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Know Your Chakras
by Barney Battles
The concept of the chakras has its roots in the ancient eastern spiritual traditions of India, and was originally discussed in the sacred Vedic texts and the Upanishads. More recently they have become better known in the Western world as a result of the New Age movement. But what are chakras, and what functions do they perform?

What are chakras?

The word ‘chakra’ comes from the Sanskrit for ‘wheel.’ Chakras are said to resemble spinning wheels, though are invisible to the ordinary human eye. Experienced spiritual practitioners are however able to perceive them after many years of mental and spiritual training.

Chakras are the energy centres which govern our bodies. While they do not have a tangible presence within the physical world, they are nonetheless deeply interlinked with the workings of the physical body, and thus play a vital role in our health and wellbeing. Each chakra is said to be responsible for the workings of a particular part or region of the body, and a corresponding portion of our inner self.

The importance of balance

As the concept of chakras is not widely accepted by western society, many people’s chakras are out of balance. Yet for thousands of years eastern traditions have known the importance of balancing the chakras for good health.

The chakras work in harmony with each other to create balance within the physical body. If one or more of these chakras is not working properly or is ‘closed’, then the other chakras will have to work harder to compensate. This kind of imbalance is said to cause illness, poor health and mental disturbance. There are a number of meditations which can be used to perceive the inner workings of the chakras and to realign them. Spiritual gurus trained in the field of chakras can help you to identify if your chakras are out of balance and aid you in putting them right.

The chakras

There are seven major chakras of the body, and hundreds of much smaller ones which work in conjunction with their larger counterparts. The major chakras are located in a line that runs parallel to the spine.

Root or Base chakra
Located at the base of the spine, the root chakra is said to be responsible for grounding us in physical reality. A poorly performing root chakra may be the cause of low self-esteem or feelings of insecurity. The root chakra is also essential for the physical control of our earthly bodies.

Sacral chakra
The Sacral chakra is located in the lower abdomen, near the naval. This chakra is important for emotional balance and sexual matters, thus a blocked sacral chakra may result in dysfunction and problems in these areas.

Solar Plexus chakra
This chakra is in the middle of the torso, and is connected to the ego and one’s sense of identity. It is a key source of strength in our outward personality, and if blocked or functioning poorly it can result in us being passive and ineffective.

Heart chakra
In line with the western connotations of the heart, the heart chakra is linked to our ability to love and feel compassion. Located parallel to the heart, an underdeveloped heart chakra can make the individual cold, distant or callous, while an overactive chakra can result in neediness and desperation.

Throat chakra
The throat chakra is integral to communication, and also relates to our ethics.  When this chakra is open and functioning correctly it enables us to talk honestly and openly, while a blocked throat chakra can make it difficult for us to communicate effectively.

Brow or Third Eye chakra
Located in the centre of the forehead, the brow chakra is responsible for seeing clearly, both in the physical world and the spiritual plane. It is also necessary for intuition, and people with well developed brow chakras may perceive things that others do not. A poorly performing brow chakra may result in an individual being unimaginative and inflexible in their thinking, while an overactive one may lead the individual to fantasise and daydream excessively.

Crown chakra
Located at the very top of the head, the crown chakra is integral to both awareness and intellect. It is also responsible for spiritual awakening and when effectively attuned it can enable the individual to experience a profound sense of oneness with the universe.

The Eighth Chakra
It has also been argued that there is in fact an eighth chakra, known as the aura. Rather than being incorporated into the physical body, it is instead located just above the head. The eighth chakra is thought to enable an individual to interact with the spiritual universe, and opening it has been linked to transcendence of the physical body and the development of spiritual talents such as clairvoyance and telepathy.

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