Chakras: Subtle Energy Centers
Traditionally, the seven primary chakras are described as spinning wheels of subtle energy that span from the base of the spine to the crown of the head.
Chakras guide the developmental stages of our body, mind, and emotions, and awaken our potential as spiritual beings. The chakras are referenced in the yogic wisdom books dating back five thousand years. Many medical, mental health, spiritual and mind-body professionals now seek to understand and apply the ancient knowledge of the chakras within their field of expertise.
Each of the seven chakras is associated with and has an influence on physical locations in the body as well as on adjacent muscles, organs, glands, and nerves. Yogis believe they house the guiding intelligence of prana, the universal energy of life.
Furthermore, each is related to stages of psychological growth and human development and has lessons to guide us through life that are integral to our soul’s journey.
Because they are energetic rather than physical structures, they are not considered to part of our physical anatomy. They can be described as psycho-energetic or psycho-spiritual centers located in the subtle body. Like magnetism existing within an iron magnet, they exist within the body without having a physical presence.
Each chakra is associated with color, crystals, sounds, goddess archetypes, yoga postures, healing and balancing colors, an element, and sounds.
Establishing and maintaining balance throughout all the chakras is optimal since one chakra is not particularly better than the others. Chakra energy currents move both vertically and horizontally. When the chakras are unbalanced with either excessive or deficient energy, the result is physical, mental, emotional or spiritual difficulties. Fortunately, a wide range of techniques exists to open, align, and activate the chakras.
The chakra chart, originally published in Yoga Meditations: Timeless Mind-Body Practices, provides information to further your understanding and growth.
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How to use the Chakra Chart for healing and balancing yourself
Begin by familiarizing yourself with the names, locations, and characteristics of each chakra. Here are some ideas for getting started.
- Balanced Chakra Energy: Maintain balance with continued healthy attitudes, behaviors, emotions and appropriate yoga postures, breathing practices and activities.
- Unbalanced Chakra Energy: Examine the chakras’ lessons, rights, responsibilities and challenges to determine what areas need improvement and make suitable changes. Practice the breathing practices, yoga postures and other healing activities and healthy behaviors. Set an intention and enhance it with the musical notes, instruments and crystals. Practice self-care and get competent help from others as needed. In addition:
- Excessive Chakra Energy: Use the chakras’ balancing color. Chant or sing the vowel sounds to send and release excess energy. “Too much of a good thing” is harmful so decrease behaviors that are excessive.
- Deficient Chakra Energy: Use the chakras’ emanating color. Chant or sing the bija mantra sounds to increase and attract energy.
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By Julie Lusk
Time: 12-15 minutes
Summary: Energy flows like a river in this guided imagery exercise. Sitting in a meditation posture is more effective than lying down for working with the chakras because the physical alignment encourages and amplifies the flow of energy.
Each of us has internal currents of energy within that flow like rivers. This energy is what gives us life and activates us physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. It influences everything from the concrete to the abstract. For instance, our flesh and bones are activated into life by this energy source. It gives us inspiration to accomplish our meaningful ambitions. Primarily, these rivers of energy span from the base of the spine up through the top of the head and move up and down, in and out, as well as forward and back. Furthermore, there are many other tributaries that extend throughout the rest of our being.
When this energy is open, flowing and balanced, we’re able to express our full potential and interact with the outside world. It enables us to easily receive information, love, and resources from outside of us. We’re also able to manifest our dreams and life purpose, liberate our awareness and actions, and free up energy to take action. It’s important for this energy to flow in a balanced, continuous way. Too often however, areas of energy become overly stimulated and excessive, or it bogs down to a trickle. It can get blocked, leaky, or hyperactive.
The purpose of this guided imagery is to balance these rivers and currents of energy in a wholesome way. So, in your own manner, set an intention to balance and align your energy flow so it serves the greater good for yourself…others…and in the world.
So, in your own way, become aware of a constant source of energy and power that is plentiful…and it’s readily available to you as well as to all others… There are many ways of experiencing the energy as it flow and you can use your senses to experience it…perhaps you can see it, feel it, or hear it… it may have a color, a shape or a sound … It may possibly sparkle…it may glow… How does the presence of energy occur to you?
Imagine tapping into this energy supply right now. Feel it moving and flowing now.
Let’s refine and focus on this energy more attentively by experiencing it as a fountain that flows from below your feet… and into your legs… and into the base of the spine… and it moves upward to the top of the head and beyond…a constant fountain of energy that flows, and moves and is alive…actively flowing through the core of your body from the base to the top…imagine this energy lighting up your awareness…increasing your freedom…and liberating you.
And now, imagine this energy as it showers down like a waterfall. It originates above you and pours down through the crown of the head, down throughout the core of the body, and back to the earth…Experiencing streams of energy running downward through you as it boosts and enlivens your thoughts, dreams, and aspirations into reality…and clearly imagine your dreams taking shape in the world.
So now, this energy flows evenly and fluidly…gracefully moving up and down…up and down the central core that spans from the top of the head to the base of the spine and back to the crown of the head…It can even extend from the earth, through you, and into the sky and back down again.
Imagine and allow this energy to continually flow…automatically…fluidly…and elegantly… whether or not you are paying direct attention to it.
Now it’s time to experience this flow of energy in a new way… This river of energy influences your incoming and outgoing interactions …so hold your attention on the whole length of your spine, from its base to the top. …Allow a wellspring of energy to radiate constantly through the length of your spine, …and feel it start to move in and out…forward and back… and sideways…. … Imagine a constant, abundant supply of energy radiating out from your core…Energy shining out through the front…out the back…to the sides…and all around…making it possible for you to express your self in your life… including your work …touching your relationships…and the world you live in …as this energy moves along the length of your spine, radiating outward in all directions.
And now, this energy returns to you, moving from the outside to the inside…replenishing your energy…receiving it in its many forms…in the form of information…thoughts…and love…being returned to you…naturally flowing into you until it begins flowing in and out like a dance…evenly…smoothly…and effortlessly…continuing to flow, whether or not you are paying attention to it.
And somehow, energy currents are flowing in all directions…up and down…in and out…in unison, balancing and blending and harmonizing…cooling and calming down where the energy is excessive and too strong…and activating and energizing where the energy is too weak or blocked.
And part of you steps out of the way so this can happen naturally…and this part of you notices how all this happens.
This energy source is inside you and all around you… It is constant and supportive…and it guides you…balances you…and makes you feel whole and complete.
It’s time to reawaken to your surroundings…Listen to the sounds (name some as they occur)… become aware of your breath…feel the air on your skin… feel your body, your physical presence…and when ready, stretch and open your eyes.
Author’s Note: Anodea Judith inspired this guided visualization. May her energy be abundant and a blessing to her and to all others.
→ Chakra Energy Flow – Julie T. Lusk © 2005 – For Personal Use Only – Not for duplication or recording. Reprinted with permission from Yoga Meditations: Timeless Mind-Body Practices for Awakening by Julie Lusk.
→ Yoga Meditations features the full chakra chart, guided meditations for each chakra, a full description and picture of a yoga posture for each chakra as well as all the other information described below.