Chakras are the primary centers or power in our subtle energy body. There are 7 primary chakras each corresponding the generalized colors of the rainbow ROYGBIV (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet). They are also associated with a specific aspect of our physical and spiritual bodies. The 7 chakras align with the energy channels (or nadis) in our spine. They are the hubs of our subtle energy body.
These 7 chakras are:
(from above the top of the head to the base of the spine)
The Crown Chakra – Color Violet – Just above your head
The Third Eye Chakra – Color Indigo – Located in your forehead
The Throat Chakra – Color Blue – Located in the throat
The Heart Chakra – Color Green – In your Chest
The Solar Plexus – Color Yellow – base of your ribcage
The Sacral Chakra – Color Orange – Belly
The Base/Root Chakra – Color Red – Groin
This is a good place to step aside for a minute and discuss the model of the energy body. This is an area I had difficulty accepting when I first was introduced to the topic. I know that talking about energy can be a hang up for many people from a traditional western upbringing. The western treatment of the body as a purely physical creation leaves little room for talk of energy and the subtle aspects of the human body that haven’t been explained by science.
Ironically, growing up a Christian, which points to the spiritual body of human beings, talking about the energetic body was rather taboo. We were allowed to talk about the body in terms defined by the doctrines. Any other discussion was deemed “from Satan”. It feels funny even describing it now. Did I really grow up in a framework that considered a Chakra taboo? But the answer is yes, if it wasn’t explicitly discussed in the Bible, it was probably someone trying to lead me astray. Further discussion on this topic is appropriate for another time. Suffice it to say treatment of these concepts of metaphor helps put the model into the appropriate context.
So, my recommendation, to those that are being introduced to this topic for the first time, is to treat it as a metaphor. Even in hardcore scientific discussions metaphors are heavily relied upon.
For example, the model of an atom relies highly on a conceptualized physical construction of an atom. The description of atoms with shells of electrons and the protons and neutrons in the nucleus is a metaphor, or a model. Constructed to help people visualize the characteristics and behavior of an atom. Interestingly if you ask the average person they would say that this is what an atom actually looks like. The model of an atom has been derived from countless observations, experiments and experiences, but it is only a model. If we were able to actually view an atom large enough to be visible to the naked eye I am sure the appearance would shock you, differing dramatically from the artificial construction in your head.
We have never even seen anything as small as an atom, we’ve just observed its impact on the world.
I say all this to warm you up to the topic of chakras and our energetic body. If you dig into different belief systems, you will find discrepancies and even outright contradictions. These problems would appear to invalidate all such ideas. If this is a real part of the human body, why don’t they all agree?
The answer is, “Because it’s a model.” It’s a system of descriptions and details put together based on countless observations, experiments and experiences. The conflicting models were constructed by people looking at humans from different perspectives.
When you talk about the number of bones in a hand, how many kidneys a person has, or the number of teeth in your mouth, there is a discrete and precise answer.
When you get into the more abstract areas of our existence we have to rely on models and metaphor to explain what we see. This is where the chakras and subtle energy body exist, in the abstract. They are models constructed to explain behavior and observation.
According to traditional Indian medicine, the chakras are a number of wheel-like vortices or spirals which exist in the subtle body of living beings. Together they form part of the subtle energy body. The subtle energy body is made up of energy channels (or ‘Nadis’).
Though the model may not be an exact match, you can visualize the nadis in a similar way to our vascular system. But they are not directly visible in the same way that we cannot directly observe an atom.
Our blood flows through our bodies in big blood vessels (arteries) and then the blood flows out to smaller vessels to provide fuel to each cell in our bodies. The blood branches off into smaller and smaller vessels till at last the blood is delivered to each cell.
The energy channels work in a similar way we have the inflow and outflow of energy through the nadis (energy channels). The primary nadis runs up and down and spine and the other nadis branch off from here allowing energy to flow throughout our entire body.
In most ancient texts, the total number of nadis in the human body is stated to be 72,000. So the chakras are a core component of a model used to describe the subtle energy body.
It’s okay to talk about them, it’s okay to learn about them, it’s okay to share. The universe is vaster and more complicated than we can possibly imagine. Some day we may be able to directly observe what an atom looks like. Some day we may be able to directly observe a chakra. Until then, it doesn’t mean they don’t exist. So let’s keep discussion open and allow for any tool that can help us gain understanding.
Don’t be afraid, it’s only a model.