The Chakra System
What are Chakras?
More than four-thousand years ago, the ancient yogis of India described a second, more subtle nervous system that exists alongside our physical nervous system.
The yogic tradition claims that this “subtle anatomy”, as it is often referred to, consists of a network of 72,000 channels (in Sanskrit, ‘Nadi’, translated as ‘tube’ or ‘pipe’) that conduct an energetic life-force throughout our body. These energy channels form a tremendously ramified nerve-network and meet in seven major confluences.
It is these seven confluences that are called the “Chakras” in Sanskrit language. The word itself meaning “wheel” or “circles”, as the Chakras energetically appear to some as vortexes which ceaselessly spin clockwise. So, in essence, the Chakras are major meeting points within this subtle nerve-network and thus a central part of our subtle energetic system.
The Chakras – A global and intuitive Phenomenon
Though we find the most detailed descriptions of the chakras in ancient Sanskrit scriptures the phenomenon of the Chakras is not at all limited to any single tradition but has been described and documented by many other ancient traditions as well, like ancient Egypt, mystical Judaism, Buddhism, several native American tribes and the Mayans.
Though the concept of Chakras might not seem common in our western culture, they are in fact deeply alive in our very experience right now and familiar to everybody as evidenced by a host of common expressions.
Everyone speaks of a “broken heart”, while if the heart would be scientifically dissected, we can be pretty sure it has remained physically intact. In the same way, people speak of “cold feet” or “shaky legs” (indication of the root Chakra), “butterflies in the stomach” (indication of the Sacral Chakra), pressure in the solar plexus (indication of the third Chakra) or suffocation in the throat (fifth Chakra).
Chakras are intuitive to us all, they are an intimate experience that resonates within our body, energetic system and emotional sphere at all times. We all feel the Chakras, we don’t need to think about them, which makes them such an exciting system of development, a universal tool to understand the human being and a powerful map of human development.
The seven Chakras
Most traditions describe seven major Chakras, that are lined up along and entwined around the central nerve-column called the “Sushumna” in Sanskrit. This main energetic channel of our body corresponds to our physical spinal cord and runs all the way from our coccyx to the very top of our head.
Along this channel, each of the seven Chakras energetically influences a certain region of the body and its related glands and organs but also our consciousness and several distinct emotional, mental and spiritual aspects.
Chakras operate just in between the physical and the spiritual. In fact, they serve as a mediator, a device that transforms the material into spiritual and the other way around. In this way, the Chakras are a meeting point of all possible levels of human existence – physical, energetic, emotional, mental and spiritual.
This unique position makes them a powerful tool for personal growth and spiritual transformation, as all those levels can equally be accessed and transformed through the Chakras.