By studying the chakras and what they mean, it is believed you can make positive changes in your life. The concept of chakras is rooted in the mind-body connection — or, more accurately, the spirit/body connection. If you feel pain or illness in a certain part of your body, the cause may be rooted in the corresponding chakra. Once you learn to evaluate and “diagnose” your chakras, you can see where your energy forces are lagging, figure out what is causing the problem, and (most important) fix it.
Each chakra symbolizes one aspect of our spiritual being, our state of consciousness. By improving the state of our chakras, we can achieve spiritual balance and attain a higher state of consciousness. And, of course, one of the main goals of Tantra is to continually pursue a higher state of consciousness, on the quest to become a more enlightened being and grow closer to the higher power.
Figure 13-1: The main chakras, as indicated by the circles
There are seven main chakras in Hindu Tantra: sahasrara, ajna, vishuddha, anahata, manipura, swadhisthana, and muladhara.
Sahasrara is known as “the crown chakra.” As you can probably guess from that nickname, it is located at the top of the head. A fitting location, since this chakra is believed to be the superior chakra, which is above all of the others. This represents a person or being who is immortal or godlike. It can also represent your connection with God, the universe, or a higher power. It is believed that when your energy force builds up and reaches your crown chakra, you will feel an unparalleled connection with the universe and the world around you.
The crown chakra corresponds with the pituitary gland, which controls the other parts of the endocrine system. This is represented by white, symbolizing a Godlike higher power and light. It is believed that if this chakra is closed, you will be unable to transcend your sacred sex into a spiritual experience. However, if it is open, you will be able to turn sexual union into a mystical experience.
The chakras are also sometimes referred to as “the Tree of Life.” Tantrics use the analogy that all parts of the tree serve an important and necessary function: You cannot have the fruit without the limbs; you cannot have the trunk without the roots, etc. Each chakra is believed to be equally valuable and important.
Ajna, known as “the third eye,” is the chakra that represents self-discovery, intuition, and enlightenment. Its color is indigo. This corresponds to the pineal gland, which is responsible for the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates our sleep cycles. It is fitting then that this chakra is often symbolically associated with a spiritual “awakening.” The third eye is also associated with intuition and psychic sensitivity, traits believed to be more powerful in women.
Vishuddha is the chakra located at the base of the throat and symbolizes verbalization, or saying what needs to be said. It is related to communication and self-expression. If this chakra is under active, you may be timid or avoid speaking up for yourself. As a result, you may end up simply going along with your partner's wishes. If it is overactive, you will be the kind of person who never shuts up. This chakra is considered important for good communication and expressing one's thoughts and feelings. It corresponds with the thyroid gland, responsible for weight, growth, and maturity. Its color is blue.
Each chakra is associated with a specific organ or group of organs. Tantrics believe that many health problems can be traced to an imbalance or weakness in the corresponding chakras. Thus, by ensuring your chakras are open and well-balanced, you can spare yourself considerable health problems.
Anahata is located in the chest, near the heart, so it is not surprising that it symbolizes love and happiness, joy and laughter. When you lose a love, you are said to be heartbroken. Sometimes you may feel actually pain or tightness in your chest, which can be connected to this chakra. It corresponds with the thymus gland, which affects the immune system. Naturally, it is also connected to the heart and circulatory system. If this chakra is underactive, you are short on compassion and kindness. If it is overactive, you are overly affectionate and may smother people with affection. Its color is green, symbolizing growth. Jealousy can also be associated with an unbalanced anahata. (Perhaps this is where the term “green-eyed monster” comes from.)
Manipura is the chakra located in the abdomen, below the rib cage. It is associated with feelings of control and anger. Self-esteem and the ego are also associated with this chakra. It corresponds with the pancreas, which controls the breakdown of sugar and is connected to diabetes.
If this chakra is low on energy, you feel submissive, nervous, and self-conscious. (Fittingly, you may feel like you have “butterflies in your stomach.”) If this chakra has too much energy, you will be bossy and controlling. This chakra is designated by the color yellow, symbolizing a sunny disposition and radiance.
What is chakra visulation?
Chakra visualization is a common practice incorporated into meditation rituals. To do this, you stimulate each chakra individually by focusing your energy on each particular energy center for several minutes, one at a time. As you do this, visualize a bright light in the color corresponding to that chakra. Conclude by imagining a bright light flowing through all the chakras.
Swadhisthana is located between the navel and the groin area. It is associated with the qualities of emotion and sexuality. This chakra is also connected to the idea of family and procreation. It corresponds with the reproductive organs (ovaries or testes) where sex hormones are created. It is also seen as the body's center of gravity. Fitness professionals often refer to this area as the body's core. If this chakra is low on energy, you may feel cold or distant toward other people and have trouble forming emotional bonds. However, if it has too much energy, you will get overly emotional and perhaps clingy or possessive. Its color is orange, and it is associated with the water element.
Because they are based on spiritual concepts, the role of chakras cannot be proven or addressed by the modern medical community. Needless to say, this provides skeptics with plenty of ammunition. However, many people in the medical field have acknowledged the mind-body connection, and the spirit/body connection of the chakras works in a similar manner.
Muladhara is the base chakra. It is located in the genital region, often said to be at the perineum, near the anal area. Because it is near the location of childbirth, the base chakra is often equated with life. This chakra also represents survival and the things needed for basic survival. If you are insecure about your job and ability to support yourself, this may cause problems with the base chakra. The Muladhara chakra is believed to correspond with the adrenal gland. Of course, it is the adrenal gland (and adrenaline) that comes into play in situations where we are in danger or must fight to survive. This chakra — which represents the basic concept of security and survival — is assigned a red color, and it is associated with the earth element. If this chakra has too little energy, you may feel insecure or nervous. You may also have negative feelings associated with sex. If it has too much energy, you will have a tendency to be too sure of yourself, acting overconfident and materialistic.
Because the chakras are all connected, they can each affect the others. A problem with one chakra will often cause a ripple effect that will throw the other chakras out of whack. If several of your chakras do not seem right, you may need to do some investigating to figure out which one initially caused the problem.