Our chakra system makes up what is considered to be our energy body or in the yogi tradition what is called the pranamaya kosha, the layer of energy within us. Prana is the vital life force within us, it is fed by oxygen/our breath, sunlight and connection to whatever you consider to be divine source energy or God.
Our chakras provide the doorway between the physical and non-physical, star gates that open like a blossoming flower into something more beautiful than we could imagine with our limited conscious minds. By connecting to and deepening our awareness of the chakras we open the passageways into the non-physical world wherein lies the infinite spaciousness of the direct source energy. As Anodea Judith, one of the leading writers on charts puts it in her fabulous book, Wheels of Life: “Chakras are gateways between various dimensions - centres where activity of one dimension, such as emotion and thought, connects and plays on another dimension, such as our physical bodies. This interaction, in turn, plays on our interactions with others and thus influences other dimensions - our activities in the outside world”. In this way, the chakras play an integral part in who we are, how we act and what we do based on whether our chakras are in or out of balance. To become aware of and intentionally balance these centres we are in effect healing ourselves; clearing away limited concepts and beliefs so we can move forward uninhibited and without fear.
While one can absolutely connect to the unending realm of consciousness without ever learning of the chakra system, it would be doing ourselves a disservice to ignore the vital connection we all have to source consciousness within the container of our bodies.
Chakra is a Sanskrit word for “wheel” or disc” depicting the constant turning and spinning of the centre in your body. This spinning is said to give off an electromagnetic field of energy that can actually be measured with our technological capabilities today. It is this electromagnetic force; radiating out from the body that makes up what we call our aura. According to Anodea Judith, “The Aura itself is the meeting point between the core patterns generated by the chakras and the influence of the external world.” Chakra are often symbolically referred to as lotus flowers which represents the ability for the chakra to open and close just as a flower. Lotus flowers are sacred in India; growing out of the dense mud, reaching for light and blossoming into a beautiful flower. They represent our ability to come from the dark, confusing place of shadow and into the remarkable and spacious place of light. This also symbolizes the growth that comes from shadow or dark times and that while there is power in the light aspects of the chakras, there is much to learn from the shadow aspects as well.
How the 7 Chakras Work:
In a physical sense, the chakras run along the midline of the body and is thus vitally connected to our spinal cord and central nervous system. The chakras individually each connect to important parts of the endocrine system in the body creating a vortex of energy in these locations. These energy vortices are able to communicate with our body; by sending messages to the body throughout the nervous system via our facia, etc.
The chakras are connected by a non-physical channels running through the body called Nadis., which is Sanskrit for “flowing water”. There are said to be 72,000 nadis in our body! A literal energetic highway within us; connecting, communicating and interacting all the time.
There are three main nadis in our body. The first runs along the centre of the body is called “Sushumna”. This centre channel allows for the vital energy to travel throughout the midline of the body. Think of sushumna as an intended open-ended tube of energy that allows for the free flowing of energy between all the chakras. When one or more of the chakras have blockages or are imbalanced, this causes stagnation in the energy body and often times dis-ease in the physical body which can manifest in various ways. In this way, the yogic tradition is very clear - anything happening on the physical level happens first on the energetic level. When energies are out of balance long enough, that is when physical disturbances occur.
Running alongside, intersecting and connecting the chakras to sushumna are two alternate channels which control the Yin and Yang energies called Ida and Pingala. These channels along with the thousands of other nadis help the flow of energy within and between the chakras; most importantly, they are a means through our prana moves within the energy body. The movement and flow within these channels contribute to the way each chakra spins. Anodea Judith puts it so beautifully: “As energy flows upward to the right nostril through the Pingala we have a directional flow around each chakra complemented by its opposite, a downwards energy on the other side of the chakra flowing through the Ida. The two movements, turning in opposite directions around each side of the centre, causes the chakras to spin. The crossing of the nadis between the chakras makes each centre spin the opposite direction to the one above and below. As each chakra spins in opposite direction to the one above and below, the chakras can then act like gears that mesh together and form a sinuous movement of subtle energy up and down the spine”. In this way, our breath is the determining factor as to how our chakras spin, flow and blossom.
Working with the Charka System:
If you can, let go of the completely of this system for now and the actual locations of each. The beauty in working with the system is learning how to experience the system as a whole and each chakra individually. This takes time. The energy body is often referred to as the “subtle body” because it is just that. When we spend a lot of our time having big experiences, pushing our felt sense to bigger and greater limits, desensitizing, etc; it becomes challenging to feel the subtler aspects of ourselves.
People often think there is much to learn and figure out in relationship to this system and, while there are vast amounts of information out there, my experience is that working this system is all about clearing the mind and learning to feel. Start with the first chakra, close your eyes and feel down into your pelvic floor. Don’t create or ignore sensation, just allow whatever comes or downs come to be there. Just notice. Is there tension or holding happening? Relax, soften. Perhaps imagine and beautiful flower sitting in the centre of the vortex, imagine it opening. A flower doesn’t push open, force itself to bloom it just simply and effortlessly relaxes open. Keep working this this as you move up the system. Allow. Soften. And witness yourself blossom.
The Chakras and Kundalini
The purpose of opening and balancing each chakra, to allow the energy to move freely within the nadis and sushumna, is to allow the natural rise of Kundalini. Kundalini is the potential energy that sits at the base of your spine within your root charkra, Muladhara. Kundalini is also known as “Kundalini Shakti”. Shakti is the feminine energy within us all; she is the life-giver, the mother of the universe. Shakti energy waits within the first chakra represented as a sleeping, coiled snake. When this energy is awakened Shakti moves up, chakra by chakra until she reaches the 7th chakra, Sahasrara. Here at the crown rests Shiva - the masculine energy waiting for Shakti to awaken him. Once Shiva awakens; the Shiva-Shakti energy melt down together to the heart (the 4th energy centre - Anahata) which results in divine bliss, enlightenment or the experience of Samadhi. When we emphasize the balancing of the chakras we attempt to safely awaken (with time and practice) the kundalini energy; which is essentially the full waking up and becoming one with your true essence. In doing so we are activating the ultimate yin and yang energies within us and in all creation.
Isn’t this what we are doing as a collective, embracing the rising collective feminine energy to heal the distorted patriarch that has caused so much harm in the past? We are in a collective Kundalini awakening. A worldwide blossoming and opening. And anyone who has experience Kundalini energy knows that it is wrought with intensity. Keep doing the work dear ones. For yourself and for the earth and all it’s inhabitants. We are just at beginning of the system, hold on! There are a few more collective chakras to go. *
DOWNLOAD YOUR OWN COPY OF THE CHAKRA & NADIS SYSTEM BELOW
Follow Reanna on FACEBOOK
This article was originally published in the Vol. 3, 2020, “Into the Blissful Dark” issue of Birth of a Woman Magazine. That issue may be found here.