The word chakra means wheel of light in the language of Sanskrit. Chakras are the body's internal energy centers, and are aligned vertically near the spine. Energy enters the body through the head (the heavens) and the base (the earth beneath). The 7 chakras are vortex points where these forces mingle, with each producing a distinctive energy pattern. The purpose of the 7 chakras is to absorb, transform, and distribute the body's internal energy, known by terms like prana, life force, or chi. Specific organs and body parts are associated with each chakra, as well as corresponding behavioral, emotional, and personality patterns. It's important to note that the chakras are in constant interplay, and can really only be separated intellectually.
The 7 chakras are very much connected with physical, mental, and emotional development and health. In a healthy individual, all the chakras are balanced and energy flows freely and naturally through them. Similar to the principles of Feng Shui, energy can sometimes flow too strongly or too weakly, or be blocked entirely. If this happens in one or more chakras, there will be a corresponding distortion or disharmony which affects patterns of health. Sometimes, chakras get "stuck" open or closed, and it's important to uncover the root of this state for energetic balance.
How does one balance the chakras? There are several ways:
*Meditation and visualization
*Yoga and physical exercises
*Mudras (hand positions)
*Mantras and vocalizations
*Understanding and addressing the root cause of chakra disharmony (behavior and thought patterns)
When you begin to study chakras, you may find that authors have differing opinions on which body parts and organs are associated with each chakra. However, the majority of information on the 7 chakras seems to be consistent for the most part. Authors add their own take to the system, as well. Caroline Myss, for example, teaches that there is an 8th chakra which deals with symbolic sight and archetypal energy. Anodea Judith, however, ascribes archetypal sight and identity to the 6th chakra (the 3rd eye). Barbara Ann Brennan adds layers to the chakras and correlates them with auras. As you can see, there's quite a bit of information out there!
Chakras are not only correlated with body parts and other behavioral patterns, but also with colors, gemstones, glands, and so on.
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