Understanding the Chakra Energy System

I’ve been teaching a local yoga class on the Chakra Energy System lately.  It is a 14 week series in which we focus on one chakra for two sessions and then move to the next (thus making 14 sessions/14 weeks total).  I wanted to share with my blog community the handout I offer those in class as well as some thoughts I have on the chakra energy system.

The bottom three chakras are the homes for some of our deepest wounds: fear (1st chakra), guilt (2nd chakra), and shame (3rd chakra). Considering that the bottom three chakras are about empowerment and the upper three chakras are about enlightenment (the 4th chakra, the heart chakra unifies the upper and lower)…it’s spiritually necessary to go into these wounds and transform them with healing awareness.

The heart is the guide for uniting lower and upper… And, the upper chakras will always be obscured until the wounds in the lower chakras are revealed and healed. The chakras, or energy wheels, are the portals between the inner and the outer world, the soul/spiritual/energy body and the material/physical body (as if they can even be teased apart!)…

Each chakra also corresponds with specific endocrine glands and participate in the complex dance of hormones in our bodies. Hormones, which are basically chemical messengers, are secreted into our bloodstream and can stimulate or inhibit certain physical processes.  In that way, it is natural to consider that chakras and their corresponding glands can become under-active or excessive.

Years ago I took a workshop with Anodea Judith.  She taught me that the nadis (small, filament energy pathways throughout the body, of which there are thousands) inform the chakra energy system.  Yoga asana (postures), mantra (sound vibration), and pranayama (breath-work) practices work on the nadis and the chakra energy system.

Understanding the chakra energy system allows us to get a window into the workings of our energy body and our soul/psyche.  This statement is written on my master copy handout on the chakra energy system:  “everything begins with making subconscious information => conscious.”  It is with this in mind that the intersection of yoga, depth psychology, physiological wellness, and dream-work becomes apparent.

I hope you enjoy the handout I have posted below!  A little note on the bija mantra (seed-sound mantra) in the information below.  I have a dash where the vowel is supposed to be because the vowels are actually a bit disputed.  The bija mantras were brought to the US just about 30-40 years ago and were all taught to be the “ah” sound.  However, Christopher Tompkins, a Sanskrit linguist is disputing that.  So, in that case, I have put the alternative vowel sound in parenthesis.

The Chakra Energy System
By Lindsay Wilson

Chakra means “wheel” or “disc” in Sanskrit; the chakra energy system is a “rainbow bridge” between heaven and earth (connects mother earth to father sky or the material with the spiritual).

Muladhara Chakra
Meaning “root support”
Location: coccyx (tailbone), anus
Bija mantra: Lam
Element: Earth
Color: Red
Sense: Smell
Gland: Gonads, adrenals
Hormonal secretion:  epinephrine (action)
Development stage: Womb to 12 months
Statement: I am here
Themes: To be here/present, physical identity, material world, the level of the gross, survival instinct, will to live, gravity/grounding, solidity, money/finances, nation, tribe, relationship to land/earth, family/ancestry/lineage

Svadisthana Chakra
Meaning “one’s own place” and some translate as “sweetness”
Location: lower abdomen, sacrum
Bija mantra: Vam (or Vim)
Element: Water
Color: Orange
Sense: Taste
Gland: Prostate, ovaries
Hormonal secretion:  estrogen, testosterone (development)
Development stage: 6 months to 2 years
Statement: I feel
Themes: Emotional identity, dual nature of existence (masculine/feminine), movement, flow, opposites desiring to merge into one, longings/desires, primal instincts, creativity, sensuality, sexuality, emotions

Manipura Chakra
Meaning “lustrous gem”
Location: solar plexus
Bija mantra: Ram
Element: Fire
Color: Yellow
Sense: Sight
Gland: Pancreas, adrenals
Hormonal secretion:  insulin (digestion)
Development stage: 18 months to 4 years
Statement: I can
Themes: Ability to act, ego-identity (self-definition), will-power, ability to burn through resistances, burn through ego to tap into true nature (one needs to construct an ego first and then burn it), purpose

Anahata Chakra
Meaning “unstruck” or “unhurt”
Location: heart
Bija mantra: Yam (or Yaim)
Element: Air
Color: Green
Sense: Touch
Gland: Thymus (involved with immune system)
Hormonal secretion:  lymphocytes (immunity)
Development stage: 4-7 years
Statement: I love
Themes: Ability to love & be loved, social identity (self-acceptance), transcendence of ego, unites heaven & earth, compassion, connection, trust, love, relationships

Vissudha Chakra
Meaning “purification”
Location: Throat
Bija Mantra: Ham (or Haum)
Element: Ether
Color: Blue
Sense: Hearing
Gland: Thyroid (metabolism)
Hormonal secretion:  thyroxine (metabolism)
Development stage: 7-12 years
Statement: I speak
Themes: Ability to speak, creative identity, self-expression, bringing inner creativity into the outer world, voice, weaving self-truth into the narrative of life, communication, oral tradition, ability to ask for and receive one’s needs, taking responsibility

Ajna Chakra
Meaning “to perceive and command”
Location: Third eye or space between temples/brows
Bija Mantra: Oam (or M)
Element: Light (akasha)
Color: Indigo
Sense: Buddhi or intellect
Gland: Pituitary
Hormonal secretion:  somatotrophin (growth)
Development stage: adolescence
Statement: I see
Themes: Ability to vision or see, archetypal identity, self-reflection, insight, psychic perception, world of light, dreamtime, resolution of duality, imagination, intuition

Sahasrara Chakra
Meaning “thousandfold”
Location: Crown of head
Bija Mantra: Oam (or M)
Element: Thought or void (beyond elements)
Color: White, violet
Sense: Chitta or consciousness
Gland: Pineal
Hormonal secretion:  melatonin (body rhythm)
Development stage: throughout life
Statement: I know, I am
Themes: To know, universal identity, self-knowledge, thousandfold lotus of inner awareness, divinity, intelligence, consciousness (universal), faith, peace, oneness, integration of whole being

For further reading:

Wheels of Life by Anodea Judith

Anatomy of the Spirit by Caroline Myss

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5 thoughts on “Understanding the Chakra Energy System

  1. Pingback: Women: Reclaiming Our Natural Rhythms | Madhupa Maypop

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