Demystifying the Chakras: An In-Depth Look at the Subtle Body
By: Jessica Jayne
The energetic system is a sophisticated body of Nadis (energetic channels) and Chakras (energy centers) that house the Pranic life force, or vitality, that is the foundation of all creation within the physical body and the World.
Though most yoga schools focus on the three main Nadis and the seven main Chakras, many Tantric texts say there are 72,000 Nadis that channel Prana to every cell within the body.
The three main Nadis are what house the majority of our Prana (vitality), and within the center channel, Sushumna Nadi, are the seven main Chakras.
Chakras, by definition, are spinning wheels of energy. They are the portals in which our Prana runs through, and within each Chakra is a specific vibrational energy that affects our nature in some way. Each Chakra governs a different aspect of our personality or human nature, but they all coincide to bridge together our relationship to the physical and divine planes.
Though there isn’t necessarily a systematic route to working with the Chakras, the lower three energy centers are related to our connection with the physical body, Earthly realm, and identity. Whilst the top three chakras are in relation to the true reality, higher Self, and Divine.
The Seven Main Chakras
Muladhara, The Root Chakra
Governs identity, sense of security, relationship with the body & Earthly realm
The root chakra, Muladhara, is the foundation of our sense of self. It is in direct correlation with our relationship to the physical body, personality, and identity.
When we are balanced in the root chakra, we have a foundational understanding of who we are in this Earthly realm and feel secure and stable in that personality and body.
When we are out of balance in Muladhara, we can easily become ungrounded, lack a sense of self, and often struggle to find security and often seek it outside of ourselves rather than from within.
Svadhishthana, The Sacral Chakra
Governs our ability to be in a constant place of flux, fluidity, sexuality, and creativity
The sacral chakra, Svadhisthana, is the energetic portal that holds our sexual energy, creativity, and fluidity within our nature.
When the sacral chakra is balanced, we are able to view our lives through the perception that flux is the constant nature of the Universe, and we ourselves are also in a constant state of flux. We are dancing with life, recognizing that life is a dance itself. Our sexual energy is freeing us, rather than trapping us, and we are in alignment with our creative forces as well as our sexuality. We are able to be playful, and find great joy in exploring the World and ourselves rather than feeling a need to be defined by anything.
When Svadhishthana is out of balance; we could hold onto things out of attachment long after they were nourishing or necessary, deeply struggle with change, feel a sense of entrapment within our sexuality and/or feel that our creativity and playfulness is dwindling or non-existent.
Manipura, The Solar Plexus
Governs our personal power, transformational energy, and self-esteem
Manipura, is translated from Sanskrit into ‘lustrous gem.’ This chakra is the home to our personal treasure center of power, self-worth and transformation. Within all of us is the ability to harness our warrior energy-- and experience true, profound, transformation of the Self. Burning away all barriers within our body, energetic field, and mind that is holding us back from our true essence.
When Manipura is in balance, we recognize our own sense of true power. We see and feel our strength and self-worth, and nurture it rather than being fearful of it.
When the solar plexus is out of balance, we may experience a feeling of ‘stuckness’ in our ability to transform our limiting beliefs. We may have a low sense of self-esteem, not understand or see our own value, and/or struggle to step into our power.
Anahata, The Heart Chakra
Governs our ability to be open, compassionate, and witness the connection between all of us
Anahata, is the portal to spiritual awakening. The Sanskrit word Anahata is translated best into the English language through the terms: unstruck, unhurt, and unbeaten. In other words, the heart chakra is intertwined with the underlying source of all creation, that is eternally unstruck, unhurt, and unbeaten. This term implies that this underlying vibration is what connects each and every one of us, and it is completely untouched by suffering, ignorance, and illusion. In its essence, it is pure, unconditional, loving awareness-- and what I like to call the beat of the ‘Universal Heart.’
When Anahata is in balance, we are in alignment with the Universal heart. We have a deep understanding of the interconnectedness that intertwines us all, and we translate this understanding through love and compassion. We are able to recognize other beings as another version of ourselves, and with this, we begin to step into another plane of consciousness. Here, we open ourselves to the true reality of all things through the portal of the heart.
When Anahata is out of balance, we may be closed off, unable to have compassion for ourselves or others, and feel very separated from those around us.
Vishuddha, The Throat Chakra
Governs our ability to be in alignment with our highest expression of Self
Vishuddhais the house of our highest form of expression. In other words when we are aligned with our highest Self, combined with the awareness of the heart (faith, trust, love, compassion, etc) we are able to communicate our inner truth and highest form of expression without fear or confusion.
Expression comes in many forms; the words we speak, the actions we take, the boundaries we put up, the art we create, the work we do, the relationships we nourish… Vishudda is the energy center that houses are ability to be in full alignment with the highest parts of ourselves in all aspects of expression and in the way we relate to the World.
When Vishudda is out of balance, we may struggle with the fear of not being accepted or judged if we express our truth, we might compromise our own boundaries and needs because we are afraid of the way it will affect others, and we may struggle to communicate and express in a general sense. Our voice may feel like it is being shrunk, and with that-- we ourselves may feel like we are shrinking.
Ajna, The Third Eye Center
Center of intuition, inner guru, govern our ability to see and witness the true reality behind the veils
Ajnais the center of higher knowledge, the home of our inner guru and the ‘third eye’ that is able to see past all of the illusions and witness the true nature of reality.
The third eye center is where we transcend our awareness to detach from any specific perception, and see past what we have deemed the ‘truth’ within our own individual human experience, and witness the cosmic perception. Here, we are able to see the basic laws of the Universal truth, the ‘wisdom’ of every Sage, every ancient scripture, every philosopher known to man. The wisdom is not external, and actually lays within every single one of us, and when we are able to stand back far enough from the attachment of our own perception/individual truth, we begin to get a glimpse of what that looks like.
When we are out of balance in Ajna, we may be out of touch with our inner wisdom, have trouble seeing past our own perception, have difficulty trusting ourselves, and get caught in the illusions of ignorance, attachment, and ego.
Sahaswara, The Crown Chakra
Color: Purple, or White
Houses are relationships to the Divine, and the rest of the Whole
Sahaswarais often referred to at the thousand petal lotus chakra. This chakra is situated at the crown of the skull, and is the house of our relationship with the Divine. Within this energy center holds our source of spiritual connection, understanding of the Universal consciousness, and our sense of oneness with the rest of the Whole.
When we are in balance in Sahaswara, we have a solid and deep understanding of our connection to our higher Selves, every being on the planet, the planet itself, and ultimately the Divine energy that is the source of the entire Universe.
Here, we transcend from ‘i’ to ‘we’-- as the nature of our being shifts from that of separateness, to pure, unified, oneness.