What are Chakras?
In the Hindu tradition, the narrative of the subtle body describes a network of energy flows expressed through a collection of energy concentrations aligned in a column from the tail bone to the top of the head. These energy concentrations act as junctions between the temporary energies and vibrations of the physical body and the eternally interwoven energies and vibrations of mind and soul.
These concentrations are described as spinning circles into and out of which their corresponding energy flows. If all reality ultimately arises from a hopelessly complex vibrational phenomenon, then what appears to our minds as energy flows of the subtle body are actually transmissions of many vibrational states. These vibrational states amount to data, information about conditions of existence sent between the Divine Mind and ourselves.
These spinning whirlpools of information form a system of subtle organs co-located within our physical anatomy. The Hindu call these spinning, energetic organs chakras, from the Sanskrit word for “wheel” or “disc.” There are seven major chakras located along the central axis of the body along with a network of smaller, less-known chakras.
The Root Chakra
At the tail bone we find the chakra called Muladhara, or the Root Chakra. The Root Chakra is the base of the column of seven chakras in the body. Its traditional color is red, the lowest frequency color of visible light.
The Root Chakra expresses the animal concerns of human existence. It’s the energy of survival, concerned with food, water, shelter, warmth, sleep, stability, and safety. The Root Chakra is connected to the Earth, making it our source of security, of feeling connected to the world and anchored in our own being. Its action is to be.
The Sacral Chakra
At the lower abdomen we find the chakra called Svadhisthana, or the Sacral Chakra. Its traditional color is orange, a higher frequency color than red representing a higher vibration of consciousness.
It’s the energy of our feelings, especially desire, pleasure, and sexuality. Anatomically, this chakra is affiliated with the reproductive organs. The Sacral Chakra is elementally related to water. Its action is to feel.
The Solar Plexus Chakra
At the Solar Plexus muscles, we come to the chakra called Manipura, or the Solar Plexus Chakra. Its traditional color is yellow, a representing a still higher vibration of consciousness. It’s the energy of personal power, of assertiveness and the expression of will.
Elementally, the Solar Plexus Chakra is associated with fire. This chakra energizes action shaped by will. The “make things happen” state of mind is centered in this chakra. The action of the Solar Plexus Chakra is to do.
The Heart Chakra
Over the heart we come to the chakra called Anahata, or the Heart Chakra. Its traditional color is green, a yet higher frequency representing a yet higher vibration of consciousness. It’s the energy of love and compassion, of connection and relationship to others. This chakra is located in and around the anatomy of the heart.
Elementally, the Heart Chakra is associated with air and the physical sense of touch. It energizes empathy, affinity, social, personal, and family relationships. Its action is to love.
The Throat Chakra
At the larynx we come to the chakra called Vishuddha, or the Throat Chakra. Its traditional color is blue, a still higher frequency of vibration and consciousness. This chakra is the center of our personal voice, not just in the physical sense but more broadly in the sense of self-expression in any form. This chakra is associated with breath.
Elementally, the Throat Chakra is characterized as sound. This is the chakra of communication, of messages both expressed and understood. Its action is to speak.
The Third Eye Chakra
Slightly above the eyebrows we find the chakra called Ajna, or the Third Eye Chakra. Its traditional color is indigo, however more recent representations of the chakra system assign violet to this charka. This is the chakra of perception and intuition, of subtle distinctions and insight.
Elementally, the Third Eye Charka is identified with light, an element closer to the purity of the Divine. Anatomically, this chakra is centered between the. Its action is to see.
The Crown Chakra
At the top of the head is the chakra called Sahasrara, or the Crown Chakra. Its traditional color is violet but in more contemporary depictions the color is white, the union of all colors combined. This is the chakra of understanding, of knowledge and wisdom.
At the Crown Chakra, the energy of the Divine Mind flows into our personal consciousness. It’s also the spot from which our subtle energy returns to God. Elementally, the Crown Chakra is identified with pure thought. It is the edge of the prism that scatters white light into constituent colors. Its action is to know.