You are an energetic being.
A sparkling- radiating- pulsating ball of pure aliveness.
Every moment of your life you are surrounded by an electromagnetic field, radiating from your body, mind & spirit. New Age traditions call this your Aura.The health of your organs, the time of day, your mental/emotional state and many other complex factors alter the intensity and distribution of this electromagnetic field. Researchers like Valerie V. Hunt; author, scientist and former professor ( She’s 97) of physiology at the university of California – consider our thoughts and emotions to be the primary organiser of the health and vitality of this energy field. So what is this energy field made of?
Jewish cabalists call it yesod
Chinese call it Qi or Chi
Yogis call it prana
Japanese call it Ki
Scientists call it electromagnetic energy
I like to think of it as the stuff that makes me alive. It is the difference between drift wood, and a living tree, a corpse and me or you, a t-bone steak and a cow – ya dig?
I bet you can feel this energetic field. Have you ever been in the same room as someone you barely knew or have never met, but just couldn’t stand being around them, irrespective of anything they have said or done? You are probably picking up on this person’s energy field, and for some reason, it is not playing nice with yours.
It is the same feeling when someone enters your personal space. For some of us, our personal bubble/ aura may extend from a few feet to several meters. However, we all know when someone has crossed that invisible boundary – we can feel their energy field brushing up against ours. Sometimes that feels good, warm, welcoming or exciting and other times it feels neutral or repulsive.
Within this energy body, you have 7 main energy centres known as the chakras. In the photo above, you can see a depiction of the 7 main chakras as the colours of the rainbow, as they run from base of the spine to the crown of the head. The large white circle at the top represents our connection to the universal energy body. I like to think of the chakras as our energetic organs.
While each of these chakras or energy centres is said to have a specific location within the physical body, they are not physical in nature like your heart or lungs, but rather they are energetic vortexes. The direct translation for the sanskrit word chakra is disc/wheel.
The most common way to visualise the chakras is as spinning wheels of coloured light (the colour depends on the chakra). The chakra’s are not hierarchical – meaning one is not better or more important than the other – they must all be open and balanced for complete physical, emotional and spiritual health – however they do run from bottom to top.
Chakra 1 – Muladhara / Root – located in the base of the spine
Chakra 2 – Svadhisthana / Sweetness – located in lower abdomen, genitals & hips
Chakra 3 – Manipura / Lustrous Gem – located in the solar plexus
Chakra 4 – Anahata / Unstruck – located in the chest/heart area
Chakra 5 – Vissudha / Purification – located in the throat
Chakra 6 – Ajna / To Perceive – located in the eyebrow center
Chakra 7 – Sahasrara / Thousandfold – located in the top of the head
The chakras give us a framework for understanding ourselves, our needs and where to focus our efforts for personal growth. Each chakra can be healthy and working smoothly, or it can be blocked, or have too little or too much energy.
The practice of Hatha Yoga (physical postures), pranayama (breath work) and meditation all work to open, balance or strengthen these energy centres.
The health of our whole energy field, including our chakras is essential to leading a healthy physical and emotional life.
“Health first and foremost is health of the electromagnetic field. You’re not going to have health if you don’t have health in the electromagnetic field because this is the source.” – Valerie V Hunt
I teach extensively about the chakras in my weekly yoga classes – but I haven’t revisited them for a while, so I thought it might be nice to touch on them here on slowyoga.com.au. For the next few weeks I will go through each chakra in more depth, and offer yoga poses, practices and meditations to start exploring and balancing the chakras.
Understanding and working with the chakras is a personal favourite pass time of mine (I do have friends I promise) – so I hope you enjoy! If you have specific questions or something to say, feel free to leave a comment below.
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