Yoganda

What are seven chakras and how they affect our lives

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In our daily and stressful lives, we might experience low energy levels, feeling nervous, getting ill more often than usual. If you happen to have these symptoms, you might have an imbalance of one, or all, of the seven chakras.

When I read about the Seven chakras the first time, I was skeptical and questioned: what are seven chakras? Are they for real?

But then, when I started practicing yoga, I got to know more about it, and I needed to learn more.

During my travels in India, I stayed in ashrams, and in one of them, Kaivalyadhama Yoga College, I had the chance to spend much time in their extensive library, there, I’ve learned more about chakras. I’ve found out so many interesting scientific facts, and I concluded that indeed, chakras are for real!

Let’s see what Seven chakras are and how these “wheels” affect our existence radiating life energy.

What is a Chakra?

Chakra is a Sanskrit word meaning ‘wheel’; resembled as a radiant power or vital energy, the Seven chakras are associated with seven focal points within the subtle body (our spiritual being).

To clarify what are Seven chakras, imagine that you have vortices of energy at a subtle level of your physical body, that keeps spinning and radiating life energy.

Scientifically, all matter is held together by energetic bonds, therefore, movement of energy is vital to life. Thinking, breathing, moving, and even resting, are functions which create electrical flowing energy through our bodies. In other words, everything is energy.

There are 114 chakras in total. However, seven are the main seven chakras, spinning from the base of the spine to the crown of the head. They are:

3 Lower Chakras which deal with the external body

  • Muladhara (or Root Chakra-Base of the spine): chakra of stability, security, and our basic needs. It encompasses the first three vertebrae, bladder, and colon. When this chakra is open, we feel secure, fearless and grounded
  • Swadhisthana (or Sacral Chakra-Lower abdomen): make you go with the flow and fit into the community. It’s located below the navel and is responsible for our creative and sexual expression.
  • Manipura (or Solar Plexus-Above navel): empowers you with the energy you need to function, it’s the source of personal power

3 Middle Chakras, which deals with the internal reality

  • Anahata (or Heart Chakra-Centre of the chest): it’s the energy that makes you express love and compassion. It unites the lower chakras of matter and the upper chakras of spirit, a bridge between our body, mind, emotions, and spirit.
  • Vishuddha (or Throat Chakra-Throat): deals with communication and verbal expression, so the ability to speak our highest truth. It includes the neck, jaws, mouth, tongue, and thyroid.
  • Ajna Chakra (or Brow Chakra-Between the eyes): also called Third Eye chakra, it’s the seat of wisdom and center of intuition. Focus on opening the sixth chakra will help you see your dream and direct you to them.

1 Highest Chakra

Sahasrara (or Crown Chakra-Top of the head): the ultimate reality and infinite potential. It is the chakra of enlightenment and spiritual connection to our higher selves, others, and to the divine.

Furthermore, there are 4 Minor Chakras:

Plantar, grounding points
Hand, allow you to ‘touch’ the world
Tortoise (on the upper sternum), mental energy away from the sense and bring focus
Soma or Moon Chakra (above palate), helps to taste life infinite sweetness.

How chakras impact our lives

These energy spinning wheels have their color and govern specific functions in human beings.

The Seven chakras balance different aspects of our lives, regulating many processes, from the immune system to organs function, to emotions and psychology.

Ideally, all seven chakras must be balanced. If one of the chakras is blocked, under-active or overactive, your physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual state can be unbalanced.

Have you ever had problems expressing yourself? Perhaps, you felt like you’re walking through an emotional fog? Or you suffered from laryngitis or sore throats? All these are signs of an imbalanced throat chakra.

You can easily understand if one of your chakras is “off” because the body is excellent about communicating which ones are affected. Listen to your body and to the signs it gives you, be they physical or not, you’ll notice that they are around the area of the unbalanced chakra.

How to activate or cleanse chakras

As I mentioned, we made of energy, and the seven chakras are energy, too. Our organs, psychological, emotional, and spiritual states of being can be affected by chakra blockage because energy cannot flow. Everything is moving, so it’s important that also the seven main chakras are open, aligned, and fluid. Removing the blockages on the chakras helps to boost physical and emotional well-being.

There are many different ways to rebalance and stimulate chakras, such as Chakra Meditation, breath control exercises, and asanas. All these techniques allow prana (vital energy) to flow through Nadis, subtle channels on the subtle body.

There are 72,000 nadis along our body; only three of these channels are relevant for chakra meditation:

IDA – left side of the body, the right side of the brain, feminine side, associated with the moon

PINGALA – right side of the body, the left side of the brain, masculine side, associated with the sun

SUSHUMNA – the center of the spine, through which Kundalini energy flows. This powerful energy, which takes the form of a snake, lies at the base of the spine, and the role of chakra meditation is to awaken it.

As prana flows through nadis, it influences your mood and behaviors. Sometimes left Nadi is dominant, more than the right one, and vice versa, that’s why you might feel sad or depressed. The only moment when the breath flows evenly is during meditation when it is in the central energy channel (Sushumna), and both sides of the brain are balanced.

This restored balance affects all spheres of our life. Yoga breathing exercises, alternate nostril breathing, for example, are beneficial at dissolving energy blockages. As a result, they bring your breath into a state of meditation in which chakras are open and function properly.

This article was a brief introduction to what chakras are. There’s much more to say about these powerful energy channels. In the next few weeks, I am going to explore in-depth each chakra and how to activate and rebalance them.

Stay tuned.

With love

Yoganda

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