The 7 Chakras

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What are Chakras?

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The 7 Chakras and their position in the human body. Getty Images

What are Chakras?

The chakras are subtle energy centers located on the body from the base of the spine to the top of the head. There are seven major chakras positioned vertically along the Sushumna nadi or the axial channel. Each chakra with its mantra governs a specific element, plane of existence and bodily or mental function. All chakras should be healthy and balanced in order to lead a fulfilling life.

Chakras are dynamic energy pockets, 4-6 inches in diameter that control and energize the vital organs of our body both physical as well as mental. To empower and enervate our lives, these chakras need to be cleansed, nurtured, and enhanced through gemstones or crystal therapy, exercises and mudras or finger postures.

Each chakra has its respective beej mantra that needs to be repeated a specific number of times, a presiding deity, an assigned element, a plane of existence and a purpose.

Enhanced chakras can bestow extraordinary powers of clairaudient (who can comprehend sound that others cannot), clairsentient (who can understand positive and negative energies), and clairvoyant (who can see colors and things beyond the ordinary). 

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Sahasrara Chakra: The Crown Chakra

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The Sahasrara Chakra.

Sahasrara Chakra: The Crown Chakra

This chakra is situated at the crown or top of the head and is the state of pure consciousness. In Sanskrit, 'sahasrara' means thousand. This is the chakra with thousand petals; 964 outer violet and 12 inner golden petals. This chakra is a source of divine or cosmic energy and enhanced crown chakra diverts one’s focus from the materialistic to spiritual.

Its mantra is Om. Its element is spirit or atma. The presiding deity is Shiva. The colors associated are yellow and violet. Crystals or gemstones to enhance this chakra are Amethyst. It produces holistic insight, inspiration, spiritual realization and spiritual bliss. Its plane of existence or Loka is Satya.

Focus, concentrate on, and visualize the chakra point in the body and gradually it will regulate and energize the chakra. A person can experience a sensation and enhancing the chakra is believed to lead a person from the mundane to superior consciousness.

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Ajna Chakra: The Third-eye Chakra

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The Ajna Chakra.

Ajna Chakra: The Third-eye Chakra

This chakra is located between the brows. It’s a larger chakra with two petals. Its color is white though it changes with the physiological state of the person to yellow, deep blue, violet or indigo. The mantra is Om and its element is mind. The presiding deity is Ardhanarishvara, who is a half male, half female Shiva / Shakti or Hakini. It is responsible for intellectual development, wisdom, vision, concentration and meditation. It is linked to the pineal gland and eyes. Its plane of existence is Tapa.

This is the master chakra. 'Ajna' means command and it balances both the visual and intuitive consciousness. Gemstones such as Amethyst and Quartz crystals can be effective for this chakra.

Focus on and visualize the ajna chakra, join the thumb and middle finger while meditating, and keep the crystals and colors close by. For energizing, massage the chakra clockwise, and for cleansing, anti-clockwise.     

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Visuddha Chakra: The Throat Chakra

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The Vishuddha Chakra.

Visuddha Chakra: The Throat Chakra

This chakra is located at the throat. It is depicted as a silver crescent within a white circle, has sixteen turquoise petals. Its mantra is "Ham" and its element is ether, the medium of sound. The presiding deity is Sadashiva or Panchavaktra Shiva, with 5 heads and 4 arms, and Shakini is the Shakti goddess. The color is blue or smoke grey. It is responsible for speaking and communications and growth through expression.

It is linked to thyroid and parathyroid glands. Its plane of existence is Jana. On the physical plane it controls communication and expression, emotionally it controls independence, mentally it affects thoughts, and spiritually a sense of self-assurance.

The Sanskrit word 'shuddhi' means to purify and this chakra is the purification center; it harmonizes all opposites. It controls the throat, voice, trachea, thyroid. Excessive worrying over activates the chakra that can lead to sore throat, asthma. Gemstones such as Lapis lazuli enhances it.

Rotating the upper body clockwise and then anti-clockwise cleanses this chakra. Massage the chakra anti-clockwise for cleansing and clockwise for energizing. Keep the thumb and middle finger joined while focusing on this chakra. 

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Anahata Chakra: The Heart Chakra

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The Anahata Chakra.

Anahata Chakra: The Heart Chakra

This chakra is situated at the heart. It is a circular flower with 12 green petals. Its mantra is "Yam" and its element is air. The presiding deity is Ishana Rudra Shiva, and Goddess Shakti is Kakini. The colors are red, green, golden, pink. It controls the heart and higher emotions like compassion. It is linked to the thymus gland, lungs, heart and hands. Its plane of existence is 'Maha.'

In the Vedas, the heart is known as hridayakasha i.e., the space within the heart where purity resides. The word 'anahata' means unstruck sound. Within the chakra is a yantra of two intersecting triangles, representing a union of the male and female. This chakra energizes the heart and controls the lungs too. Anahata is related to the thymus, which is an element of the immune system. A strong heart chakra fights infection and keeps the body healthy. It augments peace, happiness, serenity, compassion and patience in life.

On the physical level it governs circulation, emotionally it stands for unconditional love for the self and others, mentally it rules passion, and spiritually, devotion. Pranayama or the breathing exercises cleanses the chakra. Gemstones and crystals like Malachite, Green Aventurine, Jade and Pink crystals enhance this chakra. Join the thumb and the middle finger and focus and concentrate on this chakra. 

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Manipuraka Chakra: The Navel Chakra

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The Manipura Chakra.

Manipuraka Chakra: The Navel Chakra

This chakra is situated at the navel / solar plexus, located at the hollow area between the ribs. The chakra is symbolized by a downward pointing triangle and has ten petals. Its mantra is "Ram" and its element is fire. The presiding deity is Braddha Rudra with goddess Lakini as Shakti. Its color is yellow-green and blue. It is responsible for digestion and lower emotions. It is linked to the adrenal, pancreas and digestive organs. Its plane of existence is 'Svarga.'

This chakra is from two Sanskrit words 'mani' meaning jewel and 'pura' meaning city, i.e., city of jewels. It controls small and large intestine, diaphragm, liver, pancreas, stomach, lungs and general vitality. Any disbalance can cause negative emotions – aggressiveness, greed, hatred, grudge and violence. A strong naval chakra creates heightened sense of intuition. Transfiguration of sexual energy into spiritual or other activities becomes impossible if this chakra is blocked. Meditating on the naval chakra ensures strong kundalini. 

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Swadhisthana Chakra: The Sex Chakra

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The Swadishthan Chakra.

Swadhisthana Chakra: The Sex Chakra

This chakra is situated below the navel, pubic center or groin. The sacral chakra is symbolized by a white lotus within which lies a crescent moon, with six vermilion petals. Its mantra is "Vam" and its element is water. The color is vermillion. It controls sexual functions, reproduction and sensual joy in general. It is also linked to the kidneys and bladder. Its plane of existence is 'Bhuvar.'

The Sanskrit word ‘swa’ is one’s own and ‘adhisthana’ means dwelling place. This chakra is located in the sacrum and controls the testes and the ovaries that produce the sex hormones for reproduction. Nonactive swadhisthana chakra leads to urinary and prostate problems, impotency, sterility and sexual disease.

This chakra is connected to the Throat Chakra. Enhanced sex chakra result in success in all fields of art – singing, poetry, music, etc. It is not surprising then that most artists, poets, actors, politicians, businessmen have numerous affairs as their sex chakra is enhanced. On the physical level, Svadhishthana controls reproduction, mentally it governs creativity, emotionally it lends happiness, and spiritually passion. 

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Muladhara Chakra: Root or Base Chakra

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The Muladhara Chakra.

Muladhara Chakra: The Root or Base Chakra

This chakra is located at the base of the spine. The presiding deity is Ganesha and Ma Shakti Dakini. It is symbolized by a lotus with four petals. Its mantra is 'Lam.' The element is prithvi or earth. The colors are red and orange. This controls instinct essential for survival, basic bodily functions, and basic human potentiality for a grounded existence. Its plane of existence is 'Bhu.'

The Sanskrit word 'mula' or 'mool' is root or foundation that gives stability. The base of the spine provides that stability for self- survival. It controls the muscular system, skeleton, spine, tissues, adrenal glands, skin, sexual organs, blood quality, body heat and reproduction. Hyperactive muladhara chakra leads to restlessness and lack of sleep. If underactive, it leads to drowsiness, impractical, negative or even suicidal tendencies and poor performance in life. On the physical plane this chakra governs sexuality, mentally it means stability, emotionally it rules sensuality, and spiritually it assures a sense of security.