What are the Seven Chakras

 

What are the chakras? The word chakra literally means wheel or vortex (Eden, 1998). According to yogic tradition, the chakras are the energy centers in the body which and interconnect the body and spirit and the external world. The chakras are associated energetically with physical organ systems, the endocrine system and emotional states. The chakras pull in energy from the environment like a vortex and also release energy outward to encompass outer energies and draw them in (Eden, 1998).

We can balance our chakra energy in different ways.  The practice of yoga opens or clears the chakras which, in turn, facilitates self-growth and spiritual enlightenment. The practice of Reiki also clears and opens the chakras. Collette Baron-Reid has a beautiful, calming meditation called Journey Through the Chakras filled with imagery and color that clears and opens the chakras. I often fall asleep listening to it. Plus, color and sound frequencies influence the chakras. Each of the seven chakras has its own color vibration, and in addition, the seven notes of the C scale correspond to the seven chakras (Eden, 1998).

One way to think of the chakras is like energy bank areas that contain integrated patterns of physical, emotional and psychological growth. Each chakra reflects an energy type essential to the development of the self, and thus, contains the history of our personal growth patterns. Some of the different types, or levels, of chakras are group identity, individual identity, and spiritual identity (Myss, 1997).

In 1997, in her groundbreaking book, Anatomy of the Spirit,  Caroline Myss describes the opening of the chakras as paralleling our emotional and psychological stages of self-development, as a  journey of self-discovery. Myss believes that as infants and children, we start out in the energy of the first chakra, immersed in our familial and cultural loyalties. However, as we mature and individuate, different energies, new thought patterns and behaviors are activated, and so are the higher chakras open.

Photo:istock/renphoto

In her book, Energy Medicine, Donna Eden (1998) describes energy and our personal journeys in another way. She believes our personal journeys are reflected in the energy of our chakras.  One can trace the flow of a person’s life journey through the energy of the chakras: from the beginning of life, to the creation of life, to the unfolding of the individual through self-development, then reaching out to others through awareness of the impact of our actions and then the striving towards spiritual development. However, all stages of development are sacred, and none of the chakra energies are more spiritual then another.

References

Eden, D. (1998). Energy medicine. New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam.

Myss, C. (1997). Why people don’t heal and how they can. New York: Harper Books.

Rand, W. L. (2001). Reiki in the eastern world. In Lubeck, W., Petter, F.A., & Rand, W.L. (Eds.), The Spirit of Reiki (13 –17). Twin Lakes, WI: Lotus Press.


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