You may have heard of the chakras but be uncertain of what they are. We’ve put together a beginner’s guide to the chakras to help dispel your confusion.
- What are Chakras?
In her very comprehensive book The Chakra Bible, Patricia Mercier describes the Chakra system beautifully.
We are not just physical bodies—remarkable though that is—for around us is a pulsating electromagnetic energy field that is described either as a rainbow-like aura or as a luminous light body. This “subtle-energy” field interacts with our physical body by flowing through concentrated spirals of energy. In Yoga practice these spiraling energy centers are known as charkas, a Sanskrit word meaning “wheels of light”.
Each of these seven energy centers has it’s own associated color, shape and purpose. When all of these centers are happily spinning, as they should, we have balance and harmony within our body, mind and spirit. Past pain and trauma can be held in these centers and cause them to fall out of balance and therefore cause various problems in our lives.
- How can my Yoga practice affect my Chakras?
Bending, twisting and stretching yoga postures are instrumental in freeing prana energy to flow through the Chakra centers. This action can help bring balance to the Chakra system. A tight area in the body may be due to an imbalance or blockage to a specific chakra, which can be released through correlating poses. Long held pain, trauma, and rigid beliefs from early life experiences could be released through the right asana, breathing exercises and meditation. By continuing one’s yoga practice, and targeting the imbalances in our Chakras, we are helping our yoga practice by individualizing what our body needs.
- How would a Yoga student begin to incorporate Chakra balancing into their Yoga practice?
There are many resources available for the Yoga practitioner looking for Chakra balancing. A Yoga teacher, class or workshop that specializes in Chakra balancing would be beneficial. There are various types of Yoga that work on the Chakras using different focuses, such as meditation or energy work. Plus there are scores of books, DVD’s and websites that can be very helpful in cultivating an awareness of Chakras and how balancing them can be beneficial in life.
We have named a few resources below.
Chakra Balancing Workbook by Anodea Judith – Includes two DVD’s with morning & evening Yoga practices and meditation
The Chakra Bible by Patricia Mercier – A very comprehensive study of working with Chakras
Chakra Balancing Yoga with Sharon Gannon
- What are some issues that could be resolved through Chakra work?
When a Chakra is out of balance, it might be because there is a deficiency or excessiveness in that Chakra. For example, excessive root Chakra might manifest the characteristics of sluggishness, workaholism, or overeating. Other issues may arise such as addictions, poor social skills, fear of change, sexual difficulties, hyperactivity, low self-esteem or poor self-discipline.
- How will I know if Chakra balancing is working?
Like all physical practices, nothing happens overnight. Continued practice brings improvements in the issues that might be affecting the Chakras. Balancing Chakras might manifest itself by feeling more graceful in your movements or more worthy to enjoy pleasures bringing about a more confident attitude.
As coauthor Elly shares: I can attest to this. After losing my only sister, I began practicing yoga. I took as many classes and workshops as I could. At first, I was unaware of any changes occurring until friends started noticing a change in me and said, “You seem so much happier now”.
In conclusion we leave you with this quote from Kabir, ancient Indian mystic, saint and poet.
Don’t go outside your house to see the flowers.
My friend, don’t bother with that excursion.
Inside your body there are flowers.
One flower has a thousand petals.
That will do for a place to sit.
Sitting there you will have a glimpse of beauty
inside the body and out of it,
before gardens and after gardens.
Written by Elly Rotheim & Janie Gibson