The Chakra system is part of the “Pranamaya Kosha” – our vital energy body (see post on the 5 koshas). The word Chakra means “wheel” or “vortex” – which can be a useful visualization of the seven energetic centers along the spine. The gross form of the chakras are the nervous and circulatory systems. Our prana (vital energy, see post on prana) travels through the nadis (rivers) and chakras to various parts of the body like an irrigation system and can be opened or blocked by the various mental and emotional states listed below. Chanting the sound of “OM” (Aum) acts like a tuning fork to bring the chakras into balance.
1. Muladhara Chakra: “The root”
Physical: base of the spine, spinal column, coccyx, rectum, legs, bones, feet, and immune system
Mental / Emotional: “To have” – physical needs, group power
+ open: stability, feeling the basics of survival and basic needs are in place, security, safety, feeling grounded, belonging to a family, community or group, a sense of belonging.
– blocked: fears of physical survival, abandonment issues, feeling ungrounded, loss of order
Color: Red Mantra: Lam Element: Earth Dosha: Kapha
Sensory Organ: Nose / Smell Motor Organ: Excretory Musical Note: C
2. Swadhistana Chakra: “One’s own dwelling place”
Physical: reproductive organs, large intestine, sacrum and lower vertebrae, pelvis, appendix, bladder, hips
Mental / Emotional: “To feel” – healthy sexuality/sensuality, emotions, power of personal relationships
+ open: place of healthy, intimate relationships with others, ability to experience pleasure, storage place of samskaras, money and sex, power and control, creativity, ethics and honor, personal power, emotional needs, joy and enthusiasm
– blocked: blame & guilt, fear of relationship, misuse of sexuality, lack of healthy boundaries, anger / frustration stemming from relationships, repression, violence and aggression
Color: Orange Mantra: Vam Element: Water Dosha: Kapha
Sensory Organ: Tongue / Taste Motor Organ: Urino-genitals Musical Note: D
3. Manipura Chakra: “City of the shining jewel”
Physical: solar plexus, abdomen, adrenal glands, lumbar spine, metabolic & digestive system: stomach, upper intestines, liver, gall bladder, kidney, pancreas, spleen
Mental / Emotional: “I can” – personal power & vitality, to act and honor oneself
+ open: gut instinct, gut feelings, maintaining principles without compromising values, trust, self-esteem, self-confidence, self-respect, self-discipline, ability to care for oneself & others, responsibility for making decisions, personal honor, action, able to handle crisis, fight or flight.
– blocked: fear and anxiety / butterflies in the stomach, lack of faith in oneself, compromising values, lack of self respect, lack of discipline, lack of responsibility, unable to handle crisis.
Color: Yellow Mantra: Ram Element: Fire Dosha: Pitta
Sensory Organ: Eye / Sight Motor Organ: Feet Musical Note: E
4. Anahata Chakra: “The un-struck chord / unbeaten sound” Physical: thoracic spine, sternum, heart and circulatory system, ribs, breasts, thymus gland (immune system), lungs, shoulders, arms, hands, diaphragm
Mental / Emotional: “To love” – emotional power, love is divine power
+ open: center of unconditional love / higher love, compassion, ability to truly forgive, commitment, hope, trust, releasing emotional wounds, purity, passion / devotion to god (bhakti yoga), ability to heal oneself and others.
– blocked: hatred, deep sorrow, resentment, bitterness, grief, anger, loneliness, lack of faith in humanity, holding grudges, can not forgive others.
Color: Green Mantra: Yam Element: Air Dosha: Vata
Sensory Organ: Skin / Touch Motor Organ: Hands Musical Note: F
5: Vishuddhi Chakra: “To purify”
Physical: throat, thyroid (regulates growth), trachea, cervical spine, mouth, teeth, gums, esophagus, parathyroid, hypothalamus
Mental / Emotional: “To speak” – to speak personal truth, communication, will power, surrender to divine will
+ open: good communication, strength of will, personal expression, following one’s dreams, creativity, capacity to make decisions, right speech, power of choice, authority of divine will, acting out of faith rather than fear, head and heart in union, detachment from the fruit of ones actions
– blocked: unable to speak your truth, unable to express yourself, poor communication, inability to stand up for one-self, addiction, excessive judgment & criticism, lack of will power, inability to make decisions, lying, fearful
Color: Blue Mantra: Ham Element: Ether Dosha: Vata
Sensory Organ: Ears / Sound Motor Organ: Mouth (vocal organ) Musical Note: G
6: Ajna Chakra: “To command”
Physical: brain, nervous system, eyes, ears, nose, pineal gland (melatonin: regulates sleep / waking up)
Mental / Emotional: “To see” – Intuition, power of the mind, to seek the truth
+ open: developing witness consciousness, inner guru, intuition, self evaluation, truth, discipline, emotional intelligence, mind / body connection, openness to the ideas of others, able to listen, intellectual abilities, ability to learn from experience, receiving inspiration, developing an impersonal mind, stilling one’s fear driven voices, having a sense of Self so strong it is not influenced by the external, getting perception from mind into the body
– blocked: inability to open to or hear intuitive wisdom, lack of mind/body connection, close-minded to others and new ways of thinking, attachment, weak mind, lack of clarity / creativity
Color: Purple or Indigo Mantra: Usham Element: Mind Dosha: none
Sensory Organ: Mind / thought Motor Organ: Mind Musical Note: A
7: Sahasrara Chakra: “Thousand-petal lotus” place where Shiva and Shakti / Sun and Moon become one.
Physical: muscular system, skeletal system, skin, pituitary gland: which secretes hormones to communicate to the rest of the endocrine system and connects with central nervous system
Mental / Emotional: “I am” – the inner guru, connection to the divine, live in the present moment. It is the center for awakening higher awareness / consciousness, our connection to divinity, prayer, meditation, samadhi (super mental awareness) / enlightenment
+ open: ability to trust life, expression of values, ethics, courage, humanitarianism, selflessness, the ability to see the larger picture, faith; inspiration, spirituality & devotion, and heaven (above the head), bringing spirituality into daily life, living your yoga, developing a personal relationship with the higher self.
– blocked: dark night of the soul, feeling lost and detached from the divine, a spiritual crisis, dramatic shifts, loss of identity, and abandonment, lack of faith or hope
Color: White or Violet Mantra: Om (Aum) Element: Consciousness Dosha: none
Sensory Organ: Consciousness Motor Organ: Consciousness Musical Note: B