the life you have agreed to live, and the family both personal and extended that make up your life.
For chakra two: focus and sense the energy you have released from this area of your body into acts of creation. If your energy is filled with negativity, reexamine your intention. See each person in your life as having a Divine purpose. Wherever you cannot see that Divinity clearly, ask for the energy to see through the illusions that are controlling you.
For chakra three: focus on integrity and endurance. Evaluate your own code of behavior and whether you have compromised your honor or integrity in any way. If so, meditate on the significance of integrity and ask for assistance in maintaining your personal standards. Commit to yourself to honor your own dignity.
For chakra four: focus on the energy of love and compassion. Evaluate how well you extend love to others as well as to yourself, including the loving energy contained within acts of forgiveness.
For chakra five: focus on mercy and judgment. Evaluate the quality of the thoughts you are holding about other people, as well as yourself. Evaluate the words you have shared with others, if you have expressed harmful words, send positive energy to those people. If you have expressed false words, consciously acknowledge that you have acted to deceive others, and examine the fear that exists within you and why you did this. Ask the Light to enter that fear and give you the courage to not act in that negative pattern again.
For chakra six: focus on the energy of Divine wisdom and understanding. Continue to evaluate your daily life. Request wisdom and insight for the situations in which you feel confused or frightened. Remember there is a room for growth in challenging situations.
Remind yourself each of us has a special gift to give to this life and that each of us is inevitably led to that path. It is impossible to miss our life’s purpose.
For chakra seven: focus on your connection with the divine, consciously completing and releasing your unfinished business. Allow Divine energy to enter into your mind, body, and spirit, and breathe that energy into your being.
If you are interested in learning more about your spirit this meditation is from the book:
“Anatomy of the Spirit” by Caroline Myss, PH.D.
Three Rivers Press New York
Available at www.soundstrue.com