Understanding and working with Chakras
The chakra system is our energetic system that governs the physical, metal, spiritual and emotional aspects of our being. You can think of it on the whole, as our first line of defense, information processing system, receiving and broadcasting mechanism, and energy storehouse, all rolled into one "system". Each chakra governs specific physical aspects of the body, as well as mental and emotional energy. Although these energy centers are not typically seen by the human eye, they are certainly perceived by the subconscious mind.
Information is constantly being received and transmitted through our chakra body to inform us of our surroundings, our emotions, and our response to this information. This is how we interact with ourselves and others.
Becoming aware of and understanding our chakra system is extremely important on our journey to understand ourselves, filter and manage our energy for daily living, and balance our inner inner world.
In yogic tradition, as well as ancient Chinese Medicine and now even modern science, it is understood that the body emits an "energetic field" around itself, much like a cell of any living organism. This has been measured scientifically to be an positive wave of energy or force. The yogis believe all living things comprise of the physical body, with 7 concentric layers, or sheaths that surround and protect the body - each having its own attributes and purpose.
The 7 main chakras* are located approximately 6" outside the physical body, in the etheric sheath, or first energetic layer surrounding the body. They are located, as the above picture illustrates, along the vertical axis of the spinal column, starting at the base of the spine, or tailbone, and traveling upward to the crown of the head. The sanskrit word "chakra" literally translates to "wheel"or "disk", and it seen as a round sphere of energy, rotating counter-clockwise, receiving and transmitting energy/information. They allow energy to flow from one part of the body to another, and intricately influence our states of awareness and being.
Using the chart below, we can begin to explore the qualities and characteristics of each chakra:
As you can see each chakra has it's own color, symbolic (sanskrit) representation, and attributes. There are also corresponding sounds, tones, essences, herbs, stones, foods, etc that align with each chakra, which we can use to support the health and vitality of these energy centers.
Working with your Chakras:
As we begin to tune into each chakra, we can connect with the energy of this center with mindful intention. Through this awareness, we can begin to sense, feel and know the current state of this non-physical organ. We can assess the current health of this center by resting our attention on this area, and considering the associated affirmation. You will notice, as you say this affirmation to yourself, whether this "feels true" to you.
For example, starting with the root chakra, when you say (aloud or to yourself) the affirmation "I am safe and supported"....what comes up for you? Do you agree? Or does some sense that you do NOT feel safe or supported come up? If you are not feeling safe or supported in some aspect of your life - this will come to your conscious attention, through a feeling. This is very important because in order for us to correct or change anything - we must first become conscious or aware of it.
You can also look at physical aspects of your body, for example, a chronic lower backache would corrolate to your 1st (root) and/or 2nd (sacral) chakra. This would indicate that energetically, there is a discord in this emotional realm. For example, financial or domestic worry (feelings of uncertainty around safety/security), or the feeling of not having your needs and/or desires met, physically or emotionally, can manifest into physical pain in this area. This is because you have ignored the warning signs (information), that came in through each of the 7 sheaths (spiritual, mental, emotional) until finally the energy lands in the physical body as pain/discomfort. Perhaps you haven't wanted to admit that you are holding fear, or your needs are not being met. What began as a nudge of information, has gotten increasingly louder, as it filters closer to the body. Because it was ignored, and the energy not moved to a space of expression or consideration (which we do with our awareness and action), the energy manifests into something you cant ignore - pain. This is an opportunity to explore the underlying cause. Until you do, pain will persist. Drugs may mask the pain, but does not resolve the cause. Your body is inviting you to back into balance, asking you to honor your feelings and express them, so that you can feel good again. Once in our conscious awareness, we can then invite solutions to this dis-harmony with loving intention.
I invite you to explore this practice with me, in a safe nurturing environment on the 3rd Thursday every month @ 6:30pm at the Center for Holistic Health.
Besides the physical, harmonic, and restorative practice you will expereince at this event, you will receive handouts for continued, at home practice, and information to support you on this exploration.
Tickets available here: https://www.healingtreecharleston.com/workshops-events
I am also available to support you in this practice, one-on-one, in person or via skype session by contacting me here: https://www.healingtreecharleston.com/contact
*There are many more smaller chakras, located elsewhere in the body, for example, the hands and feet, but for this discussion, we will be focusing on the 7 main energy chakras.