A Brief Introduction to the Chakras
The Chakras (“wheel” in Sanskrit) are energy centres and together with the Nadis they have been used as a healing system for thousands of years. Both are discussed in the Vedas. The Vedic system is a spiritual, universal and sacred way of life.
The Vedas portray the Chakras as coloured, spinning wheels which correspond to deities, Yantras, animals, body parts, crystals, foods and sounds. The Chakras transfer prana through the body via the Nadis and bridge the visible autonomous nervous system and the endocrine system with the aura.
In the Vedas there are many Chakras but seven main Chakras are used in most forms of Chakra healing. These are the Muladhara (root), Svadhistana (sacral), Manipura (solar plexus), Anãhata (heart), Vishuddha (throat), Ajna (brow) and the Sahasrara (crown).
Muladhara is most closely associated with the colour red, the note “C”, with the glandular and adrenal systems and the earth element. It is our foundation. Connected to the adrenals (the glands which – among other things – produce adrenaline, the hormone which powers our “fight or flight” response), it is associated with the issue of our physical survival. Imbalance in this Chakra can manifest as anger, resentment, frustration, low self-esteem and the need for grounding. However, when this chakra is in balance we feel secure and connected.
Svadhistana, the sacral Chakra, is linked to the colour orange, the note “D”, the ovaries and testes, as well as to the water element. It governs emotions and sexuality – our relationship to our own sexuality and emotional balance regarding sexuality is a key issue here. Additionally, Svadhistana is connected to creativity. When Svadhistana is balanced we feel emotionally stable, sexually fulfilled and can accept change without resistance. In contrast, imbalance in Svadhistana can lead to trauma, dependency and issues with both trust and boundaries.
Manipura is linked to the colour yellow, the note “E”, the pancreas and the element of fire. Lying behind the stomach, the pancreas creates a variety of substances which are vital to digestion, as well as insulin, which is why one physical symptom of imbalance in Manipura can be diabetes. Some call Manipura the power centre; it is the centre for wisdom, self-evaluation and deep joy. Its link to the fire element means it governs the will, personal power, the digestive system and muscles. A balanced Manipura means we feel protected, spontaneous and energetic but imbalance can cause irrational fears and anxiety.
Anãhata is the heart Chakra and connects to the colour green, the note “F”, the thymus and the air element. It governs our social identity, self-acceptance, love and relationships. The thymus produces hormones which stimulate growth as well as lymphocytes which provide immunity. A balanced Anãhata allows us to love deeply and unconditionally, as well as to feel compassion, peace, unity and to be deeply centred, whilst imbalance creates jealousy, envy and self-hatred.
Vishuddha connects to the colour blue, the note “G”, the thyroid and the ether. Sitting on either side of the larynx and the trachea, the thyroid manufactures thyroxine which controls metabolism. Behind it is the parathyroids which controls calcium levels in the blood. Together they are believed to affect mental development. Vishuddha is linked to all forms of communication and also corresponds to the need for balance between the rational, cerebral and the emotional expression of the heart. It is also connected to creative identity, self-expression and taking responsibility for one’s own personal needs. A balanced Vishuddha allows effective communication, creativity and expression, whilst imbalance leads to isolation, aloofness and compulsive lying.
Ajna is the brow Chakra and is connected to the colour indigo, the note “A”, the pituitary gland and thought. The pituitary gland is found at the base of the skull and controls growth, metabolism and body chemistry. It includes oxytocin, the hormone which produces labour contractions and governs milk production. The link between Ajna and motherhood is interesting as many mothers feel that their intuition is at its peak at this time. Consequently, a feeling of lack of intuition, or lack of trust in it can occur if Ajna is imbalanced. Ajna is also related to identity, intuition, wisdom, visualisation and clairvoyance. In balance, Ajna allows us to see – both physically and intuitively – and opens our psychic connection.
Sahasrara, the crown Chakra, corresponds to the colour violet, the note “B”, the pineal and light. The pineal gland is pea sized and is found deep inside the brain. It was considered to be the seat of the soul in the 17th century. Research has found it to be responsible for production of melatonin, the hormone which controls our sleep cycles. The pineal is the control centre for effective functioning of our physical, emotional and mental selves. Sahasrara is connected to thought, universal identity as well as spirituality. In balance, Sahasrara provides knowledge, understanding and a spiritual connection however, an imbalance in Sahasrara creates separation of the self and anxiety.