According to Hindu religion, a chakra is a point of energy in the body. It is that point at which the body’s energy is highly potent and can be harnessed through appropriate methods.
The term ‘chakra’ is a Sanskrit word which means wheel. It is often said that these chakras are actually spinning wheels of energy, located in the subtle body and not the physical body. The sources or chakras are connected through a channel known as the ‘Nadi’. It is believed that the vital force of life, known in Sanskrit as ‘Prana’, travels through these Nadis.
A study of ancient scriptures, confirms the existence of 7 known chakras in the human body. There are another 11 chakras apart from the 7 vital chakras, taking the number to 18. These 18 chakras, when correctly harnessed, are said to have the ability to heal any ailment the human body faces.
Let us look at some basic facts about these chakras:
• There are 7 major chakras and 11 minor chakras.
• These chakras are all aligned vertically along the central channel.
• Together with the Nadi (channel) and Vayu (wind), they are the energy powerhouses.
• They are all circular shaped and said to possess spokes or petals.
• They are all related to or associated with a different deity and govern a different body function.
• The chakras are also called, magnetic points in Western school of study and are taken to perform the same functions mentioned in the Eastern school of study.
• Chakras are not a concept of baseless belief. There has been extensive study and there is sufficient proof to support the existence of such ‘magnetic points’ throughout the human body.
• Practitioners of Yoga, like the renowned Yoga Guru, B.K.S Iyengar, were often called upon, to discuss the medical importance of these chakras. With the help of people like Guru Iyengar, the importance of these chakras was studied in detail.
Let us now move to the main subject of this article, which are the 18 Chakras of Life and their Healing power.
Given below is a list of the 18 chakras in order of their position in the human body, their respective functions and how they support healing.
1. Sahasrara (Sanskrit for ‘thousand-petaled)
Position – Crown of the head or above the crown of the head.
Colour – White
Deity – Dhruva
The Sahasrara Chakra is often called the chakra of fundamental life. It is said that it is the highest source of energy that begins to flow from the top of the head. It functions similar to the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland secretes hormones to communicate to all other endocrine systems and also controls the central nervous system. Similarly the energy of the Sahasrara chakra passes from the top of the head, all through the central nervous system and reaches through the brain to the next chakra, via a nadi.
It helps with bringing life into alignment.
2. Ajna (Sanskrit for Command)
Position – Between the eyebrows. Placed like a third eye (like Lord Shiva has)
Colour – Blue
Deity – Ardhanarishwara (Sanskrit: God – half male, half female. Shiva/Shakti)
The Ajna Chakra, is placed like the third eye, in between the eyebrows. Traditionally this is part of Hindu mythology, where Lord Shiva, the destroyer of evil, was said to open his third eye, when in extreme rage. When the Lord opened his third eye, everything that fell in its path was burnt to ashes.
Fun fact, the whole third-eye burning things to ashes, is often said to be the reason why Lord Shiva was depicted as an ascetic. He meditated for long time periods, in order to control his rage. So he was a calm in general. But when he did get upset, well, ashes to ashes, dust to dust!
Anyway, the Ajna chakra deals with bringing clarity on a higher intuitive level. It is the very centre of focus. In fact, while practising Pranayama (breathing control) in Yoga, people are always asked to focus on the Ajna chakra and hold that as their centre of concentration. This helps increase attention span and gives excellent concentration skills.
3. Vishuddha (Sanskrit for ‘especially pure’)
Position – Throat (parallel to Thyroid)
Colour – Pale blue or Turquoise
Deity – Dyaus
The Vishuddha chakra is associated with communication and growth. It deals with expression, be it spoken, written or otherwise. Its placement near the Thyroid gland, which is responsible for growth and maturation, further explains its importance in that sphere.
This chakra also helps with voice control and voice modulation. That is why when performing Yoga, the chanting of the holy ‘OM’ is done in a way that it reverberates in the throat. It stimulates the chakra and energy levels increase.
4. Anahata (Sanskrit for ‘unstruck’)
Position – centre of the chest
Colour – green or pink
Deity – Ishana Rudra Shiva
The Anahata chakra is related to the thymus, an element located in the chest that is part of both the immune and endocrine system and is the maturation site of T-cells.
T-cells are the cells that help the body fight of diseases. Thus aptly called Anahata or Unstruck. It is also called the heart chakra, due to its proximity to the organ. It deals with circulation of energy that’s associated with complex emotions, empathy, compassion, etc.
5. Manipura (Sanskrit for Jewel City)
Position – Navel or near pancreas
Colour – Yellow
Deity – Agni
The Manipura is one of the essential chakras as it deals with the pancreatic functions and the adrenaline glands. It is associated with the basic digestive process, which is in fact the most important, since digestion converts food matter into energy.
The chakra deals with this kind of energy. It also deals with, on an emotional level, with the spirit of expression. Probably why they say ‘No guts, No glory!’
6. Svadhisthana (Sanskrit for one’s own base)
Position – Sacrum
Colour – White
Deity – Bramha
This chakra is primarily functional in the testes or ovaries. It governs the energy flow through the sexual organs, thereby empowering the organs to be reproductively strong.
If you may have noticed, the Deity associated to this Chakra is Bramha.
According to Hinduism, Lord Bramha, was the Creator or progenitor of life. Thus it seems almost appropriate that this organ is associated to none other than the proposed giver of life!
The key issues that the Svadhisthana chakra deals with are reproduction, relationships and also addictions. It is supposed to be the human ‘urges’ that this chakra governs and controls.
7. Muladhara (Sanskrit for Root Support)
Position – Base of Spine
Colour – Red
Deity – Ganesh
It is related to the basic human potentiality, security and survival. As we all know, any damage to the spinal cord can cause permanent damage to the central nervous system or even result in death.
Thus it is appropriate to call this chakra the Muladhara or Root Support.
The importance of this chakra is that it basically governs stability- Emotional, Physical, Mental and all other kinds of stability.
That’s where you get the phrase “Need to have a spine!”
It is often called the last point of the nadi, where the energy source ends and the cycle is repeated.
Now that we have covered the 7 major chakras, let’s have a look at the 11 minor chakras. Please note that these major chakras are the foundational ones. The remaining 11 chakras act as a support system to these.
Located 2 finger spaces to the left from the Anahata Chakra and then 2 fingers down, the Hridhaya chakra is basically the chakra from where the heartbeat is said to resonate.
It assists the Anahata chakra and helps control the functioning of the heart through proper energy flow.
9. Secret Chakras (Golata, Lalata, Lalana)
The 9th, 10th and 11th chakras, namely the Golata, Lalata and Lalana Chakras, are located at the back of the throat, in alignment with the Vishuddha chakra. They control the palette and also the flow of energy through nadi from the chakra, through the throat.
12. Atala – located in the lower hip, governs fear and lust
13. Vitala – located in the thigh, governs anger and resentment
14. Sutala – located in knees, governs jealousy
15. Talatala – located in calves, governs prolonged wilfulness
16. Rasatala – located in the ankles, centre of selfishness and animalistic instinct
17. Mahatala – located in the feet, considered the realm without consciousness
18. Patala – located in the soles of the feet, realm of malice, torture, murder, etc.
The chakras from 12th to 18th are part of the Muladhara Chakra section. They fall below the muladhara chakra and are thus held to be as the least or minor chakras.
These 18 chakras, together form the 18 chakras of Healing.The power of these 18 chakras, can be harnessed through the practise of Yoga,Pranayam, Kundalini, etc. Once in alignment, these chakras have the power to heal from within, any ailment one may suffer. They are the powerhouse of energy in the human body at the spiritual level.