The chakras are a wonderful way to better understand and experience our own energy system. Chakra literally means “wheel” or “circles” in Sanskrit. Think of these wheels as distribution centers for prana(life-force energy), or spinning vortexes of energy that provide us insight into our true selves. Each one resonates with a particular color, element, area of the body and inner state. Energy flows though the entire body from the chakras and these energy centers interact with and influence our thoughts, moods, and health.
There are 7 major chakras in the body and one that encompasses them all, totaling 8. Each chakra has an important function to perform for us and we need all of them. The 1st, 2nd, and 3rd are often referred to as the “lower triangle” but they are just as important as the “upper triangle” or higher centers. The first three deal mainly with the physical needs of the body and basic needs of life. The last five work within the spiritual realms and are rooted in universal consciousness. We practice yoga in order to balance and coordinate the functions of our lower chakras and to experience the realms of our higher centers. From the base of the spinal chord to the top of the head here is a glimpse at each chakra:
1st Chakra, Muladhara
The 1st Chakra, Muladhara, is located at the rectum or base of the spine. This center resonates with color red and is connected to the earth element. It relates to our instinctual nature and our drive to fulfill our most primitive needs of safety and survival. It is the foundation of our entire system.
2nd Chakra, Svadhistana
The 2nd Chakra, Svadhistana, is located at the sexual organs. This center resonates with the color orange, and the element of water. It relates to our focus on procreation and creativity. Here we begin to establish our relationship with others and experience a passion and joy for life.
3rd Chakra, Muladhara
The 3rd Chakra, Muladhara, is located at the navel center including the solar plexus area. It is the principal storehouse of energy, where all 72,000 nerve endings meet. This center resonates with the color yellow and is considered the seat of our personal power, health, and vitality. Here we begin to develop our fire in the belly, confidence, and personal growth.
4th Chakra, Anahata
The 4th Chakra, Anahata, is located at the heart center in the area of the sternum. This center resonates with the color green and the element of air. Often referred to as the “bridge to the higher centers” this is where we develop the capacity to experience and express love and compassion for ourselves and others.
5th Chakra, Vishudha
The 5th Chakra, Vishudha, is located at the throat. It relates to our ability to communicate effectively and resonates with the color of light blue. It s here that we learn how to speak with authenticity, kindness, and grace. This center also helps us to listen more actively and intuitively.
6th Chakra, Ajna
The 6th Chakra, Ajna is located at the 3rd eye, or brow point and is stimulated by the color of indigo or dark blue. This is our center of intuition and wisdom. It is our center of discovery and gives us the ability to interpret life events clearly.
7th Chakra, Sahashrara
The 7th Chakra, Sahashrara is located at the crown of the head. This is the highest center in our body and resonates with light itself. It is here that we begin to experience a sense of boundlessness and a connection to all things. Meditation becomes effortless.
8th Chakra, Aura or Magnetic Field
The 8th Chakra, Aura or Magnetic Field is located up to 9 feet around the physical body. This field of energy works as a protective shield for the 7 chakras within the body as well as from illness and disease. It attracts and propels energy and enables us to project our authentic self out into the world.