The seven Chakras are also known as the psychic centers of our personality. According to Rishis (sage) they are situated in our subtle body. Although there is not a scientific explanation yet regarding these psychic centers, the Rishis had experienced them while they had been in deep meditative states. There are myriads of chakras in every person, but as mentioned by the Tantrik texts of Hatha Yoga, there are around thirty-two chakras out of which seven are the most important. These seven main psychic centers of our personality will be analyzed in this blog.
Defining the Chakras
The information that we have regarding the psychic centers of our personality are mostly from the Tantra Yoga, Kundalini Yoga and Hatha Yoga. Literally the Sanskrit word chakra means wheel or circle, but as explained by the Rishis it means whirlpool.
Chakras are considered as spinning disks of energy in our subtle body. They sent vibrations at specific areas in the subtle body and they control the flow and the direction of prana within it (for prana click here: the-energy-that-gives-material-form-to-everything/ ). Although the psychic centers of our personality are located in our subtle body, yogis had realized that the chakras are very much related to our anatomical regions and our physiological functions as well, especially to our endocrine glands. Hence, they affect our physical and emotional well being.
Chakras had been experienced by the yogis in the form of lotus (padma). Lotus is a beautiful flower with very deep meaning, it is a concept and it has become an archetype. The lotus flower has to pass through three stages until it blooms: mud, water, blooming. These stages are related to a person’s spiritual path. For instance in the spiritual path a person has to pass through three phases: ignorance (darkness, mud), aspiration and endeavor (endeavor of lotus to pass through water to surface), illumination (blooming). Additionaly the lotus flower is regarded as a symbol of detachment because although lotus needs water to survive it is detached by it because its leaves are waterproofed.
The ‘anatomy’ of the psychic centers
The yogis under deep meditative states have experienced that the seven chakras are located along the merudanda, which in the physical level is our spinal column. Each of the psychic centers corresponds to a network of very subtle nadis. Nadi means flow, thus nadis are pranic channels for the flow of prana. In our physical body these nadis can be related to the arteries or nerves. According to Tantra Yoga there are approximately 72,000 nadis in our body out of which three are the most important. That is Ida nadi, Pigala nadi and Sushumna nadi, which circulate the mental, vital and spiritual energies respectively within our subtle body. The principal nadi is the Sushumna Nadi, which is considered to be inside our merudanda. As per the Rishis, in the physical body Sushumna nadi extends from the region of our genitals to the crown of the head. Ida and Pigala nadis – which are also in the merudanda– lie respectively on left and right side of the Sushumna base, that is at our genitals. They ascend together in a coiled manner around the Sushumna nadi by creating ‘meeting’ junctions in certain points of the Sushumna. Each ‘meeting’ junction created on the Sushumna nadi by Ida and Pingala originates one of the seven main Chakras that will be analyzed here.
It is important to understand that the above correlations of nadis in our physical body are not tangible, they are just a projection on it. For instance we cannot feel the nadis by putting our fingers on our spine, neither they can be seen through an X-ray nor through a body operation nor with any other medical approach because they are in our subtle body, which can only be experienced. As you know the subject of modern anatomical science is the physical body rather than the subtle body. Subtle body is still controversial subject in most of the modern medicine fields. Hence, these correlations are meant only to help the modern mind to understand the concept of nadis and the psychic centers.
The theory around the chakras – the psychic centers
According to the Rishis there are many chakras in our subtle body out of which seven are the most important and which in our physical body reflected in our spine. Each one of the seven chakras is pictured in the form of lotus having a certain number of petals and a characteristic color. Each chakra is reflected in a specific part on the spine, it is related with a certain gland, it is associated with one of the five elements of nature, a particular sense – organ, an organ of action, a vayu, a seed-syllable, a male deity and his consort and a representative animal. When one chakra does not function properly, there is imbalance of the flow of energy in our subtle body, which is manifested in the form of disease in the physical body. It is considered that there are certain diseases that are caused by a certain chakra which is not in balance. Equilibrium of chakras functions means health and to maintain this health in the physical level there are specific groups of asanas for chakra balancing. These theories are part of the evolution of chakra theory and not the base. These theories have emerged because the psychic centers have stimulated enormously the interest of many other traditions around the world which have tried to analyze them. Thus, although the source of the chakras are the Kundalini Yoga, Tantra Yoga and Hatha Yoga, the latest information that we have regarding the psychoanalysis, the diseases and the group of asana related to the chakras is a mixture of Indian tradition, western approach and Chinese medicine.
The features of each Chakra
- Mooladhara – Root Chakra
Mool = Root, adhara = Base
|Number of Petals||4|
|Disease||Bones, Constipation, diarrhea|
|Group of Asana||Standing, Balancing|
|Feelings/instincts||Desire, Survival, Confidence, fear, guilt|
2. Swadhisthana Chakra
Swa = self, Adhisthana = establish
|Number of Petals||6|
|Anatomical Part||Pubic Bone|
|Action Organ||Reproductive System|
|Disease||Reproductive Disorders, urinary disorders, kidneys|
|Group of Asana||Hip Opening|
|Feelings/ instincts||Sexual indulgent, addictions, attachment, love & hate, greed|
3. Manipura Chakra – Solar Plexus
Mani = gems Pura = city
|Number of Petals||10|
|Anatomical Part||Above navel|
|Action Organ||Eyes, feet|
|Disease||Liver, Stomach, spleen, digestive disorders|
|Group of Asana||Core strengthening, twistings|
|Feelings/ instincts||Ego, anger, career, social relations|
4. Anahata – Heart Chakra
Anahata = Invulnerable
|Number of Petals||12|
|Disease||Respiratory disorders, heart & lungs diseases, autoimmune diseases|
|Group of Asana||Back bendings|
5. Vishudha Chakra – Throat Chakra
Vishudha = purification or pure
|Number of Petals||16|
|Action Organ||Ears, vocal cords|
|Animal||Snow White Elephant|
|Disease||Thyroid Disorders, ear disorders|
|Group of Asana||Sarvangasana, Halasana, Matsyasana, Ushtrasana, Setu baddhasana|
|Feelings/ instincts||Faith, joyousness, sorrow, detachment, enthusiasm, respectability|
6. Ajna Chakra – Third Eye (The eye of intuition)
Ajna = to know or to obey
The ‘meeting’ pointof the three main nadis where they merge into one stream of consciousness up to Sahashrara.
|Number of Petals||2|
|Anatomical Part||Between eyebrows|
|Group of Asana||Trataka, meditation, Shambavi mudra, kaki mudra, jala neti, sutra neti|
|Feelings/instincts||Higher states of awareness, clairvoyance, strong will power|
7. Sahashrara – Crown Chakra
Sahasrara = One Thousand
The union of Shiva & Shakti
|Number of Petals||1000|
The above information of the chakras’ features come mostly from the Tantric and Hatha Yogic books. In our attempt to study the chakras deeply from different sources we might find some slight differences. This is because there are many interpretations of the chakra analysis by different traditions which give their own point of view.
Once again, it should be remembered that the description of chakras is directly derived from visualizations, and not from imaginative reflection, which means that the concept of chakras is essentially esoteric. Therefore, attempts at discovering the physiological correlates are bound to be misleading.