Overview of the Chakras
(compiled from various sources)
Yogic tradition details our journey in life through seven spheres of energy. Chakra is the Sanskrit work for circle, wheel or vortex of energy. The chakras are wheels of psychic energy that reside along the main energy channel, the sushumna nadi. There are 72,000 nadi channels in the body carrying prana (see nadi man, attached). All of the nadis pass through the seven chakras into the sushumna nadi, which is within the spine. Each chakra is represented by a lotus flower, and by a geometric form, a color and a chant, or seed sound.
Of the major nadis, the sushumna is the central channel, flanked by ida and pingala on either side. Ida is the left channel which corresponds to the right brain and the left side of the body. It represents the lunar, feminine Shakti. Pingala governs the left brain and right body, and represents the solar, masculine Shiva. (See ida/pingala man attached.)
Each chakra represents a realm of thoughts, emotions, desires, goals and parts of the body in which these desires, etc. are manifested. The coiled energy of the kundalini, represented by the snake, begins at the base of the spine by the feminine, Shakti, and ends at the crown of the head, represented by the male, Shiva. When there are no blockages in the nadis, Shakti can rise form the base of the spine and become one with Shiva . Thus, self-realization arises as the kundalini (the coiled snake) is awakened.
The chakras, or wheels, can spin too quickly or too slowly. The wheels can be tilted on their axes, displaced to the right or the left, pulled too high or too low. The lotus flower can sag or bow. These defects have detrimental effects on organ functioning and emotional and spiritual states.
In the average person, the chakras operate at only a small percentage of their full capacity. As we clear the nadis or channels of energy of obstruction, more energy flows through them, causing the lotuses to flower more powerfully, generating radiant physical health and vitality.
Very simply interpreted, the chakras can be described as follows: The 1st chakra is at the base of the spine and is concerned with physical survival. The 2nd chakra in the lower abdomen relates to relationships, emotion, sexuality. The 3rd chakra at the naval has to do with our place in the world - me, mine, ego, will. The 4th chakra at the heart center invloves compassion, nurturance, acceptance, love, devotion, faith. The 5th chakra at the throat represents communication and understanding. The 6th chakra at the center of the brain or the third eye has the power of meditative and cognitive awareness, seeing through delusion to what is. The 7th chakra at the crown of the head is the meditator between the mind/body and the higher realities.
According to Layne Redmond, author of Chakra Meditation, most of us, including world leaders, operate at the level of the first 3 chakras!