There are many different beliefs on the number of chakras we have as indeed there are many different systems. Some speak of the six chakras and discount the Sahasrara or "crown" as a chakra, seeing it as a more overarching energy centre as the seat of the soul, other systems talk of eight chakras, five or three ... and it goes on. Each have their own validity and own form of practice. At the moment I work with the most widely known system of the seven chakras and continue to research and expand my understanding of the chakras and their potential. In the system I use, the chakras are situated where the feminine (lunar - subconscious, past, desire) and masculine (solar - conscious, future, action) energy lines (nadis), known as Ida and Pingala respectively, meet and crossover on the body at certain points on the main cerebrospinal axis nadi known as Sushumna (super conscious, present, evolution) - this is also sometimes referred to as the Heaven/Earth axis.
Chakras can be likened to areas of data / karma storage and receptivity in the energy field (aura). They have the ability to modify the content they contain at any given time if the owner is willing, but with more serious toxic buildups in the system this can take quite some effort and dedication to heal. You can work to optimise the functioning of your chakras via a variety of methods including yogic meditation and internalisation of seed mantra sounds associated with each chakra (the original and surely most effective way according to the ancient yogis), other forms of eastern spiritual practice such as qigong and tai chi, tantra, eating a healthy diet and visiting an energy healer (such as myself) where divine source energy is transmitted into the chakras and other parts of the subtle anatomy.
Chakras work on multiple levels and have many layers to them, they are therefore one of the most comprehensive systems gifted to humans and can reveal the depths of a person's soul, health and attitude to life. It is true to say that they are really little understood in modern times as is the case with many of the true ancient practices as they were not often documented it seems, but instead handed down verbally and kept secret between teacher and pupil.
Below is a brief summary seven chakras where aspects of organ and bodily function are associated alongside psychological effects. You can find further information, mantra, yoga positions and suggested practice for each of the major chakras in my book Vegan Recipes to Enhance your Yoga Life. In my one to one sessions I offer a full assessment of your individual system and offer guidance on healing where there are imbalances. The chakras always work as a team and the functionality of each will affect the rest of the system. Do check out my Guided Chakra Embodiment Meditation below if you wish to delve in more experientially and synergise the Shiva / Shakti union within your temple.
A Guided Embodiment Meditation for your Chakras
In this powerful, high vibrational 30 minute guided meditation, Sarah takes you on an experiential journey right into the heart of your chakras.
Root (Muladhara) - 1st chakra
Our first chakra is known as the most physical of the chakras, is associated with supporting our immune and skeletal systems, gonads and general physical wellbeing. It is also said to be our centre of security, survival, family and tribal traditions both local and global. The root chakra is at the base of the spine with the perineum being an important activation point. This is the seat of primal Shakti (Goddess) -- the coiled serpent or Kundalini energy, ruled by the planet Saturn. It has both masculine (solar) and feminine (lunar) influences from the intersecting nadis. The The element associated with the Root chakra is Earth. It resonates with the colours red, black and other "earthy" tones.
Sacral (Svadhisthana) - 2nd chakra
The second chakra is associated with supporting our reproductive organs, lower back, urinary tract, large intestine, hips and the lymphatics. It governs our one to one relationships with people, our creativity, pleasure and joy. The sacral chakra is ruled by the planet Jupiter, it has both masculine (solar) and feminine (lunar) influences from the intersecting nadis. This chakra is associated with the dark centre of the womb, our true seat of creative power. It is located just below the navel area through to the sacrum bone and resonates with the colour orange. The primary element of the Sacral chakra is water.
Solar Plexus (Manipura) - 3rd chakra
Our third chakra is located just above the navel area. It supports our stomach, upper intestines, gallbladder, pancreas, liver, middle spine and adrenals. It is the centre associated with our willpower, self-esteem and ability to facilitate transformation. The solar plexus chakra is the home of ego and ruled by the planet Mars, it has both masculine (solar) and feminine (lunar) influences from the intersecting nadis. The element primarily associated with this chakra is Fire and the resonant colours are yellow and gold.
Heart (Anahata) - 4th chakra
The fourth chakra supports our heart, cardiovascular system and the thymus. It is the centre associated with unconditional love and compassion. Ruled by the planet Venus, the Heart Chakra has both masculine (solar) and feminine (lunar) influences from the intersecting nadis. The heart chakra is located in the centre of the chest area and resonates with the colours green and pink. This middle chakra forms a bridge to the upper and lower chakras. The predominant element associated with this chakra is Air.
Throat (Visuddha) - 5th chakra
The fifth chakra supports the throat, oesophagus, neck, mouth, teeth, ears, thyroid and parathyroids. This chakra is where we make all our choices and where we express ourselves and listen to others, it governs our sense of taste and discernment. The throat chakra has the important role of connecting the body with the head, it is the first of the upper chakras. Mercury is the ruling planet of the Throat Chakra and it has it has both masculine (solar) and feminine (lunar) influences from the intersecting nadis. It is located in the centre of the throat and resonates with the colours sky blue, aqua and turquoise. Ether is the element associated with the Throat chakra.
Brow (Ajna) - 6th chakra
The sixth chakra links us to the mental body and supports the brain, neurological system, the eyes, nose and pituitary and pineal glands. The Brow chakra is ruled by Moon and the Sun and our psychic centre of intuition, wisdom and insight. It is located above and in between the eyes inside the Amygdala (third eye) and also at the Alta Major (fourth eye) and resonates with the colours dark blue and indigo. Light is associated with this chakra.
Crown (Sahasrara) - 7th chakra
The crown chakra supports the skin, muscular and central nervous systems. It is our connection to the divine, the seat of Shiva, the soul, all that is and our gateway to "life-force" which nourishes our mind, body and spirit. This chakra is located at the top of the head and resonates with the colours violet, white and clear quartz. The Crown is the centre of divinity and unity/oneness. Consciousness is associated with this chakra.