By Clyde Granger
The word “chakra” literally means wheel. Traditionally, they are thought to be energy centers with the body. Chakras generally do not correspond to any western idea of the anatomy of the body. More commonly they are thought to be part of the subtle or astral body rather than the “gross” body. Kundalini Yoga attempts to awaken these energy centers though meditation. In Kundalini Yoga, seven principle Chakras are recognized (Tantric Buddhists recognize only four). There are numerous minor and lesser chakras, but let’s focus on the seven major chakras.
1. Root or Muladhara Chakra is found at the base of the spine. It’s symbol is the lotus with four petals. The color yellow is associated with the Chakra as is the creator god Brahma. Element: Earth Goddess: Dakini
2. Pelvic or Swadhistana Chakra is located at the genitals. The six petal lotus is its symbol. The color white and the god Vishnu are also associated with this center. Element: water and Goddess: Rakini
3. Solar Plexus or Manipura Chakra is located at the solar plexus and is associated with the color red and the god Rudra. Its element: fire and Goddess: Lakini These three bottom chakras we hold in common with all sentient beings.
4. Heart or Anahata Chakra is located at the heart. The lotus with 12 petals and the god Isha are associated with the Heart Center. The element is air, the color is blue, and the Goddess is Kakini. Interestingly, the Buddha is said to have been born from side of his mother at the Heart Chakra.
5. Throat or Vishuddha Chakra is located at the base of the throat. The symbol is the sixteen petal lotus. God: Sadashiva Goddess: Sakini Element: ether Color: White
6. Brow or Ajna Chakra is located between the eyes and is sometimes called the “third eye.” The symbol associated with it is the two petal lotus, it’s sound is OM, the color is snow white and the goddess is Hakini.
7. Head or Sahasrara Chakra is located at the crown of the head at the cerebrum. The symbol is the lotus with a thousand petals. The presiding god is Lord Shiva.
The first five charkas are said to correspond to the five elements of the universe and hence tie us to the earth. The last two charkas must be awakened in order to achieve self-realization. It is highly recommended that you practice Kundalini Yoga with an experienced practitioner because of the severity of the ordeals that result from experiencing full awakening without a qualified Yoga teacher present.