The physical body is the medium through which our consciousness is expressed. It represents the lowest level of our energy vibration. In other words, our physical body is the most dense layer of the energy layers that comprise who we are. Our emotional, mental and spiritual elements, or energy layers, vibrate at higher frequencies than the physical body and so are mostly invisible to the naked eye. Many of us are unaware that we have these more subtle energy bodies.
Through our physical bodies, we experience kinetic movement, awareness of body parts and functions, touch, taste, smell, sight, hearing and interaction with nature, including earth and water elements. Through our emotions, we experience compassion, love, fear, doubt, the need for self-expression; opening ourselves up to joy and happiness.
On the mental level, we use our conscious minds to think, plan, evaluate, analyse, to express ideas, and to articulate desires such as the desire for inner peace. The spiritual element focuses on the evolution of the soul.
Energy centers called chakras (which means ‘wheel’ in Sanskrit), are located in the body. The chakras link these four different levels together. For example, the chakras link an organ, a group of organs or a physical part of the body, to our higher levels of being. The flow of energy is adapted from pure spirit to physical manifestation. When the chakras become unbalanced or blocked, various conditions can result ranging from phobias, fears and mental ailments right through to physical pain, disease and suffering.
There are numerous chakras located throughout the body, and some of them correspond to pressure points and meridian points. We will concentrate on the major seven chakras — root, sacral, solar plexus, heart, throat, third eye and crown, we can imagine them as points located along the spine; from the root chakra at the base of the spine to the crown chakra at the top of the head.
The chakras can be described as spirals of light, radiating from the universe with the point of the spiral located at the chakra position on the body. In a healthy, balanced system, these points of energy or spiral light are said to ‘spin’, thus channeling universal energy throughout our bodies, harmoniously linking our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual selves.
The chakras spin in different directions for males and females. For females the directions are as follows:
- Crown – counter-clockwise
- Third Eye – clockwise
- Throat – counter-clockwise
- Heart – clockwise
- Solar Plexus – counter-clockwise
- Sacral – clockwise
- Root – counter-clockwise
- For males, the directions are the opposite
FIRST CHAKRA -- ROOT -- MULADHARA
This chakra is the source of strength and survival and is essential for proper development. The other chakras rely upon the root chakra to perform properly and they may be affected if it is unbalanced. The root chakra is situated at the base of the dorsal spine between the anus and the genitals. The colour associated with the root chakra is red. In the physical body, the root chakra is associated with the excretory system including the kidneys, bladder, intestines, bones, including the spine, also hair, nails, ejaculation, and the physical body in general.
The root chakra represents basic survival requirements for the body (abundance of money, food, and shelter), nutrition, security, stability, grounding, and connection with Mother Earth.
The mantra associated with this chakra is ‘Lam’. The representation of the mantra is the home of Kundalini, the vital energy (Shakti), which is symbolized by a sleeping, coiled snake. There are several divine beings, or deities, that pertain to this chakra: Bala Brahma, Ganesh, and Indra.
Mars is the planet analogous to the root chakra. Gemstones belonging to this chakra are agate, red jasper, red coral, ruby, hematite, and obsidian.
Related astrological signs include Aries, Taurus, Scorpio, and Capricorn. The parallel element is fire, and the metal associated with the root chakra is iron. Related aromas are cedar and cinnamon. The corresponding sense is sight.
2ND CHAKRA -- SACRAL -- SVADHISHTHANA
The sacral chakra is highly influential and governs sexual and emotional energy of the body. It contains information about how experiences are felt and registered. The sacral chakra is located just below the navel, in the lower abdomen area between the fifth lumbar vertebra and the sacral bone. Orange is the colour associated with this chakra.
The sacral chakra affects everything that is fluid in the body. It regulates digestion, urine, and the sexual organs: ovaries, testicles, prostate glands, gonads, reproductive organs, lower back, bladder, kidneys, and lymphatic system.
This chakra corresponds to relations and thoughts, how we relate to others, feelings of depression, mood swings, bodily touch, and cleanliness.
The mantra related to this chakra is ‘Vam’. It is symbolised by the crocodile. Vishnu is the deity associated with the sacral chakra.
The sacral chakra’s corresponding planet is Mercury; related gemstones are carnelian and moonstone. Cancer, Libra, and Scorpio are its astrological signs. Its related element is water, and its corresponding metal is iron. Aromas associated with the sacral chakra are ylang ylang and sandalwood. The corresponding sense is taste.
3RD CHAKRA -- SOLAR PLEXUS -- MANIPURA
The solar plexus, or the City of Jewels, is the ego and power centre and relates to the personality. It contains information on the distribution of energy in the body related to personal freedom. The solar plexus is located at the base of the rib cage in the upper abdomen area, just above the navel. The colour of this chakra is yellow. Corresponding parts of the physical body are the digestive system: stomach, liver, galls bladder, and pancreas.
The solar plexus represents our hopes and fears, standing up for ourselves, how others perceive us, feelings of envy, guilt, or greed.
The mantra related to this chakra is ‘Ram’. Its corresponding deity is Braddha Rudra also known as Old Shiva.
The Sun is the planet related to the solar plexus. Its gemstones are tigers’ eye, amber, yellow topaz, yellow jasper, and citrine. The associated astrological signs are Leo, Virgo, and Sagittarius. Fire is the associated element and the corresponding metal is steel. Related aromas and essential oils are lavender, rosemary, and bergamot. The related sense is sight.
4TH CHAKRA -- HEART-- ANAHATA
The heart chakra controls self-acceptance, which extends to acceptance of everybody around us. This chakra is about unconditional love, compassion, and affinity between ourselves and others. The heart chakra is located over the heart in the centre of the body. Its associated colours are green and pink. In the physical body, this chakra is related to the heart, lungs, liver, circulatory system, and pranic energy. It has a strong influence on the vagus nerve and the thymus gland.
The heart chakra is associated with loving ourselves, being happy with who we are, showing love and caring for others, validation of feelings, self-esteem, and detachment. The mantra that corresponds to this chakra is ‘Yam’. The related deity is Ishana Rudra Shiva, one of five faces of Shiva.
Venus is the planet related to the heart chakra and the corresponding gemstones are emerald, green aventurine, rose quartz, malachite, green jade, and pink tourmaline.
Leo and Libra are its astrological signs. The element associated with the heart chakra is air, and its related metal is silver. Rose, rosewood, rosemary, and rosehip are the aromas connected with the heart chakra, and the corresponding sense is tactile.
5TH CHAKRA -- THROAT --VISHUDDHA
Located at the base of the throat, this chakra controls creativity, self-expression, and communication. The colour associated with the throat chakra is blue. In the physical body it corresponds to the throat, neck, lungs, and thyroid gland.
The throat chakra represents the ability to express ourselves verbally and creatively, to speak our minds, and to use language, including words and gestures. The mantra for this chakra is ‘Ham’. This chakra is associated with the deity Panchavaktra Shiva.
It is related to the planet, Jupiter, and the gemstones, azurite, turquoise, lapis lazuli, blue agate, and aquamarine. Astrological signs associated with this chakra are Gemini, Taurus, and Aquarius. Its related element is ether, and its corresponding metal is gold.
Sage, eucalyptus, and pine are the aromas related to the throat chakra. It is associated with the sense of hearing.
6TH CHAKRA -- THIRD EYE -- AJNA
This chakra is the focus of intuition, visions, and the perception of truth. Its location is in the centre of the forehead. The colour associated with the third eye chakra is purple. The parts of the physical body that correspond to this chakra are the head, pituitary gland, and nervous system.
This chakra represents psychic abilities, awareness of guides, the will, finding our own path through life, concentration and ability to learn, dreaming, and feelings of boredom or apathy. The mantra for this chakra is ‘Om’. The corresponding deity is Ardhanarishvara.
The third eye chakra is associated with the planet, Saturn. Related gemstones are amethyst and purple fluorite. Astrological signs associated with this chakra are Sagittarius, Aquarius, and Pisces. Its corresponding element is air, and its related metals are gold and silver. Aromas connected with this chakra are jasmine, peppermint, rosemary, and lemongrass. Ether is the associated sense.
7TH CHAKRA CROWN SAHASRARA
The crown chakra connects us with our higher self, and the energy of the universe. It is located just above the head and its colour is white. The parts of the physical body related to the crown chakra are the brain, eyes, and pineal gland.
The crown represents spiritual states of being, the ability to receive light and images, and the imagination.
Its mantra is ‘Ham’ and the corresponding deity is Guru.
The moon is the planet related to this chakra. Its gemstone is clear quartz and its astrological signs are Capricorn, Pisces, and Cancer. The crown chakra’s element is air and its corresponding metal is gold. Aromas associated with this chakra are lavender, neroli, patchouli, and rosemary. Its corresponding sense is ether.