The Chakras often come up when referring to energy work and for good reason. They are a central point for many alternative, energy based healing and spiritually minded practices. The Chakras are the main energy centres of the physical body. There are seven primary centres; the root, hara, solar plexus, heart, throat, third eye and crown of the head, each with its associated correspondences (see below diagram for more detail). These seven Chakras are the ones that tend to be most familiar, especially if you have done any meditation, an energy based healing or Activation.
The primary Chakras literally act like a vortex of energy that lesser channels feed into. Conversely, the Chakras also act as a conduit to the many connecting pathways of energy within the physical body.
It is often said that an imbalanced or closed Chakra can indicate an imbalance in the physical or emotional state of a person. When the Chakras are open and flowing then our health, mind and spirit is in alignment, which allows us to live life from a balanced, more contented place. While these teachings on the Chakras are true, like so many aspects of metaphysics, there are also deeper, more complex layers to the Chakras and their corresponding energy channels that often gets overlooked.
Teachings on the Chakras and more broadly the energy systems of the body have been around since early times and exist across cultures, philosophical systems and spiritual practises.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is an alternative, energy based practise that dates back over 2000 years and encompasses modalities such as acupuncture, herbal medicine, chi kung and tui na (massage). It is also based on an understanding of the energy pathways of the body. In TCM, these channels are referred to as meridians.
There are twelve main meridians which Qi, or energy, flows and an imbalance in the meridians can result in an imbalance in a person's physical or emotional state. The meridians can be also be accessed through meridian points or acupressure points which are activated in massage and acupuncture.
The twelve main energy channels are related to the internal organs system: lung, large intestine, stomach, spleen, heart, small intestine, bladder, kidney, pericardium, triple burner, gallbladder & liver, some which overlap with the seven main Chakras. In additional to the twelve main channels there are also eight extraordinary channels which are deep energetic pathways that can treat conditions on a physical, emotional and spiritual level as well.
In Hindu philosophy the nadis are referred to in numerous texts dating back over 3000 years. Vedic philosophy, ayurvedic medicine as well as systems of yoga also refer to the nadis which are said to be energy channels or streams through which prana, life energy flows. It is said that there is a network of approximately 72,000 nadis (some texts refer to even more) that distribute this essential life force through the body.
Of these 72,000 nadis there are three primary channels; Ida which corresponds to the sympathetic nervous system, Pingala which corresponds with the para-sympathetic nervous system, and Sushumna, which corresponds with the central nervous system that runs alongside the spine.
In diagrams of Kundalini Yoga, the three primary nadis can be seen to cross and intersect with the Chakras, hence the analogy of the awakening of kundalini energy as the unleashing of the serpent coiled at the base of the spine.
The same concepts and their association with health and well-being can also be found half a world away in western philosophy and mythology. The caduceus of Hermes is the staff carried by Hermes Trismegistus in Egyptian mythology and Hermes in Greek mythology.
The caduceus is a winged staff with two snakes wrapped around it. It was an ancient astrological symbol of commerce and is associated with the Greek God Hermes. In the seventh century, the caduceus came to be associated as a precursor of medicine.
The link between the caduceus of Hermes and medicine seems to have arisen through Hermes' association with alchemy. By the end of the sixteenth century, the study of alchemy included not only medicine and pharmaceuticals but also chemistry, mining and metallurgy, the study of precious metals.
Despite debate over whether it is the proper historical symbol of medicine, many North American medical groups adopted the twin serpent caduceus of Hermes as a medical symbol during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and still use it to this day.
There are a number of ways we can work with the Chakras to help us bring about improved health and a sense of well-being in our lives. Meditation with a focus on opening the Chakras and releasing blockages can be one way to strengthen our connection to and awareness of this energy system. Breath work such as the Six Healing Sounds and other exercises from Chi Kung can also bring greater balance to the Chakras and their corresponding channels.
There are also more direct ways to balance the Chakras. The Life Activation consists of an energy balancing where the Chakras, elemental and magnetic energetic lines of the body are brought into alignment. Whatever the means, the Chakras are key component to our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health and well-being.
Interested in working more with the Chakras? Check out our Monday Night Meditation or our Tuesday Night Chi Kung or book your Life Activation today. Interested in learning more about the Chakras and other key metaphysical teachings? Check out our Empower Thyself class.