An Introduction to the Chakra System
This is an article that I wrote with my fellow yoga teacher and colleague, Lucy Cullen for Yoga Therapy Irelands Magazine last year. We teach a course called "Journey Through the Chakras", and this article serves as a great introduction to
What is the Chakra System?
The Chakra system is said to come from the Vedas, 4 sacred books which were passed down initially through an oral tradition from as early as the mid 2nd Century BC.
The Chakras are energy centres in your ‘subtle body’, that is the energy structures of the self that interact with and extend beyond the physical body.
The word Chakra is Sanskrit and means ‘wheel’ or ‘disk’, referring to the idea that our Chakras each spin at a particular speed. They also emit different coloured light frequencies so each has a colour associated with it .
There are many Chakras in the body, but the major ones are the seven Chakras that run from the base of the spine up to the crown of the head. These are Muladhara (Root), Svadisthana (Sacral), Manipura (Solar Plexus), Anahata (Heart), Visuddha (Throat), Ajna (Third Eye) and Sahasrara (Crown). Each of the major Chakras affects different aspects of the physical body such as specific endocrine glands and parts of the body such as skin and muscle. They also represent specific emotional characteristic and qualities.
Connecting these Chakras and running through the body are thousands of energy channels called ‘Nadis’, which translate as’ flowing water’. These are similar to veins, except they govern the circulation of energy through the body. There are three main nadis in the subtle body. The Ida (cooling, female energy of the moon), Pingala (warming, masculine energy of the sun) and Sususmna (the central energy channel). The Ida and Pingala intertwine around Susumna along the line of the spine. The seven main chakras are the meeting points of these three nadis. Their position also coincides with the sites of the major plexus of arteries, veins and nerves in the physical body.
Chakras can be thought of as centres where we receive, absorb, and distribute life energies. They channel life force, feelings, memories and thoughts.
The chakra system takes into account all aspects of the human experience physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual. The first three chakras together, the Root, Sacral and Solar Plexus Chakras influence how we live our everyday lives, how we connect to the world in which we live and with the people in it. These three chakras are responsible for our sense of identity, security and self-confidence. At the Root Chakra, we connect to and draw up the earth's energy.
This chakra is concerned with our most basic needs; it is about ensuring our survival and creating a safe foundation from which we can explore the world. Moving up to the Sacral Chakra the energy is here used to create. This chakra is about movement, learning to flow with life and about our relationships with others. The third chakra, the Solar Plexus uses the energy to help us grow and evolve, to build confidence and take responsibility for ourselves. These three chakras connect us to the energy of the Earth.
The Heart Chakra energy is about love; it helps us to be able to love ourselves and to love others and to let others love us. It draws from the Solar Plexus and together they nourish and activate the Throat Chakra to help us communicate this love. At the heart chakra, we begin to move from the earthly to the divine.
The Throat Chakra, the Third Eye Chakra and the Crown Chakra are to do with our spiritual Identity. At the Throat Chakra we learn how to express our truth and at the third eye we develop insight and wisdom, having a clear vision of how we wish to live our lives. The Crown chakra is where energy and pure consciousness unite before being redirected down through the Susumna nadi so that we can at the same time be connected to this world and to the divine whatever that may be for us.
Sometimes through our upbringing, life circumstances or for other reasons a chakra can become imbalanced. It may spin too slowly or too quickly or in the wrong direction, or it may become stuck so that it is unable to open and close at will. When there is a block in any one of the chakras, energy is unable to flow freely through the whole system and problems may manifest.. Through the practice of Asana, Pranayama and meditation we can enhance the flow of energy in the Chakras and reduce and erase these problems.
Tara and Lucy's “A Journey through the Chakras” will commence at the Marino Institute, Dublin on the 19th November 2016.
This is a 4 day course(held over 4 months)
It is a Yoga Alliance registered course and qualifies for Yoga Alliance continued Education Points. A certificate of attendance will be given on completion.
Contact Maureen firstname.lastname@example.org to book your mat!