Literally means “wheel”. Refers to centers of energy in the astral spine.
As this energy enters the body, it travels down the astral spine and is dispersed into the body from six centers, or chakras, located along the astral spine. This subtle spine can be visualized as a tube of light running centrally through the body from the base of the spine to the brain. The central nervous system is the physical expression of the astral spine and, interestingly, has major centers near the areas of each of the chakras, where groups of nerves branch out from the spinal cord.
There is a vast and somewhat complex yogic science dealing with the chakras. Each chakra is associated with a quality of consciousness; an element; a planet; two astrological signs (one as the energy ascends and one as it descends); a sound; a spiritual quality; and so forth. As energy passes through or rests in any chakra, the mind is influenced by the qualities of that center. In the deepest states of meditation, all prana is withdrawn from the body into the chakras and then directed to the spiritual eye, enabling enlightenment to take place. (1)
The Seven Chakras
Here is a list of each chakra in order of its location in the spine:
- The muladhara chakra is at the base of the spine. It represents the positive qualities of perseverance and loyalty, as well as stubbornness and attachment.
- The swadisthana chakra is about an inch above the first chakra. It represents creativity and sexuality.
- The manipura chakra is behind the navel. It represents self-control in its positive aspect and aggression in its negative
- The anahata chakra is at the heart area. It represents feeling and emotion.
- The bishuddha (or vishuddha) chakra is in the throat and represents calmness.
- The highest chakra, the agya chakra, has two opposite ends. The negative end is at the base of the skull and represents the ego. The positive end is about an inch behind the point where the eyebrows meet. Bringing energy to this point brings enlightenment.
- The sahasrara chakra, or crown chakra, is at the top of the head and represents complete liberation. (2)