Traditionally the yogic system holds that there are 7 chakras, or energy centers in the body. These are arranged vertically from the base of the spine to the crown of the head. Chakra is the Sanskrit word for ‘wheel’, and these centers are perceived as spinning wheels of energy.
Each of the 7 chakras is associated with particular emotions and specific issues that we deal with in life. They also relate to how we handle these in our own internal processes and our ways of interacting within our environment.
These chakras can be thought of as power centers or distribution centers of life energy, or prana. They are sensitive and fluctuations or imbalances can occur through external stressful circumstances, long stored physical tension or limited self- concepts.
If a chakra is deficient, it does not receive the energy it needs to help with manifestation of its positive qualities in the world, and, when excessive, it can dominate the personality which creates further imbalances for the chakra to receive, absorb, integrate and distribute the flow of energy through our being.
The 7 chakras when working harmoniously will uplift our energy. When blocked, we may experience low self-esteem and other difficulties. I have a meditation on my CD, Yoga Mind that will help you re-balance these centers and remove blockages. It is a great basis for understanding the subtle energies at work while you do yoga postures.
The 7 chakras, their location and associated colors are:
1. The Muladhara (root) -red
2. The Svadisthana (hips/genitals) –orange
3. The Manipura (navel) –yellow
4. The Anahata (heart) – green
5. The Visuddha (throat) – light blue
6. The Ajna (third eye) – royal blue
7. The Sahasrara (crown) – purple
When you do a balanced yoga practice on your mat, you are “working” on the chakras although they are not visible to the eyes. When you practice living the virtues of the Yoga System itself, for example, instead of staying angry with someone, using the motto “it is better to be kind than right”, you are uplifting your vibrational energy from negative to positive which feeds the subtle energy systems instead of depleting them; this is mindful living.
Nurturing yourself physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually leads to a vibrant, alive energy balance.