There can sometimes seem to be a lot of jargon in the yoga world! One of the words you may hear is ‘chakras’ … so what are they are why do they matter?
In yogic traditions there is the belief that we have what is known as a subtle energy system – when you are in the relaxation part of a class your teacher may refer to ‘prana’ and drawing in prana – also known as ‘life force energy’ or ‘cosmic energy’ – i.e. energy from the universe. This energy moves through our body through chanels known as ‘nadis’. Where the channels intersect is known as a chakra.
You may like to think of this as a network or roads with junctions. When traffic (energy/prana) is flowing smoothly everything works well. As soon as a route gets congested – often at a junction point (chakra), things start to go wrong. Equally, if the traffic is moving too fast, things can go wrong. So the idea of working with our chakras is to balance out the energy flows so that we feel great – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
Chakra translates as ‘wheel’ – they rotate to help move the energy around. Whilst there are thousands of channels and many, many wheels, we tend to focus on the 7 major chakras which are located at the front of the spine and upwards:
- Muladhara – base of spine
- Svadisthana – below navel
- Manipura – solar plexus
- Anahata – heart
- Vishuddi – throat
- Ajna – between eyebrows
- Sahasara – crown
Each of the chakras is associated with different physical organs, glands and senses. With a particular element,a specific planet, essential oils, crystals, animals and so on. It’s a complex area, but in essence, simply put :
- Muladhara – security, stability, grounding, courage
- Svadisthana – playfulness, experimentation, sense of self
- Manipura – power, transformation, change
- Anahata – compassion, peace, trust
- Vishuddi – self- expression, will, communication
- Ajna – clarity, trusting inner guidance
- Sahasara – inner wisdom, higher mind