The chakras are the seven life-force energy centers of the body which receive, transmit and assimilate energy, often called qi (chi) or prana. The word chakra is derived from the Sanskrit word meaning “wheel of light.”
The earliest known written record of chakras is found in the Hindu scriptures called the later Vedic Upanishads, circa the 6th century B.C. The concept of chakras plays a key role in Ayurvedic medicine and yoga, two ancient Indian healing systems popular in contemporary healing methods.
The seven principle chakras
Although the body contains thousands of minor chakras, practitioners are usually concerned with balancing the seven principle chakras. They are:
- Solar plexus
- Third eye
These main chakras are aligned vertically from the base of the spine to the top of the head when the body is in Lotus position. Located in the ethereal realm, chakras embody spiritual energy on the physical plane.
Features of the chakras
Each chakra has associations with specific colors, functions, aspects of consciousness, organs of the body, ailments, elements and more. As loci of life energy, the chakras are connected to each other along energy pathways known as nadis, which correlate to the traditional Chinese medicine paradigm of meridians, or energy channels. As the nadis extend to the aura boundary, the chakras function as aura gates. Chakras also receive and transmit energies to and from nature, individuals, the universe and celestial beings.
The seven chakras, when viewed collectively, reflect unified consciousness, or soul. When viewed individually, they reflect different aspects of consciousness, including body, instinct, vital energy, emotions, communication and connection to the divine.
How chakras affect health
When a person experiences ill health, it is often due to an imbalance or energy blockage in the associated chakra. When an energy blockage occurs, life force energy — or qi —cannot flow freely and may affect the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health of the patient. Chakra imbalances may be caused by stress, poor nutrition, lack of exercise, cultural conditioning, physical and emotional injuries, or a disconnection from a higher truth, among others. Such imbalances express and manifest in all life aspects.
As prana energy flows through the top of the head and down to the chakras, each chakra nurtures a distinct form of energy related to specific aspects of physical and spiritual development. Energy in turn flows upwards through the chakras, resulting in universal interconnectedness. Chakra imbalances, or stagnated energy associated with a specific chakra, affect the energy flow along the nadis.
Balancing the chakras
Many techniques exist to balance chakras. They include:
- Guided visualization
- crystals and gemstones
- Positive thinking
- Martial arts and other physical exercises
- Color therapy
- Touch therapies
- Sacred geometry
- Breathing techniques
Even healthy patients need chakra balancing on a regular basis to optimize energy flow. Balancing the chakras promotes well being and health and ensures that mind, body and spirit function optimally.
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