In our daily lives, we often experience physical sensations and emotions that seem to originate from deep within us. Have you ever noticed how overthinking can trigger a throbbing headache? Or how stage fright can manifest as those familiar “butterflies in the stomach”? And that magical moment when the person you love looks into your eyes, you may feel an inexplicable sensation of your heart opening.
These seemingly ordinary occurrences are actually connected to a profound system within us known as the chakras. By exploring ancient techniques, we can awaken and activate these chakras, which are dormant areas within our nervous system, and embark on a transformative journey towards a more fulfilled and enchanting life.
In this comprehensive guide to the Chakras, we will delve into the fundamentals of chakra theory for beginners, dispel common misconceptions, explore the scientific aspects of chakras, and take a profound dive into each of the main chakras. Additionally, we will provide you with specific exercises to help activate and harmonize these energy centers, empowering you to unlock their immense potential.
- What are Chakras
- How many Chakras are There?
- Are Chakras Real?
- The Science of Chakras
- Chakras vs. Kshetrams
- Chakras vs. Nadis
- What is a Blocked Chakra?
- How to Open your Chakras
- Chakra Deep Dive
What are Chakras?
The word “chakra” originates from Sanskrit and translates to “wheel” or “vortex.” The latter translation, “vortex,” is particularly acute. In essence, chakras can be likened to powerful vortices that have the transformative ability to expand our perception, both internally and externally.
Chakras represent concentrated areas of heightened neural activity situated at specific points along the physical spinal cord. Additionally, there exists the concept of the astral spine, which resides within the physical spine and encompasses the metaphysical aspects associated with each chakra. Every chakra possesses a unique combination of physical and metaphysical characteristics.
Maintaining a balanced chakra system is vital to facilitate the unrestricted flow of energy throughout both the physical and non-physical aspects of our being. When chakras become blocked, they often manifest as physical, mental, or emotional ailments.
Chakras, with their intricate interplay of energy and consciousness, play a fundamental role in our overall well-being and spiritual growth. Exploring and understanding the chakras can offer profound insights into ourselves and provide valuable tools for personal evolution and self-healing.
How Many Chakras are There?
In reality, the human body encompasses a vast network of 114 chakras intricately connected to 72,000 nadis. However, for our focus, we will explore the 7 fundamental chakras (along with an important, but lesser-known, chakra outside the body known as Bindu).
Comprehending and cultivating experiential knowledge of these core 7 chakras provides a strong foundation to embark on a journey towards joy and a more fulfilling life.
Are Chakras Real?
Yes, chakras are indeed real, powerful, and have the potential to bring about life-changing experiences. However, in the Western world, they have often been misunderstood.
When the word “chakra” is mentioned, what images come to mind? Perhaps you think of your hippie cousin with dreadlocks who mentioned something about his heart chakra during a Thanksgiving dinner. Or maybe you envision that eccentric lady living down the street who has numerous cats and constantly smells of incense.
These associations with the concept of “chakra” are also valid and reflect the influence of art, memes, mental impressions, and cultural depictions. However, what is the true essence behind these impressions?
Simply put, chakras are areas of heightened nervous activity located along the physical spine. They function as switches, capable of activating dormant regions of the brain.
Intelligence and consciousness are not solely confined to the brain; they actually form a distributed system that extends along the entire spine and into every part of the body. While the physical brain serves as a crucial hub and is associated with the ajna chakra, commonly referred to as the third eye, the chakra system extends beyond it. Each chakra possesses unique intelligence and governs various aspects of our being, including sexual desire (sacral chakra), motivation and procrastination (navel chakra), love (heart chakra), and oral expression (throat chakra) – just to name a few.
The Science of Chakras
Chakras play a fundamental role in our neurophysiology, functioning as miniature brains within our energetic system. To grasp this concept, we can draw parallels between the chakras and our main brain, known as the ajna, third eye or the control centre.
Interestingly, we can identify a remarkable resemblance between each chakra location along the spine and nerve plexuses. For instance, the HeartMath Institute in California conducted research revealing the presence of approximately 40,000 neurons at the anahata chakra or cardiac plexus.
To gain a deeper understanding of the chakras, it’s helpful to connect their traditional Sanskrit names with corresponding regions in Western scientific anatomy. This alignment reveals that each chakra corresponds to a plexus or gland—regions of the spine characterised by heightened neural density.
By recognizing the chakras as physical areas of increased neural density, any doubts regarding their existence dissolve, giving way to a profound truth. Just like any other part of the brain, chakras can be trained, sensitized, and strengthened. The next step is to explore the specific techniques and practices for each chakra, but before we explore that, let’s delve a bit further into the theory.
Chakras vs. Kshetrams
One aspect that often causes confusion when discussing chakras is the way they are depicted artistically, predominantly shown at the front of the body. While this visualization can be helpful, it can also be misleading. As we already know, most chakras are actually located along the spine (with the exception of Root, Crown and Bindu Chakras). If you’ve ever questioned their existence because you couldn’t see or feel them at the front of your body, you’re absolutely right. After all, the front side primarily consists of skin and flesh, so how could the chakras be there?
In truth, it is the kshetrams that lie on the front side of the body. Think of kshetrams as the mirrored reflection of the spinal chakras on the front side. It’s important to note that the muladhara (root chakra) and sahasrara (crown chakra) do not have corresponding kshetrams. However, each of the other chakras in the body has its respective kshetram located at specific points on the front side.
To fully engage in chakra awakening meditation techniques, it’s important to grasp the significance of these kshetrams. They play a pivotal role in practices that involve visualizing energy ascending through the front kshetrams and descending through the chakras at the back.
Chakras vs. Nadis
Nadis play a vital role in the intricate energy system of the body. These energy channels are responsible for the transportation of prana, often referred to as the life force, throughout our being. While there are a staggering 72,000 nadis in total, we will focus on the three main ones: Ida, Sushumna, and Pingala.
Sushumna takes center stage as the primary energy channel, running along the spine. It serves as the core pathway, connecting the base of the spine to the crown of the head. Consider it the central highway for pranic flow.
In addition to Sushumna, we have Ida and Pingala, two other significant energy channels that also traverse the spine. Ida, often associated with the lunar energy, courses on the left side of the spine, while Pingala, linked to solar energy, flows on the right side. These two channels work in harmony with Sushumna to create a balanced flow of prana throughout the body.
An effective way to comprehend the relationship between chakras and nadis is to envision the human body as an intricate electrical system. In this analogy, the chakras serve as the switches, activating and regulating energy flow, while the nadis act as the wires through which this energy travels. Just as the three main nadis—Ida, Pingala, and Sushumna—can be seen as the central main lines within this energetic network.
While the topic of nadis warrants a more detailed exploration, understanding their connection to chakras provides a deeper comprehension of how energy flows within our being.
What is a Blocked Chakra?
A blocked chakra occurs when the harmonious balance of physical, psychological, and emotional aspects associated with that particular chakra is disrupted.
Let’s take the manipura chakra as an example: persistent indigestion (physical), lack of motivation (psychological), and heightened irritability (emotional) are often indications of an imbalanced manipura chakra.
This pattern of imbalance can manifest in both the physical and metaphysical realms, affecting various aspects of our well-being. It’s important to recognize that the interplay between multiple chakras often contributes to a complex web of seemingly unrelated issues.
Herein lies the transformative potential of the chakra system and ancient Eastern practices like Kundalini Tantra and Kriya Yoga. By understanding this perspective, the process of unblocking chakras and alleviating seemingly unrelated afflictions becomes clearer. Specific techniques can be employed over time to target and improve the crucial areas of our neurophysiology responsible for these blockages.
It’s worth noting that working with the chakra system requires a holistic approach, considering the interconnectedness of our physical, mental, and emotional states. By addressing the underlying imbalances and nurturing the flow of energy within our chakras, we can promote overall well-being and enhance our self-healing capabilities.
How to Open your Chakras
There are various approaches to open your chakras and experience a profound shift in your perception of reality. These methods encompass a range of practices, including:
- Plant Medicine: Utilizing potent substances like Ayahuasca or Peyote to facilitate chakra opening and transformational experiences.
- Asana and Pranayama: Combining physical yoga positions (asanas) with specialized breathing exercises (pranayama) to activate and balance the chakras.
- Kundalini Tantra: Engaging in advanced kriya meditation techniques rooted in Kundalini Tantra, a powerful path for chakra awakening.
At Amargi, we specialize in Kundalini Tantra, Asana and Pranayama. We offer a comprehensive chakra awakening course that delves into numerous meditation techniques for opening each chakra. Additionally, the course provides a wealth of valuable bonuses to support your journey.
In the following sections of our Deep Dive, you’ll discover specific asanas and meditations dedicated to opening and activating each chakra. These practices are designed to enhance your connection with the chakra system and unlock its transformative potential.
Remember, the journey of chakra opening is deeply personal, and finding the right approach that resonates with you is key. It is through dedicated practice and exploration that you can embark on a remarkable transformational journey toward self-discovery and heightened consciousness.
Chakra Deep Dive
Welcome to our profound journey into the depths of the chakras. Together, we will embark on a comprehensive exploration of the seven primary chakras (and bindu). Each chakra possesses a unique color, mantra, physical and metaphysical properties, symbol, element, and powerful techniques for unblocking and activating these energy centers. Consider this your invaluable reference guide and launching pad for boundless self-exploration.
As we delve into the intricacies of each chakra, we’ll link to detailed instructions on various exercises to awaken and unblock them. Over time, we will continue to enrich this resource with additional links, ensuring you have access to comprehensive guidance. To stay informed and connected, be sure to follow us on instagram or twitter. Prepare to unlock the radiant potential within you and embark on a transformative journey of self-discovery. Let’s begin this wondrous odyssey together!
The Muladhara Chakra, also known as the Root Chakra, is the foundation of our energetic system. Located at the base of the spine, it represents our connection to the Earth and our sense of stability and security. This energy center is like the roots of a tree, grounding us and providing a strong foundation for our spiritual growth. When the Muladhara Chakra is balanced, we feel grounded, safe, and supported. It is through this chakra that we can tap into our primal instincts and awaken a deep sense of belonging and rootedness. Nurturing and balancing the Muladhara Chakra is essential for establishing a solid and harmonious spiritual journey.
Sanskrit Name: Muladhara
Translation: “Root of Existence”
Symbol: Four-petaled lotus
Meaning: Foundation, stability, grounding
Signs of blockage: Feelings of insecurity, lack of stability, financial difficulties
Yoga Poses to unblock: Mountain pose (Tadasana), Bridge pose (Setu Bandhasana)
How to Awaken: Moola Bandha (perineal contraction)
The Svadhishthana Chakra, also known as the Sacral Chakra, is a swirling vortex of energy located at the sacral plexus. It is the center of our creativity, passion, and emotional well-being. This chakra is like a sacred cauldron where our desires, sensuality, and pleasure reside. When the Svadhishthana Chakra is in balance, we experience a harmonious flow of our emotions and an uninhibited expression of our creative energy. It is through this chakra that we tap into our deepest desires, allowing them to manifest in the physical realm. By nurturing and balancing the Svadhishthana Chakra, we unlock our authentic creative potential and embrace the vibrant and sensual aspects of our being. This chakra invites us to explore and embrace the richness of life, igniting a passionate and joyful existence.
Sanskrit Name: Svadhishthana
Translation: “Where your being is established”
Location: Sacral Plexus
Symbol: Six-petaled lotus
Meaning: Creativity, sexuality, emotional well-being
Signs of blockage: Lack of creativity, low libido, emotional instability
Yoga Poses to unblock: Bound Angle pose (Baddha Konasana), Pigeon pose (Kapotasana)
How to Awaken: Vajroli/Sahajoli Mudra, Ashwini Mudra
The Manipura Chakra, is a radiant powerhouse of energy located at the solar plexus. It is the seat of our personal power, confidence, and inner strength. This chakra is like a blazing sun within us, fueling our self-esteem and empowering us to take charge of our lives. When the Manipura Chakra is balanced, we radiate a sense of purpose and assertiveness, and we have the courage to pursue our goals and dreams. It is through this chakra that we tap into our inner warrior, embracing our unique gifts and stepping into leadership roles. By nourishing and harmonizing the Manipura Chakra, we ignite our inner fire and unleash our authentic power, allowing us to manifest our desires and embody our true potential. This chakra encourages us to stand tall and shine brightly, illuminating our path with confidence and determination.
Sanskrit Name: Manipura
Translation: “City of Jewels”
Location: Solar plexus
Symbol: Ten-petaled lotus
Meaning: Personal power, confidence, willpower
Signs of blockage: Low self-esteem, lack of motivation, digestive issues
Yoga Poses to unblock: Boat pose (Navasana), Warrior III pose (Virabhadrasana III)
How to Awaken: Agnisar Kriya, Uddiyana Bandha
The Anahata Chakra, the Heart Chakra, is the radiant center of love and compassion within us. Nestled in the cardiac plexus, it connects us to the infinite wellspring of unconditional love and kindness that flows through the universe. This chakra is like a blossoming flower, opening our hearts to the beauty and interconnectedness of all beings. When the Anahata Chakra is balanced, we experience deep emotional healing, forgiveness, and a profound sense of empathy. It is through this chakra that we cultivate harmonious relationships, not only with others but also with ourselves. By nurturing the Anahata Chakra, we embrace the power of love as a transformative force, healing our wounds and expanding our capacity to give and receive love. This chakra reminds us that we are all interconnected, and it encourages us to lead with compassion, kindness, and acceptance in our interactions with the world. With an open and balanced Anahata Chakra, we become beacons of love, radiating warmth and harmony to all those around us.
Sanskrit Name: Anahata
Translation: “unhurt, unstruck, and unbeaten”
Location: Cardiac Plexus
Symbol: Twelve-petaled lotus
Meaning: Love, compassion, emotional healing
Signs of blockage: Difficulty in giving and receiving love, feelings of isolation, heart-related issues
Yoga Poses to unblock: Camel pose (Ustrasana), Bridge pose (Setu Bandhasana)
How to Awaken: Bhramari Pranayama, Ajapa japa meditation
The Throat Chakra, also known as the Vishuddha Chakra, is the center of self-expression and communication. Located near the thyroid gland, it is the gateway through which our authentic voice emerges. When the Throat Chakra is in harmony, we find the courage to speak our truth, share our thoughts, and express our creativity with clarity and confidence. This chakra empowers us to communicate not only with words but also through the power of sound, song, and art. It is through the Throat Chakra that we connect our inner world with the outer world, bridging the gap between our thoughts and the manifestation of our ideas. By nurturing the Throat Chakra, we unlock our authentic expression and honor our unique voice in the world. It encourages us to listen deeply, speak our truth with integrity, and embrace the power of our words to uplift and inspire. With a balanced Throat Chakra, we find ourselves in harmony with our inner voice and in alignment with our purpose, shining our light brightly and sharing our authentic message with the world.
Sanskrit Name: Vishuddha
Translation: “especially pure”
Location: Thyroid gland
Symbol: Sixteen-petaled lotus
Meaning: Communication, self-expression, truth
Signs of blockage: Difficulty in expressing oneself, fear of public speaking, throat-related issues
Yoga Poses to unblock: Shoulderstand (Sarvangasana), Fish pose (Matsyasana)
How to Awaken: Jalandhara Bandha (throat lock), Khechari Mudra (tongue lock), Ujjayi Pranayama (psychic breath)
Third Eye Chakra
The Ajna Chakra, the Third Eye Chakra, is the mystical gateway to expanded awareness and intuitive insight within us. Situated at the pineal gland, it is the seat of our inner wisdom and higher perception. This chakra is like a portal to unseen realms, enabling us to tap into the infinite wellspring of knowledge and transcendental wisdom that flows through the cosmos. When the Ajna Chakra is awakened and balanced, we experience a heightened sense of clarity, inner vision, and deep spiritual connection. It is through this chakra that we cultivate the ability to perceive beyond the limitations of the physical world, delving into the realms of subtle energies and higher consciousness. By nurturing the Ajna Chakra, we open ourselves to profound revelations and a deeper understanding of ourselves and the universe. This chakra serves as a guide, encouraging us to trust our inner guidance and follow the path of our soul’s purpose. With an awakened and aligned Ajna Chakra, we become vessels of divine wisdom, navigating life with clarity, intuition, and a profound connection to the sacred mysteries of existence.
Sanskrit Name: Ajna
Translation: “command” (or “perceive”)
Location: Mid-brain, Pineal Gland
Symbol: Two-petaled lotus or a downward-pointing triangle within a circle
Meaning: Intuition, inner wisdom, perception
Mantra: Aum or Om
Signs of blockage: Lack of clarity, difficulty making decisions, poor intuition
Yoga Poses to unblock:Child’s pose (Balasana), Headstand (Sirsasana)
How to Awaken: Anuloma Viloma Pranayama, Trataka (concentrated gazing), Shambhavi Mudra
The Bindu Chakra, the Divine Point, is the ethereal center of transcendence and cosmic consciousness within us. Located outside the body at the back of the head, it is the gateway to the realms beyond the physical and the union with the divine. This chakra is like a sacred portal, connecting us to the boundless expanse of cosmic energy and the infinite potential that permeates all creation. When the Bindu Chakra is awakened and harmonized, we experience a profound sense of oneness, bliss, and spiritual illumination. It is through this chakra that we transcend the boundaries of the material world and merge with the divine essence that flows through everything. By nurturing the Bindu Chakra, we open ourselves to the divine grace and infinite possibilities that exist beyond the realm of ordinary perception. This chakra is a reminder that we are not separate from the cosmos, but an integral part of its vast tapestry. With an awakened and balanced Bindu Chakra, we merge with the cosmic dance of creation, expanding our consciousness and embodying the highest realms of spiritual enlightenment.
Sanskrit Name: Bindu
Translation: “point” (or “drop”)
Location: Outside the head, towards the back
Color: Translucent or pure white
Symbol: Beyond form or shape, often represented by the Moon
Meaning: Ultimate consciousness, union, bliss
Signs of blockage: Lack of spiritual connection, Disconnection from universal energy, Limited perspective
Yoga Poses to unblock:Child’s pose (Balasana), Headstand (Sirsasana), Shoulder Stand (Sarvangasana)
How to Awaken: Moorchha Pranayama, Shanmukhi Mudra