We’ve all heard the word thrown around in ‘wellness’ circles, you have more than likely heard the term in a yoga or meditation class or session, and the term is used extensively among agents of ‘woo woo’. We’ve all seen the laminated Chakra sheets and ‘Chakra’ bracelets made from colourful beads in ‘Tree of Life’ and other hippie-type retail establishments….but how many of us are really aware of what they are, mean or do? Personally, even though I work with them a lot through Reiki and meditations, I don’t know as much as I’d like, so I decided to delve into the world of Chakras and learn as much as possible.
What’s a Chakra?
‘Chakra’ is from the Sanskrit word ‘cakra’, meaning wheel or circle and refers to different energy centres in the body, and correspond with major organs and bundles of nerves. Although they have only become mainstream relatively recently, they have been used in meditation practices for centuries, first being mentioned in the Vedas*, ancient texts of spiritual knowledge dating from 1500 to 1000 BC.
A Brief History
No surprises that anything to do with energy healing finds its roots in Eastern rather than Western religion, the idea behind Chakra being found in the early traditions of Hinduism. Early Sanskrit texts mention them as being “meditative visualisations combining flowers and mantras and physical entities in the body”. Some yoga practices use breathing techniques and visualisations that focus on manipulating the flow of energy through the Chakras. Many Buddhist texts consistently refer to 5 Chakras, Hindu sources generally reference 6 or 7.
Charles W. Leadbeater’s book ‘The Chakras’ (1927) introduced the ‘seven rainbow colours’ for Chakras, and together with Sir John Woodroffe’s ‘The Serpent Power’ (1919), lead to the modern Chakra system we are most familiar with today.
What Does it Mean to Have a Blocked Chakra?
In my Reiki training, we were taught that there is ‘ki’ energy, or a universal life force running through us all. If this life force finds obstacles to its natural flow, it can have a knock-on effect on our physical bodies, inhibiting our natural ability to heal (picture a tree root blocking a drain). Personally, I believe our physical and energetic bodies work hand in hand. Think about a time you were particularly anxious about something. Did you feel physically ill as well, even though there was nothing physically wrong? Or ‘butterflies’ in your stomach? Or have you ever been in a situation where you have wanted to speak up, but felt a ‘lump in your throat’ when you didn’t? Those are both physical manifestations of blocked energy centres.
Emotional upheaval can, and normally does, manifest itself physically. Upsets to our energetic selves result in upsets within our physical selves.
How Many Are There?
These days, it is widely accepted that we have 7 Chakras running along our spines:
- The Root Chakra (base of the spine)
- The Sacral Chakra (belly, just below the navel)
- Solar Plexus (stomach or upper abdomen
- Heart (centre of the chest or ‘heart centre)
- Throat (the throat – self explanatory, really)
- Third Eye (between the eyes on the forehead)
- Crown (very top of the head)
Each Chakra has its own colour and is associated with a specific health focus – for example, the Third Eye Chakra is Indigo, and is associated with intuition and imagination.
Over the coming days and weeks I’ll be delving into each Chakra more deeply, looking at what it means, how they effect our physicality, how to tell if they’re blocked and in turn, how to remedy that. I’m far from an expert on this subject, so I look forward to learning a lot myself.
Until next time, love, light and blessings, T
*The Vedas: The Vedas. These are the most ancient religious texts which define truth for Hindus. They got their present form between 1200-200 BCE and were introduced to India by the Aryans. Hindus believe that the texts were received by scholars direct from God and passed on to the next generations by word of mouth (source: hwww.bbc.co.au)