What are the Chakras?

The Chakras as the Architecture of the Inner Body

Just as the body, we see in the mirror every day can often function at below optimum level so can our unseen “inner body”. As much as every single cell of our earthly forms are connected, working together in magnificent ways as we live our daily lives, the health of the inner body is just as important, connecting us to the higher consciousness available to us but rarely experienced. The chakras can be described as the architecture of this inner body. 

Seven wheels of spinning energy located at the midline of the body, beginning at the base of the spine with the Root Chakra , the Sacral Chakra in the belly, the Solar Plexus Chakra located at the solar plexus, the Heart Chakra at the center of the heart, the Throat Chakra in the center of the neck, the 3rd Eye Chakra in the center of the head and ending at the very top of the crown of the head with the Crown Chakra. Each chakra is connected to different aspects of the human experience, and when one of these “wheels” is out of balance, it causes a chain reaction affecting the energy centers connected to it. 

Much like a torn hamstring can result in several other physical problems in the legs, sacrum and upper back muscles, a deficient first chakra; for example, can throw the entire system out of order. There are chakra tests that can help us determine which of our energy centers are out of balance.

Yoga and the Chakras

The chakras are tied to the art of yoga, first seen in print in the ancient Indian texts called the Vedas, Sanskrit for “the knowledge’s”. Some writings depict thousands of energy centers in the body, but all agree to the seven main, larger circles spinning within. 

The original purpose of the practice of yoga was to reunite the individual self with the divine interconnectedness of the universe. Yoga is one of the paths we can take to bring the chakra system back into balance. When each of the seven wheels of energy is vibrating in perfect harmony, the inner and outer bodies align and the soul is able to open up to enlightenment, This is the ultimate goal of yoga, a goal that some believe cannot be attained without first achieving this energetic balance.

Ways of Healing the Chakras

On a physical level, the chakras form a line, beginning near the perineum and running up the length of the spinal column. On an energetic level, they are parallel to the shushumna nadi, or the central channel through which flows our very life force, or prana. This is the main nadi in a complex system of energy lines streaming through the inner body. Yogic practices such as meditation and breath techniques (pranayama) and yoga asanas (postures) can purify these channels, allowing our life force to grow stronger, fueling the constant motion of the chakra system. Usually taken for granted, breath is the precious gift connecting body to mind. Used powerfully, it can transform our experience and expand our awareness to our endless possibilities. 

Each chakra is connected to different aspects of living. Our immense spectrum of emotions, life situations and physical ailments can respond to chakra healing. These energy spheres are not only related to specific parts of ourselves, but to different elements present in the world- earth, water, fire, air, sound, light and thought. Each chakra is also connected to a certain color, a vertical rainbow rising out of the base of the human body, eventually opening up to the brightest of lights, connecting us to one consciousness. They also relate to different sound vibrations such as affirmations or chants (mantras), Hindu deities (divine figures associated with different aspects of ourselves used in worship and meditation), and mudras (“finger play” targeting varying spiritual goals and self-improvement). These techniques can heal the chakras, which can lead to healing the mind and body and opening the heart to a joyful life.

Zen Meditation and Yoga Retreat

A full day retreat at the Hidden Valley Zen Center designed to calm the mind and nurture the  body. During this bliss filled day you will  learn and practice  Zen Meditation, do Hatha  and Restorative  Yoga, partake in Mindful Eating and enjoy the beauty of nature in Silent Walking Meditation. 

For more information or to register click here