The word chakra is a Sanskrit word, which means "wheel" or "disc". In the ancient yoga systems of India, the word chakra is used to describe a spinning vortex of energy in the subtle body. According to this system there are a total of seven chakras arranged vertically along the spine and numerous energy pathways or channels, called nadis (from nad which means a hollow stalk), which intersect at these chakras. There are a total of 72000 nadis or subtle channels of energy extending out from the spinal cord, the principal among them are the ida, pingala and the susushmna. The ida nadi runs adjacent to the left side of the spinal cord and the pingala nadi runs adjacent to the right side of it. The third major nadi, the sushumna flows inside the central canal of the spinal cord. The chakras are sometimes referred to as lotuses, for they open and close like a flower, and in the yogic system they are represented with varying number of petals, ranging from four at the base chakra to 1000 at the crown. They can be charged and awakened by yogic practices involving breathing, asanas (yoga postures), and meditation. When stimulated, they generate latent forces, which awaken the power to conquer disease, decay and ultimately, according to the ancient yogis, death itself.
This is the first chakra
, which is located at the base of the spine. The word mula means 'root', and the paths of energy in this chakra
extend downward through the legs and feet to contact the solid earth below. It is depicted with a four petalled lotus. The Muladhara chakra
is the foundation for the whole chakra
system. Its function is to respond to any issues concerning survival: eating, sleeping, exercising, recovering from illnesses, making a living or simply feeling safe and secure. Psychologically, it is associated with the manifestation of one's sexual desires, guilt, agony, jealousy, anger and many other complexes. Muladhara is the seat of Kundalini
the primordial life force that is depicted as a coiled, sleeping serpent. In its dormant state, it represents our instinctive nature, but when it is awakened it represents our spiritual potential.
This is the next higher energy center and is located in the lower abdomen, centered between the navel and the genitals. It is connected physiologically to the nerve plexus associated with the prostate gland in men and the uterus and vagina in women. The word swa means 'ones own', and the word adhistana means 'home' in Sanskrit. It is depicted with a six petalled lotus. It is the seat of subconscious, the storehouse of all experiences and tendencies. All experiences are recorded here. The subconscious forces to which one is subjected have their root here. Its awakening will be associated with the activation of much long forgotten and suppressed material. Classically this chakra
is the center of sexuality, emotions, sensation, pleasure, movement and nurturance.
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