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What are Chakras? - An Introduction to the 7 Chakras

Updated: Nov 17

Hello and welcome to this, the first in a series of posts on the Chakras. In this first introductory post, I will give an overview of the Chakras and explain what they are. Then, in the proceeding posts, we will go over each of the 7 main Chakras. Going into more detail on each Charka and giving some tips and guidance on what you can do to balance each of the Chakras. (Don't worry if you don't know what this means yet, all will be explained!)


Now, as a short disclaimer, as of writing this post my experience of the Chakras is deducted and intellectual. That means that I have been taught about them and that I have attempted to work with them under spiritual teachers, but I do not have any direct awareness of them.


There are many ways of working with the Chakras, such as certain yoga asanas, meditations and sound healing. All of these techniques tend to target a specific Chakra, or Chakras, and work to cleanse and balance. While working with the Chakras in this way I have found that my emotions and energies have responded in a corresponding manner to what I have been taught about the Chakras, which suggests that the information we have about Chakras could be correct. The reason I say this is that for the average person, proving the existence of the Chakrasis not possible, because technically they do not 'physically' exist (more on this later).


Often information on Chakras is written and explained as a matter of fact, but there is lots of misinformation out there, we have to rely on the word of those who claim to have mastered higher spiritual practices, and so gained an awareness of the Chakras in some way. But be warned! There are many out there who are happy to lie to make themselves seem more important or gain some position of influence or power, so keep this in mind moving forward.


The information written here is what is commonly believed to be true, and so intended as a guide, but do not take it as truth until you have the proof yourself! This is great advice for any information or practice, we all must work out our own liberation and discover our own truth. Listen to others and learn, even trust, but do not believe until you have the direct experience yourself!


All this is to say, be careful. If even some of the information on the Chakras is accurate, and they really do what they are said to do, we should be very careful when interacting with them, as there can be profound and damaging results if care is not taken.


With this said then, what are Chakras?


So what are Chakras?

Current mainstream understanding of Chakras comes primarily from various eastern spiritual practices and religions, such as Hinduism, Yoga, Buddhism and more. They are often referred to as the energy centers of the body, and we usually speak about the 7 main Chakras, although there are actually a reported 114 Chakras, each with their own unique purpose and function. In this series of posts, we will be covering the 7 main Chakras and going into detail about each one. But as a quick overview, the 7 Chakras are said to exist in a line along our spine, starting at the base of the spine and then spaced out along the spine up to the crown Chakra, which actually exists just above the top of our head and not 'inside' the body.


These 7 Chakras, from the base to the top, are as follows: Muladhara(Root), Swadhistana(Sacral), Manipura(Solar Plexus), Anahata(Heart), Vishuddha(Throat), Ajna(Third-Eye) and Sahasrara(Crown). Each of these has its own role which will be explained more in each of the corresponding posts. Once those posts are done, you can click on each of the words above to go to those pages.

image from YOGAPEDIA


Chakras are understood to be part of our non-physical body, and as such, can not be seen. There are different philosophies and beliefs about the Chakras, how they look, their corresponding elements and so on. If we accept the existence of the Chakras on some level, then it is helpful to think of these different views on Chakrasas different interpretations of them concerning each individual and their own experience. The different visual representations of the Chakras can also give us focus and direction when meditating on them, so these representations do serve a useful purpose.


So as mentioned, the Chakras are the energy centers of the body, but what does this mean? Roughly speaking, the majority of our life and experience takes place in the physical world. But this physical world could not exist without some fundamental underpinning, with this in mind, we can think of the flow of creation as a flow of energies, moving from a more subtle level to a more physical one. And this is where the role of the Chakras comes in, they are channels or points where energy makes the transition from the non-physical to the physical. It is through this flow of energy that all that we do is created and our reality is manifested. The Chakras guide this energy and shape it, so you can see how, if we alter the functioning of the Chakras, our entire reality can shift, and this is why we must take great care when working with the Chakras. Even if you are working in a 'correct' manner, you will be shifting yourself into a different way of existing, this can create a very fast and even violent transformation, which can be overwhelming if not properly managed. But also, lack of knowledge and so working incorrectly with the Chakras can have directly negative effects, manifesting unwanted situations, such as negative emotions and low energy.


The 'physical' existence of the Chakras.

Previously it was mentioned that the Chakras do not physically exist. However, they are said to be linked to the body through glands. This may be one practical way in which we can understand how the Chakras manifest our reality. Many of the glands to which they are linked serve to manage and regulate various hormonal balances within the body and some are even part of the brain.


If you want to know more about each Chakra and which gland it relates to, check out the posts for each Chakra where we dive deeper into the details corresponding to each of the 7 main Chakras.


How to tell if you have imbalanced Chakras

Each Chakra serves a different role and each Chakra, if imbalanced, can be either overacting or under active, resulting in the manifestation of different traits. Sometimes these effects will take physical form, such as an ailment or disease, and other times they may have an impact on our emotional well being and balance.


So, if Chakras are responsible for the flow of energies, and so the manifestation of our reality, then really any disharmony or negativity that you experience in your life is a sign that one or more of your Chakras are likely to be imbalanced. This is very common in our modern world, and not something you should panic about.


The first step would be to take a look at yourself, and your life and understand your experiences in relation to specific Chakras. For example, if you lack a feeling of being grounded, perhaps feel insecure, or worry obsessively about material things, this is most likely a sign that one of your lower Chakras, such as the Muladhara (or Root), is imbalanced. If you want to know more signs for each of the Chakras, then you should check out the posts for each Chakra where we will go into more detail about each one.


If you find that your Chakras are imbalanced, and want to do something about it, what can be done?



Balancing the Chakras

There are many ways in which we can begin to work with the Chakras. Some are very simple and some are more involved and complex.


As with all things relating to the Chakras, each Chakra is specific and should be worked with based on the needs of the individual and the specified Chakra.


Aroma

Certain aromas can help balance Chakras, sticking with the Muladhara Chakra as an example, earthy grounding smells can help to bring balance to this Chakra, such as Sandalwood. If you have ever been to India or perhaps any incense store, you will most likely have come across this earthy smell!


Stones

Other simple things that can be done are to keep certain stones and gemstones close to

you. They are said to have subtle frequencies that harmonize with the Chakras and help tune them into balance.

Sound

Certain sounds can also help, and each Chakra has its corresponding sound which can be chanted. You may be familiar with the 'Ohm' sound being chanted, this corresponds to the Ajna (or third-eye Chakra) and can help to bring it into balance.


Food

Food or diet is another way to balance the Chakras. Reflecting on your diet in relation to any negativity in your life, you may find that certain corresponding foods which balance given Chakra are missing in your diet. Or on the contrary, you may find one food which you eat a lot of is causing a Chakra to become overactive.


Activities

For some Chakras, there are activities we can do to help bring balance, for example being in sunlight or moonlight, being active, going for a hike and being in nature, being calm, meditating, reading, drawing, being creative and so on. Each Chakra has its own workings and so activities vary for each one.


Asanas (yoga poses)

Only slightly separate from activities, but worth a mention in its own section. Asanas, or yoga poses, can help us to work with certain Chakras, as mentioned each of the Chakras have corresponding glands within the body, so by stimulating and working with these parts of the body we can work with our Chakras.


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Balancing the Chakras can be done as a light practice, to help improve the flow of day-to-day life. But it is a deep spiritual practice if properly understood, and if we can truly balance and work to open each of our Chakras, we will make great strides of progress along the spiritual path. The information here is just a first look at the Chakras and there is much more information if you want to go deeper. For example, you may want to look into Kundalini yoga, where the focus is on opening each of the Chakras so that our dormant Kundalini energy can rise from the root Chakra up to the crown, ultimately realizing enlightenment. Of course, this is not a quick and easy process! It takes time and dedication.


Again, if you want to know specifics for balancing each Chakra, then you should look at the corresponding post relating to that Chakra, where more details will be given.


Summing up

So in this post, we have covered a light introduction to Chakras. We have covered what they are, their function, what it means to have an imbalanced Chakra, and some ways we can work with and cleanse the Chakras. In the next posts in this series, we will work through each of the Chakras, explaining each one in more detail. So make sure to check out the coming posts if you want to learn more!


Thank you for reading, and be happy!

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