Chakras in the Modern World: What They Are and How to Use Them
In classical yoga traditions, the word chakras refers to seven distinct areas along the spine and skull that relate to different energy or electrical currents. Chakras are associated with colors, sounds, symbols, and frequencies. When studying the body from the perspective of yoga, learning about the chakras is part of learning about the endocrine system.
The Seven Chakras:
- Solar Plexus
There are many great texts and literature with expansive knowledge about the chakras, but many people who have not studied them in depth simply wonder, “How are chakras relevant to me?” Here is a modern day approach to their relevance in life.
Location: At the crown of the head and top of the skull.
A baby’s soft spot is known as the anterior fontanel. If a baby is born head first, this is the first part of the baby that greets the outside world. It is where life outside the womb begins and the most vulnerable area of a baby.
Fear of falling and hitting the head is the first primal fear and if there is not adequate safety or nurturing, this fear can play a larger role later in life. The cranial bones generally form together reducing the “soft spot.” Confidence and security increases with age as a result of these brain shields growing together. The integration of the left and right skull bones can also be thought of as the integration of the masculine and feminine parts, creating a sense of wholeness.
Associated Gland: Pituitary Gland
The master gland responsible for secreting chemicals. These chemicals are a means of communicating with the rest of the body’s glands, which have varying responsibilities for mental and motor function.
Location: The center of the forehead between eyebrows and hairline.
This area of the brain is the forebrain, or area associated with vision, insight, and spirit. It can be activated by closing the eyes and looking up to the center of the inside of the skull. Shift your eyes to the right and you are now accessing the creative (right) side of the brain. Shift your eyes to the left and you are now accessing the logic center.
I refer to this area as the “Portals of Perception” as it relates to the eyes for seeing the environment, the ears for hearing sound, the nose for scent, and the mouth for tasting. All this information is then translated into meaning by the left and right brain through the corpus callosum.
Associated Gland: Pineal Gland
Light sensitive gland responsible for regulating melatonin and thinking into the future.
Location: The throat around the hyoid bone and cervical spine.
This is the area relating to expressing oneself through verbal communication, singing, humming, and breathing. A tight jaw, neck, or shoulders can be linked to choking back words, withholding information, suppression of speaking, or withholding truth. Gain a sense of independent thought and speak with your mind and heart.
Associated Gland: Thyroid Gland
Regulates hormones and can increase homeostasis with a sense of feeling secure.
Location: The sternum and center of the chest.
I speak now about our three hearts: our beating muscle chamber, the thymus gland (warrior’s heart), and the willful heart. This area is the center of our will. Our will for growth and contribution, to discern right from wrong, and to stand up for what is right. Many people in the United States are heart troubled due to lacking the will to stick up themselves or a decreased discipline to follow what is right for them.
Associated Gland: Thymus Gland
Also known as the warrior’s heart, this gland protects the body by killing off vectors and cancer cells. The thymus discerns what to kill and what to protect. Someone with an autoimmune issue may look deeply at his or her sense of self worth and self-love. If someone is in combat with his- or herself, the body’s cells are looked upon as enemies worthy of being destroyed by the thymus.
Solar Plexus Chakra
Location: This area is at the base of the diaphragm, sternum, and mid-back.
The stomach and intestines are associated with digestion and metabolism. This relates to how an individual digests information and how he or she discerns what is worth keeping as a nutritious thought or what should be eliminated out of one’s life.
Associated Gland: Adrenal Glands
These glands activate when issues of personal power are present. They secrete adrenaline, the fuel to get up and get out.
Location: The sacrum bone is between the left and right illium, at the base of the spine, shielding the sexual organs.
Anger, issues of sexuality, violence, addictions, and a struggle with basic needs can all be a result of an unbalanced sacrum.
Associated Gland: Reproductive Glands
The ovaries and testes produce reproductive hormones and govern creativity, joy, and enthusiasm.
This chakra relates to safety from violation of others. When this area is with power, one is steady and secure with their sense of identity and freed to be themselves without fear of being judged or put on trial. This is also the area where you find the distinguishable parts of gender.
When one of these organs, glands, or areas of the body is in discord or you want to amplify the energy emitting from them, then reflect deeply and be introspective. Place your hands on these areas along the spine and breathe. Ask the area what it needs and await an answer. It can take several minutes to really hear what message the body is relaying. What you gain in insight and information may save you from stress, illness, and death. You can also gain a better understanding of how to connect to yourself with more joy, ease, comfort, and appreciation for living.