What the H E L L is a C H A K R A ?
I'm so happy you asked!
Not knowing what chakras are is a lot like not knowing that your heart has a left and right ventricle and atrium. You may not know they are there, or what they do, but nevertheless they exist and they are still important!
W H A T C H A K R A S D O ?
The function of the chakras is to move life force energy. Let's use the term prana to identify this energy for now. Prana is the breath of life, moving all around us. We breathe it in and with our lungs, but we also take it in and out through our chakras.
The word chakra actually means “spinning wheel of light” in Sanskrit. These spinning wheels are like tiny whirpools, sucking in energy from all around.
If you close your eyes and pay attention you can actually feel the current flowing in and out. Try this simple heart chakra meditation and test it out. The best way to get familiar with chakras is to experience the flow of your Chi firsthand.
Read through this a couple times and practice it on your own, or find a partner to read it aloud to you. This particular meditation would be best with a partner if you can find one.
G U I D E D M E D I T A T I O N : Heart Chakra Awareness
Sit comfortably in a chair with your feet planted, or on the floor with your legs crossed. Keep your back straight and your neck long. Don't slouch. Posture is important, good posture allows energy to flow freely. Stooped posture can lead to “kinks” a lot like the ones that form in a garden hose. It slows the flow of energy.
Close your eyes and take 5 – 10 deep breaths. Don't rush through them. Savor them. Sip the prana gently. Hold on to it for a few seconds. Expel the air gracefully.
Now center your attention on your heart. Move the eyes downward. Imagine looking down into your chest. See your heart pumping in your mind's eye.
Feel your heart beating. Feel it's magnetic field pulsating in your chest and creating a field of energy all around your body.
Stay focused on the sensations emanating from the heart as you breathe. The breath should be a steady, rhythmic pattern of inhale...exhale...inhale...exhale...
Remain here for several minutes. Observing the sensations in the body. Observing the activity in the mind, while staying detached from any specific thoughts. Just be aware that there are thougths present, without getting lost in them. Stay centered on your breath and focus on your heart.
C H A K R A S & P R A N A
“I am a soul that has taken a body.”
Energy channels run throughout the body. We call these channels nadis. The points where many nadis intersect is called a chakra. There are hundreds of channels and many chakras, but there are 7 primary chakras. These primary centers of energy are located along the spine in this order:
Root Chakra (muladhara)
Sacral Chakra (swadhishtana)
Solar Plexus Chakra (manipura)
Heart Chakra (anahata)
Throat Chakra (vishuddha)
Third Eye Chakra (ajna)
Crown Chakra (sahasrara)
Prana is the vital life force energy that flows through the physical body from the astral body. Every living thing has an astral body, which is connected to the physical body by a thread through which currents of energy/information pass. When this cord is severed the physical body dies and the astral body departs.
“Each chakra is like a telephone exchange, with many wires leading in and out. The chakras represent the vibratory levels of the astral body, becoming more subtle as they ascend. Through breathing exercises, or pranayama, the Yogi tries to raise his or her vibratory level.” - from Yoga Mind and Body, Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre
There are many ways to improve the flow of prana through the chakras. Meditation, breath work and Reiki are great places to start, but through creative and intentional channeling of energy there are limitless ways you can bring balance to your chakras.