Energy Healing & Chakra Balancing
In Hindu, Tantric, Yoga and many other traditions and belief
systems, chakras are energy points or knots in the subtle body.
Chakras are part of the subtle body, not the physical body,
and as such, are the meeting points of the subtle (non-physical)
energy channels, called nadiis.
Nadis are channels in the subtle body through which the life
force (prana), or vital energy, moves. Various scriptural texts
and teachings present a different number of chakras.
There are many chakras and 72,000 nadis in the subtle human
body, according to the tantric texts, but there are 7 chakras and
14 nadis that are considered to be the most important ones.
Their name derives from the Sanskrit word for "wheel" or
"turning", but in the yogic context a better translation of the
word is 'vortex or whirlpool'.
The concept of chakra features in tantric and yogic traditions of Hinduism and Buddhism.
While breath channels (nāḍis) of yogic practices had already been discussed in the classical Upanishads, it was not until the eighth-century Buddhist Hevajra Tantra and Caryāgiti, that hierarchies of chakras were introduced.
The Texts and teachings present different numbers of chakras. Also, different physical structures are considered chakras.
"There is no "standard" system of the chakras.
Every school, sometimes every teacher within each school, has had their own chakra system."
The following features are common:
They form part of the body, along with the breath channels, or nadis, and the winds (vayus)
They are located along the central channel (sushumna/avadhūtī)
Two side channels cross the center channel at the location of the chakras (Iga & Pingala)
They possess a number of 'petals' or 'spokes'
They are generally associated with a mantra seed-syllable, and often with a variety of colors and deities
Thousand Petal’d Crown Chakra, Two Petal’d Brow Chakra, Sixteen Petal’d Throat Chakra (Nepal, 17th Century)
The modern popularity of the "Hindu" seven chakra system can be attributed to Arthur Avalon's The Serpent Power, which was Avalon's translation of a late work, the Satcakranirupana. In actuality, there are several models and systems present in Hindu tantric literature, as White documents. Kundalini is a feature of Hindu chakra systems.
Qigong also relies on a similar model of the human body as an energy system, except that it involves the circulation of qi (ki, chi) energy. The Qi energy, equivalent to the Hindu Prana, flows through the energy channels called meridians, equivalent to the nadis, but two other energies are also important: Jing,
or primordial essence, and Shen, or spirit energy.
In the principle circuit of qi, called the Microcosmic orbit, energy rises up a main meridian along the spine, but also comes back down the front torso. Throughout its cycle it enters various dantians (elixir fields) which act as furnaces, where the types of energy in the body (jing, qi and shen) are progressively refined. These dantians play a very similar role to that of chakras. The number of dantians varies depending on the system; the navel dantian is the most well-known (it is called the Hara in Japan), but there is usually a Dantian located at the heart and between the eyebrows. The lower dantian at or below the navel transforms essence, or jing, into qi energy. The middle dantian in the middle of the chest transforms qi energy into shen, or spirit, and the higher dantian at the level of the forehead (or at the top of the head), transforms Shen into wuji, infinite space of void.
According to Florin Lowndes, a 'spiritual student' can further develop and deepen or elevate thinking consciousness when taking the step from the 'ancient path' of schooling to the 'new path' represented by Steiner's The Philosophy of Freedom.
The primary importance and level of existence of chakras is posited to be in the psyche. However, there are those who believe that chakras have a physical manifestation as well. The author Gary Osborn, for instance, has described the chakras as metaphysical counterparts to the endocrine glands, while Anodea Judith noted a marked similarity between the positions of the two and the roles described for each. Stephen Sturgess also links the lower six chakras to specific nerve plexuses along the spinal cord as well as glands. C.W. Leadbeater associated the Ajna chakra with the pineal gland, which is a part of the endocrine system. Edgar Cayce said that the seven churches of the Book of Revelation are endocrine glands. However, these associations have never been scientifically verified.
Spectrum of light
A development in Western practices dating back to the 1940s is to associate each one of the seven chakras to a given color and a corresponding crystal.
For example, the chakra in the forehead is associated with the color purple, so to try and cure a headache a person might apply a purple stone to the forehead. This idea has proven highly popular and has been integrated by all but a few practitioners.
Mercier introduces the relation of color energy to the science of the light spectrum:
“As humans, we exist within the 49th Octave of Vibration of the electromagnetic light spectrum. Below this range are barely visible radiant heat, then invisible infrared, television and radio waves, sound and brain waves; above it is barely visible ultraviolet, then the invisible frequencies of chemicals and perfumes, followed by x-rays, gamma rays, radium rays and unknown cosmic rays.”
Understanding existence and physical form as an interpretation of light energy through the physical eyes will open up greater potential to explore the energetic boundaries of color, form and light that are perceived as immediate reality. Indian Yogic teachings assign to the seven major chakras specific qualities, such as color of influence (from the 7 rays of spectrum light), elements (such as earth, air, water & ether), body sense (such as touch, taste, and smell), and relation to
an endocrine gland.
The modern popularity of the seven chakra system can be attributed to Arthur Avalon's The Serpent Power, which was Avalon's translation of a the Satcakranirupana. Below is a description of the seven chakras, with various associations.
Sahasrara - Crown Chakra
Sahasrara, which means 1000 petal’d lotus, is generally considered to be the state of pure consciousness, within which there is neither object nor subject. When the female kundalini Shakti energy rises to this point, it unites with the male Shiva energy, and a state of liberating Samadhi is attained. Symbolized by a lotus with one thousand multi-colored petals, it is located either at the crown of the head, or above the crown of the head. Sahasrara is represented by the color white and it involves such issues as inner wisdom and the death of the body.
Its role may be envisioned somewhat similarly to that of the pituitary gland, which secretes hormones to communicate to the rest of the endocrine system and also connects to the central nervous system via the hypothalamus. According to Gary Osborn, the thalamus is thought to have a key role in the physical basis of consciousness and is the 'Bridal Chamber' mentioned in the Gnostic scriptures. Sahasrara's inner aspect deals with the release of Karma, physical action with meditation, mental action with universal consciousness and unity, and emotional action with "beingness."
In Tibetan buddhism, the point at the crown of the head is represented by a white circle, with 33 downward pointing petals. It is of primary importance in the performance of consciousness projection after death, in order to obtain rebirth.
Ajna - 3rd Eye Chakra
Ajna is symbolized by a lotus with two petals, and corresponds to the colors violet, indigo or deep blue, though it is traditionally described as white. It is at this point that the two side Nadis Ida (yoga) and Pingala are said to terminate and merge with the central channel Shashuma, signifying the end of duality, the characteristic of being dual (e.g. light and dark, or male and female). The Bija Mantra for this chakra is the syllable OM, and the presiding deity is a half male, half female Shiva/Shakti.
Ajna (along with Bindu), is known as the third eye chakra and is linked to the pineal gland which may inform a model of its envisioning. The pineal gland is a light sensitive gland that produces the hormone melatonin which regulates sleep and waking up, and is also postulated to be the production site of the psychedelic dimethyltryptamine, the only known hallucinogen endogenous to the human body. Ajna's key issues involve balancing the higher and lower selves and trusting inner guidance. Ajna's inner aspect relates to the access of intuition. Mentally, Ajna deals with visual consciousness. Emotionally, Ajna deals with clarity on an intuitive level.
In Tibetan Buddhism, this point is actually the end of the central channel, since the central channel rises up from the sexual organ to the crown of the head, and then curves over the head and down to the third eye. While the central channel finishes here, the two side channels continue down to the two nostrils.
Vishuddhi - Throat Chakra
Vishuddha or Vishuddhi is depicted as a silver crescent within a white circle, with 16 light or pale blue or turquoise petals.
The Bija Mantra is Ham (HUM), and the residing deity is Panchavaktra Shiva, with 5 heads and 4 arms, and the Shakti is Shakini.
Vishuddha may be understood as relating to communication and growth through expression. This chakra is paralleled to the thyroid, a gland that is also in the throat and which produces thyroid hormone, responsible for growth and maturation. Physically, Vishuddha governs communication, emotionally it governs independence, mentally it governs fluent thought, and spiritually, it governs a sense of security.
Vishuddhi has a relation to the sense of Hearing.
Anahata - Heart Chakra
Anahata, Anahata-puri, or padma-sundara is symbolized by a circular flower with twelve green petals called the heart mind. Within it is a yantra of two intersecting triangles, forming a hexagram, symbolizing a union of the male and female. The Bija Mantra is Yam (YUM), the presiding deity is Ishana Rudra Shiva, and the Shakti is Kakini.
Anahata is related to the thymus, located in the chest. The thymus is an element of the immune system as well as being part of the endocrine system. It is the site of maturation of the T cells responsible for fending off disease and may be adversely affected by stress. Anahata is related to the colors green or pink. Key issues involving Anahata involve complex emotions, compassion, tenderness, unconditional love, equilibrium, rejection and well-being. Physically Anahata governs circulation, emotionally it governs unconditional love for the self and others. Mentally, it governs passion. Spiritually, it governs devotion.
Anahata has a relation to the sense of Touch.
Manipura - Solar Plexus Chakra
Manipura or manipuraka is symbolized by a downward pointing triangle with ten petals, along with the color yellow. The Bija Manta is Ram (RUM), and the presiding deity is Braddha Rudra, with Lakini as the Shakti.
Manipura is related to the metabolic and digestive systems. Manipura is believed to correspond to Islets of Langerhans, which are groups of cells in the pancreas, as well as the outer adrenal glands and the adrenal cortex. These play a valuable role in digestion, the conversion of food matter into energy for the body. The color that corresponds to Manipura is yellow.
Key issues governed by Manipura are issues of personal power, fear, anxiety, opinion-formation, introversion, and transition from simple or base emotions to complex. Physically, Manipura governs digestion, mentally it governs personal power, emotionally it governs expansiveness, and spiritually, all matters of growth. Corresponding deity for material element of this chakra is Agni.
Manipra has a relation to the sense of Sight.
Swadhisthana - Navel Chakra
Swadhisthana, Svadisthana or adhishthana is symbolized by a white lotus within which is a crescent moon, with six vermilion, or orange petals. The Bija Mantra is Vam (VUM), and the presiding deity is Brahma, with the Shakti being Rakini (or Chakini).
This Chakra is located in the sacrum and is considered to correspond to the testes or the ovaries that produce the various sex hormones involved in the reproductive cycle. Swadisthana is also considered to be related to the genital systems and the adrenals. The key issues involving Swadisthana are relationships, violence, addictions, basic emotional needs, and pleasure. Physically, Swadisthana governs reproduction. Mentally, it governs creativity. Emotionally, it governs joy. Spiritually, it governs enthusiasm.
Swadhisthana has a relation to the sense of Taste.
Muladhara - Root Chakra
Muladhara or root chakra is symbolized by a lotus with four petals and the color red. This center is located at the base of the spine.
It is said to relate to the adrenal medulla, responsible for the 'fight-or-flight' response when survival is under threat. The Bija Mantra is LAM (LUM). The deity is Ganesh, and the Shakti is Dakini.
Muladhara is related to instinct, security, survival and also to basic human potentiality. Physically, Muladhara governs sexuality. Mentally, it governs stability. Emotionally, it governs sensuality. Spritually, it governs a sense of security.
This chakra is where the three main Nadis, Ida and Pingala, separate and begin their upward movement - criss-crossing the centers of each chakra, rising up the Sushumna Nadi along the spinal cord....until reaching the Right and Left Nostrils.
Muladhara has a relation to the sense of Smell.
There are said to be a series of seven chakras below muladhara going down the leg, corresponding the base animal instincts, and to the Hindu underworld patala. They are called atala, vitala, sutala, talatala, rasatala, mahatala and patala.
This chakra is located in the hips, it governs fear and lust.
Located in the thighs, it governs anger and resentment.
Located in the knees, it governs jealousy.
Translated as 'under the bottom level', it is located in the calves, and it is a state of prolonged confusion and instinctive willfulness.
Located in the ankles, it is the center of selfishness and pure animal nature.
Located in the feet, this is the dark realm 'without conscience', and inner blindness.
Located in the soles of the feet, this is the realm of malice, murder, torture and hatred, and in Hindu mythology it borders on the realm of Naraka, or Hell.
There are said to be 21 minor chakras which are reflected points of the major chakras. These 21 are further grouped into 10 bilateral minor chakras that correspond to the foot, hand, knee, elbow, groin, clavicular, navel, shoulder and ear. The spleen may also be classified as a minor chakra by some authorities despite not having an associated coupled minor chakra.