Discovering the mystical world of the chakras can at first feel like learning a new language or a way of existing that is foreign to our ‘normal’ way of being. However, there are many ways in which our everyday language speaks on a chakra level.
When we blend the energy world into our everyday physical world we can begin to appreciate that we are adding to our ‘tool bag’ of life, rather than feeling as though we are entering a new scope of being. Here are some examples of how we already relate to the language of the chakras: When we ‘feel grounded’ this is a relationship to our first chakra. Having a ‘gut feeling’ about something relates to our third chakra. Experiencing the heart bursting with love is our fourth chakra. Deja vu is the third eye or sixth chakra. Spiritual awakening is connected to our seventh chakra. The chakras are already understood on an emotional level, deep within our consciousness. Now we begin to take that understanding to an intellectual level.
What are the chakras?
There are seven major chakras within the body and several other smaller chakras scattered throughout. The chakras exist on the subtle body plane and although they affect the physical body, they are by nature energetic.
The seven chakras follow the length of the spine and are stacked on top of each other. The energy highway that they follow is called the sushumna. It is here that there exist two types of energetic currents: the liberating current and the manifestation current. The liberating current stems from the base of the spine and brings us freedom, excitement, novelty, and energy (Shakti). The manifestation current begins at the crown of the head and brings us grace, peace, and stability (Shiva). Manifestation without liberation leaves us in repetitive patterns, fearing change and clinging to security. Liberation without manifestation leaves us spacey, unorganized, and scattered. It is referred to as a ‘highway’ so that we can see that energy needs to travel in both directions at all times.
The body is composed of masculine and feminine qualities. The chakras themselves are masculine and feminine. Chakra one (survival), three (power), and five (voice / noise) are all masculine. Chakra two (emotion), four (love / compassion), and six (intuition) are all female. The final chakra seven is neither female nor male because when we combine and unite with the Divine, gender dissolves.
It’s interesting to observe whether the masculine or the feminine is more predominant within your body. Take a moment and think of your favorite yoga poses. Standing work, inversions, backbends, and balancing are all masculine poses. Forward folds, lateral extensions, seated work, and meditation are all feminine. Generally speaking we are attracted to poses that support our dominant masculine or feminine tendencies. If we are the “go-getter” type we most likely are drawn to Ashtanga styles of practice. If we are the “sit back and relax” type we may enjoy the soft Hatha styles of yoga. Yoga’s intention is to restore the body, mind and spirit into balance. Therefore we may want to consider a yoga practice that creates greater stability and draws out the traits within us that may be suppressed by either our dominant masculine or feminine tendencies.
We will delve into the chakras individually in the upcoming weeks. Outlined below is a synopsis of each:
1. Earth (Muladhara): Feet, legs, base of spine, nerves, and intestines. Ability to feel safe, secure and grounded.
2. Water (Svadhisthana): Sacrum, genitals, hips, knees, low back. Relationship with your self.
3. Fire (Manipura ): Located between the navel and base of the sternum, the solar plexus is related to willpower, self-confidence and power.
4. Heart (Anahata): Located in the heart, lungs, thymus gland, and behind the sternum. This chakra aids in immune function. It’s related to how we give and receive love, empathy and compassion.
5. Throat (Visuddha): Throat, neck and shoulders. This chakra is related to how we speak what we feel and if we speak too much.
6. Third Eye (Ajna): Located at the forehead between the eyebrows. Related to intuition and visualization.
It is important to note that the division between the chakras only exists on an intellectual level. We divide the chakras so that we can understand what each means. However we will see that this is where the division ends. Chakras are a concert of constant feedback and release of information. Each is so closely intertwined to the other that the response of one affects all.