The word ‘Chakra’ is used a lot these days, but many who use it have little or no understanding as to just what they are talking about. Chakras are often assumed to be the key to health, self-understanding, self-improvement and spiritual growth. However, the Chakras are not all you need to engender these developments; what is required is an understanding of what they are and the role they play in channelling the right sorts of energy.
The Sushumna Nadi
Before we get to the Chakras, we need to look at something called the Sushumna Nadi. This is a channel that runs from the base of your spine to the top of your head and conducts kundalini energy. Kundalini is an energy that lies dormant within all of us and, once it is aroused, can be used to great benefit. The Sushumna Nadi acts like a vein or artery, carrying that energy to certain parts of our bodies, where it will have particular effects. Some of the Chakras are stationed along the Sushumna Nadi, in accordance with their various functions.
We are designed so that kundalini energy can flow freely along the Nadi, but only once we are aware of it. Many yoga teachers will encourage their students to imagine kundalini energy moving up their spines. While this is inaccurate, it is a great frame of reference for visualisations. In reality, this energy does not move up the physical spine, but through the ethereal Nadi, which is representative of our energy cores. The movement of kundalini energy is cyclical, much like the processes of evaporation and subsequent condensation. Energy moves up the Sushumna from the base of the spine to the top of the head and the process is then reversed, in a never-ending pattern.
There are hundreds of Chakras, but only six of them are located along the Sushumna, with a seventh located just above the top of the head. However, even this ‘floating Chakra’ is attached to us and is a part of our energy system. If the Sushumna is a garden hose, then the Chakras can be likened to crimps or valves along that hose. In order for the water to flow from the base of the spine and to reach the top of the head, those valves need to be opened equally, so that the flow of water is uniform along the hose. If there is a blockage along the way, the energy will not flow properly and may result in bottlenecks, as it struggles to continue along its path. The Chakras are most often viewed like spinning discs with an opening at their centres. The opening can be opened or closed, impeding or allowing the flow of kundalini.
There are seven main Chakras:
1) The Root Chakra. This is often considered to be the most important Chakra, as it is where the energy begins its journey. If this Chakra is stoppered in any way, then kundalini cannot even begin its journey. This Chakra is seen as the root of unlimited power. Once this is open, you can do anything. However, it is also the Chakra of anger, fear, frustration, hatred and jealousy. Yet these emotions are natural and part of us and must be allowed to flow or they will collect, stagnate, fester and can cause physical problems.
2) The Pelvic Chakra. This Chakra governs the way you interact with others. If it is unblocked, it will guide you towards healthy and lasting relationships with like-minded people. If blocked, then you may find that friendships are always problematic and that you have a difficulty in connecting with people.
3) The Solar Plexus Chakra. If the previous two Chakras are concerned with the generation of power, then this Chakra is the one that distributes it to the conscious mind. When your Solar Plexus Chakra is spinning freely and open to energy, you are in balance - neither controlled nor controlling. Those whose Solar Plexus Chakras are blocked are often life’s bullies or, conversely, its victims.
4) The Heart Chakra. This is often thought of as the Chakra to the spirit. It governs our reserves of compassion and kindness. Where the Pelvic Chakra governs our interpersonal relationships, this one influences our feelings towards humanity and the rest of the worlds. A healthy Heart Chakra is manifest in someone as a generous disposition or charitable nature. A dysfunctional Heart Chakra shows itself as feelings of depression, low self-esteem and self-centred attitudes.
5) The Throat Chakra is the Chakra of self-expression and discretion. Those with a healthy Throat Chakra are always able to say just what they are feeling, but with care and respect for the feelings of others. A constricted Throat Chakra will result in a person not being able to say what’s on their mind, resulting in lies, deception and feelings of self-loathing. Those whose Throat Chakras are not working properly are also easily duped and gullible.
6) Third Eye Chakra. This Chakra is the conduit to the celestial body and the one that most people struggle to maintain. Once opened and flowing with kundalini, the Chakra puts us in touch with our higher selves, allowing us to access the latent psychic abilities that we are all born with. People who can open this Chakra are often seen as incredibly empathetic and may find that they begin to experience unusual phenomena, such as clairvoyance or telepathy. Those with closed Third Eye Chakras often feel alone or ‘cut off’ from the world around them.
7) The Crown Chakra is the one floating above the top of your head. This Chakra is the conduit to the universal consciousness. It is thought that those who can control this Chakra are able to tune into the thoughts and feelings of those around them and experience life on a profound level, being able to see the patterns that are held therein. Those with a malfunctioning Crown Chakra see life only in three dimensions; the fourth, fifth and sixth dimensions are hidden from them, although they may register this as a feeling that something is ‘missing’ from their lives.