There are seven major chakras. They are located at the base of the spine, at the reproductive centre, at the solar plexus, the heart, the throat, the brow and at the crown of the head. These sites in turn represent the body’s major systems: excretion, reproduction, digestion, circulation, respiration and the complex functions of cognition. The crown chakra is sometimes regarded as a unique centre of consciousness and not counted with the first six chakras. It is important to note that there are other minor centres also in the hands, feet and behind the knees.
Chakra is a Sanskrit word meaning ‘wheel’ and denotes a point of intersection where mind and body meet. Chakras can also be called lotus flowers, symbolising the unfolding of flower petals, which metaphorically describe the opening of a chakra. Lotus flowers are sacred in India. Growing from mud, they symbolise a path of development from a primitive being to a fully blossoming consciousness, mirroring the base chakra rooted in Earth, which evolves into a lotus flower with a thousand petals at the crown of the head. Like lotuses, chakras have ‘petals’ which vary in number from chakra to chakra. Beginning at the bottom with the first chakra, the petals number four, six, ten, twelve, sixteen, two, and a thousand petals. Like flowers, chakras can be open or closed, dying or budding, depending on the state of consciousness within.
The chakras are traditionally represented through symbols. Their functions and nature are described not through words but through symbolic images. This is the traditional approach of all esoteric traditions, for the symbol is richer in meaning than the word.
The chakras carry the colours of the rainbow spectrum, and a shape also represents each. The first five chakras also have animal symbols that express the nature of the chakra, and an elemental symbol. There are also common associations between the chakras and the glands of the endocrine system, so when we are ‘balancing the chakras’ we are, at a physical level, balancing the glands of the endocrine system. This is of course a very simplistic explanation of the chakra system of energy.
Location: Perineum (the area mid-way between the anus and the genitals). The chakra face downwards, between the legs, the stem faces upwards into the central.
Key words: Survival
Endocrine gland: Adrenals
Imbalance: An imbalance in the base chakra can make a person feel as if they are underground and unfocused, they may feel weak, lack of confidence and be unable to achieve their goals.
Location: The chakra is approximately two fingers below the navel,
Key words: Reproduction
Endocrine gland: Ovaries and testes, it energies also effects the urino-genital organs, the uterus, the kidneys, the lower digestive organs and the lower back.
Imbalance: A person with an imbalance in this chakra may bury their emotions and be over sensitive, an imbalance may also lead to sexual difficulties, infertility problems and blocks of creativity
Solar Plexus Chakra
Location: Just below the sternum, extending down the navel. The stem is in a corresponding position at the back.
Key words: Personal power, will, self-esteem
Endocrine gland: Pancreas
Imbalance: People who are under a lot of stress will show imbalances in this chakra. It is in this chakra that negative energies relating to thoughts and feelings are processed. Imbalances may result in depression, insecurity, lack of confidence and worries about what others think.
Location: On the same level as the physical heart but in the centre of the body. Stem is at the back.
Key word: Love (unconditional)
Endocrine gland: Thymus
Imbalance: If the energy does not flow freely between the solar plexus and the heart, or between the heart and the throat, it can lead to energy withdrawal into the body; a person with an imbalance in this chakra may feel unloved, be afraid of loving, feel unworthy of love or be afraid of rejection. This chakra represents ‘unconditional’ love.
Location: The neck, with petals at the front and stem at the back.
Key word: Communication
Endocrine gland: Thyroid and parathyroid
Imbalance: Imbalances in this chakra will have an impact on speaking one’s mind. It also deals with issues of truth and expression of the soul. As well as speech, an imbalance in this chakra may affect one’s willingness to hear.
Third Eye Chakra
Location: Above and between the eyes. The stem is at the back of the head.
Key words: Inspiration, insight, completeness
Sense: There is no sense for this chakra
Endocrine gland: Pineal
Imbalance: The third eye chakra is central to ‘seeing’ past, present and future events. It is the storehouse of memories and imagination and is associated with intellect, understanding and intuition. Imbalances in this chakra may indicate someone afraid to look into the future, afraid of success, unassertive and undisciplined.
Location: At the top of the head with petals facing upwards and the stem going down into the central column.
Key words: Knowledge, understanding, release
Colour: Diamond, white, gold or violet
Sense: There is no sense for this chakra
Endocrine gland: Pituitary
Imbalance: An imbalance in this chakra may be reflected in an unwillingness to open up to our spiritual potential.