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What are Chakras?

Chakra is a Sanskrit work meaning ‘wheel of life’. Chakras are data banks of psychic energy present throughout and around your body, generating and reflecting the health of your mind, body and spirit. Our thoughts and experiences create energetic responses in our bodies (supportive and destructive), and our chakras each resonate with aspects of living like survival, sexuality, fortitude, empathy, eloquence, perception and faith. Anatomically, each chakra corresponds to an endocrine gland, body area and specific nerve ganglia. Chakra vibrations also correspond to an earth element, color and musical vibrations, emotional qualities and thought patterns. Multiple cultures, alternative medicines and philosophies use models of chakras.

There are many pragmatic ways of balancing chakras – I recommend bodywork, meditation and aromatherapy, together and as separate practices to enhance chakra awareness and general wellbeing.

How Does Energy in the Body Work?

Energy flows up and down our bodies as well as over under and through them. As a very simplified example, let’s think of how water flows through a garden hose, and imagine that each hose (or energy channel) is particularly calibrated for a specific fluid and psi. With a kink in a hose, flow is deficient in that place. When there is a bulge in a hose, the flow is excessive in that place. When the kid next door sticks his favorite toy down a hose, the flow is blocked.

Since we aren't made of green plastic, these excesses, deficiencies and blocks affect the integrity of our bodies and minds in subtle and obvious ways. They change our moods, our thoughts, our physiology and even our circumstances (via compulsions and aversions). Learning about how our energy works can explain things that have been mysteries and awaken us to blind spots rich with potentiality.

Read this website. It’s great.

Chakras & the Endocrine System

Supporters of the notion of chakras explain the lack of confirmation of their existence in Western medical science by noting that current technology is not capable of measuring life energy or chakras. Some point out that arguments offered so far against the possibility of the existence of chakras are arguments from ignorance. Skeptics rejoin that if chakras exist then there ought to be evidence of their existence that would be acceptable to the scientific community, i.e., they argue that they find no reason to accept claims about them since there is no empirical evidence to support their existence, which is exactly what the supporters of the notion of chakras have also affirmed.

There is, however, a marked similarity between the positions and roles described for chakras, and the positions and roles of the glands in the endocrine system, opening the possibility that two vastly different systems of conceptualization have been brought to bear to systemize insights about the same phenomenon. By some, chakras are thought of as having their physical manifestation in the body as these glands, and their subjective manifestation as the associated psychological and spiritual experiences. Different systems of conceptualization, Indian and Western scientific, make only a partial convergence in this case since Western science deals only with phenomena that are judged intersubjective….

 Parallels have often been drawn… between the positions and functions of the chakras, and of the various organs of the endocrine system.

The highest crown chakra is said to be the chakra of consciousness, the master chakra that controls all the others. Its role would be very similar to that of the pituitary gland, which secretes hormones to control the rest of the endocrine system, and also connects to the central nervous system via the hypothalamus. The thalamus is thought to have a key role in the physical basis of consciousness.

The Ajna Chakra, or third eye, is linked to the pineal gland. Ajna is the chakra of time and awareness and of light. The pineal gland is a light sensitive gland, that produces the hormone melatonin, which regulates the instincts of going to sleep and awakening. It also produces trace amounts of the psychedelic chemical dimethyltryptamine.

(Note: some argue that the pineal and pituitary glands should be exchanged in their relationship to the Crown and Brow chakras, based on the description in Arthur Avalon's book on kundalini called Serpent Power.)

The throat chakra, Vishuddha, is said to be related to communication and growth, growth being a form of 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.

The heart chakra, Anahata, is related to love, equilibrium, and well-being. It is related to the thymus, located in the chest. This organ is part of the immune system, as well as being part of the endocrine system. It produces T cells responsible for fighting off disease, and is adversely affected by stress.

The solar plexus chakra, Manipura, is related to energy, assimilation and digestion, and is said to correspond to the roles played by the pancreas and the outer adrenal glands, the adrenal cortex. These play a valuable role in digestion, the conversion of food matter into energy for the body.

The sacral chakra, Swadhisthanna, is located in the groin, and is related to sexuality and emotion. This chakra is said to correspond to the testes or the ovaries, that produce the various sex hormones involved in the reproductive cycle, which can cause dramatic mood swings.

The base chakra, Muludhara, is related to survival, excretion, and also to basic human potentiality. It is said the kundalini lies coiled here, ready to uncoil and bring man to his highest spiritual potential in the crown chakra. This centre is located in the region between the genitals and the anus. Although no endocrine organ is placed here, it is said to relate to the inner adrenal glands, the adrenal medulla, responsible for the fight and flight response when survival is under threat. In this region is located a muscle that controls ejaculation in the sexual act. A parallel is drawn between the sperm cell and the ovum, where the genetic code lies coiled, and the legendary kundalini, ready to express itself as a fully developed human being.

From Chakras, and copylefted under the GNU Free Documentation License.

Continued Learning

Super content made for curious birds who are newcomers to the topic.

Chakras - Wikipedia

The Chakras, for Healing and Self-Knowledge - Brofman Foundation for the Advancement of Healing

Chakra Yoga Sequences - Chakras and asana practice, Anodea Judith

Coming of Age in the Heart - Chakras & evolution, Anodea Judith

Chakra Meanings - Kenaz Services

Chakras - Sacred Centers, Anodea Judith

Chakras - Caroline Myss

Take the Chakra Test - Tickle

Layers of the Aura

Chakra Theory - Kenaz Services

Chakra Analysis: How are your chakras doing? - Jaguar Moon

Hand Positions for Chakra Balance - Jaguar Moon

Personality & Emotions – A Chakra Perspective - Jaguar Moon

Chakras Chart: shows corresponding sense, area of consciousness, color vibration, musical vibration, gland, nerve and system of the body and element - The Brofman Foundation for the Advancement of Healing

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