In Sanskrit ‘chakra’ literally means wheel or circle and in yogic context it refers to vortex or a whirlpool of energy around a focal point in the human body. There are 7 main chakras in the human body and the locations lie at some of the most important glands and information nexuses in the human body. Before we get into this further, let us clarify some things.
The human instrument is an electrical and chemically controlled instrument. Everything you see, your feelings and moods, your emotions, your outlook, it is all governed by electrical impulses and hormone secretions, decided by your conscious and unconscious will. This same electrical network is affected by magnetic and vibration energy. There is evidence for humans interacting with energy fields. Human bio energy (life force) has been measured. Harold Burr, a lecturer at the Yale university started work on empirically proving life force in 1938. He published numerous papers on the topic and his work was continued by other scientists. The more science learns, the more the ancient teachings seem to hold true. Things like collective awareness (observed in the 9/11 attacks), astral projection, and ESP (ever feel someone watching you?) lend more credence to the thought that that humans are also affected in a non physical manner by external happenings. The true interconnected-ness of humanity still needs to be explored, but that such connections exist, seems to be fact.
The effect of frequencies on the human body has also been repeatedly observed. In fact, sound healing is one such field that is gaining new interest. It is based on the premise that everything in this universe vibrates at certain frequencies. And that such frequencies can be made to perform “work”, as in, induce sympathetic resonance in a non physically connected object. Sound is also frequency and vibration. A spoken word also has a frequency and vibration. Mankind has found and established frequencies to kill cancer, reduce cell death in humans , among other things. Is it so hard to believe there may even be healing frequencies? Or if not healing , then frequencies that can perform beneficial work, like releasing desirable hormones or chemicals? Check out our Nada yoga post for more knowledge on sound in Yoga.
So now, we have talked about the human body as being somewhat more than the physical world. We have talked about our non physical interactions. We have also talked about vibration and frequency.
Chakras brings it all together. Chakras are a form of energy ( Prana ) that flows through the body, imparting and absorbing information. Meditation and Pranayama both help to regulate this energy within the body and help it flow correctly. The 7 main chakras and their mantras used to open them, all have associated frequencies. We aim to tap into these frequencies and access the information flowing through them, which is what enlightenment is really about. To know yourself and your place in the world truly.
Mooldhara chakra (Root Chakra) symbolizes 4 red petals of lotus, which is associated with the reproductive glands, located at the base of spine.
Governs: Back, feet, hips, ovaries, vagina, spine and legs.
Responsibility: Fight and flight response when survival is under threat.
Asana: Garland Pose (Malasana)
Swadhisthana Chakra (Sacral Chakra) symbolizes 6 orange petals of lotus, which is located just below the navel near the abdomen.
Governs: Reproductive organs, bladder, bowel & lower intestine.
Responsibility: Getting rid of low self esteem, fear and desires.
Asana: Goddess Pose (Utkata Konasana)
Manipura Chakra (Solar Plexus) symbolizes 10 yellow petals of lotus, which is located in the navel area or the solar plexus.
Governs: spleen, stomach, upper intestines, upper back and upper spine.
Responsibility: Getting rid of tension and stress.
Asana: Dhanurasana (Bow pose)
Anahata Chakra (Heart Chakra) symbolizes 12 green petals of lotus, which is located at the center of heart.
Governs: Heart, lungs, blood, circulatory system, immune & endocrine system.
Responsibility: Creates a balance in between love related problems.
Asana: Chakrasana (Wheel pose)
Vishuddha Chakra (Throat Chakra) symbolizes 16 sky blue petals of lotus, which is associated with the thyroid gland and lungs.
Governs: Metabolism, vocal cord, pharynx and the esophagus.
Responsibility: Prevents from cold, cough, thyroid problems and lack of communication skills.
Asana: Bhujangasana (Cobra pose)
Ajna chakra (Brow chakra) symbolizes as the eye of wisdom with 2 indigo petals of lotus.
Governs: Pituitary gland and small brain which secretes hormones to communicate to the rest of endocrine system.
Responsibility: It is the seat of wisdom and intuition.
Asana: Child’s Pose (Balasana)
Sahasrara Chakra (Crown Chakra) symbolizes a 1000 violet petals of lotus. The center at which the self realization happens.
Element: One-ness with all things founded by a pure sense of transcendence.
Governs: Pineal gland, a sensitive gland producing the hormone melatonin which regulates sleep and wakefulness.
Responsibility: Improves intelligence and thinking power.
Mantra: You experience silence & stillness in this stage.
Asana: Sirsasana (Headstand)
Opening Chakras and getting more control over the associated glands will help expand your mind and get more control over what you feel. Yoga is the art of mastering all of your body, the physical, mental and the ethereal. Something that must be understood is that Yoga does not preach opening the Chakras for healing reasons, but for attaining awareness. It is a way of truly knowing your body and should be pursued as that. The physical effects are a result of balance and imbalance of the chakras, and as such are a secondary issue. Your Chakra can only be opened by you and it is a slow, gradual process of awakening that brings out the spirituality in Yoga.