There is more to the human body than the physical body. In yoga, we talk a lot about energy. And, you might hear your yoga instructor refer to your “heart chakra” from time to time. In an upcoming series, I’ll refer to various chakras, so I thought I’d do a bit about the chakra system.
Scientifically, we know that all matter is energy, and while condensed matter is different from energy, they are expressions of one another– connected. Yogically speaking (if that’s a word), there is an energy current, a life force, that flows through and connects everything. In Sanskrit, it’s called Prana, which means life force or vitality. Everything has Prana; and this vitality radiates through the physical, emotional and mental realms. This force is NOT electricity, but it can be thought of as an energy current like electricity.
There are numerous energy bodies within and around us: the ethereal, emotional, mental and spiritual; all of which posses a unique vibrational frequency from the lowest (ethereal) to the highest (spiritual). And, there’s a complex energy system that “powers” these energy bodies: the chakras and the nadis.
In tantric tradition, it is believed we have “wheel-like” energy centers throughout the body that act as receivers or transformers of the various forms of prana. Through nadis (energy channels), the chakras (energy centers) take in the vital energy and transform it into the frequencies needed by the various areas of the physical bodies for sustenance and development. These spinning vortexes, each with their own vibrational frequency draw in and radiate energy that manifests physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. While it is believed that there are hundreds of chakras throughout the body, we most often hear and talk about the seven main chakras that are aligned in our subtle anatomy with the spine.
Each of these chakras– which means “wheel” in sanskrit– are associated with a color that has the same frequency, and thus they draw in and transform anything it encounters on that particular vibratory level. In short, a chakra is a center of organization that receives, assimilates and expresses prana or life force energy. This metaphysical rainbow acts as a bridge between matter and consciousness. So, when one part of this system is out of balance, we can experience imbalances at the physical or emotional level.
What are these chakras and how do they affect us? Below is a great chart from the website ChakraVibe. The chart shows the location, color, and elemental correspondences as well as the operating principle for each chakra.
When our free flow of energy becomes blocked, we can apply healing techniques such as affirmations and certain yoga poses to unlock the energy that is inhibited. Thoughts, visualization, dance, music, food, sound and sun all play a part in our own individual balance. In my next blog series, “What Does Your Favorite Yoga Pose Say About You,” I’ll dive into how various yoga poses speak to the energies we’re drawn to, our strengths and where we may need to bring more balance to our lives.