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What is a Chakra?
Chakra means ‘wheel‘ in sanskrit and indicate that energy moves through us in spiral wheel vortexes and come to life due to junction points called nadis (energy channels) where so called prana, life force, merge.
Chakra are various focal points used in a variety of ancient meditation practices, collectively denominated as Tantra, or the esoteric or inner traditions of Hinduism. The concept is found in the early traditions of Hinduism.
The Sanskrit word Chakra literally translates to wheel or disk. In yoga, meditation, and Ayurveda, this term refers to wheels of energy throughout the body. There are seven main chakras, which align the spine, starting from the base of the spine through to the crown of the head. To visualize a chakra in the body, imagine a swirling wheel of energy where matter and consciousness meet. This invisible healing energy, called Prana, is vital life force, which keeps us vibrant, healthy, and alive.
What is Prana?
Prana comes into the body from the food we eat, the air we breathe, and from absorbing the energies of the earth and the heavens. Prana travels through thousands of tiny channels called nadis to every cell in the body.
In Hindu philosophy including yoga, Indian medicine and Indian martial arts, prana (prāṇa; the Sanskrit word for breath, “life force”, or “vital principle”) permeates reality on all levels including inanimate objects.
Prana regulates all physical functions for example, the breath, the supply of oxygen, digestion, elimination and much more. The function of the human body is much like a transformer, receiving energy from the Universal flow of Prana, distributing that energy, and then eliminating it.
What Is Pranayama?
“Prana” is Breath or bio energy in the body. Therefore, Pranayama is “Control of Breath”. One can control the rhythms of pranic energy with pranayama and achieve healthy body and mind. In yoga, Pranayama is basically series of exercises, which aims at bringing more oxygen to blood and to the brain.
Pranayama is the practice of controlling the breath and lies at the heart of yoga. It has a mysterious power to soothe and revitalize a tired body, a flagging spirit, or a wild mind. The ancient sages taught that prana, the vital force circulating through us, can be cultivated and channeled through a collection of breathing exercises.
In the process, the mind is calmed, rejuvenated, and uplifted. Pranayama serves as an important bridge between the outward, active practices of yoga—like asana—and the internal, surrendering practices that lead us into deeper states of meditation.
What Are The Seven Major Chakras?
Chakra is a Sanskrit word and it means “Wheel” or “Vortex” because that is what it looks like when we look at it. Each Chakra is like a solid ball of energy interpenetrating the physical body, in the same way, that a magnetic field can interpenetrate the physical body.
The Chakras are not physical, they are the aspects of consciousness in the same way that the Auras are aspects of consciousness. The Chakras are denser than the Auras but not as dense as the physical body.
Chakras interact with the physical body through two major vehicles, the endocrine system and the nervous system. Each of the seven main Chakras discussed here are associated with one of the seven endocrine glands and also with a particular group of nerves called a Plexus.
Each of these Chakras can be associated with particular parts of the body and particular functions within the body controlled by that Plexus or that endocrine gland associated with that Chakra.
Chakras are the circular vortexes of energy that are placed in seven different points on the spinal column, and all the seven chakras are connected to the various organs and glands within the body. These chakras are responsible for disturbing the life energy, which is also known as Chi or Prana.
1. Muladhara or the root chakra is one of the seven primary chakras according to Hindu tantrism. It is symbolized by a lotus with four petals and the color red. Muladhara is located near the coccygeal plexus beneath the sacrum, while its superficial activation or non-physical point, is located between the perineum and the coccyx or the pelvic bone. Because of its location and connection with the act of excretion, it is associated with the anus.
Root chakra—Mūlādhāra is the chakra of stability, security, and our basic needs. The root chakra is comprised of whatever grounds you to stability in your life. This includes your basic needs such as food, water, shelter, safety, as well as your emotional needs of interconnection, and being fearless.
2. Svadhisthana or the sacral chakra, is the second primary chakra according to Hindu Tantrism. This chakra is said to be blocked by fear, especially the fear of death. The energy of the second chakra, also known as the sacral chakra or Svadhisthana, is the power of partnerships, how we begin to relate to others outside the family tribe, the creative exploration of life and relationships, sexuality, and discovering the power of choice.
The location for the sacral chakra is about three inches below the navel, at the center of your lower belly. In the back, it’s located at the level of the lumbar vertebrae. It is associated with the lymphatic system. The sacral chakra is associated with the realm of emotions. It’s the center of our feelings and sensations. It’s particularly active in our sexuality and the expression of our sensual and sexual desires.
3. The Solar Plexus, or Manipura, refers to the third chakra. It spins in the area around the abdomen above the belly button up to the breastbone. Meaning “lustrous gem” in Sanskrit, the Manipura chakra provides a source of personal power and relates to self-esteem, warrior energy, and the power of transformation.
The third chakra is called Manipura, which means “lustrous gem.” Manipura is the original Sanskrit name for the Solar Plexus chakra. Located around the navel in the area of the solar plexus and up to the breastbone, it is a source of personal power and governs self-esteem, warrior energy, and the power of transformation. The Manipura chakra also controls metabolism and digestion.
4. Anahata or heart chakra is the fourth primary chakra, according to Hindu Yogic, Shakta and Buddhist Tantric traditions. The heart chakra is associated with compassion, affection, and love. The energy of the heart chakra starts in the center and expands through the chest. Motivated by love, your fourth chakra is responsible for moving love throughout your life.
The heart chakra, or Anahata in its original Sanskrit name, colors our life with compassion, love, and beauty. Driven by the principles of transformation and integration, the fourth energy center is said to bridge earthly and spiritual aspirations.
In the center of the chest (the energy center is not located where our actual heart organ lies; rather, the heart chakra is in the center of the chest area); it is the 4th chakra counting from the bottom of the spine in the traditional 7 chakra system.
5. The fifth chakra, the throat or Vishuddha chakra, sits in the area of the throat, jaw, neck, mouth, and thyroid. In Sanskrit, Vishuddha means “especially pure”. As the throat chakra governs the mouth, tongue, and neck, it relates to communication and your ability to understand and speak your inner truth “purely”.
The Throat chakra is the fifth chakra. Located at the center of the neck at the level of the throat, it is the passage of the energy between the lower parts of the body and the head. The function of the Throat chakra is driven by the principle of expression and communication.
Throat chakra (Vishuddha) is the fifth chakra of the spiritual body that located near the region of the throat and is associated with speech, hearing and communication. It helps in developing powerful communication skills, expressing yourself authentically without any doubt or fear, and generating the confidence to speak truth.
6. The Brow Chakra also called the third eye is the center of perception and command. It directs our sight and everyday awareness of the world. Our consciousness is located here. The most common Sanskrit name for the Third eye chakra is “Ajna”, which means “command” and “perceiving”. This chakra is related to the “supreme element”, which is the combination of all the elements in their pure form.
In yogic metaphysics, the third eye or Ajna chakra, is the center where we transcend duality – the duality of a personal “I” separate from the rest of the world, of a personality that exists independently from everything else.
The image of the Third Eye chakra symbol contains two elements frequently associated with wisdom: the upside down triangle and the lotus flower.
The most commonly accepted location for the sixth chakra is between the eyebrows, slightly above at the bridge of your nose. It can also be described as being located behind the eyes in the middle of the head. The Third eye chakra is associated to the pineal gland in charge of regulating biorhythms, including sleep and wake time.
It’s a gland located in the brain that is a center of attention because of its relationship with the perception and effect of light and altered or “mystical” states of consciousness. It’s positioned close to the optical nerves, and as such, sensitive to visual stimulations and changes in lighting.
7. The crown chakra is the seventh chakra. Located at the top of the head, it gives us access to higher states of consciousness as we open to what is beyond our personal preoccupations and visions. The function of the Crown chakra is driven by consciousness and gets us in touch with the universal.
The seventh chakra is referred to as: Crown chakra, Sahasrara, Shunnya, Niralambapuri. The Sanskrit name “Sahasrara” is sometimes used to designate the seventh chakra. It can be translated as “Thousand petals”.
The crown chakra is most commonly represented with the color white, although it can also be depicted as deep purple. The auric color of crown chakra energy can also be seen as gold, white, or clear light.
The most commonly accepted location for the seventh chakra is at the top of the head or slightly above the head. It sits like a crown, radiating upwards, hence its name.
The Crown chakra is primarily associated to the pituitary gland, and secondarily to the pineal and the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus and pituitary gland work in pair to regulate the endocrine system. Because of its location, the crown chakra is closely associated with the brain and the whole nervous system.
Note that energetically, the seventh chakra has a connection with the first chakra, as they both are at the extremities of the chakra system.
Eating To Keep Chakras Energetic and Healthy
Emotionally, the root chakra is linked to financial independence, money, and food. A block in the root chakra might manifest by feelings of burnout, fatigue, or a lack of motivation. To stimulate the root chakra, reach for vibrant crimson foods such as beets, strawberries, radishes, tomatoes, and chilies.
Balance your sacral chakra with all things orange. Think carrots, mango, oranges, orange peppers, peaches, apricots, and sweet potatoes. Foods rich in Omega-3s, such as salmon, also work well to balance this chakra. Nuts and seeds such as flax, almonds, walnuts, and sesame provide additional fatty Omega-3s, which aid in cardiovascular health and reduce inflammation.
Like the chakra’s color, think yellow when it comes to balancing your solar plexus. Bananas, pineapple, corn, lemons, and yellow curry. Yellow is a natural mood enhancer. Also feed this chakra with complex carbohydrates and whole grains such as oats, brown rice, spelt, rye, farro, beans, vegetables, and sprouted grains. These foods provide crucial fiber and sustainable energy.
Balance your fifth chakra with blue foods. Blueberries and blackberries are particularly good sources of fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins. For the throat chakra, think healing and soothing foods and liquids such as coconut water, herbal teas, raw honey, and lemon. Fruit that grows on trees such as apples, pears, and plums are also known to be excellent at healing this chakra.
Think purple for the sixth chakra or the brow chakra. Purple grapes, purple kale, blueberries, purple cabbage, eggplant, and purple carrots. Also include cocao, which is rich in flavonoids and boosts serotonin, which helps to relieve stress and inflammation. These “brain foods” can instantly help clear an overworked mind and help to regain focus.
The crown chakra focuses more on fasting and detoxing than it does on food. It focuses more on the spiritual aspect of our bodies; our minds. Detoxing can help our bodies flush out toxins, boost our energy, and clear our mind. Meditation and yoga is an excellent way to strengthen and heal the crown chakra. It can teach us to live mindfully and take some quiet, peaceful time for ourselves amidst our chaotic lives. Meditation herbs or essential oils such as sage, lavender, frankincense, and juniper are wonderful in balancing this chakra.
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References: https://www.chakras.info, https://www.parsnipsandpastries.com, https://www.timothypope.co.uk/chakras-endocrine-system, https://chopra.com/articles, https://mindfulnessquest.com, https://ulricanorberg.se/chakras-what-are-they-actually/