The chakra system originated in India, more than four thousand years ago. In the 1920’s, chakras were brought to the west by Arthur Avalon with his book The Serpent Power. (Judith, A. Eastern Body Western Mind: 2004)
Chakras are often referred to in yoga and meditation and it simply is the Sanskrit word that means ‘wheel’. In reference to yoga it describes a concentration of energy at various points in our bodies energy field. Every major structure in the physical and subtle body has its own chakra consisting of seven major chakras that exist within the spine which are commonly referred to (in yoga) as mooladhara, swadhisthana, manipura, anaharta, vishuddhi, ajna and sahasrara.
These energy points hold considerable information about the state of our life force enabling us to gain a healthier balanced life. Chakras cannot be physically identified like emotions, but they can have a strong influencing effect on our body and mind. By practising yoga and meditation including breathing techniques and relaxation we can influence our chakras, and in turn our health and lives.
Chakras do not work in isolation as they are able to communicate to each other through an energy channel called Nadi. This channel rises centrally up the spine and is called Sushumna. The balance of these energies affects everything you do, feel, think or say. From my own personal experience, it is better to concentrate on balancing them rather than focusing on a particular chakra.
They (Chakras) are the principle controllers and transformers of all the energy you experience every day through your interactions with people around you and your environment. (Energy flows from above as cosmic energy and from below as earth energy and converges in the main chakras of your body.) They hold an imprint of the past, and this store of past energy influences your present actions. The state of the flow of energy flow through your chakras is responsible for the way your thoughts and actions flow throughout the day. ( Dru Yoga: Stillness in Motion 2007)
The first three chakras near the base of the spine (mooladhara, swadhisthana and manipura) focus on the physical level, the heart (anaharta) and throat (vishuddhi) concentrate on our energy around us and communication. Whereas the brow (anja) and crown (sahasrara) governs intuition, insight and connection to our higher perspective.
Western scientists often are unpersuaded by the concepts of chakras mainly because there is no physical proof. Some yoga teachers make outrageous claims on the power of the chakras and their ability to ‘cure’ all diseases. From my own experience they are helpful as a reference point but also need to be balanced with common sense awareness of your own body.
For more information: From my experience there is a lot of information on the internet about Chakras, so be careful what you read. You can find some information under the title ‘More about Dru’ above. A good book and author – Wheels of Life: A User’s Guide to the Chakra System. Anodea Judith