The Chakra System
The Chakras are part of the energy system in the human body. Rather like the electric circuits in a car, human beings have their own energy flow system. This is separate from the nervous system which conducts electricity around the body along the nerves. Many forms of Eastern medical practice recognise and work on the Chakra system, and on the meridians or lines of energy, which flow around the body. You may have heard of acupuncture and shiatsu, or some other forms of ‘energy treatment’ which are becoming more common in the West today.
Chakras are like whirlpools of energy, which flows into and out of the body at certain points. There are many of these centres, but the seven main ones are by far the biggest and most important. These are the ones we will be learning about. The word chakra means wheel and comes from Sanskrit, an ancient Indian language.
In the pictures you see the names and positions of these Seven Main Energy Centres.
Our health and emotions affect the amount of energy flowing into and out of the chakras. The better our chakras are working the better our health and our feelings about life are. If this is hard to understand we can look at an example of a similar situation where we won't think about the energy centres, but about how one part of life can affect another.
For example, if we are angry we may not want to eat properly, if we don’t eat properly, our health is affected.
The other way round also applies: If we are suffering from bad health we may become angry, or bad tempered, because we don’t like being ill.
So it is with the chakras. They allow energy into and out of the body. When they are working well we say they are balanced, our body is healthy and we are feeling happy. Then one of life’s difficulties arises, for example one of our parents becomes ill, or we have a serious argument with a friend. These sorts of things affect our chakras. They can shut down or block the energy, which should be flowing through them. Sometimes they become over-active and produce too much energy. Either way we start to feel uncomfortable and this feeling is a symptom of our chakras being ‘unbalanced’.
Normally we solve these sorts of difficulties by taking a positive attitude, by talking to parents or helpful friends and by engaging in physical activities. Yoga is particularly helpful as many of the exercises mobilise the spine a lot. The main current of energy in the body flows up and down the spine, this current is supplied by the chakras. We find that yoga exercises make us feel better both mentally and physically. This positive approach gets the chakras back into balance again. If, however, we can’t seem to sort out a particular problem, our energy centres may remain unbalanced. Eventually people learn to see things differently and perhaps give up their anger or their fear. These are the kinds of emotions that unbalance the energy in the body. Life is largely about learning to live happily with others and ourselves, and learning to deal with our emotions in a healthy way. We will now look at the individual chakras to discover how they affect us in our everyday lives.