What Are Chakras and How Do They Work?
Chakra is arguably one of the most ancient practices in Hinduism and Buddhism traditions respectively. It composes of the subtle body and the subtle energy channels known as nadiis. Nadiis are the channels in your subtle body through which vital energy moves. There are 7 major types of chakras in the human body including:
Also known as crown chakra, sahasrara is considered as the state of pure consciousness in which there exists no object or subject. When Kundalini energy rises, it unites with male Shiva energy and liberating samadhi state is achieved. It is symbolized by a lotus with 1000 multicolored petals and is located at the crown or above the crown. Sahasrara is normally represented by a white color and involves death and inner wisdom issues. Its inner aspect usually deals with physical action, mental action with unity and universal consciousness, emotional action and release of karma. For Tibetan buddhism, a white circle with thirty three downward pointing petals represents the crown. It is very important in phowa performance when obtaining rebirth in Pure Land. Within this state, the Bodhicita or white drop is the major essence of masculine energy. Druva is usually the corresponding deity for the state’s material element.
Ajna which is also known as third-eye-chakra is normally symbolized as a lotus with 2 petals and it corresponds to violet, deep blue and indigo colours. Termination and merging of Ida and Pingala usually occurs at this point and signify characteristic of dual being and end of duality. OM is the syllable seed for this chakra and Ardhanarishvara is the presiding deity. Ajna chakra is often linked to pineal gland which informs a model of its envision. Its main issues involve trusting inner guidance and balancing higher and lower inner-selves. It also has inner aspects that directly relate to intuition access. Mentally, it deals with normal visual consciousness while emotionally, it deals with clarity in an intuitive level. In Tibetan Buddhism, the corresponding deity for this material element is known as Soma.
Also known as throat chakra or vishuddhi, vishuddha is normally depicted by a white circle with a silver crescent and 16 pale blue or turqoise petals. Ham is the seed mantra while Panchavaktra with 4 arms and 5 heads is the residing deity. It relates to growth and communication through expression. Physically, it governs communication while emotionally governing independence. Spiritually, it governs sense of security while mentally governing thought. In Tibetan buddhism, vishuddha chakra is red and has sixteen upward pointing petals. Vishuddha has an important role in Yoga in the art of lucid dreaming. Dyaus is the corresponding deity of this chakra.
Anahata is also known as heart chakra and it is symbolized by a flower with 12 green petals called heartmind. It has a hexagram yantra with 2 intersecting triangles that symbolize a male and female union. Yam is its seed mantra , kakini is the shakti while Ishana Rudra Shiva is the presiding deity. Anahata is directly related to thymus which is located in the chest. It is related to pink and green colors and it involves various issues including; complex emotions, tenderness, compassion, equilibrium,well-being, unconditional love and rejection. Physically, Anahata normally governs circulation while governing unconditional love emotionally. It also mentally governs passion while governing devotion spiritually. In Tibetan Budhism, the center is quite important since it is the home of indestructible white or red drop which carries our mental consciousness to our after lives. It is usually described as circular, white and consisting of 8 downward pointing petals. During mantra recitation, a flame is normally imagined in the heart, from which the specific mantra rings out. Anahata chakra is important in realizing clear light within higher tantras. Vayu is the corresponding deity for this chakra.
Also known as navel chakra, manipura is normally symbolized using a downward pointing triangle consisting of ten petals and a yellow color. Ram is the seed syllable, Braddha Rudra is the presiding deity while Shakti is the Lakini. Manipura is directly related to digestive and metabolic systems and is believed to correspond with Islets of Langerhans. The key issues that are governed by Manipura include; fear, anxiety, personal power, introversion, opinion-information, and transition from base or simple emotions to complex. Physically, Manipura controls digestion while mentally governing personal power. It also emotionally controls expansiveness while spiritually governing all matters of growth. Agni is the corresponding deity for this chakra.
Svadhishtana is also known as sacral chakra and it is symbolized using a white lotus with six vermilion, orange petals and a crescent moon. Vam is the seed mantra, Rakini is the shakti while Brahma is the presiding deity. The crocodile of Varuna is the animal associated. Svadhishtana is located in Sacrum and is highly considered to correspond with ovaries or testes that produce various sex hormones in reproductive cycle. It is also related to the adrenals and the genitourinary system. Its keys issues include; pleasure, relationships, violence, basic emotional needs and addictions. Physically, it controls reproduction while mentally governing creativity. It also governs joy emotionally while spiritually governing enthusiasm. Varuna is the corresponding deity for this chakra.
Also known as root chakra, muladhara is normally symbolized using a lotus with a red color and four petals. It directly relates to the adrenal medulla and the gonads which are responsible for flight response. Lam is its seed syllable and is related to security, survival, basic human potentiality and instinct. Physically, muladhara controls sexuality while mentally governing stability. It also emotionally governs sensuality while spiritually governing sense of security. It is the chakra where 3 main nadis detach and begin upward movement. Dakini is the Shakti while Prithvi is the corresponding deity.
Chakra has common features of the body including:
- Breath channels, body parts along with nadis and the vayus
- Located along the sushuma or central channel
- The two side channels normally cross the center channel on the chakras
- They posses different numbers of petals or spokes
- They are directly associated with the mantra seed-syllable with a variety of deities and colors.
Unlike tarot, palm reading, or other psychic practices, the concepts behind chakras are not esoteric ideas. There is plenty of documentation and study materials that explain the science behind the chakras. If you would like to learn more about your chakras, pay a visit to your local acupuncturist.