Updated: Sep 20, 2019
The chakra system originated in India more than four thousand years ago and the word chakra literally translates from Sanskrit as a wheel or disk that spins. Anodea, in Eastern Body, Western Mind states,"a chakra is a center of organization that receives, assimilates, and expresses life force energy.”
The chakras have been talked about within the ancient Vedas, the Upanishads and the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali along with other ancient and contemporary traditions. Eastern spiritual traditions, such as Hinduism and Buddhism have also long spoken about the importance of a universal life-force energy.
Life Force Energy
The functioning and flow of this life force energy is crucial for our physical, mental, spiritual and emotional health and well-being. This life force energy is both assimilated and omitted through specific chakras within our body, helping to balance and control the flow of energy throughout the body’s entire energetic system.
The chakras can also be understood as “programs” which store specific information within our body. Our body is made up of hundreds of chakra with minor chakras being found in the hands, feet and other parts of the body. The most common chakras that are recognised and well-studied are the seven major ones that run throughout a central energy channel called the shushumna.
The Seven Major Chakras
These chakras can be summarized as being focussed on the following areas:
Root Chakra: Survival and our sense of security
Sacral Chakra: Emotional expression and sexuality
Solar Plexus Chakra: Empowerment
Heart Chakra: Love and connection
Throat Chakra: Communication, authenticity and expression
Third Eye: Intuition and our senses
Crown Chakra: The higher Self and consciousness
Each chakra is connected to a specific organ and gland. When the chakras are in balance and energy is flowing optimally through these centres our mental, emotional and physical health is at its best. When the energy centers slow down or become blocked, life-force energy cannot flow correctly and may result in mental or physical illness.
Development through the Chakras
It is theorized that the development of our chakras coincide with our growth and development from the time of birth. As a result, there is a natural progression that takes place, beginning at the root chakra and moving up the crown chakra.
This path of development is not linear and we may find ourselves moving back and forth between issues that are related to each of the chakras. This back and forth movement occurs as a way to address energetic blockages which have manifested within certain areas of our lives. This might include returning to earlier life or childhood struggles, addressing our cultural conditioning and belief system or overall habits - all of these areas impact the functioning of the chakras.
The chakras work together as an interdependent system, so working through blockages within one chakra also impacts the functioning of the others. I have put together a short guided meditation working through the seven chakras in the body. The guided meditation uses visualization and affirmations for each of the seven chakras. Available as a FREE download.