What are Chakras?
In Eastern Medicine the Chakra system is defined as energy centers throughout the body. The word “chakra” from Sanskrit translates to “wheel” or “disk,” but references a spiritual energy center within the human body. Chakras appear as spinning vortexes or energy within the body. The chakras are openings for energy to flow into and out of the energy field surrounding a person's physical body. The 7 major chakras coincide approximately with the endocrine system. The standard Reiki hand placements are over these energy centers.
Root Chakra - Muladhara
The Root Chakra is the first chakra and is located at the base of the spine. It is the root of your being and establishes the deepest connections with your physical body, your environment and with the Earth. Muladhara is the most instinctual of all chakras - it is your survival center. Your fight and flight response is initiated from this chakra. This is your primal, animal nature. The energy of Muladhara allows us to harness courage, resourcefulness and the will to live during trying times. It connects us with spiritual energies of our ancestors, their challenges and their triumphs. Since Base Chakra carries our ancestral memories, basically everyone experiences challenges or blockages within Muladhara. War, famine, natural disasters, and any events that threaten our basic survival, are all recorded within energies of the first chakra. These memories are imprinted in the subtle body and are passed down from generation to generation creating unconscious generational patterns. It is our work to take responsibility for our own lives and bring to light that which is unconscious. All of the seven chakras are important and interconnected with each other. Usually, balancing one chakra will create change in another chakra. It is important though to balance the Root Chakra first, before we proceed to others, or we will lack the stability necessary for true transformation and personal growth. We cannot grow and change unless we feel grounded, safe and secure.
Sacral Chakra – Svadhisthana
The Sacral Chakra is your passion and pleasure center and it is located in the pelvic area. While the Root Chakra is satisfied with survival, the 2nd chakra seeks pleasure and enjoyment. The gift of this chakra is experiencing our lives through feelings and sensations. The second chakra is the center of feeling, emotion, pleasure, sensuality, intimacy, and connection. The energy of this chakra allows you to let go, to move, and to feel change and transformation occurring within your body. It allows you to experience this moment as it is, in its own fullness. The main challenge for the second chakra is the conditioning of our society. We live in a society where feelings are not valued, where passion, and emotional reactions are being frowned upon. We are being taught not to "lose control". And we get disconnected from our bodies, our feelings. As if this was not enough, we also experience the wounds of our collective cultural struggles over many sexual issues of our society. On one hand sexuality is magnified and glorified, and on the other hand it is rejected. This results in either blocked or excessive second chakra issues. The sacral chakra is also your center of creativity. Passion is the fuel of creative energy. Everything you create, a poem, a drawing, or a website, originates from the energy of second chakra. It is also where your fertility originates. After all, conceiving a child is a creative process. A person with an open Svadhisthana Chakra is passionate, present in her body, sensual, creative, and connected to her feeling.
Solar Plexus Chakra - Manipura
The Solar Plexus Chakra, located between the navel and solar plexus, is the core of our personality, our identity and our ego. The third chakra is the center of willpower. While the Sacral chakra seeks pleasure and enjoyment, the third chakra is all about the perception of who you are. The gift of this chakra is sensing your personal power, being confident, responsible, and reliable. The third chakra is the center of your self-esteem, your willpower, self-discipline, as well as warmth in your personality. The energy of this chakra allows you to transform inertia into action and movement. It allows you to meet challenges and mover forward in your life. The main challenge for the third chakra is to use your personal power in a balanced manner. It means consciously harnessing the energy of the solar plexus chakra. It means being proactive rather than reactive or inactive. Beings with excessive third chakra energy react to life circumstances, they have emotional outbursts and are often stressed out. Beings with blocked or deficient third chakra are passive and inactive - allowing life to pass by while they do nothing. Strong third chakra reflects the ability to move forward in life with confidence and power. It reflects the ability to make conscious choices to choose and to act. The message of the third chakra is: You have the power to choose. You can choose to achieve your life purpose, or you can live out your karma or past experiences.
The third chakra is the center of your self-esteem. Every time you judge or criticize yourself, you deplete this chakra and weaken your willpower. Self-love, self-acceptance, and acknowledgement of your own worth are the building blocks of the third chakra. A woman with an open and balanced Manipura Chakra values herself and her work, is confident in her ability to do something well, loves and accepts herself, is willing to express herself in a powerful way, knows that she has the freedom to choose to be herself and direct her own life.
Heart Chakra - Anahata
The heart chakra - the wellspring of love, warmth, compassion, and joy is located in the center of the chest at the heart level. Anahata moves love through your life. It is the center of your deep bonds with other beings, your sense of caring and compassion, your feelings of self-love, altruism, generosity, kindness, and respect. Anahata is an integrating and unifying chakra - bringing to wholeness - as such, it is your healing center. Indeed, most spiritual traditions recognize love as the ultimate healing force. The energy of Anahata allows us to recognize that we are part of something larger, that we are interconnected within an intricate web of relationships extending through life and the universe. Anahata allows us to recognize and get in touch with the sacred and fundamental truth that runs through all of life and connects everything together. The "way of the heart" or the "path of the heart" is living your life from this energy center of love. It means living your life with loving kindness and compassion towards others. It means that your heart is open to others and you inspire kindness and compassion in others. You create safe and supportive environment. Others can feel your love and warmth. They feel loved and accepted unconditionally. People feel at peace around you, as there is no judgment coming from you. When Anahata is open and energy is flowing freely, you are not only loving to others, you are also loving to yourself. You know when you need to say no and when you need care and self-nurturing. Most of the world's spiritual traditions recognize love as the unifying force, the energy that is the most fundamental part of the universe, and of ourselves. To open to love is to reach to the deepest places and connect with our true essence, our spirit, and our soul.
Throat Chakra - Visuddha
The Throat Chakra is the fifth chakra and it is the first of the higher or spiritual chakras on the "chakra ladder". This chakra is located in the region of neck and shoulders and its color is blue. The gift of this chakra is accepting your originality, expressing your authentic voice and speaking your truth. The energy of this chakra allows you to seek knowledge that is true, beyond limitations of time and space, beyond cultural and family conditioning. The main challenge for the fifth chakra is doubt and negative thinking. When you gain and verify your knowledge through meditation and direct experience, then doubt and negativity are removed. The "way of the Throat Chakra" is the way of inspired creativity, seeking and sharing of the truth. It is the way of standing up for what you believe, saying no when you need to, and being open and honest in what you say. Do you dare to be creative? Do you dare to open up to a life full of infinite possibilities? The fifth chakra is linked directly to your personal integrity and a sense of honor. As a communication center, it not only allows you to express who you are and what you stand for, but also allows you to listen deeply to another. A person with an open Visuddha chakra is a good listener, she enables another person to have the experience of being heard - one of the most profound human needs.
Third Eye Chakra - Ajna
The Third Eye Chakra transcends time. It is located in the brain, at the brow, above the base of the nose. The gift of this chakra is seeing - both inner and outer worlds. The energy of this chakra allows us to experience clear thought as well as gifts of spiritual contemplation and self-reflection. Through the gift of seeing we can internalize the outer world and with symbolic language we can externalize the inner world. The energy of Ajna allows us to access our inner guidance that comes from the depths of our being. It allows us to cut through illusion and to access deeper truths - to see beyond the mind, beyond the words. The "way of the third eye" is seeing everything as it is from a point of "witness" or "observer", or from simply being mindful - moment by moment. It means examining self-limiting ideas and developing wisdom that comes from a perspective that transcends the duality of good or bad, black or white. It means seeing and helping others to see the deeper meanings of the situations in their lives. Sixth chakra is holistic in nature. When this chakra is fully activated, both hemispheres of the brain function in synchrony. The right hemisphere's creativity and synthetic thinking is integrated and balanced with left hemisphere's logical and analytical thinking.
The Third Eye is not only the seat of wisdom, but also a seat of conscience. This is where you not only see what is going on, but you also know what it means. This is where your sense of justice and your ethics originate. When your third eye is open, you not only see but you also understand.
Crown Chakra - Sahasrara
The crown chakra is the seventh chakra and it is at the top of the "chakra ladder" which starts from the root chakra that grounds us on the Earth and progresses upward to the Sahasrara which connects us with the universe and the Divine source of creation. Sahasrara is located at the crown of the head. The gift of this chakra is experiencing unity and the selfless realization that everything is connected at a fundamental level. The energy of this chakra allows us to experience mystical oneness with everyone and everything in nature. There is no intellectual knowing at the level of seventh chakra, but there is serenity, joy, and deep peace about life. You have a sense of knowing that there is a deeper meaning of life and that there is an order that underlies all of existence. The "way of the crown chakra" is the way of going beyond the limits of your own ego. It is the way of transcending the ego and knowing that all of creation is interconnected at a fundamental level. A level that some call the "Akasha" or "Zero Point Field", or just "the Field". This is the fundamental level of connection. According to Tantric philosophy, the seventh chakra is both a receiver and giver of energy and consciousness. It receives energy to sustain life and it gives back the personal energy to unite with the collective pool of consciousness. It is the meeting point between finite (the body and the ego) and infinite (the universe and soul). It is the place where time and timelessness intersect and where death and eternal life meet. The thousand-petal chakra embraces an attitude of gratitude for one's life. When we realize that everything is interconnected and that we are part of the larger scheme of life, we begin to live with gratitude, faith and trust, rather than filled with fear and anxiety. We are guided by the higher power and we feel divinity from within and from without. The challenge of this chakra is to liberate the spirit - open to the divine - and at the same time stay firmly rooted deep in the ground.