Everybody has heard of chakras – most of them in esotericism or the last yoga class. But do you also know where the term chakra originally comes from, how many chakras there actually are? In a series of articles, we would like to introduce you to the world of chakras and their meaning. So let’s start with the basics:
What is a chakra?
The term chakra originally comes from India. Chakras can be found in many different Asian cultures, but especially in Hinduism and Buddhism. There they describe the energy centers of the body and the individual aura. The word itself can be translated in Sanskrit as “wheel” or “circle”. Chakras are small, luminous energy wheels that drive our body.
Firstly, we would like to introduce you to the 7 main chakras:
Root chakra (Muladhara)
The root chakra sits at the lower end of the spine at the level of the coccyx. In relation to the body, this symbolizes the energy of the strong objects of our body, such as muscles, bones and the organs in the pelvic region. This chakra stands for grounding, energy, stability, calm, safety and balance. The root chakra is the first energy center of the body. The symbol of the root chakra is a four-leaf lotus blossom.
Sacral chakra (Svadhishana)
The Sanskrit name Svadhishana means translated as “the original place”. This chakra is located on the spine, about a hand’s width above the navel. The sacral chakra is supposed to influence the energies of the body’s fluids such as blood, sweat or tears. Therefore, water is considered the leading element of this chakra. It is associated with physical attraction, be it to a partner or to new people in general. The sacral chakra is the second energy center of the body and is represented by a six-leaf lotus blossom.
Solar plexus chakra (Manipura)
The solar plexus, or belly chakra, is regarded in many Asian traditions as the main center of life energy. The third energy center stands for courage and strength, both in the physical and psychological sense. It also stands for inner independence and directs our so-called “gut feeling”. Accordingly, it is often associated with inner willpower. A balanced solar plexus should therefore bring inner harmony and satisfaction. It is symbolized by a ten-leaf lotus blossom.
Heart chakra (Anahata)
The heart chakra is the fourth energy center and, as the name suggests, lies at the level of the heart. It is the centre of the chakra system and stands for empathy, self-love and the metabolism of a person. Sadness, love, feelings towards oneself and other people are manifested in this chakra. If you love yourself the way you are and accept life, this chakra, with the symbol of the twelve petalled lotus blossom, is regarded as balanced. In the Christian religion the heart stands for communication with God and the seat of life energy.
Throat chakra (Vishuddha)
The fifth chakra is the throat chakra. This symbolizes the ability to communicate, openness and the sense of responsibility of the human being. Untruths, shyness and tiredness block this chakra. In balance, it stands for a strong voice, self-confidence and a truthful person. According to Asian sources, the harmonization of the throat chakra cleanses our language of lies. A 16-petalled lotus blossom adorns the symbol of the throat chakra.
Third eye chakra (Ajna)
Perception, the ability to think, intuition – this is what unites the forehead chakra. It stands for the balance of body and mind as well as for the curiosity and knowledge of the human being. It should also strengthen the imagination and consciousness of the human being. Lack of concentration stands for a disturbance of this energy centre. The sixth chakra is often called the third eye and in many Buddha images it is represented as a small dot in the middle of the forehead.
Crown chakra (Sahaswara)
The seventh and last chakra is located at the highest point of the head and adorns the person like a crown. It connects the person with the “cosmic consciousness”. Positive virtues and one’s own transformation for good are to be strengthened by this, whatever one understands as an individual. Chronic illnesses, the feeling of senselessness and the fear of death weaken the crown chakra. The idea of the crown chakra can also be found in religious representations of Western culture, e.g. in the form of a halo.