What are Chakras?
Chakras are physiological as well as psychic centres in the body, related to the different physical, mental and spiritual parts of the body. Chakras are nerve centres that lie like junctions on the interior walls of the spinal column. If you cut the spinal cord at different levels you can see that the grey matter in the cross-section resembles the lotus shape and the nerve fibres correspond to the nadis. Nadis are channels through which the life force, known as prana, moves. These communicating nerve fibres control the different physiological functions of the body. There are many chakras in the human body, but there are seven chakras that are considered to be the most important ones. Chakra is a Sanskrit word which can be translated as ‘wheel’ or ‘turning’. Just like auras can be seen by certain people, so can the chakras, and they have been described as funnels or spirals, moving in a circular motion. Each of the seven chakras has a different colour and its own inner sound.
There are 7 main chakras
MULADHAR (Root/Base) CHAKRA
is symbolized by a lotus with four petals, in the colour red. It is located at the base of the spine, and it is associated with the earth element, stability. The sound for Muladhar, known as seed syllable, is ‘lam’. Physically, Muladhar controls the excretory functions, and is related with the outer and inner structure.
SWADISTHAN (Sacral) CHAKRA
is located in the sacrum, and it corresponds to the sacral plexus of nerves and controls the unconscious. It is symbolized by a lotus with six orange petals, and it is associated with the water element. The seed syllable is ‘wom’. Swadisthan is related with sexual awareness and creation, and with purity.
MANIPUR (Solar Plexus) CHAKRA
is depicted as a lotus with ten yellow petals, and is located in the spinal column at the height of the navel. The seed syllable is ‘ram’. It corresponds to the solar plexus and controls the whole process of digestion, assimilation and temperature regulation in our body. It is related to the fire element. Manipur is strongly associated with (self) confidence and inner strength.
ANAHAT (Heart) CHAKRA
has twelve green petals, and is located in the spine at the level of the base of the heart. Anahat corresponds to the cardiac nerves plexus and controls the functioning of the heart, lungs, diaphragm and other organs in this region of the body. It is associated with the air element, and with its 12 petals it is like a wheel of time: when properly balanced it flows in time with what one needs, with the divine flow of unconditional love. But when it is disturbed and unbalanced, it becomes disharmonious. The seed syllable is ‘yam’.
VISHUDDI (Throat) CHAKRA
VISHUDDHI (Throat) CHAKRA lies at the level of the pit of the throat in the vertebral column. It is symbolized by a lotus with sixteen sky blue petals, and is related to the ether element. It corresponds to the cervical plexus of nerves and controls the thyroid complex and certain systems of articulation, the upper palate and the epiglottis. The seed syllable is ‘ham’. Vishuddhi is no longer connected to the elements. In this chakra duality originates; it is also the center of communication and expression.
AGHYA (Third Eye) CHAKRA
is situated in the midline of the brain directly above the spinal column, and it corresponds to the pineal gland. Physically, aghya controls the muscles and the onset of sexual activity in men. It is depicted as a lotus with two indigo coloured petals, and its seed syllable is ‘om’. In aghya duality ceases to exist and it is the seat of conscious love and light, combining heart and mind.
SAHASRA (Crown) CHAKRA
is symbolized by a lotus with 1008 petals, in layers of 9. The colour associated with this chakra is violet. The number 9 is a holy and pure number, when multiplied into any number it always results in the number 9 again. Sahasra is situated at the top of the head, and it is physically connected to the pituitary gland, which controls all the glands in the body. When sahasra is reached, one has the realization of the divine presence and guidance. It is the seat of higher awareness and supreme consciousness. The seed syllable is ‘AUM’.