BACK                                     Expressions of Spirit  - Yoga


The Chakras System,
Our Seven Life-Force Energy Centers

Chakra” is a Sanskrit word literally meaning "wheel."  These centers were named as such because of the circular shape to the spinning energy centers which exist in our subtle etheric body, the non-material energetic counterpart to our physical body.  There are seven main chakras and they are located along the spine extending out the front and back of the body.  Each chakra has a number of specific qualities that correspond to the refinement of energy from the base-level material-self identity, located at the first chakras, up to the higher vibration spirit-level awareness of being at our crown.  These energetic centers represent our highest level of integration split, prism like, into a spectrum of colors. Our opportunity in studying them is to learn how to master each chakra’s essence and unite them all into a unified field of brilliance.  As such, we re-unite our disparate parts into a radian light of full self-awareness.

The chakras are formed at the junction of three connected energy shafts that ascend the spine, one on each side of the central channel, the Shushumna. The two lesser channels of energy -- the Pingala on the right and Ida on the left -- run parallel to the spinal cord. Chakras both take up and collect prana (life force energy) and transform and pass on energy. Our material bodies could not exist without them for they serve as gateways for the flow of energy and life into our physical bodies.

        Each chakra is associated with a certain part of the body and a certain organ which it provides with the energy it needs to function. Additionally, just as every organ in the human body has its equivalent on the mental and spiritual level, so too every chakra corresponds to a specific aspect of human behavior and development. Our circular spirals of energy differ in size and activity from person to person. They vibrate at different levels relative to the awareness of the individual and their ability to integrate the characteristics of each into their life.  The lower chakras are associated with fundamental emotions and needs, for the energy here vibrates at a lower frequency and is therefore denser in nature. The finer energies of the upper chakras corresponds to our higher mental and spiritual aspirations and faculties.

                The openness and flow of energy through our chakras determines our state of health and balance. Knowledge of our more subtle energy system empowers us to maintain balance and harmony on the physical, mental and spiritual level. All meditation and yoga systems seek to balance out the energy of the chakras by purifying the lower energies and guiding them upwards.  Through the use of grounding, creating “internal space,” and living consciously with an awareness of how we acquire and spend our energy we become capable of balancing our life force with our mental, physical and spiritual selves.

        In order for us to become fully self-realized and in harmony with our physical and spiritual nature our denser lower energies need to be harmonized with the lighter energies of the upper centers. This is to say our survival and base tendencies have to be raised to incorporate a heart-felt spiritual focus expressed in all areas of our being. Indeed, each of the upper-level energies corresponds and refines a lower level counterpart: 7th with 1st, 6th with 2nd, 5th with 3rd.  In the center of our being is full integration into the heart.

       Each center has an integral function in creating our energetic balance. It is through the study of our energetic and physical being that we can create health, emotional stability and spiritual bliss. The following chart maps out the primary qualities of each chakra, its corresponding location in the body, color, physical and emotional realms of influence, and its greater significance.



Crown Chakra

 Top of the head

Symbol is the thousand-petaled lotus


Shiva/ Consciousness 
Unification of colors
Intelligence / Bliss of
Divine Wisdom 
Pineal gland
Upper brain and right eye
Gem = Pearl   Planet = Pluto

Spiral pair = root chakra 7/1
Excessive: cult leader, ego maniac
Deficient: no spiritual inspiration/aspiration

This chakra represents the highest level of consciousness and enlightenment.  It is the connective center to spirit. This center integrates all the chakras with their respective qualities.  Mastering the lower vibrational aspects of our being we reside in the full awareness that we are spiritual beings living a human existence



Third Eye Chakra



Seed mantra = Aum  

Symbol is a descending triangle within a circle

Knowingness / Intuition / Perception
Self Mastery, wisdom, imagination
Pituitary gland, spine, lower brain, 
left eye, nose and the ears
Gem = Diamond   Planet = Sun 
Sense = Sixth sense, higher mind
Spiral pair = sacral chakra 6/2
Excessive: overly intellectual; overly analytical
Deficient: unclear thought; deluded


The seat of intuition and direct spiritual vision; it is here that we visualize things through our “third eye” of  intuitive knowledge.  The opening of the third-eye corresponds with spiritual awakening. It is the chakra of forgiveness and compassion.


Throat Chakra


Light Blue

Seed mantra = Hum
Symbol is a circle within a descending triangle


Communication / Creativity
/ Intuition / Synthesis 
Self expression / Desire to speak and hear the truth

Thyroid gland, throat, upper lungs,
arms, digestive track
Gem = Sapphire   Planet = Saturn
Sense = Hearing
Spiral pair = solar chakra 5/3
willful, controlling, judgmental, hurtful speech
lacking faith, unable to creatively express, silent child

The center for communication, self-expression and creativity. This is where the inner voice of one’s truth is expressed.  It is the chakra of diplomacy, of pure relationships with others, and of playful detachment. Speaking with a knowledge of our interconnectivity through Spirit reflects mastery of this energy.


Heart Chakra

Center of chest

Green / Pink

Seed mantra = Yum

Symbol is intertwined descending and ascending triangles

Compassion / Love / open-hearted 
desire for self-acceptance
balance emotions, harmony, 

place of integration
Thymus, heart, liver, lungs,
blood circulation
Gem = Ruby    Planet = Venus
Sense = touch
Spiral pair = the center 4/4
Excessive: inappropriate emotional expression; poor emotional boundaries
Deficient:  ruthless, no heart,
                        can’t feel emotions

The center of real, unconditional affection, spiritual growth, compassion, devotion and love. It is the bridge connecting the lower and higher energies of our being and is the place where resides our Spirit, our true Self, free and independent.


Solar Plexus Chakra
“Illustrious gem”

Slightly above the  naval

Seed mantra = Ram

 Symbol is a descending triangle

Will / Power / Joy / Motivation
 self-esteem transformation, identification / mastery
will over your own light 
power in relationship with others
vitality, energy
standing steady in your own self
desire to express individuality
Pancreas, stomach, liver, gall-bladder

Gem = Emerald   Planet = Jupiter
Sense = sight
Spiral pair = throat chakra 3/5
Excessive: egotistical, self-absorbed; ambitious self-driven warrior, desire to take control
Deficient: poor self-worth; sensitive servant; feels disliked; martyr; needing to “do” all the time

Located at the center of the body it is the place where physical energy is distributed. It is the center for unrefined emotions and personal power.  It is the center that give us the sense of complete satisfaction and contentment.  Our creativity is fueled by our power of will.


Sacral Chakra

Slightly below naval


Seed mantra = Vam

Symbol =  up-turned crescent


Relationships / Sexuality / Empathy
  Pleasure / Well-being
connection, delight
emotions, feeling, polarity, change
Gonads and reproductive organs, legs
Gem = Amethyst  
Planet = Mercury
Sense = taste
Spiral pair = third eye  2/6
Excessive: manipulative,
 controlling, lustful, addictive
Deficient: co-dependent, martyr, submissive, doesn’t feel anything,
shut down

This energy is the center for creating relationships of  all kinds.  It is where we develop an inward sense of self and an outward awareness of others, ego, sexuality, and family and defined as we work with this energy.  The feelings of other people are directly perceived through mastery of  this chakra’s energy. 


Root Chakra

Base of Spine


Seed mantra = Lam

Symbol = Square


Shakti / Manifestation
Survival / Grounding / Stability
gravitation drawing into a point
trust, survival, self preservation
root support, desire to be 
in the physical world
Sense = smell
Suprarenal glands, prostate
Kidneys, bladder, spine
Gem = Coral    
Planet = Mars
Spiral pair = crown chakra  1/7
Excessive: overly possessive;
                 fearful parent
Deficient:  homeless; ungrounded; victim

The seat of physical vitality and the fundamental urge to survive. It regulates those mechanism which keep the physical body alive.  It is the chakra whose main aspect is innocence.


BACK                                       ©  William J.D. Doran

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