What are they are why do you need to know about them?
What are they?
The literal translation of the Sanskrit word chakra is ‘wheel’. Today, the word is used to describe seven focal points of vital energy within the subtle energy body. The first chakra, located at the base of the spine is known as the Root Chakra. The second, located in the lower abdomen is the Sacral Chakra. The third, located just above your belly button is the Solar Plexus. The fourth, located in the centre of the chest is the Heart Chakra. The fifth, is the Throat Chakra. The sixth, positioned between your eyebrows is the Third Eye Chakra and the seventh is the Crown Chakra, situated at the very top of the head.
Now if this all sounds a little ‘out there’ for your taste, maybe think about it like this. The ‘chakra’ perspective is one interpretation, or one expression of a deeper human knowing which pervades many schools of thought. Some schools of thought suggest that the chakras approximate to the central nervous system. They may even be thought of as a map to an individual’s psychological self. For yogis, the chakras are defined as energy centres of expanding consciousness.
What exactly do we mean when we speak about expanding consciousness? The word consciousness can sometimes feel a little abstract. Maybe even scientific, or overly spiritual. I find it is helpful to think about it as awareness. Awareness, as opposed to any specific thought, is perception itself. It is a felt sense of knowing. The part of you that is always watching, no matter what thought, emotion or feeling passes through you. The expansion of consciousness is the search for greater awareness – to embody a deeper understanding of yourself; the world around you and your place in it. The chakras serve as the road map for this journey.
Why do I need to know about them?
Energy moves in all directions, circling like a wheel, but let’s begin with the energy which moves in a downward motion to bring a sense of lived experience to this writing. When you feel inspired, this feeling begins in the Crown Chakra. You turn the idea over in your mind, bringing imagination and vision through your Third Eye Chakra. Convinced the idea is valuable, you begin to discuss it with friends and family, using your Throat Chakra energy to transform the idea into voice. Further connected to your idea, you fall in love with it. You bond to your vision in your Heart Chakra. You invest energy to bring your vision to life through the power of your Solar Plexus Chakra. Your vision becomes reality and you live this reality through your Sacral Chakra; watering and nurturing your drive and your lust to enjoy the experience until finally, your idea takes concrete form and becomes physical energy through the Root Chakra. Every creation in life takes the same journey, until it manifests into reality through the Root Chakra.
But, this is only part of the story. For yogis, the chakras are defined as centres of spiritual consciousness. In addition to downward flowing energy, we need upward flowing energy to begin the journey toward spiritual enlightenment. If the words ‘spiritual’ and ‘enlightenment’ don’t quite connect with you. Let’s try to think about each chakra in practical terms. Here are some examples of challenges we may face throughout our life, and the chakra energy associated with each expression. Something may connect with you.
|I feel ungrounded, anxious and insecure.||Work with Root Chakra energy to ground.|
|I feel stuck. I struggle to find balance.||Work with Sacral Chakra to feel your life force.|
|I feel disempowered. I have no control over my life.||Work with Solar Plexus Chakra energy to enliven your power.|
|I feel unloved and I am angry.||Work with Heart Chakra energy to feel joy and connection.|
|I feel misunderstood. I don’t speak my truth.||Work with Throat Chakra energy to open to, and speak your truth.|
|I lack the clarity of inner vision. I am overly rational and nobody sees me.||Work with Third Eye Chakra energy to create space for insight.|
|I feel disconnected from the world. I am alone and isolated.||Work with Crown Chakra energy to live ultimate reality.|
The practice of yoga works to bring balance to these energy centres. And within this balance, we liberate and lighten the energy, allowing it to move freely, through the chakras. Opening space for us to live the balanced energy of these sometimes opposing emotions, and in this, express more and more of our true nature.
Take your chakra journey with Yago
How does all this relate to your yoga practice? Everything we do at Yago is driven by our love for this journey. And we created our system of yoga, The Yago Way to bring you real experiences which help you unlock aspects of your true nature. Our essence ‘Work out. Work in. Wake up’ best articulates this and serves as a roadmap for you to navigate. Choose our classes based on your desired experience and your desired energy. And, to support you further, all our teachers work on eight week chakra themes. Every eight weeks our teachers pick a chakra to work with. Let’s say you’re feeling a little ungrounded. You might look out for a Yago teacher who is working on the Root Chakra. Here you’ll be invited on an eight week tour of the chakra. By week eight you’ll feel more rooted, more grounded and more stable in your body and in your mind. If you don’t believe me, come along and check it out!