The word chakra, from ancient Sanskrit, means “wheel or circle.” In the energy anatomy of our bodies, there are an estimated 88,000 of these circles or centers of energy. Seven of these chakras are widely recognized and have become the focal point of the many mind-body approaches to healing.
1. Root chakra is known by its Sanskrit name: Muladhara, which means “foundation or support.” It is located at the base of the spine. This center governs the physical body and connects us to the earth. The energy of this chakra is the foundation of our mental and emotional health. Spending quiet time out in nature is a wonderful way to enhance the flow of the base chakra and our connection to mother earth.
2. Sacral chakra is known by its Sanskrit name: Svadhisthana, which means “loveliness or home of the self.” The second chakra is located in the center of the abdomen a few fingers down from the navel. This energy center governs the foundational energy of our personal power, creativity, and sexuality. Compassionate self-talk directed inward is critical to insuring the healthy flow of energy through this center. Allow your hands to rest with your palms down on the abdomen below the navel. Breathe and let your body relax. Fill your mind with thoughts of gratitude.
3. Solar Plexus chakra is known by its Sanskrit name: Manipura, which means “the place of the shining jewel.” The third chakra is located in the center of the abdomen a few fingers above the navel. This chakra fuels the fire of digestion and governs our ability to digest our life. Be aware of what you are putting in your body. What you take in through your eyes and ears affects the digestive system as much as the food you eat.
4. Heart Center chakra is known by its Sanskrit name: Anahata, which means “whole or unbroken.” The fourth chakra opens and flows when we have arrived at self-acceptance. A place of openness, this center offers a safe haven for gaining the wisdom of non-judgment of yourself and others. Appling the principals of compassion by our inner dialog and congruent action opens this energy center, flooding our body with an abundant source of loving energy.
5. Throat chakra is known by its Sanskrit name: Vishuddha, which means “pure.” The fifth chakra governs the thyroid, metabolism, immune system and is the center of expression. Healthy boundaries and effective communication are aligned within the flow of this energy center. Self-criticism sends our emotional well-being into flux, causing the chakras to restrict and lose energy. Becoming mindful of how you talk to yourself helps you be aware of where you are gaining or losing energy.
6. Brow chakra is known by its Sanskrit name: Ajna, which means “to know or perceive.” The sixth chakra affects our capacity to think and reason. Seen as the center of higher wisdom, the brow chakra aids in the awakening of our eternal truth, giving us a vision of what lies beyond the physical realm. Establishing a daily meditation practice enhances and opens the potential of this powerful energy center.
7. Crown chakra is known by its Sanskrit name: Sahaswara, which means “thousand petal lotus flower.” The seventh chakra is located at the top of the head. It is the connection to our soulful nature, offering self-realization through clarity of thought and purpose. I am responsible for what I see. I choose the feelings I experience and I decide upon the goal I would achieve.
8. The Aura. The human energy field or aura is also referred to as the eighth chakra. The aura surrounding our entire body is a protective field of energy that encloses all the other chakras. The constant exchange of energy between the chakras and the aura balance and maintain our vital energy system.
9. Balance. Balancing our chakra system leaves us with a deep sense of peace and well-being. You are never too old or too unhealthy to tap into this vital energy source. The word yoga comes from the Sanskrit word meaning “to unite.” Yoga is a combination of Asana (postures for health) and Pranayama (control of breath) to access and balance the chakra energy.
10. Practice. Make your car your sanctuary. Sit tall in the seat. Elongate the back and allow for optimal energy to flow up and down the spine. Now, simply breathe. Let your mind focus on what is happening in the body. Tension starts deep inside the body and breathing deeply forces air up against the tense muscles, which creates an internal massage. In as little as five mindful, slow, deep breaths, the entire physiology of the body becomes relaxed. All healing begins in a relaxed state.
Cherie Everingham, C.H.T.P. worked most of her life as a graphic designer and fine artist. A health crisis in her thirties caused her to seek solutions outside the conventional health care system. Inspired by the results of her own experience, she went on to pursue a certification in energy medicine. Today she maintains a private practice where she shares the benefits of holistic health care and daily meditation.